ECONOMY

Rules planned for telework

rules-planned-for-telework

The Labor Ministry is setting up a new framework for teleworking, an option that was widely applied during the spring lockdown to keep many companies from going under.

Remote working had a very small take-up rate in Greece before the pandemic compared to the rest of the European Union, but skyrocketed once measures to restrict the spread of the coronavirus went into force. In March, just 4.7% of Greeks worked from home – against 7.1% in the EU, according to Eurofound data – jumping to 26% in April.

Given this shift, the ministry is planning a set of 10 amendments that will be included in a draft law on labor and social security regulations that is set to be submitted to Parliament in the coming weeks.

According to Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis the onus of the main guidelines in the new teleworking framework will fall on employers who will have to adhere to contractual obligations and set working hours, respect the private lives of employees working from home and cover the cost of equipment required for the work to be carried out. The legislation will also ban monitoring employees at home by camera and introduce a system to control teleworking in accordance with personal data protection laws. Employers will further have to declare all their teleworking employees and their hours on the ministry’s “Ergani” database.

Working from home should not alter the nature of the labor contract, according to the interventions the ministry is planning. In case the equipment used belongs to the worker, employers must cover maintenance costs and determine compensation for the cost of its use during working house. Working hours is a thorny issue, as it may be difficult to distinguish working time from free or personal time at home. Another provision concerns the creation of a special monitoring division for teleworking at the Labor Inspection Unit.

The draft bill will further provide for the combination of teleworking with working at the premises of the enterprise under any kind of contract.