October 21, 2020

Employers reject the draft bill on teleworking as “unbalanced” and “far from reality”


Employers return to charge against the teleworking legislation prepared by the Ministry of Labor, with which it intends that employees have the right to work remotely in case of “family force majeure” and expressly express that companies assume “all expenses” derived from telework, among other measures. The Draft Labor Law received direct and forceful criticism from the CEOE’s leader, Antonio Garamendi, in which he pointed out that companies could go to hire “Portugal or Brazil” if “rigid” legislation was approved. This Wednesday, after the first meeting of Labor with unions and employers to negotiate the bill, the two employers’ organizations have issued a statement rejecting the initial text of the Executive, which they label as “unbalanced” and “removed from reality” –

Employees will have the right to telework for

Employees will have the right to telework “force majeure” when a family member becomes ill or has an accident

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“The result is an unbalanced text, with an erratic focus, apart from the reality of the productive fabric and the needs of companies and workers,” subscribe both employers, who consider that “far from promoting with guarantees the use of this form of organization of the work could discourage its establishment in Spain and slow down its consolidation “.

Entrepreneurs argue that, in addition to discouraging the introduction of teleworking, “it is an approach that does not provide the confidence and security necessary to generate investment and employment.”

The draft bill of the Ministry of Labor, after completing the period of public consultations, includes rights such as access to telework for much of the day due to “family force majeure”, in the case of illness or accident of a relative up to second degree. The text also establishes the obligation of companies to provide the means for remote work and to pay “all expenses”, both direct and indirect, originated by teleworking and obliges companies to determine the conditions of remote work in a written agreement with the employee.

The Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, has warned that some issues are not new, but they are reflected in specific teleworking legislation, such as the assumption of labor costs by the company, which already happens in face-to-face work and all companies should apply to remote work. However, during the pandemic many workers have put their own means to carry out their work and are assuming the derived costs, such as electricity, for example.

Complaints of lack of dialogue after a meeting

Another of the main criticisms of the businessmen is to denounce the insufficiency of the social dialogue in the configuration of the norm, despite the fact that today a first meeting of contact between the parties has been held. “CEOE and Cepyme consider that the Draft Distance Work Law submitted by the Ministry of Labor to public information has been conceived apart from social dialogue, bordering on the necessary involvement and participation of the social partners in the economic and social life of the country” , collects the statement, which asks the Ministry of Labor “to rectify and return to the path of the dialogue table.”

The Ministry led by Yolanda Díaz explained that Labor will now negotiate with unions and employers in social dialogue, to debate their proposals and their position regarding the Executive’s approach. This Wednesday took place the first meeting of the dialogue table in this regard, which was led by the Secretary of State for Labor, Joaquín Pérez Rey, with the representatives of CEOE, Cepyme, CCOO and UGT. The meeting has concluded with the summons to a new meeting, still without a date, after sending proposals from the unions and employers, which will be analyzed by Labor.

Although employers denounce the lack of dialogue, employers’ sources reply to eldiario.es that business organizations will send their proposals and comments on the new regulation to the Government.

Maricruz Vicente, Confederal Secretary of Trade Union Action of CCOO, explained that the first meeting with Labor has consisted of the general assessment of the draft bill of the Ministry, with the commitment that Work will study the contributions sent by social agents in the coming days . From the union they have emphasized the importance of which the norm contemplates the voluntariness of the telework, as well as that it is reversible and that it is complementary to the face-to-face work, so as not to completely separate the staff.

Gonzalo Pino, Secretary of Union Policy of the UGT, also stated at the end of the meeting that the union has already provided its proposals and he has insisted on the importance of “teleworking being a generalized right for all workers, not exclusively linked to conciliation or care”, which he believes could lead to a “tool of labor discrimination”.

Union sources explain that the Ministry of Labor has expressed its intention to go quickly to approve the measure, given the great use of telework in this pandemic. Although it has been reduced, it is still recommended by the Executive whenever possible to reduce the risk of contagion in the new normal and it is practiced much more than before the crisis by COVID-19, when it was very minority. These same sources trust that the speed to carry out the legislation does not detract from the capacity for dialogue and that the social agents can effectively negotiate the regulation.

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