The new pay deal for care workers working with people with disabilities includes a clause allowing them to ignore messages and phone calls from work while they are off duty.

The FNV trade union, which negotiated the deal, said the clause was a specific request from workers and is the first of its kind in the Netherlands.

‘Many of our members were unhappy about being contacted,’ said negotiator Karim Skalli. ‘This agreement means you are really off on your day off.’

The union wants to include a similar clause in other pay and conditions agreements, if members consider it to be important.  In France workers have had the right to be left alone outside working hours since 2017.

Dutch Labour MP Gijs van Dijk who tried to introduce similar legislation in the Netherlands last year, told the NRC the new agreement is ‘good news’.

‘Work-related stress is a primary reason why people become ill,’ he said. ‘if you are at home, after a busy day at work, you want to take it easy and spend time with your family.’