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Does the employee have a right to working from home in connection with Covid-19? 06-07-2020

Many companies let their employees work from home as much as possible in recent weeks in connection with the corona crisis. Employees are slowly returning to the office now that the virus seems to be under control. Companies will have to ensure that work in the office can be carried out in a safe manner and must therefore take measures to prevent the spread of the virus at work as much as possible. Suppose the employee does not like to return to the office. Can he or she refuse to go back to the office, given the applicability of Dutch employment law? In a case that was brought before the Gelderland District Court, the judge ruled on June 16, 2020 that this was not allowed.

In this court case the employer asked most employees at the outbreak of the corona crisis to work from home as much as possible. Everyone was expected to return to the office as of May 11, 2020. The employer had taken measures to allow employees to work safely. One employee did not (yet) want to work from the office and asked for compliance with an earlier commitment of 14 April 2020, in which the employer had granted the employee (who had also been previously called to work in the office) permission to continue working at home, on the condition that she should come to the office if necessary. The employee eventually involved her employer in summary proceedings and demanded that the employer would allow her to work from home.

The judge first established that the employee's appeal to a change of job under the Flexible Working Act did not apply because the employer's business was too small. This act does not apply if the employer has less than 10 employees. Pursuant to the Flexible Working Act, the employee can summarily request the employer to adjust the working hours, work place or working hours. Furthermore, in addition to the fact that a claim for a change of job cannot be granted in summary proceedings, the judge also considered that the claim was not admissable because the employer had not breached the obligations under good employment practice, its power to instruct and / or duty of care. According to the judge, the employer had taken appropriate corona measures. In addition, the employer had made it plausible that she needed the employees on the work floor. The judge also made it clear that the generally formulated government advice to work at home as much as possible does not intervene to the extent that the employee can derive a "right to work from home". According to the judge the position of the employee that this government advice limits the employer's powers of instruction and / or that it should be followed by a good employer on the grounds of reasonableness and fairness did not hold up.

This decision of the court makes it clear that the employee cannot simply refuse to resume work in the office. This is probably different if the employer has not taken or has not taken sufficient measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus or if it concerns a vulnerable employee and another outbreak occurs.

If you have any questions regarding this news item or if you would like to know more about this, please do not hesitate to contact us or email info@vanbladeladvocaten.nl.

Heleen Dammingh

11-01-2022Full transition payment for partial continuation of employment contract

In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled (in the so-called 'Kolom judgment') that an employee may be entitled to a partial transition payment in the event of partial termination of the employment contract. But what happens to the right to a transition payment if an employment contract is not officially “terminated” and the parties only implicitly make an agreement that fewer hours will be worked? This question recently has been considered by the court of Central Netherlands (judgment 30 April 2021 Central Netherlands District Court).

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07-07-2021Full transition payment for partial continuation of employment contract

In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled (in the so-called 'Kolom judgment') that an employee may be entitled to a partial transition payment in the event of partial termination of the employment contract. But what happens to the right to a transition payment if an employment contract is not officially “terminated” and the parties only implicitly make an agreement that fewer hours will be worked? This question recently has been considered by the court of Central Netherlands (judgment 30 April 2021 Central Netherlands District Court).

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29-10-2020Can an employer require from his employees to wear a face mask?

The Dutch government urgently advises to wear a face mask in public indoor spaces. There is no legal obligation (yet) to wear a face mask, but many employers are considering to introduce a face mask obligation into the workplace. What about from an employment law perspective?

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29-10-2020What employers need to know about working from home

As a result of the coronavirus, a large part of the employees has been working from home for more than six months. Now that the number of infections is increasing again, it seems that this will last for a longer period. This blog covers a number of employment law aspects of long-term work from home, such as health and safety rules, the employee’s freedom of choice with regard to working from home, the monitoring of the work by the employer and the reimbursement of (additional) costs. Finally, attention is paid to the phenomenon of ‘home working arrangement’, because we notice that many employers consider to introduce such arrangement.

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11-08-2020Holiday and corona: what about the right to pay?

The holidays have started. What about wages when an employee goes on vacation to an area with a yellow, orange or red travel advice?

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18-05-2020Remarkable Supreme Court decision: Employers be alert to your employee's request to change employment

This so-called Victoria ruling of the Supreme Court of 21 February 2020 can have far-reaching consequences for employers who are confronted with a request from their employee to change the employment contract to work fewer hours (based on the Flexible Working Act) or another change proposal that they must reasonably accept as a good employer. Such a request can, under certain conditions, lead to a partial transition payment. Employers must be prepared for such a request to be made in termination proceedings, so that the employee will remain employed if the request is honored by a judge, even with a full dismissal ground. The Supreme Court thus strengthens the position of the employee.

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08-05-2020Change NOW: application for individual operating company under conditions possible

On 1 May 2020, the next change to the NOW was announced and finalized. The group provision has been relaxed, in that operating companies can now also apply for NOW separately if the group's loss of turnover is less than 20%.

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09-04-2020Amendments to the Temporary Emergency Measure Bridging for Work Retention Regulation (‘NOW’)

The NOW regulation, which was announced on March 31, has already changed in a few areas. This mainly concerns an extra test when submitting a dismissal application for business reasons during the NOW period and a change in the way in which the fine that applies is calculated. In this blog we inform you about the changes.

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31-03-2020Publication details of Temporary Emergency Measure Bridging for Work Retention regulation (“NOW”)

Today, 31 March 2020, the Dutch government has published the details of the Temporary Emergency Measure Bridging for Work Retention regulation (“NOW”). The NOW aims at making it possible for employers to retain their employees as much as possible in the event of a loss of turnover of at least 20% as a result of the Corona crisis. To this end, a compensation in wage costs is provided of a maximum of 90% of the wage bill, related to the percentage of the decrease in turnover. Below the most important questions and answers are summed up.

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24-03-2020Q&A for employers in times of Covid-19

Van Bladel Advocaten has received several questions in relation to the Covid-19 virus in relation to the workplace over the last weeks. We have bundled the most relevant questions in this blog. Please refer to our website regularly for updates and new developments.

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18-03-2020Dutch measures with regard to labor costs related to COVID-19

The Minister of Social Affairs announced on March 17, 2020 that employers can apply for a compensation of wage costs if they expect at least a 20% loss of turnover due to the Corona crisis. This compensation scheme, the Temporary Emergency Measure Bridging for Work Retention (NOW), temporarily replaces the current reduction in working hours regulation that has expired immediately.

Although the scheme has yet to be worked out in detail - which is expected to happen within the next two weeks - the following is known:

 

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10-03-2020Corona virus and employment law – an overview for Dutch employers

The so-called Corona virus (COVID-19) has also reached the Netherlands. Worldwide measures are being taken to prevent further spread of the virus. What does this mean for local employers and employees? This article answers questions about the obligation of the employer to prevent contamination, the entitlement to salary (whether or not in quarantine), privacy aspects and the Dutch subsidy arrangement on shortening of working hours (“Werktijdverkorting”).

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