If it is up to the PvdA, employees can invoke the statutory right from 1 January not to answer the telephone outside office hours. The party will officially submit the amendment to the law on Thursday that regulates this right of inaccessibility, despite criticism from the Council of State (RvS). The Council of State believes that such a legislative amendment is not necessary.
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The current Working Conditions Act (Arbowet) already includes provisions on “psychosocial work load”, according to the Council. The law provides frameworks within which employers and employees are given the opportunity to make agreements about work pressure, also outside working hours.
The idea behind this is that the rules are better adhered to if those involved (employers and employees) “are themselves responsible for drawing up and implementing them”. The Council of State “advises not to use the proposed statutory regulation”, the advisor writes on the basis of the old proposal.
The Labor Party decided to amend the bill and to clarify in the explanatory notes why a law is indeed necessary, according to the party. Based on various studies, it appears that “the high degree of self-regulation that the Working Conditions Act requires of employers does not work sufficiently in practice”, according to the party. Incidentally, the Council of State recognizes that “a growing number of people are dealing with burnout and that work is a common cause”.
Submitter Gijs van Dijk further says that the corona crisis only makes the necessity of the law greater. Many Dutch people have recently “answered emails in the evenings, because they had to help the children with schoolwork during the day. The separation between work and private life has become increasingly blurred.”
“After work, you deserve the chance to clear your head and focus on the really important things in life,” says the social democrat. “And I think your boss should no longer require you to respond to emails, phone calls or messages.”
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