COVID-19: Coronavirus Netherlands - Employers Guide

What Employers Should Consider Amid The Coronavirus and Sick Leave

It’s hard for employers and employees to know what to do or what they are expected to do as the situation changes daily. There are also many other questions to be considered, such as what are an employer’s compliance obligations, and how leave, benefit and sick policies apply and if they should be temporarily changed and how. Read more on what employers should consider amid the Coronavirus in The Netherlands.

UPDATE: November 8, 2020

The Dutch government has announced the following measures:

Face Mask 

Everyone aged 13 or over is advised to wear a non-medical face mask in indoor public spaces such as:

    • shops, museums, town halls, stations, airports, covered car parks and petrol stations
    • restaurants, bars, cafés, theatres and concert halls
    • locations where contact-based professions are carried out (both customers and staff should wear a mask).

 

  • Wearing a mask is not mandatory, but it is strongly advised. The type of face masks that should be worn are non-medical face masks. Medical face masks are reserved for use in the healthcare sector. In some cases wearing a mask is not possible. Some people cannot wear a mask for a medical reason or due to a disability. And it is also not usually possible to wear a mask while doing sport.

 

  •  In train, bus and metro it is mandatory to wear non-medical face masks for travellers age 13 and older.

 

Public venues

  • Hotels are open.
  • Restaurant and cafes are closed. Establishments serving food and drink are open and can accept no delivery and selling alcohol after 20h00.
  • Sports clubhouses are closed.
  • For shops, mandatory guidelines are provided by the government (available in Dutch). Shops have to close at 20h00. – visit [Nieuwe regels Verantwoord Winkelen]. 
  • Between 20h00 and 07h00 it is not allowed to serve or deliver alcohol. It is also not allowed to drink alcohol in public places during these times lots.
  • Indoor spaces with a continuous flow of visitors, such as historic buildings, libraries and museums must operate using reservations on the basis of time slots. This does not apply to retail stores and markets.
  • All public events, parties, festivals and entertainment, with a permit and notification obligation are prohibited. Expectation are markets, congress centers, (movie) theaters and certain games.
  • A group consists of max 2 people of different households. A household will not have a maximum group of people.
  • All other meetings are prohibited, with some exceptions – and only if all hygiene measures and  1.5m social distance will be followed:
    a. Statutory meetings, such as meetings of the city council as well as the States General.
    b. Meetings necessary for the continuation of the daily activities of institutions, companies and other organizations;
    c. Funerals and wedding ceremonies (max. 30 people for a funeral, max. 20 people for a wedding);
    d. Meetings of a religious or philosophical nature (max. 30 persons).
    e. Educational institutions, training institutions and childcare centres.
    f. Public transport and commercial passenger transport (but not pleasure boats).
    g. Youth groups for those aged 0 to 17 (e.g. Scouts, culture and art groups).
    i. Airports

Outdoors 

  • Numbers for outdoor activities where there is no continuous flow of people are limited to 2. This includes children under 13 but excludes staff.
  • A group consists of max 2 people of different households. A household will not have a maximum group of people.
  • Where there is a continuous flow of people, such as at zoos or markets, a maximum number of visitors per square metre applies.
  • Sports events – both amateur and professional – must be held without spectators.
  • Groups (accidentally or otherwise) in public space are prohibited. A group is three or more people who do not keep a distance of 1.5 meter. There is no group formation when it comes to persons who have a joint household. There is also no group formation when children up to the age of 12 play together under the supervision of one or more parents or guardians. Provided that the parents and/or guardians keep 1.5 m distance from each other.

 

  • For companies and individuals, not respecting the restrictions, could receive fines varying for companies to EUR 4.000 and for individuals to EUR 400.

