Latest update: Peru and Argentina passed new remote working legislation. More details below.
Teleworking legislation (Presidential Decree No. 52/22), creating a new legal regime of telework in Angola, will enter into effect on 20 March 2022. The new legislation introduces the following requirements:
- Telework must be established through a written agreement for each employee.
- Employers have the option to accept or reject employee telework requests when it is incompatible with the activity of the employer. However, employers may not reject teleworking requests of employees who: (1) are pregnant with health complications; (2) have a health condition incompatible with on-site work; or (3) care for a child under age 5 or a disabled dependent with a disability equal to or above 60%.
- Employers are required to provide teleworkers with necessary work tools and bear their installation, repairs and maintenance costs (unless it is agreed otherwise).
- Employers are required to reimburse employees for teleworking-related expenses which are not normally incurred by employees.
- Teleworkers should enjoy the same rights as on-site employees, including protection against occupational accidents and illnesses as well as employee benefits.
- The employees’ right to disconnect after completion of their working hours should be respected.
A teleworking law No. 27,555 and Regulatory Decree No. 27/202, entered into effect on 1 April 2021. The new legislation, which applies to partially and entirely remote employees, introduced the following obligations:
- The employer is now required to establish a written teleworking agreement for each employee. The agreement must outline the parties’ obligations and agreement in advance on the working hours.
- Employees’ right to disconnect after completion of their working hours should be respected.
- A flexible working schedule should be available to employees with children under 13 years of age in their care, or if the employee has people with disabilities or retired adults who live with them.
- Employers are required to provide teleworkers with necessary work tools and bear their installation, repairs and maintenance costs.
- Employers are required to reimburse employees for teleworking-related expenses which are not normally incurred by employees. This can include compensation for the use of employees’ own tools and partial reimbursement of employees’ internet services.
- Remote employees should enjoy the same rights as on-site employees.
On 12 October 2022, the government of Argentina passed Regulation No. 1921/2022 implementing section 18 of the teleworking law No. 27,555. Section 18 of the Argentinian teleworking law designates the Federal Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security (FMLESS), as the enforcement authority and mandates all employers with telework employees to register with the FMLESS. The FMLESS regulation creates a registry for telework employees and delegates to the National Board of New Forms of Work the responsibilities of implementing, administering and controlling the Registry.
On 14 July 2020, the Belgium government released its initial circular letter (2020/C/100) granting employees working from home a monthly, employer-paid, tax-free work from home allowance, retroactive to 1 March 2020. The tax-free allowance applies to full-time and part-time employees working from home on a regular basis (at least one day per week/five days per month). The allowance has been temporarily increased to EUR 144,31 from 1 April 2021, to 30 June 2021. Employers should monitor for new maximums.
The Belgian government released a second circular (2020/C/100) clarifying the terms of the allowance effective from 1 March 2021. This measure lists the office expenses (the use of the office space, maintenance, insurance, property tax, snacks, office supplies, printer and computer equipment, and utilities) that are covered under the tax-free work from home allowance. In addition, the measure extends the tax-free status to additional reimbursements or provision of equipment. Originally a temporary measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Belgian Minister of Finance recently confirmed it is a permanent measure.
The Brazilian government recently passed legislation introducing the following changes:
- The working hours legislation will be applicable to remote workers. This will require employers to implement an electronic timekeeping system (after approval by their relevant union) for employees working remotely.
- Legislation and collective bargaining agreements must apply to all employees and include remote employees who are working outside of their employer’s jurisdiction (unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties).
- Employers are not responsible for reimbursing expenses that a remote employee may incur to return to in-person work when the teleworker chose to work in a location other than the one provided in their written teleworking agreement.
- Employers are required to give priority to employees with disabilities and those with small children when allocating positions that can be performed remotely.
On 5 September 2022, the Brazilian government passed Law No. 14,442/22, aimed at regulating remote work and the payment of food allowances. Accordingly, the new law introduces the following provisions:
- The teleworking regime should be expressly stipulated in individual employment contracts.
- The teleworking regime applies to interns and apprentices on the same basis as regular employees, when expressly stipulated in their internship contract, and when expressly agreed upon by the intern, the grantor and the educational institution.
- Food allowances and vouchers paid by the employer to remote employees must only be used for food purchases in restaurants or other commercial establishments.
