As of 1 January 2016 a new act called ‘Wet flexibel werken’ (“new Act”) will enter into force. The purpose of this new Act is to support the combination of work and private life.
Amendment of the Dutch Working Hours (Adjustment) Act (‘Wet aanpassing arbeidsduur’)
Currently employees can only file a request for amendment (increase or reduction) of their working hours. The applicable conditions are included in the Dutch Working Hours (Adjustment) Act. The Dutch Working Hours (Adjustment) Act will be amended when the new Act will enter into force and employees will be entitled to file a request with the employer for all forms of flexible working. As of 1 January 2016 employees have the right to file a request with the employer for amendment of their working hours, working times and workplace.
Right to file a request
The employee has a right to file a request with the employer. This, however, does not mean that the employer is obliged to follow the request. The employer retains the right to refuse the requested amendment of the working hours or working time in case of substantial business interests (which are specified in further detail in the new Act). An employer is obliged to consult with the employee before denying a request for amendment of the working place (for example a request to work from home). In all cases the employer is obliged to inform the employee on his decision in writing, stating the reasons in case the request of the employee is denied.
The new Act reduces a few time limits which currently are included the Dutch Working Hours (Adjustment) Act:
- at present an employee must submit the request four months prior to the desired starting date. The new Act reduces this to two months;
- furthermore, at present an employee can only submit a request with the employer after an employment of at least one year. As of 1 January 2016 this period of service will be reduced to six months; and
- under current law an employee must wait two years after a denial or approval of a request before he is allowed to file a new request. This time limit will be shortened to one year.
The new Act is not applicable for employees who fall under the scope of a collective labour agreement which includes provisions for flexible working. However, this does not apply for a request for reduction of the working hours. Furthermore, the new Act only applies for employers who employ more than ten employees.