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Written by:
Bas Hollenberg


Liberalisation of flexible working hours regime

The Upper House of the Dutch Parliament recently passed a bill aimed at amendment of the legislation governing the length of the working week, work location and working hours with the aim of boosting flexibility in the labour market and enabling employees to request at an earlier stage that their employer should consent to modifying the previously agreed length of working week, work location or working hours.

There are certain conditions to be satisfied by the employee, as follows:

  • he or she should have been in the employer’s service for at least six months at the moment the changes take effect;
  • he or she should file the request in writing at least two months ahead of the proposed effective date.

The employer too has certain obligations and rights:

  • it may only reject employees’ applications for modification of their working hours or the length of their working week for urgent business reasons;
  • it is to advise the employee in question in writing of its decision regarding the request for modification of working week length, work location or working hours;
  • it is to disclose its reasons for denial in the event that it turns down the employee’s request;
  • the term for deciding on request for modification of working week length, work location and/or working hours has been fixes at one (1) month. The employer’s failure to comply with this deadline will result in it being deemed to have granted permission.

The legislative change will not affect businesses whose workforce numbers fewer than ten. These employees will have to take the initiative themselves if they wish to alter the length of their working week.

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