The Dutch Senate rejected the "Work Where You Want Act." What does this mean for employers? In short: Despite the rejection, remote work remains a significant consideration for employers in the Netherlands post-COVID-19.
After the profound impact of the COVID-19 crisis, remote work has become integral to the modern workplace. The Dutch Parliament introduced the "Work Where You Want Act" in response. This act didn't grant employees an automatic right to remote work but required employers to fairly consider such requests within certain limits.
However, on Sept. 26, the Dutch Senate rejected the act. They believed that tailor-made remote work arrangements should be decided directly between employers and employees, including works councils and trade unions.
As a result, the existing legal framework based on the Flexible Working Act still applies. This means that employees with at least six months of tenure can request remote work once a year. Employers must consider these requests and provide a written decision.
Despite the act's rejection, remote work remains significant for Dutch employers. To navigate this, employers should:
- Clearly communicate and agree on remote work conditions with employees, including duration and revocation circumstances.
- Ensure a safe home office environment in line with the law, potentially by using checklists and providing a budget for home office equipment.
- Establish additional agreements on costs, ergonomic standards, mandatory office days and accessibility during home office days, either in employment agreements or separate home office agreements.
- Be aware that works councils may have a say in implementing or changing flexible work policies.
Maria Benbrahim is an attorney with Hogan Lovells in Amsterdam. © 2023 Hogan Lovells. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission of Lexology.