The Working Conditions Act applies to all employers and employees and changes regularly.
The renewed Working Conditions Act increases the involvement of employers and employees in occupational health services and makes prevention even more central. We have listed the most important issues for you.
- The basic contract is entered. This sets minimum requirements for the contract between occupational health service providers and employers, including access to the workplace and the second opinion. The rights and obligations for the employer, employee and health and safety service providers are also mentioned. The ability to do more remains, for which customized agreements can be made.
- The employer must ensure that the employee can visit the company doctor if he has questions about his health in relation to the work, even if the employee has not yet failed or has complaints. This can be done, for example, through an open consultation hour . Every employee therefore has the right to visit the company doctor without permission from the employer. This is aimed at preventing complaints and absenteeism.
- In order to obtain a good understanding of working conditions and workload, the company doctor must also be able to visit every workplace. That way he can get to know the company better.
- The employee can request a second opinion from another company doctor if he doubts the correctness of the advice given by the company doctor. Company doctors must always honor this request, unless there are compelling reasons not to do so. The employer pays this second opinion.
- Prevention is even more central. For example, it is indicated that the company doctor must advise the employer about the application of preventive measures for healthy and safe working of the employees. It is also included that the company doctor advises on sickness absence counseling instead of providing assistance. This emphasizes that it is the employer who is responsible for absenteeism counseling.
- The signaling and reporting of occupational diseases was already a task for the company doctor. The basic contract now states that the company doctor must be able to report occupational diseases to the Dutch Center for Occupational Diseases and must therefore also be able to devote time to this.
- Every company doctor must have a complaints procedure so that an employee can file a complaint. From now on, this applies to all occupational physicians, even if they do not work for a certified occupational health service and, for example, work as an independent company doctor.
- In addition to the company doctor, the prevention officer also has a stronger role in the new Working Conditions Act. Every company had to appoint at least one employee as a prevention employee. The prevention officer is responsible for advising and cooperating with the company doctor and other health and safety service providers.
The new Working Conditions Act entered into force on 1 July 2017. Until 1 July 2018, employers and occupational health service providers will have the time to adjust the contracts. This can be done by means of an addition to the existing contract or by entering into a new contract.