Vital businesses want priority for Covid tests
As the number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands is increasing, so are the waiting times for people with symptoms to get tested for te virus. This is an issue for workplaces, as the government advice is for workers to stay home if they have symptoms and while waiting for their test results. Companies in vital sector, like healthcare and the food sector, therefore demand priority in testing, NOS reports.
Food and logistics sector organization CBL is currently in talks with the government on getting priority in testing. Employees in this sector need to be physically present to do their jobs, and businesses fear being unable to fill rosters if many employees fall ill. "There are no extreme situations yet," a CBL spokesperson said to the broadcaster. "But we want to prevent them from occurring. If an employee is ill, many colleagues can come up in a source and contact investigation. Now that the number of infections is increasing, that chance is increasing too."
Employees with flexible contracts are worried that they will miss salary or even lose their jobs if they take off work while waiting for their Covid-19 test results, according to NOS. Union FNV could not tell the broadcaster how many workers don't stay home if they have symptoms, but said that it does get a lot of questions about workers' rights. According to a spokesperson, the coronavirus crisis demands a lot from people. "You really have to stand your ground in this crisis. If you don't, you will be put under pressure. This mainly happens with temporary workers and people with temporary contracts, for example in supermarkets and distribution centers."
Employers have a lot of power over flexible workers, the FNV spokesperson said. "Then you have to be very assertive as an employee. But on the other hand, you may wonder how assertive you can be if there is a risk that you will not get a contract extension."
Employers' organizations VNO-NCW and MKB Nederland told NOS that employers are struggling to create a safe working environment. Quickly knowing whether a worker has the coronavirus or not will help with that. "It is essential that testing goes quickly and smoothly. For society, for the economy and simply because you want to know quickly yourself," VNO-NCW said. "Fortunately the GGDs recognize this problem and are working hard on it."