On this page:
- Dutch social security laws
- Embassy staff
- Diplomatic and consular officials
- Administrative, technical and service staff
- Local staff
- Private servants
- Spouse, children and other family members forming part of the household
- Staff already working at the same embassy or consulate since before 1 August 1987
- Payment of contributions
- Employee insurance
- Social insurance
Since 1999 the requirements applying to members of the diplomatic or consular staff as laid down in Dutch social security legislation are largely based on the provisions of the Vienna Conventions. The Dutch rules can therefore be taken as the basis for assessing the social security position of such staff. Article 33 of the VCDR provides that diplomatic agents are exempted from the social security system of the receiving state. Private servants employed by a diplomatic agent are exempted, if they are not a Dutch national or have permanent residence status and if they are insured under the social security system of the sending state or a third state.
However, there are also agreements on social security under international law that may prevail over national legislation. Examples include bilateral conventions or Regulation (EEC) 1408/71. Where these apply, the situation must be assessed on the basis of such international instruments.
Dutch social security laws
The Dutch social security system consists of two classes of insurance: national social insurance and employee insurance. The first includes AOW (general old age pensions), ANW (surviving dependants’ benefits), AKW (child benefit) and AWBZ (exceptional medical expenses). The second class of insurance comprises WW (unemployment insurance), ZW (sickness benefits), WAO (invalidity insurance), WIA (employment and benefits for people unfit for work), WGA (resumption of work by the partially incapacitated) and ZVW (health insurance).
The Dutch health insurance system has been revised in recent years. There is one basic health insurance package that is obligatory for everyone who has to be insured in the Netherlands. This package is offered by all health insurance companies in the Netherlands. On top of that, people can insure themselves for additional treatments. Health insurers offer all kinds of supplementary packages for different amounts. More information on the health insurance system is available from the Healthcare Insurance Board:
College voor Zorgverzekeringen
Tel.: 020 797 8796
Information on the different insurance packages is available from health insurers.
The conditions that apply to the payment of employee insurance and social insurance contributions by diplomatic and consular staff, administrative, technical and service staff and private servants are practically identical. Further details of the position of each group are given below.
Diplomatic and consular officials
Diplomatic and consular officials do not have social security insurance under article 33 of the VCDR, article 48 of the VCCR and Dutch legislation where their employment for the sending state is concerned. However, if they perform other activities in this country in addition to their diplomatic or consular tasks, they are subject to the Dutch social security system with respect to those activities.
Administrative, technical and service staff
The general rule is that administrative, technical and service staff posted to the Netherlands are not insured under the Dutch social security system unless they have worked in the Netherlands for more than ten years. There are however certain exceptions to this rule.
Staff who have Dutch nationality or another nationality deemed to be equivalent are automatically insured under the Dutch system. ‘Equivalent’ here means the nationality of an EU/EEA member state or countries with which the Netherlands has concluded a social security convention. An exception to this rule may be made for nationals of an EU/EEA country which is also the sending state. They are entitled to opt for the application of the social security legislation of the sending state, a choice which may be renewed at the end of every calendar year. Some of the bilateral social security conventions concluded by the Netherlands also provide for such a choice.
Staff who do not have Dutch nationality or are not permanent residents are not insured under the Dutch system. If, however, they are still working in the Netherlands after ten years, they are then deemed to be permanent residents. From that point, they are insured under Dutch social security laws.
Persons who are already legally resident in the Netherlands when they enter the employment of an embassy or consulate are regarded as locally engaged staff. They are in fact no different from any other person living in the Netherlands and working for an employer in the Netherlands and are therefore insured under the Dutch system.
It is important to note that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will only register foreign nationals as local staff if they were in possession of a residence permit under the Dutch Aliens Act when they entered employment.
Persons working as private servants may be employed by diplomatic or consular officials. Private servants are not insured under the Dutch social security system if they have not worked in the Netherlands for more than ten years (this rule only applies to private servants who entered the Netherlands before 1 March 2006, as private servants who entered the Netherlands on or after that date may not stay in the Netherlands for more than seven years) and if they are covered by the social security system of another country.
Employers are fully responsible for the social and medical insurance of private servants. A declaration from the diplomatic mission and from the authorities of the country of insurance certifying that the private servant is covered by its social security system is obligatory. These declarations have to be written in English, French or Dutch and must contain the starting date and duration of the insurance. The declarations have to be resubmitted with every application or extension of the ID card. An employer who employs a private servant to whom the exemption from social insurance contributions does not apply must comply with the obligations which Dutch social security provisions impose on employers.
Private servants who have Dutch nationality or are permanent residents are automatically insured under the Dutch system. ‘Equivalent’ here means the nationality of an EU/EEA member state or countries with which the Netherlands has concluded a social security convention. An exception to this rule may be made for nationals of an EU/EEA country which is also the sending state. They are entitled to opt for the application of the social security legislation of the sending state, a choice which may be renewed at the end of every calendar year. Some of the bilateral social security conventions concluded by the Netherlands also provide for such a choice.
Spouse, children and other family members forming part of the household
The insurance position of spouses, children and other family members forming part of the household is linked to that of the partner who is working in the Netherlands as a diplomatic or consular official or as a member of the administrative, technical or service staff. In other words, if the partner is not insured under the Dutch social security system, neither are his/her spouse, children or other family members forming part of the household. The reverse of course also applies. This does not mean, however, that a person will not be assessed on an individual basis if, for example, a partner or a child of a consular official forming part of his/her household takes up employment in the Netherlands. In such cases, it is possible for the official not to be insured under the Dutch system while his/her partner, son or daughter is.
Staff already working at the same embassy or consulate since before 1 August 1987
Members of the administrative, technical or service staff who have worked uninterruptedly at an embassy or consulate and entered into employment before 1 August 1987 form a separate group. These people had the choice of keeping their ‘sent’ status or receiving permanent residence status. The group who kept their status still have their immunities and privileges and are therefore not insured under the Dutch social security system. The group that opted for permanent residence status needs to be insured under the Dutch social security system and lose their privileges. If you are unsure as to your position, you should contact the tax authorities in Rijswijk.
Payment of contributions
Persons covered by the Dutch employment insurance and social insurance schemes are liable to pay the relevant contributions.
The employer (embassy or consulate) deducts the employee insurance contribution from the salary of persons who are compulsorily insured and remits it to the tax authorities. The employer deducts both that part of the contribution to be paid by the employee and that payable by the employer. In addition, employers must provide notification of the employment of their employees before their employment commences.
The UWV, the organisation that implements employee insurance schemes for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, will be responsible for assessing and paying out entitlements to benefit under these schemes.
The percentages for contributions and deductions can be found on the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment website: www.szw.nl.
For health insurance a different system applies. In addition to an income-related contribution, the insured person must register with a health insurance company and pay a basic premium. Additional health insurance packages can be added by paying an extra amount. Children must also be registered with a health insurance company in order to be insured. However, no premium is payable for children under the age of 18.
Insurance under the social insurance scheme is based on legal residence in the Netherlands. Although all compulsorily insured persons are liable to pay contributions, there must of course be an income on which contributions can be paid. A person who has no income does not pay contributions. He/she is thus insured for free.
Social insurance contributions can only be paid by the insured person. In most cases the tax authorities issue an assessment at the end of the tax year.
Insured persons are not liable to pay a contribution for child benefit since this scheme is fully financed from public funds.