Less than the minimum wage (underpayment)

Some employers still pay their employees less than the minimum wage. This is known as underpayment. You yourself must take action if you receive less than the minimum wage.

Check your payslip

Your payslip will list the components of your gross wage. They include your basic pay and performance-related pay. Some components, such as overtime pay, are not included in the minimum wage.

Your payslip will also state the statutory minimum wage and the minimum holiday allowance so that you can see whether you are being underpaid or not.

You can claim unpaid wages from your employer even if you do not find out you have been underpaid until some time later. You can do so within five years of the date on which you were entitled to the wages or holiday allowance.


If you receive less than the statutory minimum wage, speak to your employer. If you cannot reach an agreement, you can take the case to the Netherlands Labour Authority or a limited jurisdiction judge. It is advisable to consult a union, legal adviser, legal aid centre or social counsellor before you do.

Payroll records

The Netherlands Labour Authority (of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment) can seize an employer’s payroll records if it suspects that the employer is breaking the minimum wage rules.

If the employer’s payroll records are not in order and the Netherlands Labour Authority cannot check the employee’s wages, the employer can be fined up to € 12,000.

Penalty payment imposed on employers

If you have been underpaid, your employer must pay you the wages owing to you within four weeks. If it does not, the Netherlands Labour Authority can impose a penalty payment of up to € 500 per day per employee. The penalty can rise to as much as € 40,000 per employee.

Fine imposed on employers

Employers who underpay their employees can also be fined up to € 10,000 per employee. Furthermore, if the employer underpays the holiday allowance, it can be fined up to € 2,000 per employee.

Multiple offences

If the employer commits a second offence, the fine is doubled; if it commits a third offence, the fine is tripled. This applies if a second or third offence occurs within five years of the previous offence, or, if the offence is serious, within ten years.

Power to close down a business

If a business has committed two or three offences, the Netherlands Labour Authority can close it down for up to three months to prevent it committing further offences.