COVID-19: Coronavirus Netherlands - Employers Guide

What Employers Should Consider Amid The Coronavirus and Sick Leave

It’s hard for employers and employees to know what to do or what they are expected to do as the situation changes daily. There are also many other questions to be considered, such as what are an employer’s compliance obligations, and how leave, benefit and sick policies apply and if they should be temporarily changed and how. Read more on what employers should consider amid the Coronavirus in The Netherlands.

UPDATE: April 28, 2021

First step opening plan as of April 28
On April 28, the following corona measures will be released or modified. All other measures will remain in place.

  • End of curfew
    On April 28, 04:30, the curfew will expire.
  • Home visit to 2 people
    The advice for home visiting is changing. The new advice is: receive a maximum of 2 people per day. And visit a maximum of 1 time per day. Also limit the number of different contacts in a week. Always wash hands on entry and also keep a distance of 1.5 meters.
  • Terraces open
    Outdoor terraces can be open from 12:00 to 18:00 under certain conditions. The maximum number of guests on a terrace is 50. There are fixed seats and self-service is not allowed. A maximum of 2 people sit at a table at 1.5 meters distance. Unless it is persons from the same household and children up to 12 years, then more people are allowed at a table, at less than 1.5 meters distance. Visitors can pay inside, go to the toilet or use the cloak room. A mouth mask is required inside.
  • Stores and markets open
    All stores may again receive customers without a store appointment. Conditions do apply, such as a maximum number of visitors in a store. It is still important to avoid crowds. Therefore, go to a store at a quiet time, such as early in the morning. And go alone as much as possible. Non-essential stores, such as clothing stores, can be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Essential stores, such as supermarkets, may reopen at their usual times. Wearing a mouth mask in stores remains mandatory.
  • Higher education 1 day a week
    Students at universities and colleges can attend classes on location approximately 1 day a week starting Monday, April 26. This is only possible under conditions, such as keeping 1.5 meters distance. Self-tests will become available to students and staff from May.
  • Theory exam possible
    Theory exams for a driver's license, boating license or flying license are again possible.
  • Funerals
    The maximum number of people at a funeral will be increased to 100.

Next steps in opening plan
The second step in the opening plan is scheduled for May 11 at the earliest. Then, for example, more can be done when it comes to outdoor locations, such as zoos and amusement parks. It will also be possible, under certain conditions, to do more indoor and more outdoor sports.

On May 3 we will hear whether this second step can be taken. More will also be known about the travel advice.

UPDATE: February 9, 2021

The Dutch government has announced the following measures:

Curfew

A curfew applies in The Netherlands to stays indoors between 9:00pm and 4:30am.

Face Mask 

Everyone aged 13 or over is advised to wear a non-medical face mask in indoor public spaces such as:

    • shops, museums, town halls, stations, airports, covered car parks and petrol stations
    • restaurants, bars, cafés, theatres and concert halls
    • locations where contact-based professions are carried out (both customers and staff should wear a mask).
  • Wearing a mask is not mandatory, but it is strongly advised. The type of face masks that should be worn are non-medical face masks. Medical face masks are reserved for use in the healthcare sector. In some cases wearing a mask is not possible. Some people cannot wear a mask for a medical reason or due to a disability. And it is also not usually possible to wear a mask while doing sport.
  •  In train, bus and metro it is mandatory to wear non-medical face masks for travellers age 13 and older.
  • It is allowed to only travel by public transport if necessary.
  • It is not allowed to book a trip abroad and also not allowed to travel abroad.

 

Education

  • Schools are open from February 7, 2021.
  • Practical education may continue at the school. Classes for exam students continue. Exams continue.
  • Childcare facilities are closed.

 

Home

  • Visitors are allowed up to 1 person at home older than 13 years old. 

 

Public venues 

  • Theaters and cinemas are closed.
  • Hairdressers, beauticians, nail salons and sex establishments are closed.
  • Tattoo shops and nail salons are closed.
  • Saunas and casinos are closed.
  • Hotels are open for overnight stays.
  • The restaurants in hotels are closed.
  • Supermarkets are open. The bakery, butcher and other shops for food and drink are also open.
  • Drugstores, pharmacies, opticians, hearing care professionals and shops for repair and maintenance may also remain open.
  • Hardware stores are open for takeout.
  • Places where you can pick up and send parcels may remain open.
  • Banks remain open.
  • Government organisations remain open.
  • Libraries remain open to collect books.
  • Between 20h00 and 07h00 it is not allowed to serve or deliver alcohol. It is also not allowed to drink alcohol in public places during these times lots.

