Employers want to relax Covid quarantine rules as absenteeism problems rise
Employees who had contact with an infected person, but have tested negative for the coronavirus and don't have symptoms, should be able to go to work. That is what employers' organizations VNO-NCW and MKB Nederland want. According to the organizations, the quarantine rules must be relaxed "so that people who are not sick can get back to work as soon as possible before half of the Netherlands is on the couch without symptoms." Many people are now stuck at home unnecessarily long due to the quarantine rules, a spokesperson said.
At the moment, someone who had a booster shot more than a week ago and has no complaints does not have to quarantine after contact with an infected person. People who recovered from Covid-19 less than eight weeks ago and don't have complaints also don't have to quarantine. Everyone else has to isolate themselves after contact with someone who has the coronavirus.
"If someone in your household tested positive, but you adhere to the rules, have tested negative, and have no complaints, then you should be able to go to work," said a spokesperson for VNO-NCW. Employees who tested positive must, of course, stay home, the spokesperson said.
Entrepreneurs in the manufacturing industry are struggling under the quarantine measures, said FME, the employers' organization for the technology industry. A poll showed that three-quarters of companies produce less due to quarantine measures. Absenteeism is "rising rapidly," said FME, with consequences for production. A fifth of those surveyed indicated that they downscaled production as a precaution.
The trade association for waste collectors NVRD wants the quarantine measures to be relaxed for crucial professions as soon as possible. The municipality of Amsterdam reported on Monday that not all waste could be collected because so many employees are in quarantine after contact with someone with the coronavirus. According to a spokesperson for the NVRD, these problems are happening all over the country.
"We want people who have no complaints to be able to work, said the NVRD spokesperson. "We now have to do our very best to get the rosters full while many people are at home without complaints." The NVRD is prepared to provide face masks and self-tests to employees.
The employers' organizations also said that they are "greatly concerned" about the testing capacity at the GGD. On Monday, the umbrella organization GGD GHOR Nederland announced that they reached their maximum capacity of 150,000 test samples per day. As a result, people may have to wait longer to get tested for Covid-19.
Commercial test providers will help increase the test capacity from the end of the week. These testers are affiliated with the Open Netherlands Foundation. It is unknown how many tests the providers can perform and how far they can increase the capacity. The foundation is currently mapping out which locations are suitable and willing to participate.
Reporting by ANP.