The recent ‘lockdown’ in the Netherlands has many people worried about the effect on their employment. We have the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) and what it means for your rights as an employee under Dutch law.
Can my employer force me to come to work if I am sick?
No, they cannot. The Dutch National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) has issued specific guidance during the coronavirus outbreak: if you are sneezing, or if you have a sore throat, runny nose, coughing or a fever of 38 degrees or over, you are obliged to stay home.
If you are sick, do not go in to work in person. Instead, call or email your employer and report yourself as sick according to your company’s policy and guidelines.
Can my employer prevent me coming to the office or make me work from home because of coronavirus?
Yes, your employer may close your workplace and require you to stay home or to work from home, depending on your function.
Your employer has the right to close your workplace and prevent you from entering the premises in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Your employer is also obliged to follow any national guidance regarding business closures during the pandemic. If your employer asks you to work from home, they are required to provide you with the necessary supplies or equipment (e.g. laptop or charging cable) to perform your work.
Can I automatically work from home because of the lockdown?
No. Whether you are able to work from home depends on your job function, your company’s policy, your own employment agreement and any special arrangements your company may make for working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. You do not have the automatic right to stay home.
If you are worried about going to work during the pandemic, discuss your concerns with your manager or HR Officer and see if you can reach a reasonable solution together.
Follow your company’s guidance and go to work as usual. Failure to attend work without prior approval could compromise your rights.
Can my employer force me to work part-time because of coronavirus?
Yes, your employer could reduce your working hours temporarily – but don’t panic. The employer will still have to pay your regular salary.
Can my employer fire me because I get the coronavirus?
No, your employer may not fire you because you contract the coronavirus. Your rights are still protected under standard Dutch employment law.
If you are employed on a permanent contract and you become sick, your employer cannot terminate your employment during the first 104 weeks that you are ill.