Vaccination in the Netherlands: As an employer, how can you promote it?

We are all eagerly looking forward to the moment that the Netherlands will reopen. When enough Dutch people get vaccinated, we can open up again, step by step. It is therefore attractive as an employer if staff are vaccinated. However, as an employer, you may not oblige your employees to vaccinate, just as you may not keep records of vaccinated personnel. As an employer, you can, however, ensure that it is attractive for the employee to get vaccinated.

Employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment. Many employers would therefore like to see all their employees vaccinated. But what can you expect and demand from your employees when it comes to vaccination against the corona virus? And what can they expect from you as an employer?

The don’ts

Mandatory vaccination is not allowed

In the Netherlands we are entitled to the fundamental right of the inviolability of the body. Everyone can decide for themselves what happens to his or her body, whether medical procedures are performed and whether prescribed medicines are taken. The coronavirus is not a valid reason to deviate from this, which means that the employer may not oblige the employee to be vaccinated.

It is also not possible to apply for the vaccine yourself. The vaccination is carried out according to a rate set by the national government. Everyone has to wait until he or she receives an invitation letter for the corona vaccination.

Employee privacy

In addition to the fact that it is not permitted to oblige the employee to be vaccinated, as an employer you are not allowed to register the vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees. This has to do with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). According to the privacy law, it is not allowed to ask employees whether they want to vaccinate or whether they have done so. If you do ask, the employee is not obliged to answer. The employee may share this with you on his own initiative, but no registration may be made of this either. Not even if the employee gives permission for this. This has to do with the fact that given the employment relationship, the employee may feel compelled to give permission for registration.

The do’s

What can I do as an employer?

As an employer, there are several things you can do to ensure safety in the workplace. Observe the guidelines of the RIVM or the protocol of your trade association. Where necessary, provide your employees with the necessary protective equipment.
Despite the fact that it is not allowed to oblige your employees, as an employer you can motivate your employees to get vaccinated. You can do this, for example, by continuing to pay wages if the employee is vaccinated during working hours. A vaccination that cannot be scheduled outside working hours falls under calamity and other short absenteeism leave and entitles the employee to leave with pay. Emphasize the importance of the vaccination and talk to the employees and provide the correct information from the national government. However, keep in mind that it is not allowed to encourage the employee to vaccinate by offering a sum of money or days off.