Restrictions on air travel for all staff

As of 1 October 2021 all government staff will be required to travel by public transport instead of by air in more circumstances. The rules had already been tightened up as of 1 January 2021 for central government employees working in the Netherlands, and now also appllies to local staff and staff posted abroad. This change is intended to reduce CO2 emissions, as a further elaboration of the National Climate Agreement.

General rule for choosing between public transport and air travel

As of 1 October 2021 staff posted abroad, their family members and local employees will be entitled to travel by air at the employer’s expense only if:

  • public transport is not available on the travel route;
  • the journey time by public transport is more than eight hours and more than one-and-a-half times the journey time by air; or
  • the competent manager is of the opinion that travel by public transport would be unreasonably arduous in the light of special local circumstances or the individual’s personal circumstances.

The other rules concerning travel are unchanged, for example on deciding whether a trip is necessary or a virtual meeting would be a suitable alternative, on the class that can be chosen when travelling by air or train and on how the amount reimbursed for travel costs is determined.

Calculation of journey time when selecting a mode a transport

In all cases the journey to and from a station or airport and the waiting time (checking-in time) are included. The comparison is based on the full journey time and not on the duration of the train journey or flight alone.

When selecting the mode of transport, the journey time by public transport and air for staff posted abroad and their family members with whom they share a household at the duty station is calculated from the staff member’s place of work (the chancery) to the destination.

For their family members who do not reside at the duty station, the journey time is calculated from their home to the destination. This applies to official travel, travel to rejoin family and travel for the purposes of transfer, training or leave.

For local employees, the journey time by public transport and air is calculated from the employee’s place of work (thechancery) to the destination. For them, this applies to official travel and travel for training purposes.

Agreements and regulations

The supplementary collective labour agreement for central government staff posted abroad (ACRU; article 3.100) and the Legal Status (Local Employees) Regulations (LSR 2020; article 4.17) will be amended accordingly as of 1 October 2021. These amendments follow the new general rule for travel in the collective labour agreement for central governmentstaff (CAO Rijk; part 10.3) introduced on 31 December 2020. This amendment is a further elaboration of the agreements on reducing CO2 emissions laid down in the National Climate Agreement.

For more information go to Rijksportaal

Image: Tineke Dijkstra