COVID-19: Coronavirus - Working From Home
What Employers Should Consider For Employees Working From Home
COVID-19 is now a top priority for any business in The Netherlands. Please make sure to stay up to date with daily updates published here: COVID-19 Coronavirus Netherlands – Employers Guide.
In this article, we will dive into the rights and duties of the Employer when employees are working from home.
Working Conditions Act
If the Employer agrees or requests employees (or part of them) to work from home, the Employer has to deal with the requirement of the Working Conditions Act. The Employer has the obligation to provide information about the rules and risks that apply to working from home. This could include, for example, the organisation of the workplace at home or making agreements about taking breaks. Employees should also be made aware of the ergonomics, and potential risks that can arise from working from home, such as an increased risk of work stress.
Employees who will be working from home regularly or for a longer period naturally need a good workplace. This means, among other things, that there must be a good chair and table with the correct adjustment. It is the responsibility of the Employer to check whether the workplace meets the working conditions requirements. To determine whether a home workplace is suitable for long-term work, the Employer can send a short checklist (Risico Inventarisatie en Evaluatie (RI&E)) to be filled in by the employee.
Monitoring employees working from home can, of course, violate privacy and is therefore subject to strict conditions. Find below the conditions:
1. Obligation to provide information: the Employer must have made known in advance to the employee working from home, that internet and e-mail activities can be monitored, how this is done and what is allowed (and is not);
2. Legitimate Purpose / Legitimate Interest: There must be a legitimate purpose / legitimate interest that outweighs the interest of the employee. This could include, for example, the risk of confidential information being disclosed.
3. Necessary tool: it means that this way of control system used must be necessary.
4. Confidential communication of employees: the confidential communication of employees must be respected by the employer. In concrete terms, this means that the employer may not view private e-mails remotely.
Obligation to provide information fall under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
5. Compliance GDPR: Employer is obliged to provide information under the GDPR. Employer should therefore inform thee mployee about how the data is processed. This can be done, for example, by an information letter or a general privacy statement.
Working from home (compulsory) entails the necessary obligations of the Employer both in the area of the Working Conditions Act and as of privacy. Please make clear agreements with employees and offer them sufficient support, write a clear working from home arrangement incl. mandatory conditions.
Stay up to date – Manage the impact on the workforce
Ensure that the team leading the taskforce/communication is up to date with the Coronavirus situation. 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. Read COVID-19 Coronavirus Netherlands – Employers Guide. Comply with current legal obligations and government guidance in The Netherlands.
For more questions, speak to our HR Specialists.