When you are a foreign worker in the Netherlands, your employer contributes to the Dutch national insurance schemes on your behalf. 'Social security' is a collective term for a number of social insurance schemes (for instance AOW, the old age pension scheme; and AWBZ, a scheme for special health care needs) and employee insurances (for instance WW, the Unemployment Insurance Act; WIA, the Work and Income According to Labour Capacity Act; and Zvw, the Health Insurance Act).
On this page we briefly discuss the national insurance regulations that apply when you are employed as a foreign worker. This is general information only, as not all regulations and personal situations can be made to fit within a single framework. And the regulations also often change. So always double-check the information you have received, for instance by calling the appropriate agency. Since many agencies will only speak with you in Dutch, it’s advisable to ask your Dutch employer for help in this regard.
When you accept employment in the Netherlands, it is important to know whether your employer has to contribute to the national insurance schemes in the Netherlands or to those in your country of origin. The basic principle is that the contributions have to be paid in the Netherlands because you are doing the work here. But there are exceptions, for instance when the work is of a temporary nature. In order to determine this, the ‘183 Day Rule’ is used.
No premiums need to be paid in the Netherlands if:
- the employee works no longer than 183 days in the Netherlands during a maximum period of 12 months;
- the employee is paid by an employer that does not have a permanent establishment in the employee’s country of origin;
- the employee does not work at a single, fixed locale during this period, such as an office, shop or factory.
As there obviously is room here for differences of interpretation and exceptions, it’s always wise to ask the appropriate agencies for advice beforehand.
The Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB) is the organisation that implements the social insurance schemes in the Netherlands.
The Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) implements the employee insurance schemes in the Netherlands.
Each member country of the EU has their own kind of national insurance schemes, but within the EU itself the regulations have been harmonised through social security ordinances and treaties. These rules are meant to prevent double contributions from being paid in the EU for an employee.
If the EU regulations show that an employee is insured in another member state, the employer can apply to the SVB for an A1/E101 Certificate. This indicates the country in which the employee has national insurance. With this certificate, your employer does not have to withhold and pay national insurance contributions in the Netherlands. You can find out more about this on the SVB website.
For information on working in other European countries and the coordination of national insurance schemes (including health insurance) at the European level, see the website of the European Commission.
In many cases, employees who come from outside the EU can apply for a ‘certificate of coverage’ in their land of origin. This certificate has the same import as an A1/E101 Certificate. Depending on your country of origin, however, it may be advisable to also check with the UWV about your eligibility for this certificate.