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Telecommuting: Right or Privilege?

Before the pandemic, not all employers encouraged working from home. It has perfectly proven that (long-term) working from home and/or working out of the office works very well during the pandemic. It also brought many positive results. For example, people can live far away from work if they don’t have to come to the office every day. It also reduces the burden on the environment by not having to commute every day. As such, some companies retain standard “work-from-home” days (one or more), while other employers offer the opportunity to work elsewhere (sometimes in a foreign location) as an employment benefit. Did. But if your employer obliges you to come (again) to the office, what are your rights?

Employment conditions and telecommuting requirements

An employment contract or collective bargaining agreement (CLA or “CAO” in Dutch) can include the right to work from home. In that case, the employer cannot unilaterally change this right without cause. Your employer may only allow you to work from home if your employer has a priority interest in revoking your right to work from home. If you want to, be sure to consult an attorney.

If your employment contract or CLA does not include a right to work from home, you can submit a request to work from home. The following conditions must be met:

  • Have worked for your employer for at least 6 months on the desired start date of telecommuting.
  • The company you work for has at least 10 employees.
  • Your request should be in writing.
  • Requests are made at least two months in advance of the desired start date.

In exceptional cases such as when a child or partner suddenly becomes ill, the requirement that the application be submitted at least two months prior to the desired start date and that the child or partner has been employed for six months or longer will not apply.

Employers can only deny your request if they have good reason. For example, if working from home causes serious problems with your work schedule. The refusal must be notified in writing by her within one month of your request. If no written refusal is received within one month of the request, the request will be considered accepted and work from home will be permitted.

Work from home safety and benefits

As with the office, it is an employer’s duty to ensure a safe workplace. One way to ensure this is to provide ergonomic work desks and chairs, (ergonomic) mice and keyboards, etc. Employers can also give instructions on how to work safely. Of course, it’s also your responsibility to ensure a safe work environment, take adequate breaks, and use good working posture.

The government has allowed employers to offer telecommuting allowances of up to €2.15 per day to reimburse costs that are not incurred when working in an office, such as the additional cost of water and electricity at home. .

Amber Willemsen is an attorney specializing in employment law in the United States. GMW LawyerShe often assists expats with various employment law matters. Phone: (+31) 63 980 78 78, Email: a.willemsen@gmw.nl.

https://www.thehagueonline.com/features/2023/02/24/working-from-home-right-or-privilege Telecommuting: Right or Privilege?

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