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Working at home during the Corona crisis: what do the regulations on working conditions say?

RIVM’s advice to employers is clear: allow employees to work at home as much as possible until April 28, 2020 (and possibly thereafter). What not all employers realize, is that part of the regulations on working conditions apply to working at home. In this article we inform you about those rules.

Working conditions obligations when working at home

The rules on working conditions (the Working Conditions Act, decree and regulation) partly apply when an employee works at home. For example, an employer must ensure the safety and health of his employees, even if these employees work at home. This means, among other things, that an employer must ensure an ergonomically designed home workplace, if the employee does not yet have one. The Working Conditions Regulation determines the standards of such a workplace and regulates, among other things, the requirement for the work table and chair, the screen, the keyboard and the lighting. If a home workplace does not meet these requirements, it is in principle up to the employer to make these resources available to the employee.

In addition, an employer must adopt and implement measures to prevent or limit excessive workload. The employer will also have to provide employees with information about the risks of a high workload and the employer’s policy. These are just a few examples of applicable regulations on working conditions at home.

Breach of regulations on working conditions

Breach of regulations on working conditions can lead to the imposition of a fine by the Inspectorate SZW. In addition, an employer is liable for the possible damage of an employee if these rules are violated. It is therefore important to act in accordance with the working conditions legislation. Especially now that the period of working from home is extended.

Practical tips

It is important to inform your employees how to furnish the home workplace. Of course it is unwise in these times to physically enter the home workplaces of your employees. It is possible however to view the workplace on the basis of photos or videos or to have an ergonomist assess this. If it turns out that the workplace of not all employees is properly taken care of, the employer must make resources available to the employees.

In addition, it is important to inform employees about the policy regarding the workload. To whom can they report a high workload? How can they deal with this? It is wise to stay tuned in and to regularly discuss this with your employees.

Contract for working at home

It is therefore wise to make agreements with the employee about working at home, about the working conditions requirements for the workplace, but also, for example, about other (practical) aspects of working at home. You can download an example of such a contract (in the form of a letter) here. You can use this model as a basis and adapt it to your own situation. You can download an example of such a contract (in the form of a letter) here.

More information

Do you have any questions further to this blog? Or do you have Corona-related questions? Please do not hesitate to contact the Corona Crisis Advisory Team of Valegis Advocaten.

We strive for completeness in our reporting but cannot guarantee this because developments follow each other at a rapid pace. The Dutch government regularly comes up with additions to or improvements of (new) regulations. As a result, our reports may be outdated at the time you read them. That is why we mention the date and time of posting with each message.

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