Employees who have an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination during working hours can take an emergency or short-term leave of absence for this, but only if they are truly unable to make an appointment outside working hours. Employers must then also pay these employees wages during the time spent away from work for the vaccination. Rendement inquired with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment about the rules on getting your COVID-19 vaccination during working hours, and the ministry confirmed that taking a paid leave of absence to get vaccinated is possible.
Employees can take a so-called emergency leave of absence (called calamiteitenverlof in Dutch) for any ‘unforeseen circumstances which require an immediate interruption from work’. Examples of this include a fire, burglary or leakage in an employee’s house. This type of leave can also be taken for ‘very special personal situations’, such as a partner giving birth, the death and funeral of certain relatives, a visit to the doctor or hospital which cannot be scheduled outside working hours as well as providing necessary care for a relative on the first day of illness.
Criteria for Emergency Leave
If an employee receives an invitation to get vaccinated against COVID-19 during working hours, it depends on his/her employment contract and the circumstances involved whether or not (s)he can take an emergency leave of absence. One of the following criteria must be met for an emergency leave of absence:
- it concerns an emergency situation which requires an immediate interruption of all work; or
- it is an unforeseen situation; or
- it concerns a situation which cannot take place outside working hours.
As for a vaccination against COVID-19, although it concerns neither an emergency situation nor an unforeseen situation, it does concern a situation which cannot take place outside working hours. After all, the time slots you can choose from for your vaccination are selected for you. If all slots are during working hours, there is nothing the employee can do about it. In other words, employees are allowed to request an emergency leave for their COVID-19 vaccination.
If there is a time slot available outside working hours and an employee nonetheless decides to get vaccinated during working hours, (s)he cannot take an emergency leave of absence for it. Instead, (s)he must use any accrued paid vacation time.
Leave also possible for employees who must accompany someone
Employees who must accompany someone during their vaccination – for instance because of a mental or physical disorder – can also take an emergency or short-term leave of absence. In this situation, the same criteria as mentioned above apply. In addition, the person who is accompanied must be a direct relative, someone they have a close social relationship with (such as a partner or girl-/boyfriend) or a roommate. Moreover, there must not reasonably be a possibility for someone else to accompany the respective person.