Labor Ministry: Wages, Benefits For Employees Working From Home Should Not Change

The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (MADLSA) issued guidelines about teleworking (work from home) for employees and management explaining their responsibilities and rights.

Teleworking is an important component of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the guidelines posted on the MADLSA, as per the terms and provisions of employment contract, teleworking conditions of employment should remain the same as before. The employee’s wage and benefits, including the provision of food and accommodation or the payment of allowances, should not change as a result of teleworking.

Regarding working hours, employers and teleworkers should discuss and agree on teleworking hours and time during which they can be contacted. The number of teleworking hours should not exceed the average that was previously applied at the workplace. It should be noted that for most sectors, the working hours were reduced from 7 am to 1 pm (6 hours per day) during the crisis.

Regarding overtime, in sectors where working hours have been reduced to 6 hours per day: workers can agree to work a maximum of 2 hours as overtime per day if mutually agreed with the employer. In sectors that are operating on normal working hours and were excluded from the decision on reduced working hours: workers should continue to work 8 hours per day, and can work maximum 2 hours of overtime per day if mutually agreed with the employer.

The effective management of teleworking requires a result-based management approach. This involves identifying work objectives and tasks, and then monitoring and discussing progress.

The Ministry also stated that the employer should provide the necessary equipment and supplies that are needed to ensure the employees’ performance of their job duties. This includes electronic equipment. The Ministry encourages managers to share online tutorials on how to use and access the company intranet, to access emails remotely, and to install security protocols and handle sensitive files remotely.

The employee’s home workspace, when used for teleworking, is an extension of the workspace. Isolation at home can have a significant impact on the mental health of workers. Officials and supervisors should develop strategies to address the safety and health of teleworkers.

This includes organizing virtual weekly team meetings and daily check-in calls. Teleworkers should be contactable during the working hours agreed upon with the supervisor. Teleworkers are expected to maintain the same level of competence, productivity and quality of work as before the crisis. While teleworking, workers should not perform other personal activities during work hours. If at any time an employee is not performing official duties, the employee must take leave as appropriate.

Teleworking should not be used in place of annual, sick, or any other type of leave. Requests to use leave must be submitted, discussed and approved by the supervisor following the usual policy. The employee shall return all enterprise-owned equipment, software and data files at the end of the teleworking period, while it is necessary to maintain the confidentiality and security of the information. Teleworkers should maintain a balance between work and personal life by identifying a dedicated workspace and learning to disconnect from work at specified times reserved for rest and personal life.

For more information, please visit: The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs

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