Netherlands has become one of the first countries in the world to make work from home a legal right.

Work from home, also known as remote work, is an employment arrangement that allows employees to work from anywhere. They are not required to commute to a central workplace, such as an office building, warehouse, retail store, etc.

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Employers may refuse workers’ requests to work from home without providing a reason under current Dutch law. The new legislation requires employers to consider such requests and provide a reason if they are denied.

The vast majority of Dutch workers want flexible working to become a permanent option. A recent poll of 5,300 Dutch employees in the financial, business, and government sectors discovered that 70% wanted to work at home and in the office.

Only 10% wanted to return to full-time office work, while 20% preferred only to work from home.

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The new legislation is not expected to be a debate for Dutch corporations. According to Eurostat, 14% of the workforce was already working remotely two years before the pandemic, indicating that acceptance of remote working is much higher in the lowlands.

Other European countries have passed worker-protection legislation in recent years, but none has explicitly stated that employees have the right to work from home.

In Spain, legislation protects workers who want to work from home and prohibits companies from favouring office-based employees over remote workers solely on the basis of their work location. A law passed in Portugal last year prohibits employers from contacting employees outside of working hours.

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There are no such national protections in the United States or the United Kingdom, where workers must negotiate with employers if they want to work from home, with many companies taking the opposite approach, for example- Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk last month issued an ultimatum to employees to return to the office or leave.