In this article, we will dive into the rights and duties of the employer when employees are working from home in the Netherlands.
Flexible Work Act
The employee is entitled to request amendment of the agreed working hours, working location or daily working hours, after at least 26 weeks of continuous employment, under the Flexible Work Act, adjusted on July 5, 2022 in Wet Werken Waar Je Wilt.
The act entitles employees to request the amendment of (i) their agreed working hours (e.g., from full-time to part time or vice versa), (ii) the working location or (iii) the daily working hours.
The employer will check the Employee’s request against the statutory requirements and respond within one month. For small organisations with less than 10 FTE, the employer has to react within 3 months. On adjustment of the working hours, the terms and conditions of employment will also be adjusted in writing and in proportion thereto.
- The written request must be sent in 2 months before the date that the amended situation is envisaged to take effect and includes the anticipated commencement date, the desired adjustment of the working hours per week and the desired spread of hours over the week.
- The employer will consult with the employee on the request for adjustment of the working hours.
- The employer will agree to the employee’s request for adjustment of the working hours and the daily working hours, unless there are compelling business interests that should prevail.
- The employer will agree to the employee’s request for adjustment of working location unless there are compelling business interests that should prevail and the place of work desired by the employee is the worker’s home address situated within the territory of the European Union or a place suitable for the work from which work is normally carried out on behalf of the employer.
- The employer will inform the employee in writing of its decision. Should the Employer deny the Employee’s request, it will state the grounds on which it reached this decision.
- If the employer fails to reach a decision on the request within one month prior to the anticipated commencement date will be adjusted in accordance with the employee’s request.
- The terms and conditions of employment (holiday pay, holiday entitlement, and pension) will, after compliance with the request, be adjusted in proportion to the adjustment of the working hours with effect from the date of commencement of such adjusted working hours.
- One year after the rejection or approval of such request, another request by the employee can be made.
Working Conditions Act
If the employer agrees or requests employees (or part of them) to work from home, the company 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.
Privacy Working From Home in the Netherlands
Monitoring employees working from home can, of course, violate privacy and is therefore subject to strict conditions. Find below the conditions:
- 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).
- 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.
- Necessary tool: it means that this way of control system used must be necessary.
- 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 falls under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
- Compliance GDPR: Employer is obliged to provide information under the GDPR. Employer should therefore inform the employee about how the data are processed. This can be done, for example, by an information letter or a general privacy statement.
Working from home entails the necessary obligations of the employer both in the area of both Acts 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.
Contact us if you are in need of support or would like us to review your Working From Home (WFH) policy.