NETHERLANDS: The Netherlands is to become the first country to make work-from-home a legal right for employees.
The Dutch Parliament’s lower house passed legislation to make work-from-home a legal right for all its citizens. The European country is now waiting for approval from the Senate.
Until now, the employers in the country could deny any request from workers regarding work from home without citing any particular reason. Under the new law, employers must consider all such requests and grant them permission or give adequate reasons for refusing them.
As per Senna Maatoug of the GroenLinks party, “It allows them to find a better work-life balance and reduce time spent on commuting”. Maatoug was one of the co-authors of the bill.
The new bill is an amendment to the already existing Netherland’s Flexible Working Act of 2015, which allows workers to request changes in their working hours, schedule it accordingly and even place of work.
Meanwhile, Netherlands is already well-regarded for its worker rights. The new legislation comes at a time when companies worldwide struggle to bring workers back to the office, while the employees trying to figure out what works best in their favour.
While many companies have been accommodating in bringing their employees back and making work from home available to their employees at their disposal. Others like Sales force have mostly done away with in-office working completely.
While others like Tesla, have coerced employees to return to the office. Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk had warned his employees that they could either return to the workplace or leave the company for good.
For Dutch corporations, the new legislation isn’t expected to be as contentious. With 14 per cent of the workforce already working remotely two years before the pandemic, according to Eurostat, the acceptance of remote working is much higher in the lowlands.
But legislation and regulation have had to play catch-up as remote working has seen a significant uptick since COVID-19 in 2020.