Before the Pandemic, working from home was not facilitated by all employers. During the Pandemic, we proved altogether that (long-term) working from home and/or working at a different location than the office can work very well. It also had many positive consequences. For example, people could live further away from work if they did not have to come to the office every day and not having to commute every day reduces the pressure on the environment. Therefore, some companies kept (one or more) standard ‘working from home’ days and other employers even offered as an employment benefit the opportunity to work from a different – sometimes foreign – location. But what are your rights if your employer does obligate you to come to the office (again)? Working from home: right or privilege?
Employment condition and working from home request
In your employment contract or the collective labour agreement (CLA or in Dutch ‘CAO’) a right to working from home can be included. In that case, your employer cannot change this right unilaterally without cause. Only if your employer has an overriding interest in revocation of your right to work from home, he might be allowed to do so. Always consult a lawyer if your employer wants to change your employment conditions unilaterally.
If your employment contract or CLA lacks a right to working from home, you can file a request for working from home. You have to meet the following conditions:
- On the desired starting date of working from home you are working for your employer for at least six months;
- The company you work for consists of at least ten employees;
- Your request is in written form;
- Your request is done at least two months before the desired starting date.
In exceptional cases, such as a child or partner that suddenly gets long-term ill, the condition of doing the request at least two months before the desired starting date and having been employed for at least six months is not applicable.
Your employer can only deny your request if he has a good reason for this. For example, when serious problems occur in the working schedule due to you working from home. The denial must be made known to you in writing within one month of your request. Without a written refusal within one month of your request, your request is deemed to be accepted and you are allowed to work from home.
Working from home safely and allowance
As in the office, it is the employer’s obligation to ensure a safe workplace. One of the ways to ensure this, is to offer you ergonomically sound work equipment, such as a desk and office chair, (ergonomic) mouse and keyboard etc. Your employer can also give instructions on how to work safely. Of course, it is also your responsibility to ensure a safe working environment, taking enough breaks and adopting the proper working posture.
To help reimbursing the costs that would not occur when working in the office, such as extra costs for water and electricity at home, the government allowed the employer to provide a working from home allowance of up to €2,15 per day.
Do you have any questions? Or would you advice about dismissal in the event of reorganisation? Then please do not hesitate to contact us.
Amber Willemsen is a lawyer within the Employment law section at GMW lawyers. She represents both national and international employers and employees in various employment law matters. Amber is an excellent lawyer, involved and likes to think along with clients to achieve practical solutions.
Amber studied employment law at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. You can engage Amber for a variety of employment law issues, including dismissal issues, changes to the employment contract and incapacity for work.