24 March 2023



Netherlands Netherlands
Geographical scope
  • Type

    Employment contract



On 24 March 2023 the Supreme Court of the Netherlands upheld a ruling by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, qualifying on-location platform-determined work by Deliveroo riders as employees. The Court ruled that while riders were engaged for work that had elements of a contract for services, for example, a ‘certain freedom to work whenever they wanted’, a holistic view is most important. When taking the terms and conditions of the work in its totality, all factors led to the riders being employees.

The ruling by the Supreme Court is based on article 7:610 DCC. The provision of a mandatory law defines what qualifies an employment relationship and part of the spirit of the law is indeed to stop bogus self-employment. The three main criteria in establishing a ‘relationship of authority’, and which were confirmed by the Court in its ruling, are work, wages and control. The Court has stated that they will not generate new rules as it pertains to assessing the (mis-)classification of workers, as this topic is currently being worked on by legislators at the national and European level.

Trade union FNV began the judicial process in 2018, filing a claim that Deliveroo riders were entitled to standard employee rights (e.g., sick pay and dismissal procedures), invoking article 7:610 DCC. FNV union has called on the Dutch Parliament to intervene to ensure all workers' rights for food delivery couriers in the Netherlands.

The Advocate General has issued a 125 page ‘advisory opinion’ since this case, providing contextual information as well as barriers to accurately classifying this on-location platform-determined work. In particular, the report recommends the criterion, ‘control’, must have new standards which are fit-for-purpose. The term ‘organisationally embedded’ is introduced to help define if a worker is part of company’s core activities. If affirmed, that would aid in meeting the criteria ‘control’. Another significant contribution is the recommendation that someone being in low-paid and low-skilled work is an important factor which must be taken into account when considering whether they have negotiated rights and obligations, or whether these have been unilaterally determined by the work provider.

Additional metadata

social protection, representation, industrial relations, social dialogue, taxation, employment status
Employee organisation, Court
Transportation and storage



Eurofound (2023), Supreme Court of Netherlands finds Deliveroo couriers are employees (Court ruling), Record number 4262, Platform Economy Database, Dublin,