Nearly twelve months after the first lockdown, social partners have introduced a new national collective labour agreement (CLA) concerning compulsory teleworking as a result of the coronavirus crisis. What should you be aware of in this respect?
Teleworking is still the norm today. The new CLA No. 149 provides a framework that enables employers to set up agreements concerning COVID-19 related teleworking. Companies can incorporate such agreements in a company CLA, in their employment terms and conditions, in a teleworking policy or in an individual agreement.
This CLA does not apply to companies that had already entered into collective or individual teleworking agreements before 1 January 2021.
What do you need to agree on in respect of teleworking?
Although teleworking often takes place at home, it is not exactly the same as working from home. What is special about teleworking is that it makes use of information technology.
As an employer, you need to set up agreements concerning:
- the provision of any equipment necessary for teleworking;
- technical support;
- additional connection costs;
- compensation or payment if your employee uses their own equipment.
Well-being, privacy and teleworking related accidents
You must also safeguard your employees’ well-being during this extraordinary period by conducting a multidisciplinary risk analysis.
The recommendations attached to the CLA also state that, according to Fedris (Federal Agency for Occupational Risk), any accidents that occur during COVID-19 teleworking shall be considered industrial accidents.
Time to take action
If you have not already set up teleworking agreements over the past few months, you urgently need to take action now. The government has already announced strict controls on compliance with Coronavirus Rules in recent months and this CLA will no doubt become part of this approach from now on. In view of the fact that the CLA will become mandatory, there will also be sanctions in the event of non-compliance.
Do you need assistance to draw up your teleworking policy? We are happy to help.