I continue teleworking in my company, what rights do I have?



During the month of September, many companies have taken advantage of the return of summer to reincorporate a large part of their workforce to their offices. Some, however, continue with workers who work from home, while others opt for the mixed model. In these last two cases, the remote work law that came into force on July 10 of this year must be followed. These months have been an exception, since it was established that telework initiated as a result of the measures to stop the coronavirus would continue to be applied by ordinary labor regulations.

According to the law, remote work is understood as all work that is carried out outside the usual establishments and centers of the company. Teleworking also implies the provision of services with new technologies, such as remote work over the Internet. Both modalities are subject to the same regulations and affect all those who work remotely a minimum of 30% of the day in a period of three months or the equivalent proportional percentage depending on the duration of the employment contract. “In employment contracts with minors and in internship and learning contracts, distance work must guarantee a minimum of 50% of face-to-face service”, explains José Ramírez, labor lawyer at ARAG.

The law obliges the worker to sign a new contract or annex with the company, having to sign before starting. The document must include an inventory of the means, equipment and tools required to carry out the work; a list of the expenses that the worker may have and how the company will pay them; work hours and the percentage and distribution between face-to-face work and remote work; the physical workplace to which the person is linked; the means of business control of the activity; procedures to manage technical incidents; the company’s instructions on data protection and information security; and the duration of the teleworking agreement.

One of the issues that most concern those who work at home is who is responsible for the electricity bill. “The law protects teleworkers to enjoy the same rights as those who work in person,” explains the lawyer consulted. For this reason, the law states that “people who work remotely will have the right to adequate provision and maintenance by the company of all the means, equipment and tools necessary for the development of the activity.” This means that any material must be provided by the company. No explicit mention is made of the payment of electricity or internet bills, but they can be understood as necessary means to work. Collective agreements and agreements are the ones that will establish how these expenses are determined and compensated.

For its part, the telework law also includes the right to disconnect, which already existed since 2018. For telework, the right to disconnect is extended, establishing obligations to the company for its compliance. To do this, the company must create an internal policy “in which they will define the modalities of exercising the right to disconnect and the training and awareness-raising actions for staff on a reasonable use of technological tools that avoid the risk of computer fatigue.” .

It should be clarified that the law explains that telework is voluntary both for the company and for the worker. Therefore, a worker cannot require his company to continue to telework due to the pandemic, nor can the employer fire someone who does not wish to continue teleworking. Despite this, and taking into account that the danger of the pandemic has not disappeared, “workers could file a complaint with the Labor Inspection if they consider that their health and safety is not guaranteed against Covid because the minimum measures are not complied with security ”, explains José Ramírez.

Furthermore, if the worker does not want to telework, the company cannot demand mandatory vaccination. “Although it could happen that a company gives preference to vaccinated candidates to cover their successive personnel needs,” clarifies ARAG’s lawyer.

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