The Netherlands COVID-19 Employer Resources

The lockdown in the Netherlands, including the curfew, has been extended until the early morning of 31 March 2021. This was announced during the March 8, 2021 press conference.

Vaccination of people who do not work in healthcare began on January 18, 2021. Acting Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said that, based on recent developments, he is feeling more optimistic about coronavirus vaccinations in the Netherlands, and feels confident that anyone who wants to be vaccinated can receive the first of two doses by July, as long as all vaccine deliveries go ahead as planned. Children and young people under 18 will not be vaccinated for the time being.

Vaccination recipient hierarchy and sequencing

The Dutch Health Council has advised on who to vaccinate first. Not everybody can be vaccinated at once. To protect the most vulnerable in society and relieve the pressure on healthcare services, a start was made in January 2021 on vaccinating the following groups:

  • Acute care hospital staff (staff working in intensive care units, A&E departments, and on COVID-19 wards) and ambulance crews who are directly involved in the care and treatment of COVID-19 patients.
  • Care professionals working in nursing homes, small-scale residential homes and disability care homes, district nurses, and social support workers.
  • Nursing home residents and residents of homes for people with intellectual disabilities.

Plans for vaccinating subsequent groups will depend on factors like approval, effectiveness, and delivery of vaccines. Vaccination is not compulsory, and it is free.

Invitation to be vaccinated

When it’s time for a population group to be vaccinated, the group gets an invitation, either by letter or email. It will say what this person has to take with him/her (such as your ID). It will also tell you where the person can get the vaccination. This could be at a large vaccination center run by the municipal health service (GGD), at the doctor’s office, or, for instance, in a nursing home.

Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive

The Health Council of the Netherlands advises against vaccinating pregnant women at present because the vaccine’s efficacy and safety have not been tested sufficiently for this specific group. Exceptions can be made in individual cases, for instance, when the risks of COVID-19 outweigh the possible drawbacks of vaccination. Pregnant women in this situation should discuss vaccination with their doctor. Women who are trying to conceive can get vaccinated. Women who later find out that they were pregnant at the time of vaccination will be monitored closely.

COVID-19 vaccine considerations for Netherlands

  • Can employers mandate the vaccine?
    No
  • Who will control delivery of the vaccine?
    Public health service
  • Who covers the cost of the vaccine?
    Public health service
  • Where will people get vaccinated?
    A mix of locations
  • Is there cultural resistance to getting the vaccine?
    Moderate

Financial measures
There are several economic support measures in place for businesses affected by the corona crisis. Measures such as NOW, Tozo and TVL will continue to be expanded and amended as seen fit by the government. Businesses and self-employed professionals who have been hit hard by the recent measures will continue to receive support.

Urge employees to work from home

The Dutch government strongly urges working from home, unless this is not possible, to curb the spreading of the coronavirus. This measure does not apply to crucial and vital professions like caregivers, supermarket employees, and transport workers. If working from home is not possible, employers should try to spread the working hours and make sure there aren’t too many people in the workplace at the same time. Employees have to keep 1.5 meters distance in the workplace, the same as everywhere else.

Tips for working from home

Employers are responsible for good working conditions. This is also true when employees have to work from home. Think of lending an office chair or monitor from the office for the time being. It is recommended that employers stay in touch on a regular basis if they are managing employees long-distance. Find more tips on staying fit and healthy while working at home on Arboportaal.nl, a website by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (in Dutch).

An employee falls ill

If an employee calls in sick, employers cannot ask why. Not even to inquire if they have symptoms of the coronavirus. It is up to the employees to decide if they want to tell the employer. The company doctor or the health and safety agency are the only ones allowed to process the medical data.

One of the employee’s housemates falls ill

The employee has to self-isolate if one of their housemates develops common cold symptoms or a fever. Employees must then self-isolate and remain in quarantine for 10 days, unless of course, they develop symptoms. If the employee has to self-isolate, but cannot work from home, employers must continue to pay them their wages. Nor can employers deduct leave hours, unless they both agree to this.

Quarantine period: 10 days

The quarantine period for persons who have been in contact with someone who has developed corona symptoms, or who have returned from a region or country with code orange, is 10 days.

Refusing entry to the workplace

Employers are responsible for offering their employees a safe and healthy work environment. Refusing someone entry to the workplace may be necessary to ensure this.

Forcing employees to take leave days

Employers cannot force their employees to take leave days, even if they have less work for them due to the corona crisis. Employees can discuss it with the employees. The employee decides if he/she wants to take leave or not.

Withholding or delaying holiday allowance

Employers are not allowed to withhold their employees’ holiday allowance, or to delay paying holiday allowance. The employer and the employee can come to an arrangement together.

Employee returns from a country with an orange or red travel advice

Employers cannot forbid their employees to travel to, or take a holiday in, a country with an orange or red travel advisory (in Dutch). Employees do have to return in time: if they have to self-isolate upon their return, they have to do so within the allotted holiday period, unless they can work from home. If they cannot work from home and have to remain in quarantine for longer than their allotted holiday period, employers do not have to pay them for the days they miss. Employers should make sure the employee is aware of this.

Canceling leave when travel advice is adjusted

If an employee has to break off a holiday in a country for which the travel advice has shifted from yellow to orange, and then has to self-isolate for 10 days, they cannot simply decide to cancel their leave days. The employer has to give permission for this; employers can also demand that they do take the allotted leave – for instance, if they cannot work from home.

More Information

Dutch National Institute for Public Health (RIVM)

The Netherlands COVID-19 News and Statistics

This information is provided by Schouten Zekerheid, Asinta's partner in Netherlands.

Employee Benefits in Netherlands

Get insights on mandatory and common supplementary employee benefits in Netherlands.

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Top 6 Vaccine Considerations

Use our decision matrix to help support your employees.

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Page last modified: March 15, 2021

The information presented on this site is current as of the date initially posted; and, because matters related to COVID-19, the vaccine, and compliance measures are changing so quickly, it may not be current as of the date you read it. While the information gathered here is from Asinta global partners who are subject matter experts in their respective fields, this information is not meant to be a substitute for individual legal or medical advice, or as a substitute for advice in your specific situation.

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