Coronavirus FAQ for employers

The coronavirus has great impact on the labor market. A lot of organizations are in dire straits. As an employer, you will have lots of questions in these uncertain times. Tentoo tries to help you with some clarification on rules and regulations. Listed below are employer’s frequently asked questions and answers. 

Please note that this FAQ will be updated on a daily basis. Whenever new measures or updates are announced, you will find the implications for employers below. Monitor this page for the latest information, but do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any additional questions.

1. Are my flex workers entitled to salary when they are unable to work due to the coronavirus?

In most cases; yes. However, this depends on the specific reason your staff is unable to work.

Staff cannot work because they are infected with the coronavirus. The same rules apply as when they would be sick in normal circumstances. The standardized illness guidelines for flex workers apply here.

2. A flex worker is in in quarantine under strict instruction by the RIVM (Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment). Is he entitled to salary payment?

Yes, if the quarantine is obligated, the flex worker should still receive salary payments.

3. Who is responsible for the continued salary payments?

This depends on the situation. Two scenario’s are described below.

  • Is the flex worker unable to work because they are infected with the coronavirus? When the flex worker is sick the usual regulations for illness apply. In this case the responsibility is not with the employer, but with the legal employer.
  • Is the flex worker unable to work because of circumstantial reasons (e.g. company is closed or preventative self-quarantine)? Here the flex worker is not sick. Continued salary payments are the employer’s responsibility. Please refer to the labor contract.

Take notice: if a flex worker is in quarantine because they are currently, or have been infected with the coronavirus, the general illness regulations for flex workers apply and the salary payment is not the employer’s responsibility.

4. How long should I keep paying salary wages?

This depends on the different types of contracts that your flex workers have. You can check what contract your flex workers have in Pay4me.

Phase 1/2 contract without a fixed number of hours
In this case you essentially do not need to continue salary payments. However, please take into account the notification time of 4 days. If you have scheduled an employee for work, you need to let them know at least 4 days in advance that the work is cancelled. When you fail to meet this deadline, you will have to pay your employees their salary.

Phase 1/2 contract with a fixed number of hours, without the obligation from for continued payment of wages, with agency clause)
In this case you can terminate the working agreement at any time. Inform Tentoo as quickly as possible through info@tentoo.nl. Please take into consideration there needs to be a notification of cancellation at least 10 days before you terminate your employee’s contract if they have worked over 26 consecutive weeks.

Phase 1/2 contract with a fixed number of hours, without the obligation for continued payment of wages, without agency clause
This contract obliges you as an employer to continue the salary for the agreed upon number of hours in the contract you have with your employee. You will pay your employee for the remaining month. After this, you are allowed to terminate the contract for the month thereafter and consequently stop the employees salary .

Phase 3 contract with fixed number of hours
You continue to pay your employees the same amount of salary for the previously determined number of hours you have agreed to in the contract, until the contract ends.

Phase 3 min-max contract
You continue to pay for the minimum numbers of hours in the contract you have with your employer, until the contract ends.

5. Can I apply for the government’s ‘shortening working hours policy’ or compensation in wage costst? (UPDATE: NOW 2.0 and TOFA)

Due to the coronacrisis the ‘shortening of wokring hours’ arrangement is no longer in effect.The NOW-regulation (the temporary “Emergency Measure

Can I apply for the government’s ‘shortening working hours policy’ or compensation in wage costs? (UPDATE: NOW 2.0 and TOFA regulation)

Due to the coronacrisis the ‘shortening of working hours’ arrangement is no longer in effect. The government supports employers with several other regulations, among which the NOW-regulation  (the temporary “Emergency Measure Bridging for the Retention of Employment”). The arrangement initially covered the period from March 1st to May 31st 2020. Meanwhile the regulation is extended with the period from June 1st to September 30th 2020 (NOW 2.0).

The NOW scheme offers a employers, who expects to be confronted with a substantial decrease in turnover due to the coronacrisis, a subsidy which compensates a part of the wage bill.  The government calculates the amount of the contribution for the wage costs of employees based on the decrease in turnover from their employer. We are the legal employer of the flex workers that you deploy through us. The calculation will be based on the turnover loss of our parent company Brisker Group.

For our customers we carry out the NOW regulation with a ‘corona idle hours arrangement’. We emailed our customers about the method and conditions of our arrangement.

