Regulation of remote working: which countries have laws on it?

Regulation of remote working: which countries have laws on it?

June 30 / 2022

In any social or labour context, first a situation or problem arises and then a law appears to regulate it. The massive use of drones or electric scooters, for example, led to hasty regulations aimed at controlling the correct use of the new technology.

The same has happened with the regulation of remote work. The worldwide irruption of remote work due to the pandemic has generated a new reality and therefore a new legislation that tries to normalize its development. The casuistry is wide and countries have to make an effort to achieve an adequate regulation of teleworking. 

Rights and responsibilities 

How can this huge number of remote workers guarantee the protection of their rights and welfare? Do employers know what their responsibilities towards their remote employees should be? 

The EU’s Joint Research Centre states that policies to support the transition to teleworking must take into account the potential benefits and costs for productivity, quality of work, as well as an effective balance among the personal and professional life and the mental health of the employees.

The regulation on remote work should drive companies’ commitment to further develop their employees’ careers, albeit remotely. This requires a certain level of technological investment. Currently, only 38% of European SMEs are committed to investing in new technologies.  

Regulation of remote work: countries with regulations on this work model

Portugal

Our neighbouring country got down to work with its Green Paper on the Future of Work. It consists of a document whose objective is to regulate new work models, responding to particular challenges such as hybrid work. 

Portugal’s efforts in recent years to create appropriate remote work legislation and its strategies to promote the country have made it a major magnet for many digital nomads. 

Germany

Companies are obliged to offer their employees the option of teleworking as long as there are no significant operational reasons not to do so. The works council must be consulted in advance before introducing remote work.

This committee has further codetermination rights applicable to all employees. An example would be the allocation of working time and digital surveillance when software is included to monitor the activity of the employees who perform their work remotely.

Ireland

Due to its large population of remote workers, its regulation of teleworking is essential in this day and age. As is the case of Germany, companies must demonstrate the existence of an insurmountable pretext for rejecting a request for teleworking.

Ireland’s objective is to make hybrid work available to employees in all relevant sectors in the very short term. On the other hand, companies will be obliged to provide safe and appropriate equipment with which to carry out work at home. 

The idea is to encourage the various public service employees to allocate 20% of their time to work outside the office.

Russia

Its regulation of remote work is currently focused on the material support of teleworkers. Employers have the obligation to provide the equipment and means necessary to perform the work from home.

This material support may include, for example, the reimbursement for desks, office chairs or software used for teleworking. 

Regulation of remote work in Spain

Royal Decree-Law 28/2020 includes its regulation when it represents a minimum of 30% of the working day. It establishes an important differentiation:

  • Remote work: the work activity may take place at home or elsewhere. Its duration is throughout all or part of the day, on a regular basis.
  • Teleworking: remote work involving the predominant use of computer/technological systems.
  • Face-to-face work: the activity is carried out at the work centre or at the place set by the company.

Among some of its highlights we can find:

Voluntary, reversible and maintaining the same rights

An employee may refuse to perform their activity in this manner without it being grounds for dismissal. If this modality is chosen, it is possible to return to the face-to-face system, but it must be regulated either in the agreement signed by the employee or in the collective bargaining agreement. The employee maintains the same rights as if they were performing their activity in person.

Workday

Regardless of the flexible working hours that may be enjoyed, the work schedule must be complied with and will be recorded in accordance with Article 34.9 of the Workers’ Statute. 

Expenses

The agreement signed in writing by the employee or in the collective bargaining agreement must reflect the financial compensation for the expenses related to the development of remote work. These include internet access and electricity consumption.

The right to disconnection and privacy

The right to digital disconnection outside working hours implies that the company can specify the modalities of exercising this right and limit the use of technological means during rest periods. Companies may not require the installation of software or computer applications when the devices with which the work activity is carried out belong to the employee themselves. At Cloudworks we check daily the implementation and regulation of teleworking in our spaces. The success of this work model makes it an established reality with an assured future. For this reason, we make sure that our facilities always have the necessary means for professionals to carry out their work in optimal conditions. Don’t you know us yet? Contact us and discover the space you were looking for!