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: March 31, 2020 – 7:10pm
- The Dutch government has announced the following measures:
- All schools (primary, secondary and MBO colleges) and daycare centres in The Netherlands must be closed from March 16 until the end of May holiday/Meivakantie – 3 May in an effort to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
- 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.
- In addition, cafes, restaurants, sex clubs, cannabis cafes, saunas and sports clubs must close their doors at 6pm on March 15 until April 28. Exception for cannabis cafes they can remain open but only for orders to be picked up.
- Hotels can remain open but the restaurant and/or bar in the hotel will have to close.
- Hair-, beauty- and nail salons, make-up artists, pedicures, driving instructors, escort services and tattoo shops have to close their offices as of March 23 until April 28.
- Casino’s have to also close their venues as of March 24 until April 28.
- Contact professions in health care such as dentists and physiotherapists must remain open to emergency care. Physiotherapists have to, as much as possible, support people via video calling.
- Delivery and takeaway food is possible. People have to avoid crowds or standing close to other people and food has to be taken home (eating at the takeaway spot is not allowed.)
- All public events, parties, festivals and entertainment, with a permit and notification obligation, are prohibited until June 1.
- All other meetings are prohibited, with some exceptions – and only if all hygiene measures and 1.5m distance of people 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).
- Shops, public markets, public transport, 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 m distance rule.
- 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:
- Stay at home as much as possible. It is allowed go outside for work only when working from home is not possible, for groceries, or to take care of others.
- In case of complaints of a cold, coughing, sore throat or fever everyone must stay at home.
- In addition, as of March 23, it mandatory to stay at home, if one family member or more sharing a household, has a fever, exception is for people working in a special profession, unless they get ill too.
- 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.
- It is not allowed to be at home with more than 3 people, who are not sharing the same household.
- It allowed for children to play outside in a group with more than 3. Additional measure will be announced after March 23.
- 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.
- The Dutch public health institute RIVM and World Health Organisation has informed everyone to follow their instructions to prevention of infection. The most important measures employer and employees have to take to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are simple. 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 (new measure announced by the government March 10, 2020)
- 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. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) only advises medical personnel to wear 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