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    What are our rights and duties when an on-call employee does not show up?

    What are our rights and duties when an on-call employee does not show up to a previously confirmed shift without providing a good reason?

    As employer, you must notify an on-call employee (called ‘oproepkracht’ in Dutch) on time when his/her shift starts. On time here means at least four days in advance. Moreover, the notification must be sent in writing, either by letter or email, unless the collective labor agreement states otherwise. Once the notification is sent, the on-call employee must come to work. It is therefore important to check whether you have sent the employee the correct information.


    If the respective employee does not show up for work without providing a good reason, you do not have to pay him/her any wages for the scheduled shift. However, do remember that an employee can fall ill or be forced to go into quarantine in the period between the notification and the start of the shift. It is therefore important to not only check the reason the employee cannot show up for work, but to also approve and confirm the absence in writing. Discuss with the employee the reason (s)he cannot come to work. Again, record anything that is being discussed in writing.

    Work refusal

    If the employee does not provide a good reason for his/her absence or does not notify you (s)he cannot come to work, it is to be regarded as a case of work refusal. You can give the respective employee an official warning for this. If it happens more often, you may dismissed the employee. Of course, any relevant agreements and stipulations stated in the employment contract must be taking into consideration here. If the employee in question has a temporary contract, you can choose not to extend the contract. If the employee has a permanent contract, however, you must follow the official dismissal procedure, which involves providing a reasonable ground for the dismissal. In practice, work refusal will never result in a summary dismissal; instead, employer and employee will usually enter into a settlement agreement. Still, a summary dismissal may happen if the work refusal leads to greater and structural problems on the work floor.

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