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During a November 2 press conference, the Dutch government announced stricter COVID-19-related measures in connection with the rising infection rates. On the website of Rijksoverheid (click here, Dutch language only) the most important changes are listed. Besides a tightening of the basic rules, including the advice to keep a distance of 1.5 metres, and an extension of the obligation to wear a face mask, some measures focus on the workplace. These are discussed below.
50% work from home and travelling outside rush hour
As of Wednesday, November 3, 2021, the prevailing advice on working from home will be tightened to “work at home for at least half of the working hours.” In addition, the government calls on employees to avoid travelling during rush hour as much as possible in order to limit infections at busy times on public transport.
Corona pass for the workplace
The government also announced that it is working on an amendment to the law that will make it possible to introduce a corona pass (showing proof of vaccination) in the workplace. This will not be an obligation but will allow employers to ask employees for a corona pass. In this way, employers can ensure a safe workplace, according to outgoing Minister Hugo de Jonge.
In places where visitors already must show a corona pass, this obligation will also apply to employees. Think, for instance, of employers in the hospitality or healthcare sectors. As we previously explained, the Public Health Act (in Dutch: Wet publieke gezondheid) currently prohibits employers from requiring their employees to show a corona pass in order to gain access to their physical work environment, as employees are exempt from the obligation to show a pass.
According to Minister De Jonge, it will take about five weeks to realise the necessary legislative changes.