Your rights and obligations as an employee in sex work

Working for a brothel owner as an employee: what are your rights and obligations?
Ask the owner to draw up a written employment contract before you begin work. The employment contract drawn up by the owner must include at least the agreements you reach on your salary, where you will work and how many hours a day or week you will work. The employment contract must also make any other agreements clear, for example any agreements on extra duties.
Ask the owner for a copy of the employment contract you have both signed. Do not sign the employment contract before you have read the contents.

Financial security
An employment contract gives you financial security. You are entitled to receive the statutory minimum wage and a holiday allowance. The owner must pay you at least the statutory minimum wage.

  • As from 1 July 2016, the gross minimum wage for employees between 23 and 65 is € 70,95 a day and, for a full working week, € 1537.20 a month. The amount of the statutory minimum wage is adjusted twice a year. The minimum wage is lower for employees under 23 and ranges from € 1114,45 (age 21) to € 1306,60 (age 22) a month (amounts on 1 July 2016).
  • When you receive your first wage – you are, for example, paid by week or by month – the owner must give you a pay slip which states the amount of your wages and of each of the amounts deducted from your wages. The owner must give you a new pay slip each time the amount of your wages or the deductions change.
  • When the owner houses you he or she may deduct from a maximum of 20% of your gross minimum wage or youth minimum wage for your housing. When the owner makes a contribution to your healthcare insurance, where relevant, then he or she may also deduct a maximum of 10% of your gross minimum wage. Your employer may not make deductions above these maximum amounts or deduct other amounts that result in you receiving less than the minimum wage.
  • The owner must also continue to pay your wages while you are on sick leave. You are also entitled to paid leave for at least four weeks a year. The owner cannot simply dismiss you and may not give you work other than the work for which you were hired.
  • When you have concluded an employment contract on standby basis and you are asked to come to work then your employer must pay you for at least three hours' work.

When you are pregnant you are entitled to 16 weeks of paid pregnancy leave. The Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) pays compensation to the owner for your wages.

Healthy an safe work
You have every right to healthy and safe working conditions.When you are employed by the owner of, for example, a club or an escort service then you can count on the following:

  • The operator must make sure that your working conditions are healthy and safe.
  • The owner must conduct a safe sex policy or, in other words, the owner does not advertise unsafe sex and allows the municipal health services (GGD) to carry out inspections.
  • Your workplace must be clean and must have washing facilities with enough clean towels.
  • The owner must make sure that you are not at risk from the clients: when you work at a club you must be able to call help at your workplace and the help must come immediately. 
    The owner of an escort business must also ensure that the workplace (for example, at a client's home) is safe.
  • Your working hours and rest breaks must also comply with rules. You are, for example, entitled to one-and-a-half days off a week (or three days off every two weeks) and sufficient breaks. You may not be required to work more than 12 hours a day and you may not be required to work more than 48 hours a week.
    Take notice: all the time you spend at work are considered working hours​.

Report complaints!
Are you underpaid, or do you have to work in unhealthy or unsafe working conditions?
If so, you can report the problem to the Inspectorate SZW. The Inspectorate SZW can also carry out a investigation. If you do not want an investigation then the Inspectorate will record the problem as a complaint. Keeping records of these complaints gives the Inspectorate SZW a better insight into health and safety problems in the prostitution sector.
The Inspectorate SZW always treats your information as confidential.

When you are an employee you must work your agreed working hours and observe the other agreements laid down in your employment contract. This means that you have less freedom as an employee then you would have if you were self-employed or worked on the basis of structural conditionality (opting-in).
As you work, you pay tax. More information about tax and what this means for you can be found under the ‘Tax, what does that mean for me?’ heading.

More information
More information the rights and obligations of employees can be found on the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment's website or call 14 00.
A lot of information is also available from the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) or call 0900 – 92 94.
Do you want to report a complaint? If so, you can contact the Inspectorate SZW.