So you decided to work in another country ?! You are certainly not alone, seven million Europeans work abroad; much of it within the European Union. Most are left with a lot of questions about legislation at the beginning, for example about the maximum number of hours or the holidays. However, it is not as complicated as it seems.
International labor lawInternational labor law is based on a very simple basic principle: every employee is in principle subject to the laws of the country where he normally works. So if you make a short business trip, you still fall under Dutch law. If you are going to work in another country for a longer period and / or for a foreign employer, the laws there apply (unless stated otherwise in your contract). You can also work and live in another EU country without a work permit. This applies to both salaried and self-employed workers. It is advisable to inform yourself well if no other papers are needed, for example an employment contract or a statement of good conduct and morals. To ensure that no abuses arise and to make legislation as equal as possible, there are some provisions that apply throughout the EU. These mainly concern safety, working conditions and working hours.
Maximum working hours and minimum holidaysThere is a maximum working week of 48 hours on average throughout Europe; this is calculated over a period of one year. You may incidentally make a week of 60 hours, if the average remains only 48. So you don't have to worry about endless hours being asked of you in another country. As a Dutch citizen, you usually even have an advantage in terms of vacation days if you work in the EU! The Dutch have the least vacation days in Western Europe. Although there are differences between the national holidays, there is also a European provision here: the minimum is four weeks of paid holidays per year, which must not be exchanged for payment. Of course there are also so-called compulsory days off on public holidays in every country.
Breaks and free timeThe breaks and working weeks are also set to a minimum by law:
- You get a break every six hours or more in accordance with collective labor agreement guidelines or national legislation
- You get a minimum of 11 hours of rest per day
- You need to have at least 24 hours off per week