TOFA regulation

The TOFA (Temporary Bridging Scheme for Flexible Workers) is a scheme for flex workers. Employers do not play a role in this scheme; flex workers who (almost) no longer have any income due to the corona crisis can submit an application for an allowance to the UWV. The scheme opened at June 22st 2020.

6. What should I do if an employee falls ill?

The employee needs to call in sick with our service desk on the first day of their absence. They can reach the service desk through +31 (0) 20 -280 60 80. Also advise them to call their doctor.

7. Can employees invoke their right to short-term emergency leave when they have to stay at home and take care of kids?

Yes, employees are allowed to invoke this right, but only for a short duration. An example could be to take care of a sick child or when the day-care suddenly closes. When the employee has to leave work for more than a few hours to take care of a sick child, they can apply for a so called compassionate leave or they can use their holiday days. The duration of the number of consecutive days that your employee is allowed to be absent depends on the type of contract they have or their accumulated reservations.

8. Can I apply to make use of the emergency fund?

The emergency fund does not cover diseases. They only cover ‘natural disasters that cause abnormal circumstances’. This does not apply for illness or pandemics.

9. Should I implement preventative measures to avoid coronavirus infection?

Yes, every employer is obligated to protect their employees and provide them with a safe space to work. Please implement the following rules to avoid corona-infection among employees:

  • Regularly wash and disinfect hands
  • Greet without shaking hands
  • Sneeze and cough on the inside of the elbow
  • Only use paper tissues.

Other measures:

  • Cancel non-essential business trips
  • Have the company doctor educate your staff on risks and symptoms
  • Allow employees to work from home as much as possible.
10. Can I force employees to comply with prevantative corona-measures?

Yes. Employees are obligated to follow orders in the category ‘reasonable instructions in the method in which their work should be executed’. This includes hygiene instructions to avoid coronavirus infection. When an employee chooses not to follow your instructions, you are allowed to do something about it. In any case, we advice you to present the corona prevention policy as a safety guideline, in the best interest of your employees.

11. What should I do when an employee does not want to work out of fear for a corona-infection?

If your employee is not especially at risk, you are allowed to obligate them to work. When your employee does not show you can cancel their salary payment. Always warn them before you take this action. You also have the option to suggest that the employee takes some holiday days.

Tentoo advises you to speak with your employees and decide together what your best option is. Currently, the government encourages working from home, so try and facilitate this for you employees and make sure they are able to follow the goverment’s suggestions as much as possible.

Is an employee refusing to come to work because they are afraid of infecting a co-worker? If they have a good reason to feel they pose a risk (e.g. they have an infected roommate), they should definitely stay at home. You can work on a solution together, such as working from home.

12. My employee is showing some light symptoms (like a cold) en wants to work. To be safe, you have send them home anyway and working remotely is not an option. Do the rules for illness apply?

If you decide to send an employee home who is showing minimal symptoms, there is not (yet) a case of illnes. You are responsible and you bear the costs and risks.

13. Am I allowed to ask about the health of my employees?

There are strict privacy rules for this situation. As an employer you can ask where your employees have been on holiday.  You are allowed to ask about their health, but your employees are not obligated to answer you. If your employee shares somethingabout their health, you are not allowed to document this. Do you suspect something is wrong? Please contact Tentoo.

14. What should I do when an employee is returning from a high risk corona-area?

This depends on where they are returning from and how they are feeling.

  • Are they returning from a ‘yellow’ area and are they feeling healthy? Then it’s okay to go to work. If they are experiencing any symptoms that could indicate corona (fever, shortness of breath, coughing)? Have them work from home and consult their doctor.
  • Are they returning from a ‘red or orange’ area? Allow this employee to work from home for at least 2 weeks. Also inform Tentoo.

Please consult the website of ‘Nederland Wereldwijd’ for an up to date overview on corona risk areas.

15. Can I check up on the health of an employee to avoid corona-infection among other employees?

Yes, you are allowed to measure body temperature of your workers during the corona crisis. You are allowed to measure body temperature of your workers under strict conditions. These conditions are best explained by following example. When you decide to measure body temperature of your employee, you are allowed to read the measurement. But you are not allowed to register the measurement.

Note: The Dutch Data Protection Authority states body temperature checks could feel like an invasion of privacy. Moreover, the RIVM claims only a small part of the corona infections show an increase in body temperature.

Want to know more about the coronavirus for flexworkers? Read our FAQ here.