Requiring staff to be vaccinated before returning to the workplace, as tech company Google announced on Wednesday, is not allowed in the Netherlands. According to trade unions and employers’ organizations, Article 11 of the constitution states that everyone can decide for themselves what happens to their body. For example, employers are not allowed to oblige their employees to vaccinate or force them to test for the corona virus.
Trade unions FNV and CNV and employers’ umbrella organization VNO-NCW state that Google falls under Dutch law in the Netherlands and that the existing legislation therefore applies. “The government could adopt an emergency law for this, but Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge have already said that they do not make vaccinations mandatory,” said a spokeswoman for FNV.
VNO-NCW says that the discussion about compulsory vaccination of employees has little or no effect among its own supporters. “Unlike in the United States, we have a very high vaccination readiness in the Netherlands.”
Google announced on Wednesday that it will require all employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus if they want to return to the office. The measure initially applies to the United States and will come into effect at the American branches in the coming weeks. Later on, other countries should follow, if enough vaccinations are available and the legislation allows it.
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Google Netherlands says it is still too early to say what consequences the new policy will have for employees of the company here. In total, Google Netherlands has about 900 employees. About 400 people work at the head office in Amsterdam and about 475 at the data centers.
Due to the resurgence of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus, Google has pushed the date on which employees must return to the office regularly to October 18. Until then, Google employees are allowed to work entirely from home if they want. Facebook also announced that employees in the United States must be vaccinated to enter the office and is looking at whether those rules should apply in other countries over time.
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