Wednesday 23 September 2020

Working at home should be regulated in pay deals, biggest Dutch union says

A mother working from home on her laptop with her young child sitting on the table beside her.

Working from home is here to stay. Photo: depositphotos

The FNV trade union plans to make regulations for working at home part of September’s round of pay and conditions talks, following a members’ survey.

The government’s coronavirus regulations still require people to work from home if possible, despite suggestions this may change, and this makes regulation more important, the country’s biggest trade union federation said.

‘Now working from home is set to continue, and employers and workers have realised it can be done well, we are faced with a new situation which needs new regulations, both now and post coronavirus,’ deputy chairwoman Kitty Jong said.

A regulation would cover payments, equipment, the balance between work and private life, and the right to work at home and in the office, Jong said. ‘What agreements can you make to ensure that pressure does not mount up,’ she said. ‘What extra costs do you have if you work at home?’


Research by the family spending institute Nibud shows people working from home are spending an extra €500 a year on average to cover the costs of not being in the office. Home workers consume more gas, water and electricity by day, as well as extra essentials such as coffee and toilet paper, Nibud said.

The FNV members’ survey showed two thirds are happy about working at home and less than 20% are opposed. In particular, 72% are pleased about not having to commute, 39% said they can concentrate better and 38% that they are more productive.

Coronavirus has led to an increase in people working from home, but four in five workers cannot do so because of the limits of the job, national statistics agency CBS said earlier this month. Some 20% of people now ‘take work home’, compared with between 10% and 15% of workers in 2019, the agency said.

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