Non-compliance with the above-mentioned requirements is subject to a penalty ranging between BRL 5,000 and BRL 50,000.
On 1 April 2020, the Chilean government passed a remote working law called the Distance Working and Teleworking law (No 21,220). Prior to the law, there was no legislation covering teleworking arrangements in Chile. The new law makes a distinction between distance working (when services are provided from home or a location other than the company’s establishment, work site or branch) and teleworking (when services are provided by an employee remotely using technology tools). According to the law, both distance working and teleworking require a written remote working agreement that should be registered with the Chilean department of work within 15 days of signing the agreement. The written agreement must, among other things, state the location where the services will be performed. Remote workers should be able to enjoy the same rights and protections as other employees. In addition, the law introduces a right for employees to disconnect after working hours are completed as agreed upon between the parties. If the employer and the employee agree on a flexible distribution of the working hours without a clear work schedule, employees are still entitled to a right to disconnect for a minimum of 12 consecutive in a 24-hour period. Employers are required to provide remote employees with necessary work tools and bear their installation, repair and maintenance costs. In addition, remote employees should enjoy the same rights as on-site employees.
The Colombian government recently passed law No. 2121 and its implementing regulations establishing a remote work regime. The new regime applies to all workers and all employers (private and public sector) in Colombia. The main requirements of the new remote work regime include:
- Employers are required to respond within five days to employees’ written working from home requests. Employees may carry out their work overseas if permission is given by their employer.
- The modalities of remote work must be agreed upon by the employer and the employee.
- Any labor agreement between the employer and the employee requires an electronic or digital signature.
- Employers should provide teleworkers with the necessary tools and equipment to carry out remote work. Monthly compensation for the use of work tools owned by the employee may be agreed upon by both the employer and the employee.
- Employers are required to reimburse employees for teleworking-related expenses that are not normally incurred by employees. Employers and employees may agree upon a monthly allowance to compensate for internet, telephone and energy costs.
- Employers should perform medical examinations for their remote employees when they are hired and on a periodic basis.
Remote workers who are caring for minors under age 14, individuals with disabilities, or adults over age 60 are now allowed to organize their work schedule around their caregiver duty.
The Colombian government passed another legislation (Law 2191 of 2022) introducing a right to disconnect for all employees to avoid any work-related contact outside their working hours and statutory or contractual leaves. Clauses or agreements that go against the new right to disconnect will be ineffective. Failure to comply with the right to disconnect may constitute labor harassment. Employers must therefore update their work from home internal policies accordingly.
Decree 1227 of 2022 was recently passed by the Colombian government adding additional details to the existing teleworking legislation. The main changes include:
- Teleworkers’ employment agreements must include a description and any restrictions and responsibilities regarding equipment and software, the mode of teleworking, the required working hours, the location of teleworking, reimbursement of expenses, ergonomics, and technology, among others.
- Any employer whose internal policy doesn’t include details on the use of equipment, software and information management is required to implement an internal remote work policy containing a description of the positions that can be performed through teleworking, equal treatment guarantees, necessary equipment and tools, contacts and communications channels to report harassment/accidents/occupational illnesses, and prevention measures at work.
- It is possible for the employer and the teleworkers to expressly agree in the employment contracts or amendments on the reversibility of teleworking at any moment. In the absence of an express agreement, parties cannot demand or mandate the return to work in a presential way.
On 30 April 2022, the Danish Working Environment Authority issued new and updated guidelines on the occupational health and safety requirements for homework stations that aim to make the homeworking option more flexible for employers. The new guidelines state the following:
- The guidelines apply to employees who regularly perform screen-based work at a workstation for more than two days per week based on average over a month (previously at least one day per week or more than two hours per day).
- The employer must ensure that the employees have the necessary workstation furniture and equipment that will enable them to perform their duties, which include a table and an adjustable screen and chair, and suitable lighting.
- The Social Appeals Board has issued a statement of principles that determine the extent of an employer’s liability in connection with remote work injuries. Accordingly, a specific assessment of the incident must be conducted in order to establish whether it was connected to the work in a necessary or natural way. The injured party holds the burden to prove a causal connection between the incident and their work for it to be considered an occupational injury under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
The Greek government recently passed new legislation (L.4808/2021) amending an existing teleworking law (L.3846/2010). The new legislation introduces the following obligations:
- Employees’ right to disconnect after completion of their working hours. Remote employees should enjoy the same rights as on-site employees.
