An employee is not automatically entitled to work from home during the coronavirus crisis, according to a judgment in a provisional court proceedings.
On May 6, an employer sent out an email stating that all employees were expected back in the office as of May 8. On May 7, a press conference was held by Dutch Prime Minister Rutte stating that working from home will remain the standard until September 1st. As a result of the press conference, the employee sent an email to the employer indicating that he would like to work from home until September 1. The employer did not agree to this and ultimately the employee summoned continuation of the work at the office by the employer under Article 2 of the Dutch Flexible Working Act (Wet flexibel werken).
The employer stated that reliance on Article 2 of the Flexible Working Act could not be applied in this specific case.
According to Article 2(16) of the Flexible Working Act, the provisions of Article 2 do not apply in the case of a company with fewer than 10 employees. This defense of the employer did not sufficiently challenge the employee and therefore the claim could already be rejected because of this point.
In addition, the employer may demand from his employees to appear at the workplace. This does not lead to bad ’employership’, even if the government has advised them to work from home. This is because the employer has stated that he has taken several measures to ensure a safe workplace in connection with the coronavirus crisis.
The employer has also stated that, in particular regarding the nature of the work, it is important that the employee is present at the workplace, especially in these economically challenging times.
If you have questions about the Flexible Working Act (Wet flexibel werken) or other employment law matters in the Nethlernads, please contact Milan Gaber or Peter Kostons.