The new regulations on teleworking

As we anticipated in the press release issued on the 23rd of September, 2020, the publication date of this regulation, Remote Working, which is commonly known as “Teleworking” has been specifically regulated through the Royal Decree-Law 28/2020 and it will come into force 20 days after being published, that is to say, on the 12th of October, 2020. Hereinafter there is a summary of the latest and most important points about the new regulation, the provisions of the collective bargaining agreements on the matter and those that have been covered by deals through company agreements must be taken into account. A. WHAT IS CONSIDERED TO BE TELEWORKING? Teleworking shall be considered to be any work that the employee does at home or anywhere else that they choose voluntarily, during their working hours or part of these, for at least 30% of the working day in a reference period of 3 months or the equivalent percentage according to how long the employment contract lasts. In employment contracts signed with minors and in work experience, training and apprenticeship contracts, only a remote work contract that guarantees, at least, fifty percent of the in-person provision of services shall be acceptable, regardless of the theoretical training related to this being done online, where appropriate. B. FAIR AND EQUAL TREATMENT, WORK-FAMILY BALANCE AND CO-RESPONSIBILITY. Individuals who telework shall have the same rights as those who actually render their services in the workplace and none of their job-related conditions shall be affected, which include the salary, job stability, working hours, training and professional promotion. Companies must also make sure that there is no type of gender discrimination. C. VOLUNTEERING AND REVERSIBILITY OF TELEWORKING. Teleworking shall be voluntary for employees and the company and a remote work contract, which specifies the corresponding conditions, shall be signed and it must be formalized in writing. It might be the start of the employment relationship and therefore be part of the initial employment contract or it might be signed later on. The remote work contract can be reversed and any amendment made to it must be established in writing again with the new terms and conditions specified and always before it comes into force. D. RIGHT TO HAVE EQUIPMENT AND RESOURCES. The company must pay for and supply individuals who work remotely with the equipment and the resources needed to do their work correctly and it must be responsible for the maintenance of such. The specific help that is needed whenever there are any technical problems, especially in the case of teleworking, must also be guaranteed. The teleworker is not expected to pay any expenses incurred in working remotely. E. RIGHT TO DIGITAL DISCONNECTION AND PROPER WORKING HOURS. In compliance with the terms of mandatory availability and the regulations on the working hours and rest, the teleworker can be more flexible in terms of the hours when the services are rendered, which have been established in the collection bargaining agreement. The employee must clock in and out at the beginning and end of the working day, regardless of the flexible working hours. Employees shall be entitled to digital disconnection outside their working hours. F. JOB STABILITY GUARANTEE. Objective dismissals on the grounds of problems that might arise when working remotely are not allowed. G. COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. Collective bargaining will be highly significant to guarantee the right to digital disconnection, minimum in-person working hours or the return to actually working in the company. H. MANAGERIAL CONTROL POWERS. The company can take the surveillance and control measures that it deems fit to make sure that the employee is complying with their job-related obligations and duties, as long as the employee’s dignity is taken into account. This Royal Decree-Law 28/2020 also provides for the extension of the ME CUIDA plan until the 31st of January, 2021, which among other points, governs the different situations to favour a work-life balance in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, this rule was approved by the Royal Decree-Law 8/2020.

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