The FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT public service federations have signed a new agreement on telework covering 2.5 million public sector employees. The agreement includes basic principles that telework arrangements should be voluntary and reversible and subject to key provisions relating to health and safety, equality, transparency and objectivity. The agreement protects employee rights as well as guaranteeing services for citizens. Other important elements include a right to disconnect, data protection and the right to privacy. The unions have called for negotiations at various levels of government to follow quickly to ensure implementation of the new agreement.
Unions sign telework agreement
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A new law covering telework introduces important new rules for those involved in remote or home work as well as including a role for trade unions in ensuring workers’ rights. The protections cover dismissals, employer provision of equipment or requirement on the employer to compensate workers for using their equipment and clear rules to ensure that all worker consultations with the employer are during normal working time.
Unions organising in state administration in both Spain and Portugal have raised serious concerns about the approach to telework and particularly governments taking the opportunity to regularise arrangements that were only adopted on an emergency basis. While there is recognition of the potential benefits to work-life balance, unions argue that fundamental issues need to be addressed through collective bargaining in relation to working time, the right to disconnect, provision of equipment, health and safety, training, contact with the workplace and the voluntary nature of the decision to
(March 2017) A joint report from the Eurofound agency and the International Labour Organisations examines the advantages and disadvantages of telework and puts forward some policy proposals on key issues. The report points to positive effects such as a shortening of commuting time, greater working time autonomy, better work–life balance, and higher productivity. However, it also notes the risks of longer working hours, interference between work and personal life, and work intensification, leading to high levels of stress.