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Working from home during Corona?

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

An employee is not automatically entitled to work from home during the corona crisis, according to a judgement in a provisional court proceedings.

On May 6, an employer sent an e-mail to its employees. According to the e-mail, employees were expected back in the office as of May 8.

On May 7, a press conference was held by Dutch Prime Minister Rutte stating that working from home will remain the standard until September 1.

As a result of the press conference, one of the employees who received the aforementioned e-mail, sent an e-mail to the employer stating that he would like to work from home until September 1.

The employer did not allow for the employee to work from home.

The Dutch Flexible Working Act

The employer and employee eventually ended up in court. The Dutch court had to rule on the applicability of article 2, paragraph 10 of the Dutch Flexible Working Act (Wet flexibel werken). According to the employer, article 2, paragraph 10 of the Dutch Flexible Working Act applied. The paragraph states that, if an employer has less than 10 employees, the other provisions of article 2 shall not apply. Therefore, the employer did not have to comply with the request of the employee.

Court decision

The court ruled that an employer can require the presence of the employee at the workplace. This does not constitute 'bad employership', even if the government has advised to work from home. Reason being is that the employer in question had taken several measures to ensure a safe workplace.

The employer also stated that the presence of the employee was required given the nature of the work.

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