Labour Inspection Structure and organization

Name of institution that manager work issues

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment is responsible for employment and labour market issues, social security, income, industrial relations and working conditions.

Department(s) responsible for Labour Inspection

The Labour Inspectorate (Arbeidsinspectie, AI is part of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment and is comprised of 3 departments: (i) Participation and Income Security, (ii) Employment, and (iii) Administration, Enforcement and Operations, under which labour inspection falls.

The Transport Inspectorate enforces occupational safety and health and working hours legislation in transport (road, air traffic, railroad, river and maritime transport).

Law that covers organization and functional composition

  • Working Conditions Act, Act of 18 March 1999

Scope of labour inspection

The AI promotes compliance with labour protection laws and combats labour market fraud. Its priority is tackling serious violations of the law. The AI’s competencies include overseeing compliance in all companies and commercial and non-commercial (private and public) establishments. It enforces the Working Conditions Act, Working Hours Act, Nuclear Energy Act, Commodities Act, Foreign Nationals (Employment) Act, Minimum Wage and Minimum Holiday Allowance Act, Major Accidents (Risk) Decree

The AI co-operates with other supervisory institutions and support agencies and local and regional government organisations.

Local divisions

The inspectorate is not managed through regional offices.

Human Resources and career development

Permanency of inspectors

Labour inspectors are public officials.

Background required

Higher professional education diploma or equivalent qualification through demonstrated experience is required. Initial training is provided to new inspectors, basic training is given during the first two years, covering inspection techniques and legislation to be enforced.

Visits and functions

Types of visits

The AI carries out programmed visits and also investigates complaints by employees dealing with their working conditions, working hours or payment below the statutory minimum wage.

Role of preventive measures

The AI publishes branch-oriented brochures on working conditions and sends them to employers before inspection campaigns start. These brochures include information on the legal obligations and the course of a company inspection. It also gives a description of the major labour risks in the branch concerned.

The inspection results are also published on the webpage and discussed with the organisations of the inspected employers and employees. With these actions, branches are encouraged to plan and take measures in their own sector in order improve the quality and work safety.


Most of the inspections by the AI are carried out in sectoral or branch-oriented campaigns. Inspection campaigns are announced each year in advance in the annual plans and on their webpage. The emphasis of inspections is on sectors or branches where the risks are highest and/or compliance with the law is lowest.

The AI periodically inspects all companies working with large quantities of hazardous substances, or which store or transport these substances on a large scale.

Registries and reporting of accidents/diseases at work

Serious industrial accidents (accidents resulting in permanent physical injuries, hospitalisation or someone’s death) and incidents with hazardous substances must be reported to the Labour Inspectorate.

The Dutch Center for Occupational Diseases (Nederlands Centrum voor Beroepsziekten -NCvB) registers occupational diseases.

Sanction and administrative processes

The AI will intervene when one or more violations are detected during an inspection or investigation. Depending on the legislation that has been breached and the seriousness of the violation, the AI will take measures or sanctions which vary in severity. These include (i) a verbal comment, (ii) issuing an official warning, (iii) giving an order to shut down operations or halt the activities immediately, (iv) imposing an administrative fine, (v) announcement of an official report (under criminal law), and (vi) announcement of a penalty order (with regard to payment below the statutory minimum wage).

Except for the instance when a comment or comments have been made, the AI will always confirm in writing the measure(s) to be taken by the employer and the sanction(s) imposed. The AI makes random checks during a next inspection to see whether the required measures have been taken. If this is not the case, heavier sanctions will be imposed.

Social dialogue and labour inspection

Social partners are consulted when sectoral inspection projects are prepared. Work Council members are entitled to accompany labour inspectors during inspection visits. Social partners are considered in the inspection programme and strategy.

ILO Conventions ratified

The Netherlands ratified Convention No. 81 in 1951 and Convention No. 129 in 1973.