On the 26th of January 2021 the National Labour Council (NAR) concluded a national interprofessional collective agreement on telehomework during the COVID-19 crisis, which provides a clear framework for the minimum arrangements to be made at company level.
The new collective agreement applies to government-recommended or compulsory telehomework to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The CBA is concluded for a fixed term until 31 December 2021 and is mainly aimed at forcing companies that do not yet have a solid framework for telehomework to make agreements on this now.
The CBA applies to telework that is required or recommended by the government as part of the fight against the spread of COVID-19 and applies to companies that have not yet developed telework regulations by 1 January 2021. Thus, the schemes created before this date are not affected. Nor does the CBA prevent more sustainable schemes from being developed.
In order to comply with the obligations of the CBA and to clarify the rules within the company, collective bargaining agreements can be concluded at company level, work regulations can be amended, policies can be drawn up or individual agreements can be concluded. We advise to draft a policy (if not already in place) because of the flexibility of this instrument.
The rules contained in the aforementioned instruments must be clearly communicated, towards the employees but can simply be communicated via email or intranet.
In accordance with the CBA, the following principles apply and need to be agreed and communicated in every company who are doing telehomework:
|Terms of employment||The teleworker enjoys the same rights and obligations during telework as during work at the company site.
Arrangements must be made regarding:
|Organisation of employment||The teleworker organises his/her own work, while respecting the agreed working hours.
The workload and performance standards remain unchanged.
Consideration must be given to the possible adjustment of the timetable, the monitoring of the results to be achieved or the assessment criteria and the (un)accessibility of the teleworker. Agreements could be set up in this matter.
|The employer shall exercise control over the work of his employees in an appropriate and proportionate manner, taking into account the rules on the protection of personal data (GDPR, Collective Bargaining Agreement no. 81). The teleworker shall be informed accordingly.|
|Collective rights||Teleworkers have the same collective rights as when they work at the company site. This means that the employee representatives must have the possibility and right to keep communicating with their colleagues.|
|Wellbeing at work
|The teleworkers are informed about the company’s policy on well-being at work specifically related to telework.
The teleworkers are informed of the persons responsible for implementing this policy (manager, prevention advisor, confidential advisor, etc.). Teleworkers must be able to contact these people.
If necessary, an adjustment of the work post is proposed.
The employer must ensure that the teleworkers are connected to their colleagues and the company, with specific attention to vulnerable teleworkers.
- Kris De Schutter, Partner
Compliments of Loyens & Loeff – a member of the EACCNY.