Remote and hybrid work has become widespread since the COVID pandemic. It continues to be a popular option among employees even as pandemic restrictions decrease. A study by PewResearch this year showed that 61% of US workers would rather continue work from home rules even if offices were open again. This summer, the Dutch parliament approved a bill that allows remote work in the Netherlands as a legal right.
The Netherlands is the first country in the world to have this kind of legislation around remote work, and other countries will likely follow suit.
In this article, we detail what global WFH legislation entails and take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of remote work as it relates to your business model or plans for international expansion.
Work From Home Law in the Netherlands
The Dutch work-from-home (WFH) bill passed voting by the parliament on July 5, 2022. The bill still needs approval from the Senate before the law applies. Still, trade unions and CBAs may already integrate the policy into their agreements.
According to the bill, it requires employers with ten or more employees to give full consideration to requests to work from home. If the employer wishes to refuse an employee’s request, they need to provide a valid reason. This allows industries some chance to determine the feasibility of WFH in their industry.
Employees must submit their request to work from home two months before their intended start date. The request will be considered approved if the employer does not respond during that time.
However, an employee must have been working with the employer for a minimum of 26 weeks before being eligible to make the request.
The work location for WFH must be within the EU and either at the employees’ home address or another appropriate workspace.
The Netherlands has been favorable towards fully remote work for some time now. Even before the pandemic, 14% of workers in the country were already working remotely, which was the highest among EU countries.
Remote Work: Pros and Cons
Having your employees work remotely or from home has not been well received in the past. You may be concerned about productivity, teamwork, and communication levels without face-to-face interactions.
However, today’s technology has provided a myriad of apps and programs for video calls and virtual meetings, allowing you to include your remote workers in much the same way as you would for office employees.
The benefits of remote work can also help to:
- Save on Time and Costs
You can cut down on expenses related to workspace, transportation, utilities, etc.
- Improve Work-Life Balance
Your employees will enjoy a more balanced schedule, which in turn will foster better energy at work
- Push Global Expansion
You can access global talent and overseas expertise without physically relocating structures to a new country.
Some other downsides of remote work include:
- An Overreliance on Technology
You can only reach your remote workers through the computer or phone, making any chance of technology failures possibly disastrous.
- The Danger of Proximity Bias
You may find that some managers prefer workers in the office, leaving remote workers to feel neglected for commendations or promotions. See our article for more about proximity bias and how to avoid it.
- A Lack of Connectivity
You will need to make more of an effort to connect with and talk to your remote workers, whom you may not see every day as you would those in the office.
A strong HR and management system can overcome these challenges. With those, you can enjoy the benefits of remote workers as part of your team. INS Global offers HR services for dozens of countries worldwide so that you can have an effective, united global workforce fll of satisfied employees.
Countries with Legislation that Support WFH
While the Netherlands is the first country to pass legislation for work from home to be a legal right, several other countries in Europe and the world have laws that offer support and protection to remote workers. See the following list for some examples:
As of 2022, Ireland’s government has been working on drafting a “Right to Request Remote Work” bill. The bill would give workers the right to request remote work, and employers would need to state a reason for denying it.
Portugal’s remote work laws were changed in December 2021 to strengthen remote workers’ rights further. The government introduced legislation making it illegal for employers to contact employees outside work hours. Remote work contracts must also be in writing with precise details of compensation and benefits, etc., which must be the same rights for workers in the office.
Since 2021 Argentina’s work-from-home laws have included the employee’s right to disconnect after work hours and that remote employees must receive the same rights and salary as other employees.
The UK does not yet have work from home as a right. However, some laws allow those who have worked with a company for a minimum of 26 weeks to request flexible work hours. This can then lead to partial or complete remote work.