Dutch trade union fighting for compensation for working from home
The Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV) is putting together a "working from home arrangement" for companies in the Netherlands which is set to cover topics such as the provision of necessary materials, work-life balance and a possible allowance to cover the costs of working from home.
Working from home in the Netherlands
The FNV feels that, now that it is likely that working from home will become more common for people working in the Netherlands, it is necessary to establish some kind of agreement for businesses to ensure employees are protected.
The confederation surveyed over 9.400 of its members to find out what should be included in such an arrangement. Topics that arose included an employee’s right to either work from home or from the office, the right to be unavailable in the evenings and at weekends, and a set allowance to cover necessary costs.
Kitty Jong, vice president of FNV, said in a statement that the employer was always responsible for providing a healthy workplace, even if that workplace is the employee’s home, and that current circumstances mean new agreements need to be made. She also said that any scheme that would be developed would have to be tailor-made for different sectors and jobs.
An allowance for working from home
The allowance would be designed to cover costs such as internet, printing, energy bills and coffee. Jong says that, with evidence that working from home could save employers up to 1,6 billion euros a year, it would be unfair that the costs saved are instead paid for from the employee’s pockets.
The FNV, and almost half of their members included in the survey, feel that a vital aspect to any arrangement agreed upon is employees’ rights to working in the office. The FNV wants to highlight this right as well as the right to work from home and would like to see the former regulated by Dutch law.
Working from home a popular choice
Since the Netherlands went into lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, several companies have carried out studies regarding the realities of working from home. These surveys show overwhelming support among the general public for more balance between working in an office and working from the comfort of their own homes.
Data from the FNV suggests that two-thirds of the people who are currently working from home are enjoying it, and would like to do so regularly once the coronavirus crisis has passed, splitting their workweek between home and the office.
Reasons the FNV cite for the growing popularity of working from home include the lack of commute, improved concentration and higher productivity levels. However, people do miss interaction between colleagues and feel that their work and private life overlap more when working from home.