Lawmakers in the Netherlands have moved to make working from home a legal right, according to reports.
The move would make the European country one of the first in the world to enshrine remote work flexibility in the law.
The Dutch Parliament approved the measure earlier this week, Bloomberg is reporting.
The legislation is now heading to the Senate for final approval before becoming a fixture of the legal framework.
Steven van Weyenberg, a lawmaker for the D-66 Party and co-sponsor of the bill, told Bloomberg in late June that the measure had union backing.
“We have the green light for this new law thanks to the support we received from both employees and employers’ unions,” Weyenberg told the outlet. “We are very hopeful it will pass before the summer.”
Current law in the Netherlands lets employers deny employee requests for remote work without having to justify their decision.
The new measure, if it clears the upper legislative chamber and is signed into law, will force employers to consider work-from-home requests and provide a rationale for rejecting them.
For legions of employees, the pandemic upended work arrangements, with many going remote or hybrid.
While a growing number of workplaces have begun asking staff to return to the office, many workers want to keep the flexible option.
A recent Owl Labs survey on the remote work trend in Europe concluded that “hybrid work is here to stay,” noting that 76 percent of employees are worried that their employer will not adopt policies to allow for hybrid work.
The same survey found that the top policies that would most likely cause workers not to accept a job offer were not permitting flexible hours (37 percent), not allowing flexible work location (28 percent), and forcing staff to work in-office full time (28 percent).
Polling shows flexible work arrangements have also become popular in the United States where, prior to the outbreak, around 6 percent of Americans worked remotely, while during the pandemic, over a third shifted to working from home.
A recent Morning Consult survey showed that 61 percent of employed adults in the United States would be more likely to apply for a job that offers a remote work option.
The same poll showed that 56 percent of respondents enjoy working away from the office, while 50 percent said they’re more productive working remotely.
But a growing number of U.S. companies are keen to get staff back into the office.
A recent study by Microsoft found that 50 percent of companies already require or, in the year ahead, plan to require workers to be back in the office five days a week.
Employees, on the other hand, want flexibility, with the study showing that 52 percent of workers are considering switching to a full-time remote or hybrid job in 2022.