Coronavirus and your rights

Coronavirus and your rights

Your rights in case of changes due to the coronavirus pandemic

The Dutch government has taken a wide range of measures to stem the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). We have put together a list of the main questions about your rights amid the coronavirus outbreak.
When it comes to legal expenses insurance, we work in partnership with ARAG, whereby ARAG takes care of any legal conflicts that are covered under your policy. Compensation for legal assistance is generally only available for conflicts arising as a result of unforeseen events. You will therefore not receive any compensation if you took out your insurance policy after the event that caused the conflict. Currently, we no longer consider conflicts arising as a result of the corona crisis to be unforeseen. For this reason, you might not receive compensation under a new insurance policy in the event of such conflicts. For each conflict reported, ARAG will determine whether compensation is available for legal assistance.   
Example: you work at a restaurant that is closed temporarily on account of the coronavirus outbreak. Even though your employer has been granted relief under the Dutch government’s job retention scheme (NOW-regeling), you are made redundant. Deeming your dismissal wrongful, you want to fight it and need legal assistance, and so you take out legal expenses insurance. In this case, your legal assistance will not be covered, because ARAG no longer considers the coronavirus situation as an unforeseen event.
  1. Is my employer allowed to require that I take leave because there is less work to do due to the coronavirus measures?

    No, your employer is not allowed to require you to take leave. The general rule is that leave must always be scheduled on the employee’s request. This means that your employer needs your permission to count as leave any days when there is no work to do or you are otherwise unable to work due to the coronavirus measures. 
    There are cases where an employment contract, collective labour agreement, or other written arrangement includes a clause allowing the employer to designate certain days as compulsory leave, but only with the permission of the Works Council.
  2. My child was supposed to take an exam preparation course, but the final-year secondary school exams have now been cancelled. Can I get my money back?

    If your child has not attended any sessions as part of the exam preparation course yet, you are entitled to a full refund. If, however, your child has already taken part of the course, or if the organisation where you booked the course has already incurred other expenses for it, you will not be able to get this part of the fees refunded. Contact the organisation to discuss whether you can get a refund for the unused part of the fees you paid. In both cases, always make sure you give written notice of cancellation of the agreement.

  3. Is my employer under an obligation to keep paying my wage while the company is closed temporarily?

    If your employer decides to temporarily cease operations on account of the coronavirus crisis, your employer must continue to pay you your wage, even if there is no or less work for you to do.
  4. Is my employer under an obligation to do everything within his/her power to keep my workplace free of coronavirus?

    Your employer is under an obligation to provide a healthy and safe workplace. This means that he/she must take measures to reduce the risk of infection. Aside from that, your employer must also clearly communicate any hygiene measures taken.
  5. Is my employer allowed to change my work hours?

    Yes. Due to the measures imposed by the government, employers must spread out their employees’ work hours over the coming period. This may mean that you end up working different hours. However, your employer is supposed to always discuss any changes with you first.
  6. A colleague of mine has contracted coronavirus, so I’d prefer not to go to work right now. Can my boss make me come in to work?

    Yes, your boss can make you come in. The advice is to work from home as much as possible, provided that yours is a job that you can do from home. Most employers allow home working. But if your employer wants you to come in to work, you are still under an obligation to do so. This is unless you have a valid reason not to, such as when you have a cold. After all, the guidelines of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) are that you must stay at home if you have a cold.

Any further questions?

If you have any questions about the impact of coronavirus on your travel insurance, please go to the page about travel and coronavirus.