Level of pay which is protected by law. In the Netherlands, different amounts are specified for adults and for young people.

Since 1968, a national minimum wage has been mandatory for all male and female employees in the 23-64 age group, under the Minimum Wage and Minimum Holiday Allowance Act. Starting from 1979, under the Adjustment Mechanisms Act this minimum wage was determined by and adjusted to the rise in the average collectively agreed pay (see also pay-linkage mechanisms ). As from 1992, automatic indexation of the minimum wage to collectively agreed pay levels in the market and government sectors has been loosened. The new Conditional Indexation Act makes this conditional on the overall economic situation.

In addition to the minimum wage for adults, since 1974 there has also been a decreed minimum wage for young workers in the 15-24 age group, ranging from 30 to 85 per cent. of the national minimum wage according to the age of the young workers concerned. Also, Article 15 of the Minimum Wage and Minimum Holiday Allowance Act prescribes that every employee is legally entitled to be paid a minimum holiday allowance of 8 per cent. (as from 1988) of his or her pay, up to a maximum of three times the minimum wage.

Employees who are paid less than the minimum wage may apply to the civil courts to force the employer to correct the shortfall. Over the past decade, the number of employees in the Netherlands who earn only the minimum wage (minimumloners ) has fallen from 365,000 to 163,000, while the total economically active population has increased.

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.