Q&A: vaccinations and the workplace

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

There are currently several vaccines available and the Netherlands is underway with its vaccination schedule. But not everybody wants to get this vaccine. As an employer how do you handle employees that refuse the vaccine? Can you ask for proof?

1.Questions about vaccination certificates:


Will I receive a vaccination certificate that shows that I am 'safe'? And if so, what does such evidence look like?

Everyone who has been vaccinated will receive confirmation of this. This can be a card or a form with, for example, information about the brand of the vaccine. At this point, no one has to prove that he or she has been vaccinated. The confirmation is therefore for personal use, it is not proof.

Is there also an electronic vaccination certificate?

If you have given permission to your healthcare provider during the vaccination to share your vaccination data with the RIVM, you can view your data digitally in the central register from March. You need DigID for this. At this point, no one has to prove that he or she has been vaccinated. The electronic confirmation is therefore for personal use, it is not proof.

There are (currently abroad) imitations of vaccination certificates in circulation. Will the vaccination certificate be given security features and will they be published?

At the moment there is no vaccination certificate in the Netherlands. Should this change in the future, it will be ensured that this cannot be used for fraud.

Do I get the proof after the first shot or only after the second?

Everyone who has been vaccinated will receive confirmation of this, from the first injection.

Is the vaccination certificate also available in other languages for people who have to go abroad for necessary trips?

There is currently no vaccination certificate in the Netherlands. People who have been vaccinated will receive confirmation of this for personal use. No decision has yet been made at international and European level about a vaccination certificate for travel abroad. This is partly because it is not yet clear whether someone who has been vaccinated with a COVID19 vaccine is still contagious and can still transmit the virus. However, several European countries are working together on agreements about this.


2. Questions about vaccination and the workplace


Can I refuse customers or staff without a vaccination certificate?

No, you cannot refuse customers or staff. There is no vaccination certificate in the Netherlands. Should this change in the future, everyone will be informed.

As an employer, event organizer or retailer, can I ask for a vaccination certificate?

No, you cannot ask for proof of vaccination, because proof of vaccination does not exist in the Netherlands. Should this change in the future, everyone will be informed.

Can I ask my employee if they have been vaccinated and ask to provide proof?

No, this is not allowed. An employer is not allowed to request medical information from employees because of their privacy. This follows from the General Personal Data Regulation (AVG). However, the company doctor can ask for this information when there is a good reason. The company doctor may not share this information with the employer.

As an employee, am I obligated to work at the office again after vaccination, even if working from home remains the norm for the time being?

No, even if you have been vaccinated, all measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus continue to apply. It is not yet clear whether someone who has been vaccinated is still contagious and can spread the virus. Even if this would be clear, an employer may not ask his employees whether he or she has been vaccinated. An employer may also not ask for medical information from employees because of their privacy. This follows from the General Personal Data Regulation (AVG).

Can employees who knowingly not get vaccinated be banned from the workplace?

No this is not allowed. Vaccination is always voluntary. In addition, an employer may not ask his employees whether he or she has been vaccinated, due to the privacy legislation. However, the company doctor can, based on his insights into staff and vaccinations, advise the employer. This can be for example, about the employability of employees in a work environment where there are health risks, such as healthcare institutions. The company doctor may not share that it is because of the lack of a vaccination. A workplace health examination must make clear if there are other measures in addition to vaccination, such as personal protective equipment, which provide sufficient protection against infection in the workplace. In the situation where alternative effective protective measures are not possible in the workplace, an employer must be able to provide employees with an option for alternative work.

Can I order employees to vaccinate?

No, this is not allowed. Vaccination is voluntary. Every person has the right to decide about his physical integrity. The company doctor knows whether or not they have been vaccinated and can advise the employer on the employability of people in a work environment where there are risks to health, such as healthcare institutions. The company doctor may not share that it is because of the lack of a vaccination. In addition to vaccination, there are also other means to protect employees, such as personal protective equipment.

Can I let my employee do other work if they don't get vaccinated?

As an employer you are not allowed to ask for medical information from your employees due to privacy legislation. A company doctor can advise you, based on his or her insights, to let your employee do other work. In addition to vaccination, there are also other means to protect employees, such as personal protective equipment.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK