The Guideline on General Criteria for Working from Home: an interpretation of the criterion 'working from home where possible'
Working from home whenever possible. This has been the new standard since the beginning of the corona pandemic. Because there is lack of clarity as to when working from home is considered not possible, the Dutch government has developed some criteria in the ‘Guideline on General Criteria for Working from Home’ (the “Guide”) to help employers in their assessment. (1)
It follows from the Guideline that an employee can work on-site, in whole or in part, when:
- the work requires the employee’s physical presence, which is strictly required for the progress of a necessary business process or for urgent social reasons (e.g. an employee who works in a physical production process);
- the work requires location-specific software or hardware (e.g. air traffic controllers);
- the work requires the use of company confidential information that can only be viewed on-site;
- the employee experiences such mental symptoms that working on location is necessary for the employee's mental health; or
- the employee’s home workplace cannot adequate improved by providing equipment (e.g. a laptop, office chair), so that working on-site is necessary for the health and well-being of the employee.
Training a new employee, gaining adequate insight into the execution of the work, missing out on social aspects and productivity are not considered as sufficient reasons for working on location.
When working on location is required, the regular health and safety obligations apply and the workplace must be in line with the guidelines of the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM). It is furthermore important that the Risk Inventory and Evaluation is adjusted to the risks of the coronavirus, in order to prevent infection in the workplace. Note: this also includes the home workplace.
The Guideline aims to enable employers and employees in finding a good solution together. If situations occur that are not in line with the corona regulations, employees may report this to the Inspectorate SZW.
(1) To download a Dutch version of the Guide click here