Dutch Labour Party wants to protect workers’ free time from 2022
The Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) wants to bring an end to unwanted work emails in employees' free time, protecting workers’ right to inaccessibility from next year. The Council of State (RvS) has said such a law is unnecessary.
PvdA believes workers have the right to inaccessibility
Ideally, the party would like to give workers the chance to invoke the legal right not to answer the phone or respond to emails outside of office hours from January 1, 2022. The PvdA has therefore submitted an amendment to the law that regulates this right of inaccessibility.
But the RvS argues that the Working Conditions Act (Arbowet) already outlines agreements that can be made by employers and employees to limit work pressure. According to the party, however, it appears “that the high degree of self-regulation that the Working Conditions Act requires of employers does not work sufficiently in practice.” They highlight the fact that a growing number of people are suffering from burnout.
Coronavirus and working from home makes it difficult for employees
While working overtime isn’t customary in the Netherlands, many people who work in the Netherlands have said that, since they started working from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, they have struggled to switch off at the end of the workday, and find it difficult to find the right work-life balance.
Gijs van Dijk from the PvdA who submitted the amendment has also highlighted this, arguing that “the division between work and private life has become increasingly blurred,” and that workers deserve the time to “clear their head and focus on the really important things in life” at the end of the day.
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