COVID-19: Coronavirus Netherlands - Employers Guide

What Employers Should Consider Amid The Coronavirus and Sick Leave

COVID-19 is a new disease. 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: May 28, 2020

  • The Dutch government has announced the following measures:
    • Starting May 11: Elderly people age 70 and older who live independently can be visited within 1.5m distance. For elderly people with health problems it is advised to stay at home as much as possible.
    • Starting May 11: In 25 elderly homes, it is allowed, under strict conditions, for 1 elderly to have 1 visitor/guest.
    • Starting May 11: children and young people will have more space for organized outdoor sports and games (no official competitions). Children up to 12 years old can exercise together outside under supervision.
    • Starting June 1: Young people age 13 to 18 are allowed to exercise outside with each other under supervision, without distance of 1.5 meters between them. Everyone older than 18 years incl professional athletes are allowed individually resume training, give training at designated training locations if a distance of 1.5 meters is observed (so no contact sports are allowed). Sports competitions remain prohibited.
    • Starting May 11: Primary schools in primary education will start teaching in full days. A half-day schedule is not desirable. Schools are allowed to determine the group division over the weekdays, in such a way that all children can return to school for at least 50%. Starting June 8, primary schools are 100% open again, unless current studies show otherwise and justify partly opening.
    • Starting May 11: Daycares open for 100%
    • Children, of parents who work in the healthcare, policy and firefighting industry, have to be taken cared for at the school and /or daycare. This care is at no extra cost. Read the list of the applicable special professions, available only in Dutch language.
    • Starting May 11: Special education in primary schools open for 100%.
    • Starting May 11: Parents are urged to take children to school or daycare on foot or by bicycle in order to relieve public transport.
    • Primary Schools, special education in primary education and daycares have to follow the mandatory protocols. 
    • Starting May 11: Contact professionals/companies such as: driving instructors, (para)medical professions (dietitian, masseurs, occupational therapist, dental prosthetics, physiotherapists, hair-, beauty- and nail salons, make-up artists, pedicure and alternative medicine, acupuncturist, homeopath, etc.  open but the work need to be organised as much as possible within a distance of 1.5 meter. Work is done by appointment, during which the entrepreneur and the customer will discuss in advance the risks. Starting April 22: Dentists and dentist hygiene practices follow the ruling Leidraad Mondzorg Corona.
    • Starting May 11: Libraries open and have to take measures for visitors to keep 1.5 meters social distance.
    • Starting May 11: Only use public transport if necessary and avoid rush hours and keep space from each other.
    • Starting June 1: In train, bus and metro it is mandatory to wear non-medical face masks for travelers age 13 and older. Public transport is only intended for necessary trips. A mask is not mandatory at the stations, stops and platforms. The 1.5 meter ruling have to be obeyed. Travellers not wearing a mask can receive a fine of EUR 95.
    • Starting June 2: Secondary schools can make preparations so that secondary students can (partly) return to school obeying the 1.5. meter distance rule.
    • Starting June 15: Universities and applied sciences and universities start with tests, exams, practical lessons and supervision of vulnerable students at the institution.
    • Hotels are open and starting June 1, the restaurant and/or the bar in the hotel is open. They can have a maximum of 30 guests (excluding personnel). Guests have to get a reservation and have to be seated with 1.5m distance except for people are living in same house.
    • Starting June 1: Cafes, restaurants open their doors. They can have a maximum of 30 guests (excluding personnel). Guests have to get a reservation and have to be seated with 1.5m distance except if people are living in same house. Prior to the visit, the owner has to have a conversation with the guest to determine if there is a risk. There is no limit on the amount of people on the terrace of cafe and restaurant. Of course the 1.5 meter distance ruling is applicable, except for people are living in same house.
    • Starting June 1: Film, theater and concert halls may open under conditions: a maximum of 30 people in the audience; visitors must book in advance; a pre-check to determine whether a visit poses risks; 1.5 meter distance ruling is applicable. Museums and monuments are allowed to open if visitors buy tickets in advance and have a check-up conversation. The maximum number of visitors is depending on the building. Music schools and centers for the arts are open. There is a maximum number of 30 people per building. The 1.5. meter distance have to be obeyed in all the centers.
    • Casino’s have to also close their venues until August 31.
    • All public events, parties, festivals and entertainment, with a permit and notification obligation, including the sport league are prohibited until September 1.
    • 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 (max. 100 persons), 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 (max. 100 persons);
      c. funerals and wedding ceremonies (max. 30 people);
      d. meetings of a religious or philosophical nature (max. 30 persons).

      • In all publicly accessible buildings, a maximum of 30 people may gather, excluding personnel, with 1.5. meter distance.
      • Shops, public markets, holiday parks, camping sites, parks, nature reserves and beaches will be closed only  in the case of noncompliance of the applicable hygiene measures and the 1.5 meter distance rule. Expectation TBC reopen per July 1.
      • For shops, mandatory guidelines are provided by the government (available in Dutch) – visit [Nieuwe regels Verantwoord Winkelen]
      • 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.

 

Other measures, still applicable and mandatory:

    • 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 3 people per visit and keep a distance from each other, indoors, in the garden and at the balcony.
    • It is not allowed to be at home with more than 3 people, who are not sharing the same household.
    • 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)
    • Starting June 1, 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 per June 1 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 per March 17, 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. 

 

For more questions, speak to our HR Specialists.

 

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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