Outdoors 

  • Sports are allowed alone or together with 1 other person. Sports are only allowed outside.
  • All gyms are closed.
  • Competitions are prohibited.
  • Sports canteens are closed.
  • Top athletes in top competitions are allowed to train and play matches.

 

Working from home and other measures at home

  • Working from home will remain, unless this is absolutely impossible. If an infection occurs at a place of work, the workplace in question can be closed down for 14 days.
  • In case of complaints of a cold, coughing, sore throat or fever everyone must stay at home.
  • It is mandatory to stay at home, if one family member (incl. flat mate) or more sharing a household, has a fever. If after 24 hours, there is no sign of illness or fever, the other family members are allowed to go outside.
  • Everyone is called upon to work from home as much as possible or to spread working hours.
  • Keep distance from others for at least 1.5 meter avoid social activities and groups of people.
  • Also at home: a maximum of 2 people per visit and keep a distance from each other, indoors, in the garden and at the balcony.
  • In general, people are urged to limit visits to vulnerable people.
  • For healthcare personnel and personnel in vital processes: only stay home until symptoms are shown of a fever. It is not allowed to not travel abroad.
  • Employer has to inform the employee on these basic hygiene measures apply to all viruses that can cause the flu and colds:
    • Wash your hands with soap regularly
    • Cough and sneeze on the inside of your elbow
    • Use paper handkerchiefs
    • Stop shaking hands
    • Keep 1.5 meter social distance
    • Work as much as possible from home
    • People with questions about the psychosocial consequences can contact the Information and Referral Center COVID-19 (IVC)
    • For anyone with mild complaints, indicating the Coronavirus, an appointment can be made with a national number to be tested at the GGD.
  • The Employer is responsible for providing information on company regulations, health & safety to ensure a safe working environment.
  • The Employer should inform employees on possible company travel bans/ travel policy restrictions. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a negative travel advisory. Please find the government  website in Dutch to find travel advice per country.
  • The employer is not obliged to buy face masks for employees. Please note it is mandatory to wear non-medical face masks in public transport. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) only advises medical personnel to wear medical-grade face masks. People who work with individuals who are infected (or potentially infected) with new coronavirus must wear personal protective equipment that includes medical-grade face masks.
  • The Employee has to follow the company Sick Leave Policy for reporting illness and report being recovered.
  • The Employer should follow the guidance of the Dutch government and advice employees to start working from home as much as possible. Employees will have to follow the company Working from Home (WFH) policy. In case the company does not have yet a policy in place, please CONTACT US.
  • The Employee, who has been in physical contact with someone diagnosed with the Coronavirus, and the employee who has recently returned from abroad and/or experiencing symptoms, should remain at home.
  • In case the employee has the Coronavirus, the protocol for action in The Netherlands is isolation and monitoring of the patient. The Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) tracks down the patients’ contacts and monitors all contacts to minimise the chance of the disease spreading.
  • In case the Employee is ill during a holiday (in The Netherlands or abroad), the days of illness will be registered as Sick Leave and not as Holiday Leave / Time-off. The days the employee was not ill during his holiday will be registered as Holiday Leave.
  • As the schools are closing and child support is needed, employee is entitled to get paid these wages and arrange childcare elsewhere. Please refer also to the mandatory Leaves of Absence types , such as calamity leave, short term care leave etc, to validate which type of leaves of absence is applicable.

The government has announced multiple measures to support companies financially. Read more here  COVID-19: Long Term Impact Coronavirus – HR Guide. In this article we will deep dive into activities and risks to consider for HR and government support for entrepreneurs. 

 

Sick Leave Netherlands

The law sets all sorts of obligations for both the employee and the Employer to facilitate as much as possible the speedy recovery of the Employee. The purpose of the Sick Leave Regulation/ Protocol is to provide guidelines, expectations and obligations, during Sickness Absence, for Employer and Employees in accordance to the Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act.

Each company is obliged to have a Sickness Absence Policy outlining the expectations and obligations of Employer and Employee during Sickness Absence, in accordance to the Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act.

REQUEST A CUSTOMISED SICK LEAVE POLICY

Contact us to make sure your company is compliant and request the Sick Leave Regulation/Protocol. The documentation will consist of:

  • 17 pages incl. policy, process and instructions in English (or Dutch)
  • Explanatory of parties involved in the process
  • Reporting Sick Leave, return and partly return from Sick Leave
  • Sick pay policy and payroll process
  • Mandatory steps for Employer and Employee
  • Glossary of Terms

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