The Netherlands is on the approach of making working from home a legal entitlement for employees. The lower chamber of the Dutch Parliament enacted legislation in this respect last week. The European country must now await Senate approval. Employers in the Netherlands can now refuse any request from employees to work from home without offering a justification. Employers must now evaluate all such requests and provide good grounds for denying them under the new rule.
‘It helps people to establish a better work-life balance and save commute time,’ said Senna Maatoug of the GroenLinks party, according to the Wall Street Journal. Maatoug was one of the bill’s co-authors. The new measure amends the Netherlands’ Flexible Working Act of 2015, which allows employees to seek adjustments to their working hours, schedule, and even workplace.
The Netherlands is already well-known for its protection of workers’ rights. The new regulation comes at a time when businesses all across the world are struggling to get employees back to work. While some firms have been flexible in rehiring their staff, others, such as Salesforce, have largely abandoned in-office work.
Others, like Tesla, have nonetheless forced staff to return to work. Elon Musk, the creator and CEO of Tesla, has previously warned staff that they could either return to work or leave the firm. The new legislation is unlikely to be as problematic for Dutch firms. According to Eurostat, with 14% of the workforce already working remotely two years before the epidemic, acceptability of remote working is substantially greater in the lowlands. However, as remote working has increased significantly since COVID-19 in 2020, policy and regulation have had to play catch-up.