New Netherlands Work-from-Home Law Could Change Remote Work

After the pandemic, businesses worldwide started developing remote work policies for their employees. One of the most forward-thinking laws is the Netherlands’ work-from-home law.

Now, most of the global workforce expects their post-COVID jobs to offer some flexibility regarding how and where they can work.

Here is everything you need to know about the work-from-home law in the Netherlands and how it could affect the future of remote work around the world.

What is the Flexible Working Act?

The Flexible Working Act (Wet flexible werken) is a provision in the Working Conditions Act that regulates remote work in the Netherlands.

Under this law, employees are allowed to request to work remotely if they’ve worked for a business for at least six months. The employee must submit their request at least two months before their desired work-from-home start date. Once an employee submits their request, the employer will have one month to give written approval and set up the proper accommodation for the employee to safely work from home.

Can Dutch employers deny a request?

Under the Flexible Working Act, employers can deny requests to work remotely. They are not legally required to give reasonable accommodation or approve every request.

The Dutch government still encourages employers to approve reasonable requests and accommodation for employees to work remotely.

Reasons to request denial:

  • If an employee needs specialized equipment that can’t be kept at home

  • If a job requires them to interact with other employees, customers, or members of the public in person

  • If an employee needs immediate access to documents or information that can only be stored in office

  • The home workplace is not a suitable location for remote work (contractor, electrician, etc.)

To qualify for flexible work arrangements, the employer must have a minimum of 10 full-time employees. The Dutch government strongly recommends employers to allow for hybrid work arrangements.

Working conditions when working from home

When an employer approves an employee’s request for flexible work arrangements, they aren’t legally required to visit the home or provide safe equipment. Employers are only required to  give the employee general recommendations and information to create a safe working environment.

If, on the other hand, the employer requests the employee to work remotely, they do have to legally provide and ensure a safe working environment. Employers should encourage a healthy and safe work environment.

This includes:

  • A safe work station

  • Ergonomic chairs and proper lighting

  • Ensuring employees have a work-life balance

Remote work costs

Remote work comes with added costs to the employee for heating, internet, electricity, etc. Employers have the option to reimburse employees for these expenses, tax free, up to $2.15 EUR per day.

Employee monitoring

Employers can monitor employees productivity through tracking software throughout their remote work day.

Employers need to comply with the EU’s General Data and Protection Regulation that was created for all countries in the EU to protect employee data. Before using this type of software, employers must inform employees and explain why they plan to track and monitor.

Advantages of new Dutch remote laws

Reduced overhead costs

Having a remote workforce cuts down the cost of having to pay for office space. This push towards remote work makes it easier for business leaders to stop paying for real estate that isn’t benefiting their company’s bottom line.

Clarity and structure for WFH policies

Following COVID, it wasn’t initially clear how employers were going to navigate work-from-home processes, not only in the Netherlands, but all over the world.

This legislation forces employers to make formal policies surrounding these new work arrangements. Other countries will likely look to these Dutch policies as a model for developing remote and hybrid work models.

Improved employee productivity

Remote work has been shown to increase employee productivity by removing some of the distractions from the office setting.

Though not all employees enjoy working from home, remote work has proven to reduce employee stress in areas like commuting, completing projects, and preparing meals.

The result? Employees are more content with their work-life balance.

Lower turnover

In recent studies, many employees have reported that they expect their employers to have a level of flexibility surrounding remote work. These days, having strong and flexible remote work strategies in place can drastically reduce employee turnover.

Businesses without strong work-from-home policies will risk losing top talent, and replacing and training new employees is a huge cost to businesses.

What does the Dutch law mean for the future of remote work?

Other countries in the EU, including Spain and Portugal, have already started to move towards remote-first work policies.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is closely monitoring this Dutch law and the impact it has on the future of remote work and the economy in the Netherlands.

Either way, it’s clear that remote work is here to stay, and that employers should continue adapting to a world where more people want to work from the comfort of their homes.

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