Important things you need to know when employing holiday workers

On May 12, 2014 by Dutch Umbrella Company

The minimum age of employees is often a point of uncertainness among employers. Since we receive a lot of questions about this minimum age restriction, we have collected all the relevant information for you within this document. To decide if a younger employee is authorized to work depends on the various labour sectors. It is recommended to consult the specific Collective Labour Agreement before hiring a minor employee.

Employers and parents/guardians are both responsible for complying with the rules of child and youth labour. Both parties could be held responsible and prosecuted for not following these rules.

For youngsters from 13 years to and including 15 years, the parents/guardians should give a verbal or written approval. When a minor carries out the activities for a period of 4 weeks or longer without any objections from the parents/guardians, this is considered to be a verbal agreement from the parents/guardians.

Employing children of 13 and 14 years of age

These children are only allowed to work under strict circumstances and the activities should be performed under (constant) supervision and must be designated as none difficult. Between the hours of 07:00 A.M. and 07:00 P.M., labour is allowed for children in a limited manner. During the school terms/periods they may not work as much as during the holiday period. They are not allowed to work on Sundays as well. Light tasks such as chores around the house and in the neighbourhood or light-industrial labour(for example supermarket-shelve-restocking or delivering newspapers) is permitted. Nevertheless, they may not carry out cashier activities or work in a catering environment where alcohol is served.

Table with work shifts for children aged 13 and 14 years

Maximum Working hours per: Chores around the house and/or in the neighbourhood Light industrial labour(*)
School day 2 hours per day N/A
None-school day 7 hours per day 7 hours per day
Holiday 7 hours per day 7 hours per day
School week
School-vacation weeks
Maximum permitted school-vacation weeks per year
12 hours per week
35 hours per week
4 vacation weeks
12 hours per day
35 hours per week
4 vacation weeks
Of which could be maximum uninterrupted 3 weeks 3 weeks
Maximum permitted labour days per week
5 labour days
5 labour days

Employing children from 15 years and older

Children aged 15 years and older can have more responsibilities. The activities should be still of an easy and light form(E.g. shelve stocking, fruit & vegetable cultivation, delivering newspapers). Furthermore, 15-year olds are still not allowed to execute activities as a cashier or work in a catering environment where alcohol is served. The maximum permitted school-vacation weeks worked by the employee is 6 weeks. Of these 6 weeks, 4 weeks may be uninterrupted labour.

Table with work shifts for children aged 15 years with compulsory education

Maximum working shifts per day or week Hours
Per school day 2 hours
Per none-school day and holiday 8 hours
Per school week 12 hours
Per vacation week 40 hours

Hiring youngster aged 16 and 17 years

Commencing from this age on, mostly all work activities are permitted. Youngsters from 16 years old may even conclude a labour agreement. During hazardous activities supervision of the employer is still obligatory. Youngsters between the ages of 16 & 17 years are allowed to work an average of 40 hours per week. School hours should be included in these 40 hours. Moreover, they may not work night shifts, shifts on appeal or work overtime. In addition, they have the right to more rest-breaks. Working at a Sunday is only allowed under certain circumstances.

Table with work shifts for youngsters aged 16 and 17 years with compulsory education

Maximum working shifts per Youngsters aged 16 and 17 years
Shift 9 hours
Week 45 hours
4 weeks 160 hours (40 hours average per week)

N.b. School time counts as working time as well.

Minimum juvenile wages are applicable

Minimum wages are applicable for youngsters between 15 years and 23 years. With determining this minimum juvenile wage, the age of the person concerned is the defining factor. This also implies that with every year until the 23rd birthday, the employee has the right to an increment of its wage. Employee aged 13 and 14 years do not possess the right to a minimum wage, although the specific Collective Labour Agreement may include such a minimum wage.