 

Working from home and other measures at home

  • Working from home will remain, unless this is absolutely impossible. If an infection occurs at a place of work, the workplace in question can be closed down for 14 days.
  • In case of complaints of a cold, coughing, sore throat or fever everyone must stay at home.
  • It is mandatory to stay at home, if one family member (incl. flat mate) or more sharing a household, has a fever. If after 24 hours, there is no sign of illness or fever, the other family members are allowed to go outside.
  • Everyone is called upon to work from home as much as possible or to spread working hours.
  • Keep distance from others for at least 1.5 meter avoid social activities and groups of people.
  • Also at home: a maximum of 2 people per visit and keep a distance from each other, indoors, in the garden and at the balcony.
  • In general, people are urged to limit visits to vulnerable people.
  • For healthcare personnel and personnel in vital processes: only stay home until symptoms are shown of a fever. It is not allowed to not travel abroad.
  • Employer has to inform the employee on these basic hygiene measures apply to all viruses that can cause the flu and colds:
    • Wash your hands with soap regularly
    • Cough and sneeze on the inside of your elbow
    • Use paper handkerchiefs
    • Stop shaking hands
    • Keep 1.5 meter social distance
    • Work as much as possible from home
    • People with questions about the psychosocial consequences can contact the Information and Referral Center COVID-19 (IVC)
    • For anyone with mild complaints, indicating the Coronavirus, an appointment can be made with a national number to be tested at the GGD.
  • The Employer is responsible for providing information on company regulations, health & safety to ensure a safe working environment.
  • The Employer should inform employees on possible company travel bans/ travel policy restrictions. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a negative travel advisory. Please find the government  website in Dutch to find travel advice per country.

 

  • The employer is not obliged to buy face masks for employees. Please note it is mandatory to wear non-medical face masks in public transport. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) only advises medical personnel to wear medical-grade face masks. People who work with individuals who are infected (or potentially infected) with new coronavirus must wear personal protective equipment that includes medical-grade face masks.

 

  • The Employee has to follow the company Sick Leave Policy for reporting illness and report being recovered.

 

  • The Employer should follow the guidance of the Dutch government and advice employees to start working from home as much as possible. Employees will have to follow the company Working from Home (WFH) policy. In case the company does not have yet a policy in place, please CONTACT US.

 

  • The Employee, who has been in physical contact with someone diagnosed with the Coronavirus, and the employee who has recently returned from abroad and/or experiencing symptoms, should remain at home.

 

  • In case the employee has the Coronavirus, the protocol for action in The Netherlands is isolation and monitoring of the patient. The Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) tracks down the patients’ contacts and monitors all contacts to minimise the chance of the disease spreading.

 

  • In case the Employee is ill during a holiday (in The Netherlands or abroad), the days of illness will be registered as Sick Leave and not as Holiday Leave / Time-off. The days the employee was not ill during his holiday will be registered as Holiday Leave.

 

  • As the schools are closing and child support is needed, employee is entitled to get paid these wages and arrange childcare elsewhere. Please refer also to the mandatory Leaves of Absence types , such as calamity leave, short term care leave etc, to validate which type of leaves of absence is applicable.

 

The government has announced multiple measures to support companies financially. Read more here  COVID-19: Long Term Impact Coronavirus – HR Guide. In this article we will deep dive into activities and risks to consider for HR and government support for entrepreneurs. 

 

 

 

Sick Leave Netherlands

The law sets all sorts of obligations for both the employee and the Employer to facilitate as much as possible the speedy recovery of the Employee. The purpose of the Sick Leave Regulation/ Protocol is to provide guidelines, expectations and obligations, during Sickness Absence, for Employer and Employees in accordance to the Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act.

Each company is obliged to have a Sickness Absence Policy outlining the expectations and obligations of Employer and Employee during Sickness Absence, in accordance to the Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act.

REQUEST A CUSTOMISED SICK LEAVE POLICY

Contact us to make sure your company is compliant and request the Sick Leave Regulation/Protocol. The documentation will consist of:

  • 17 pages incl. policy, process and instructions in English (or Dutch)
  • Explanatory of parties involved in the process
  • Reporting Sick Leave, return and partly return from Sick Leave
  • Sick pay policy and payroll process
  • Mandatory steps for Employer and Employee
  • Glossary of Terms

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