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Employers and corona

This information is provided by

Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, SZW

Most corona measures put in place by the government have been removed. But make sure you observe the rules for protecting your employees' medical records. Did you know, for instance, that privacy legislation forbids you to register whether or not employees are vaccinated?

Prepare for autumn and winter 2022

At the moment there are no strict corona measures in place in the Netherlands. However, the government expects a new surge of infections to happen during the autumn and winter. This is because we will spend more time indoors, making it easier for the virus to spread again. It is hoped that the impact of more infections will be small.

It is still good for you to plan ahead and consider what voluntary steps you can take to minimise the impact of the virus on society. This could be encouraging staff to work more from home, or providing sanitiser stations, and encouraging staff or customers to follow good hygiene practices.

Do you employ staff? Check your sector plan

The government and experts from various sectors have drawn up sector plans for best- and worst-case scenarios. Check your sector plan to find out if you need to take specific measures should a new coronavirus outbreak occur. You can read all the available sector plans (in Dutch) on the VNO-NCW website.

Your employee falls ill

If your employee calls in sick, you cannot ask why. Not even to inquire if they have symptoms of the coronavirus. It is up to your employee to decide if they want to tell you. The company doctor or the health and safety agency are the only ones allowed to ask for medical data, if they have a valid reason to do so. The company doctor is not allowed to share this information with you.

Is your employee in isolation?

Does your employee have corona symptoms? Then they should take a self-test and stay home. If the result is positive, the employee goes into isolation.

Do the quarantine check to find out if your employee should self-isolate.

No quarantine after contact with an infected person

Since 19 April 2022, your employees do not have to quarantine after being near someone with corona. However, always remain cautious and watch out for corona symptoms. Does an employee have symptoms? If so, they should stay home and take a self-test.

Continue to pay wages during isolation

Does your employee have to isolate due to a positive corona test, even if they have no symptoms? And is it impossible for them to work from home? You have to continue to pay their wages. You are not allowed to deduct leave hours unless your employee and you agree to this.

No compulsory testing for your employees

You are not allowed to demand that your staff take a corona test. You can ask your employees to take a self-test to help keep the workplace safer.

No compulsory vaccination for your employees

You may not make vaccination compulsory for your employees. Nor may you ask for a vaccination certificate, because of your employee's privacy.

Asking your employees if they are vaccinated

You are allowed to ask your employees whether or not they have been vaccinated. You must have a valid reason for asking. For example, if they work with vulnerable persons. You must also have a plan for how to deal with employees who are not vaccinated. Or with employees who refuse to answer the question.

Your employee travels abroad

You cannot forbid your employee to travel or take a holiday abroad. Your employee does have to return in time. Does your employee have to self-isolate? You must continue to pay wages if they can work from home.

If they cannot work from home, you do not have to pay them wages for the days they miss. Point this out to your employees. Your employee can take extra days off to cover the isolation period, if you agree to this.

Forcing your employees to take leave days

You cannot force your employees to take leave days, even if you have less work for them due to the corona crisis. You can discuss it with them. The employee decides if they want to take leave or not.

Withholding or delaying holiday allowance

You are not allowed to withhold your employees’ holiday allowance, or to delay paying holiday allowance. You and your employees can come to an arrangement together. If you do, you have to lay them down in writing, for instance as part of a plan to keep your company afloat.

Cancelling leave when travel advice is adjusted

If your employee has to break off a holiday in a country for which the travel advice has shifted from yellow to orange or red, and then has to self-isolate, they cannot simply decide to cancel their leave days. You have to give permission for this; you can also demand that they take the allotted leave – for instance, if they cannot work from home.

Not renewing your employee’s contract

You may not want to, or be able to, renew an employee’s contract. For instance, because it is a fixed-term contract, or your employee has been off sick for a long time. You do not have to renew a fixed-term contract, regardless of whether the employee in question is off sick or not. A fixed-term contract ends on the date stated in the contract. If the contract is a permanent one, it depends on the circumstances and duration of the contract whether or not you can dismiss your employee. Is your employee ill? Check carefully whether or not you are allowed to dismiss them.

Work from home guidance removed

The government calls on employers to continue enabling home working. Even now that the work-from-home advice no longer applies. Make agreements on hybrid working if your situation allows.

You are responsible for good working conditions, even if your employees work from home. For instance, you can lend an office chair or monitor from your own office. Find a practical guide on working from home on Arboportaal, a website by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.

This information is provided by

Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, SZW
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