Flexible Working Act in practice

Does your company have more than 10 employees? Then your employees can submit a request to change their working hours to better suit their personal situation. For example, a request to work fewer hours. Or to start the working day later to be able to take the children to school. The the Wet flexibel werken, (Flexible Working Act, Wfw) covers these kinds of requests. Read what this law means in practice.

Based on the Wet flexibel werken, employees can apply to adjust their working hours, working time, and workplace. For example, to better arrange their work-life balance. The Flexible Working Act has existed since 1 January 2016. It is a replacement and extension of the Wet aanpassing arbeidsduur (Working Hours [Adjustment] Act). 

Flexible Working Act in practice

The following requests are covered by the Wfw.

Working more or fewer hours

Your employee submits the request to work more or fewer hours. An employee may never work more hours than permitted by law. The Arbeidstijdenwet (Working Hours Act) states, among other things, that employees may not work more than 60 hours per week. Your employee may: 

  • work an average of 55 hours per week over a 4-week period;
  • work an average of 48 hours per week over a 16-week period.

Different working hours

Your employee can ask for different working hours. Barbara Bolle, GZ-psychologist at psychology practice Perspectief, recognises the benefit of different working hours: "For a long time, I was allowed to start an hour later so that I could take the children to school myself first. And then I was at work on time for my first patient. This small adjustment gave me a lot of peace of mind."

Work wherever you want

Your employee submits the request to adjust the workplace, or place of work. For example, many employees like to work partly from home. If your employee works (partly) from home, you must provide for a good home workplace. You can also permit your employees to work partly from abroad. According to the Flexible Working Act, this must be a country within the European Union. 
Nynke Hoogma, working in Product Development & HR at Better Places, appreciates her employer's flexibility in allowing her to work from a different location: "We are allowed to work from abroad for a certain period of the year. It's nice to get that trust."

Conditions for submitting a request

Your employee's request must meet the following conditions:

  • Your employee must be employed in your business for at least 26 weeks;
  • Any previous request must have been submitted one year or more ago;
  • The request must be submitted in writing at least two months before the desired effective date.

Content of request

Your employee must include the following information in the request:

  • From which date your employee wants to make the change;
  • How many hours your employee wants to work more or less;
  • How your employee wants to distribute these hours over the working week;
  • At which location your employee wants to carry out the work.

Your employee does not need to give a reason for the request.

Response from the employer

You must consult with your employee about the request no later than one month before the desired starting date. You must then respond in writing. If you fail to do so, your employee may start working as stated in the request. You can only refuse the request if you have a good reason to do so. Reasons may include:

  • There is no other colleague who can take over the work;
  • The staff formation does not allow it;
  • There is not enough money or work available;
  • It causes problems with the work schedule;
  • Safety in your business is at risk;
  • You have fewer than 10 employees.

Does your employee request to change their working hours to care for children under the age of 8? Or to provide informal care? Then the condition of a minimum of 10 employees does not apply.

If you refuse the request with good reason, your employee has to wait at least a year before they submit a new request. You may also propose a solution that is different from your employee's wish. You must inform your employee of the reason for the different proposal in writing.