Corona and compulsory vacation days

Employee has been working at Employer since the 1 st of August 2018. There is a lot going on between the Employer and the Employee, and therefore the Employer started a court procedure to request the dissolution of the employment contract with the Employee.

Part of the discussion between parties is a letter that the Employer had sent to all employees, including the Employee on March 31, 2020. The Employer states in that letter what measures he is taking as a result of all Corona measures the Dutch government took. One of these measures is that all executives are expected to take 20% holiday per week from 1 June 2020, starting that week.

In this matter, the court is (also) asked whether the Employer can unilaterally impose this measure on his employees for the sole reason of the Corona pandemic. The judge answers this question briefly and clearly: no, this is not possible.

The employment contract of the Employee included a so-called unilateral amendment clause. An employer can only invoke this if the employer has an overriding interest in the change of the employment contract and that the interest of the employee, which would be harmed by the change, must assign according to the standards of reasonableness and fairness. In this case, the Employee had not accepted the proposal to take 20% vacation every week. The Employer had only substantiated its decision to take this measure with reference to the Corona crisis. The judge found this single reference not strong enough to assume a weighty interest.

Questions about Corona and employees? Call Trevi Advocaten and be well prepared.