- Employers should provide teleworkers with the necessary tools and equipment to carry out the remote work (unless agreed otherwise between the parties).
- Employers must inform teleworkers about health and safety policies including rules for teleworking areas, the use of visual display screens, etc.
- Employers are required to reimburse employees for teleworking-related expenses (EUR 13 per month for the use of household space, EUR 10 per month for telecommunication expenses and EUR 5 per month for the maintenance of equipment).
- The monitoring of employee performance must be conducted in compliance with the protection of personal data legislation.
On 19 August 2022, the Italian government passed new regulations on remote work aimed at simplifying the procedure that was in place under COVID-19 emergency laws. The new changes are as follows:
- Starting on 1 September 2022, the employer is required to enter into individual remote working agreements with each employee who will work remotely. The agreement will have to indicate the way to provide working directives to remote employees, the availability of equipment, and other technical and organizational measures.
- Also starting on 1 September 2022, employers will have to send an electronic communication in the form that was issued by the Ministry of Labour indicating which employees will be working remotely and for how long. Such communication must take place within five days of the signing of individual remote working agreements.
- Non-compliant employers can face administrative fines that can range from EUR 100 to EUR 500 for each concerned employee.
A new legal framework for teleworking implementing the latest version of the social partners’ collective agreement entered into force on 2 February 2021. The convention will remain valid for three years from its entry into force. The main changes include:
- A wider definition of telework – the new definition does not restrict telework to work from home anymore. It is now defined as the work performed outside the premises of the employer.
- Introduction of the new concept of “occasional teleworking,” defined as “teleworking carried out to deal with unforeseen events or when teleworking represents less than 10% on average of the teleworker’s normal annual working time.” Occasional teleworking is now also considered regular teleworking. However, unlike regular teleworking, occasional teleworking does not require a written agreement as a simple written confirmation (eg., email) will suffice, nor is the employer required to provide work equipment or bear the associated costs.
- Teleworking now requires the written agreement of both the employee and the employer outlining the place of telework, the working hours, telework allowance (if any), overtime, benefits in kind, etc. The written agreement may result from an individual agreement with an employee, from a collective bargaining agreement or a company agreement.
- Employees have a right to disconnect after working hours and should have the same rights as on-site employees.
- Employers should provide teleworkers with the necessary equipment to carry out their work.
- All remote employees should be able to enjoy the same rights and protections as other employees. This includes all benefits in kind that on-site workers are entitled to but excludes compensations specifically linked with the employee’s presence on-site such as a gym or parking space.
In September 2020, the government of Mauritius passed the Workers’ Rights (Working from Home “WFH”) Regulations 2020, imposing specific requirements on employers that could be summarized as follows:
- The employer may require an employee to work from home by providing a notice of 48 hours. An employee may equally make a request to work from home, and the employer has the discretion to approve or deny the request.
- The employer and the employee should enter into a work from home agreement in compliance with the WFH Regulations.
- A remote employee is entitled to compensation for applicable work-related expenses such as electricity, water, telecommunication, disturbance allowance for work performed during working hours, etc.
- A remote employee is required to inform the employer of the proposed remote work premises. With the authorization of the remote employee and prior notice, the employer may have access to the remote work premises in order to install, maintain or retrieve any working tools and equipment, deliver or collect working materials, conduct a suitable risk assessment to identify any risk to the health and safety of the remote worker where appropriate.
The Mexican government passed amendments to the federal labor law on teleworking. The amendments clarify existing teleworking regulations and create new obligations for both employers and employees.
The reform took effect on 12 January 2021. The reform applies to any worker who performs paid work activities at least 40% of the time outside the employer’s workplace, either at home or another location chosen by the employee. Employers are now mandated to:
- Provide, install, and maintain the necessary working equipment and training needed by the employee to perform the work.
- Pay for any appropriate telework-related cost.
- Record teleworking arrangements in a written agreement.
For more details, please see our previous compliance update here.
The Norwegian government recently passed amendments to their existing work from home legislation. The changes entered into effect on 1 July 2022 and include:
- The working hours rules (the Working Environment Act) will be applicable to employees working from home. The working hours rules include not working at night or on Sundays. Employers will therefore be responsible for ensuring that the working hours rules are followed.
