The introduction of the CoronaMelder app, now downloaded at least 2.65 million times, poses problems for employers, employees and the self-employed. Anyone who receives a notification via the app is advised to go into quarantine for ten days – even if this turns out not to be necessary afterwards. You may not get yourself tested unless you have complaints.
There are concerns about this procedure, including among employers’ organizations VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland. “Now you can get the situation that people are sitting at home while they have nothing”, says spokesman Edwin van Scherrenburg of VNO-NCW.
“It’s a good tool, but the advice should be: get tested. But for that to happen, the test capacity has to be increased, the results have to come faster and we have to deploy rapid tests on a massive scale.”
Bowling cannot do without staff
Many companies run into problems if a large number of employees have to be quarantined, employers fear. Working from home is not always possible. “If you have an IT company or accounting office, you can arrange it if you receive such a report and end up at home,” says Hans Biesheuvel of the ONL business organization. “But for an aluminum factory, a bus company or a bowling alley, it gets complicated if the staff have to stay at home for ten days. And there are already enough companies that are now fighting for survival.”
Biesheuvel also thinks what should be done. He says he speaks to many entrepreneurs who emphasize that health comes first, and that the app can help with that. “It is also in the interest of entrepreneurs and companies that we resolve it as quickly as possible.”
The self-employed person’s buffer is not intended to be healthy at home for ten days.
It’s a complicated issue, says Irene van Hest of the FNV Zelfstandigen trade union. “A self-employed person who cannot work from home and receives the report, has no alternative between closing the case or running the risk that he or she infects others. And of course nobody wants that.”
The FNV advises self-employed people to simply follow the advice of the app, but finds that difficult. Van Hest: “A self-employed person who is at home for ten days must use his buffer, but that buffer will also run out at some point.
FNV fears salary discount
On the employee side, there is understanding for the problems faced by employers, says vice chair Kitty Jong of the FNV trade union. “We understand that it is difficult for employers – who already have the water up to their lips – when employees suddenly have to be quarantined. But as a society we have to do something.”
The FNV is not against the use of the app, but against the way it was introduced. “You cannot just introduce this policy without having the test capacity in order,” says Jong. “And without it being made clear to employers and employees how we are all going to do it. The final responsibility is being misplaced by the government.”
Jong fears that healthy people will sit at home for ten days at home – and that this will lead to discounts on salary, forfeiting vacation days or the obligation to come to work anyway. She believes that the government should provide financial support to companies.
Who pays double wages?
Although the app was on the shelf a few weeks before the official introduction took place, there are still many outstanding questions, says employment lawyer Pascal Besselink of legal service provider DAS. “It goes very far very quickly. The group that receives a report can potentially become very large. Do they all have to be quarantined? And does the employer have to pay? That quickly becomes unaffordable if you have several such situations. “
In addition, an employer who continues to pay employees who are in quarantine often also has to incur costs to replace the absent employee. Besselink: “Then you pay double wages, while there is only work in return.”