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The Netherlands makes WFH a legal right

Words by Smiley Team

The Netherlands are about to make the ability to work from home a legal right, in a world first.

On 5 July 2022, the Dutch parliament passed legislation saying that working from home should be a legal right for all in the country. That doesn’t mean it’s a done deal just yet, though – this new legislation still needs to go to the Senate and be approved there to take effect.

This is pretty revolutionary, considering what is going on in the rest of the world. Elon Musk made headlines earlier this year for giving his employees the ultimatum of returning to the office or finding new work elsewhere. In Scotland, public sector employees have been offered a four-day work week in exchange for a pay cut.

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If this new legislation in the Netherlands comes to pass, employers will have to consider each request to work from home and give a valid reason for denial. Currently, employees can have their requests denied, whether or not there is a reason for it.

The concept of working from home is an increasingly divisive one, as the world slowly begins to recover from Covid-19, and many people find they aren’t interested in returning to the office in the same way.

For some, like parents and carers, working from home may be necessary for family life, and the pushback to allow for this going forward is becoming increasingly clear.

In the Netherlands, the issue isn’t quite as polarising. According to Eurostat, 14% of the population worked remotely two years before the pandemic even began. In light of this, it seems likely that the legislation will be passed – and maybe other countries will follow suit.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Donate your old work clothes to Smart Works UK, to help provide interview and work-appropriate clothes for those who can’t yet afford them.

SUPPORT: Volunteer to coach people on how to pass an interview at Smart Works UK to help them find employment.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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