Finance

Schools closed (again)? These are your rights at work

Whether the schools will actually close is still uncertain. The Outbreak Management Team (OMT) is divided about the desirability of the measure and ultimately it is up to the cabinet. There will be certainty during the press conference tomorrow evening.

If the schools do close, it will not be the first time. Last year, parents and employers were in the same boat. But if you do run into problems, it is good to know what your rights are as an employee, says Frank Penders, employment lawyer at Otis Advocaten.

Do you have a vital profession?

Last year, the government made an exception for people in vital professions. If you have a vital profession, your children can go to school during the day. “Check whether you fall under such a vital profession and then talk to the school,” says Penders.

Talk to your boss

If you don’t have a vital profession, talk to your boss if you get into trouble. “I think that parties often work out very well,” says Penders. Employers understand well how annoying it can be if the government decides to close the schools, and they often have children themselves.

“If you really can’t handle it, you can’t assume that you are entitled to continued payment of wages,” says Penders. Coming up with a solution together is therefore obvious. “Think of using vacation days and taking unpaid leave.”

Emergency leave

If you cannot manage the first few days that the schools close, Penders does not think it is crazy to use emergency leave. If a school is closed by the government because of corona, it can take a while before care and guidance is arranged for the children.

“It really is a legal right that you have. I believe that closing schools justifies an appeal to this,” he says.

“It is a very limited solution. It only takes a few hours or at most a few days,” says Penders. “Nevertheless, that can largely be a solution if schools close and you have to switch quickly at home.”

Short-term care leave if your child is sick

If your child becomes ill, you can apply for short-term care leave. This applies to a maximum of 10 days per year.

In principle, those days are still paid, but keep in mind that in some cases the employer can pay slightly less wages, says Penders.

Check your contract

In addition to all this, it is worth taking a look at your contract or collective labor agreement. This sometimes includes separate provisions on emergency leave and care leave, says Penders. “It’s good to be aware of that then you know where you stand

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