Regulation of homework
Until now, working from home has been defined in art. 13 of the Workers’ Status Act, but the definition is very general and has often given rise to doubts.
The new law no. 28/2020 of 22 September now defines when working is telework, homework or face-to-face work, as well as the conditions of these types of work.
“The new rules on working from home does not apply to homework already implemented as a result of COVID-19.”
In relation to the application of the provisions of the new law, the following definitions are given:
- Remote work
When the work is performed from the worker’s home or another place chosen by the worker. It can be all or part of the day on a regular basis.
Remote work performed exclusively or predominantly using computer, telecommunications equipment or systems.
- “Face-to-face” work
When the work is performed at the workplace or elsewhere determined by the company.
To be considered homework, the following conditions must be met:
It is a condition that remote work / homework is done on a regular basis. This is the case when at least 30% of the working time for a period of 3 months is performed as remote work / homework.
In addition, it must be voluntary for both employer and employee. It must therefore not be a compulsory scheme, as this could be understood as a significant change in the terms of employment. The agreement on homework can for the same reason always be terminated by one of the parties with a notice period, but this must be done in writing.
- Written agreement
There must be a written agreement on homework between employer and employee, and it can either be incorporated into the original employment contract or drawn up subsequently, but in any case, it must be formalised before the homework begins.
The content of the written agreement on homework
The law states a number of matters that are mandatory content in the written agreement on homework, although with no possibility of disregarding provisions contained in collective agreements.
- Inventory list that describes necessary work tools / equipment and indicates their life expectancy or period before they are to be replaced / renewed.
- Expenses that an employee may have and how these are compensated by the employer.
- Working hours and availability.
- Indication of percentage and distribution of “face-to-face” work and homework.
- Indication of the place from which the employee has chosen to perform homework.
- Termination notice period.
- How the employer will control the homework.
- How to solve technical problems (instructions).
- Protection of personal data and information.
- Duration of the agreement on homework.
Rights of homeworkers
The law specifies a number of rights for workers working from home, including the following:
- Non-discriminatory and equal treatment
Workers who work at home must have the same rights as those who work from the company’s workplace.
- Education and career development
Workers who work at home have the right to participate in training activities and career development in the company, as if they were in the workplace.
The employee has the right to be off-line outside working hours.
- Occupational risks
Measures for occupational risks must be established.
- Work tools / equipment
Access to the work tools / equipment specified in the agreed inventory list and maintenance of the same.
- Compensation of expenses
Expenses must be covered by the employer.
- Flexible working hours
With respect to the homework agreement, collective agreement, and the statutory provisions on mandatory availability and breaks, workers who works from home have the right to flexible working hours.
- Registration of working hours
Working time registration must indicate the expected working time, start and end time without affecting the flexible working hours. The employer may apply control measures, but they must respect the privacy of the worker.
“If the worker already has better conditions than those introduced by the new legislation or collective agreement, these will not change.”
Entry into force
The new rules will enter into force on 13 October 2020.
Agreements on homework entered into before the law enters into force
The new rules on working from home do not apply to homework that has already been implemented as a result of Art. 5 of Act No. 8/2020 of 17 March regarding health precautions as a result of COVID-19.
If the employer and employee have already entered into a written agreement on homework at the time of the entry into force of the new law no. 28/2020 of 22 September, this agreement is valid until it expires.
If the agreement has not been entered into for a specific period, the new law will apply to this agreement from 12 October 2021, unless it is extended by the parties for up to three years.
If the previously concluded agreement on homework has not been entered into in writing, the new law applies as of 13 January 2021. This means that the agreement on homework must at this time have been formalised and entered into in writing.