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February 18, 2020

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Work-life balance - Lessons from the Netherlands

As an Australian living and working in The Netherlands for 15 years, hardly a day goes by without someone still asking me: “Why are you living here instead of Australia?”


Well there are a number of reasons but to make a long story short, I have a great work-life balance.


The Netherlands is pretty progressive in its labor laws enabling flexibility since 2000 for men and women to work part-time and have the same rights as full-time employees.

“Het nieuw werken” (the new way of working) is a phrase dating back to 2005 for companies like Microsoft and national Telco KPN, enabling their people to work where and when they want with the focus clearly on results and productivity.


In 2010 the Dutch Government started a nationwide campaign to promote flexibility among employees.


To further stimulate flexible working conditions, the Flexible Working Act (Wwf) came into force on 1 January 2016 with the intent of making it even easier for employees to work from home and carry out their work at times that best suits them.


Under the law today, after six months of employment an employee can request an adjustment to their working hours and, in companies where there are at least 10 employees, they can also request a change of workplace.


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