Contracts

As soon as you start working for somebody else, also if you're abroad or a student, several rules apply. The sort of contract you negotiate depends on the employment relationship. Even if there is no written contract or agreement some rules already apply.

What kind of employment relationship can you have?

What rights you have in work situations depends on the type of contract you have:

  • Employment contract, you work as an employee
  • Commission contract, you work as an independent contractor, as a self-employed person
  • Internship contract, you work as a student trainee, you're registered as a student
  • Volunteer contract, you work as a volunteer
  • Agency contract, a special kind of temporary employment contract

What to take into account when making appointments?

If you are going to work for someone, think about expectations and opportunities. The following questions should also be clear. Ask about anything that is not clear well in advance, or ask an external consultant. Write agreements down. That's in the interest of both parties.

  • Who are you dealing with?
    Is it an organisation? Is it a legal person, or an individual? Is it a reliable party?
  • What is expected from you?
    Do you have enough deatils about your job (or performance)?
  • What is the monetary consideration?
    What is your salary or fee going to be.
  • How much profit do you make?
    Is this a gross amount and how much do you get net? Is VAT included? Are there any other taxes withheld, and if so, which ones? This often depends on whether you have an employment contract or an commission contract.
  • Other conditions?
    For example benefits, agreements on expenses and or on the time of payment.
  • What about copyright?

What else to pay attention for?

Collective labour agreements
In addition to individual employment contracts, there are also collective labour agreements (collectieve arbeidsovereenkomsten, CAOs) which may apply to your employment relationship. CAOs are agreed between employers' organisations and trade unions.  If your work is covered by a collective agreement, you do not negotiate certain matters. Most collective agreements can be found on the websites of the trade unions or professional associations.

Working with a commission contract
Especially with assignments it is important to have clarity in advance about the legal aspect of the employment relationship. Sometimes you are asked to do a 'freelance' assignment, while you have to be paid or hired according to the legal rules. If this is not properly arranged, both parties can be troubled afterwards: unforeseen costs (additional taxes from the tax authorities) or problems in the event of illness or unemployment.

Breach of contract
Always contact a legal adviser when having problems like a breach of contract or any other dispute. For example the advisor of your union or professional association. Regardless of the rules, find your own style of problem solving.

The collective labour agreements (cao) for architects also include agreements on employees who need to gain work experience in order to carry the title of architect. These are not interns or trainees.

Most architects use the standard contracts that have been developed by the BNA (the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects): The New Rules (DNR) for larger commissions and the Consumers Rule for smaller commissions. These can be downloaded from the BNA website. Other materials on the website include general terms and conditions and standard work specifications.

In the studiegids of the Netherlands Film Academy you can download contracts in Dutch such as bruikleencontract, quitclaim, locatiecontract and medewerkersverklaring componist/uitvoerende.