Dutch House Greenlights Work From Home As Legal Right
The Netherlands is on the cusp of becoming the world’s first country to make work from home a legal right.
Bloomberg reports the remote working bill received approval by the lower house of the bicameral parliament on Tuesday. The proposal is waiting for a stamp of approval from the Dutch senate before its law.
Current Dutch law states employers may reject workers’ requests for remote work without reason. The new proposal fixes that and forces employers to give a reason for denial.
Even before the virus pandemic, working from home was popular among the Dutch. EU’s statistics show that in 2018, around 14% of employed Dutch people worked remotely, the highest on the continent. In 2019, Plusnet, a British broadband provider, released a report that indicated the country in northwestern Europe had an abundance of people who conduct their life in a nomadic manner while engaging in remote work, otherwise known as “digital nomads.”
Senna Maatoug of the GroenLinks party and a co-author of the bill was quoted by WSJ and said, “It allows them [workers] to find a better work-life balance and reduce time spent on commuting.”
The bill’s co-author, Steven van Weyenberg, a member of the D66 party, said this will be a “good law because a happy employee is a happy employer.”
Lockdowns during the virus pandemic show remote work is feasible and can lead to happier employees who are more productive.
Other European countries have pushed for remote work, but none have made it a fundamental right to work at home.
Meanwhile, US workers are resisting mandates to return to the office. Kastle Systems, which collects data on how many workers swipe into office buildings each day, shows only 44% of US workers have returned to the office.
Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told workers to return to the office or find another job.
There are no national protections in the US, and remote working negotiations are case-by-case among workers and employers.