February 22, 2021

A new legal regime for teleworking has been outlined in a regulation that took effect on 2 Feb 2021, and which implements the updated social partners’ convention on teleworking finalized in October 2020. The prior framework was based on a 2006 convention that was not in line with current teleworking arrangements introduced to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The new regulation defines “occasional” and “regular” telework and excludes certain roles (such as sales representatives) and employees who work in coworking spaces, or who provide services at a customer’s worksite. 

Highlights

  • “Occasional telework” is defined as less than 10% of a teleworker’s normal annual working time, and all other teleworking arrangements are classified as “regular teleworking.”
  • The employer and employee must both agree to teleworking, and the arrangements for regular teleworkers must be set out in writing, though occasional telework only requires a written confirmation (such as an email).
  • An agreement on regular telework can be decided on with an individual employee, by a company agreement, or in a collective bargaining agreement. Certain employers have to consult with staff representatives, and might have to seek agreement to a telework policy. The agreement must include the location of telework (it no longer has to be the employee’s home); the employee’s work schedule; any compensation procedure for benefits employees would have received if they were at the employer’s worksite; any fixed monthly payment by the employer to cover internet costs and other communication; the procedure for agreeing to overtime; and the process for returning to the employer’s worksite.
  • Employers must pay for and provide the necessary equipment to teleworkers. 
  • All employees have the same right to disconnect from work, and teleworkers have the right to the same treatment as employees who work at the employer’s workplace.
  • Teleworkers can request the company’s occupational health services to inspect their chosen place of work, but the employer does not have a right to carry out an on-site inspection.
 

Related resource

Fiona Webster
by Fiona Webster

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

Stephanie Rosseau
by Stephanie Rosseau

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group


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