Working wherever you want
The purpose of the Bill was to make it easier for employees to make arrangements to work from home or another work location (within the EU). In the initial Bill, the employer could reject an employee's request to adjust the workplace if there were compelling business or service interests. Following the SER advice on 'Hybrid working', the initiators amended the Bill. After consulting with the employee on his/her request, it was up to the employer to decide. The assessment of a request for adjustment of the workplace should be made in accordance with the standards of reasonableness and fairness. The employer would have to assess whether its interests would reasonably and fairly outweigh the employee's interests, taking into account all the circumstances of the case.
Criticism on the Bill
During the legislative process, criticism of the Bill was already voiced. For instance, there were doubts about the usefulness and necessity of the Bill. It was also questioned whether the Bill would not create too much regulatory burden for employers. The Bill fell just short; the Bill was rejected by 37 votes to 38 (Senate rejects Act Work Wherever You Want (Dutch only)).
Flexible Working Act remains in full force
Now that the Bill has been rejected, an employee's request to adjust the workplace will continue to be governed by the existing Flexible Working Act. This means – for example – that if an employee requests the employer to work from home two days a week, the employer is obliged to consider the request, but may reject the request on any ground. The employer only has a duty to consider.
For the current framework and rules on working from home, we kindly refer you to our previous posts:
Should you receive requests from employees to work from home and/or have questions about the employer's obligations with regard to the home office (thuiswerkplek), please feel free to contact us for further guidance and/or advice. We will of course be happy to assist you.