- The rules related to the psycho-social work environment will also apply to employees working from home. Employers should therefore make sure to implement the psychosocial and physical work environment legal requirements into their own home office policies.
- The Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority (the Authority) will be given the authority to supervise compliance with home office regulations. The Authority will not be allowed to carry out inspections in the employee’s home. However, employees working from home will be required to prepare documentation that shows that they are compliant with the home office regulations.
- An exception from the requirement for a working from home written agreement when remote work is ordered or recommended by the government.
The government of Peru recently passed new legislation on remote work aiming at recognizing teleworking as a valid way of carrying out work. The new legislation, which entered into effect on 12 September 2022, states that teleworking is valid when the following requirements are met:
- Teleworkers and on-site employees must have the same rights.
- The employer and the employee should agree on the provisions of teleworking in an employment agreement. Such agreement must be stored in a digital medium and must include information on the teleworking period, frequency (total or partial), the work schedule, applicable digital platforms and technologies, communication and supervision, mechanisms, the notice period for the employee to attend in-person to an employer’s premises, and the teleworker domicile.
- Unless otherwise agreed between the parties, employers should provide necessary work tools and bear the cost of electricity.
- Employers have a duty to ensure the safety and health of their employees at work. Therefore, employers should inform teleworkers of all the risks that may arise from their work duties.
- Teleworkers should allow their employer to visit their remote workplace. Teleworkers may instead complete a self-examination of their workplace as authorized by the Peruvian Ministry of Labor.
- Unless otherwise agreed between the parties, the teleworker must comply with a work schedule.
- Employers must respect teleworkers’ right to digitally disconnect after work and their right to privacy of communications. However, teleworkers must be available to their employer during the working day and fully comply with their work obligations.
- Prior notice in writing and agreement between the employer and the teleworker is needed if either wants to reverse the teleworking arrangement.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) recently passed the Telecommuting Act (DO 237-22), which aims to refine the scope of telecommuting and other flexible work arrangements. In particular, the new Act states the following:
- The new law applies to all employers and employees in the private sector that implement a telecommuting program.
- The term “alternative workplace” is defined to include any location where work, through the use of technology, may be performed away from the principal place of business of the employer which is referred to as the “regular workplace.”
- The term “telecommuting program” is defined as a set of voluntarily and mutually agreed upon policies and guidelines that allow the employee to work from an alternative workplace. It could be in the form of a separate policy, or incorporated into other existing policies, employment agreements, or other convenient forms.
- The terms and conditions of telecommuting shall not be less than the minimum labor standards, or less than any applicable company policy or practice, individual contract, or collective bargaining agreement.
- Telecommuting employees should be treated fairly and afforded the same treatment as employees who work at the regular workplace.
- Any facilities or equipment or supplies that are necessary for the completion of work by the alternative workplace employer are considered ordinary and necessary costs for the employer.
- The employer should report the implementation of telecommuting arrangements to the DOLE.
The Portuguese government recently passed a law on remote working arrangements. The new legislation, which applies only to employers with at least 10 employees, creates the following new obligations:
- Employers are now required to pay for any appropriate telework-related cost including, electricity and internet.
- Employees will be required to meet in person with their employer once every two months.
- Employees with children under age 8 have the right to work remotely.
- Employers are prohibited from contacting their employees after office hours. Employers who fail to comply with this new rule would face penalties (amount still yet to be determined).
Legislation on remote work, amending the Russian Labor Code, entered into effect on 1 January 2021. The legislation introduces the following changes:
- There are now three different types of remote working agreements: permanent teleworking, combined agreements when teleworking does not exceed six consecutive months per year, and combined agreements when employees can alternate between remote working and on-site working. Prior to the new legislation, only permanent teleworking was regulated.
- Teleworking agreements should be written and outline all remote arrangements, including the working hours, the location of telework, etc.
- Employers now have the right to introduce mandatory teleworking in exceptional circumstances such as a pandemic. The terms and conditions of this new right should be outlined in employers’ internal policies.
- Employers are required to provide remote employees with necessary work tools and bear their installation, repairs, and maintenance costs.
New legislation on remote work, amending the Slovak Labor Code, entered into effect on 1 March 2021. The legislation introduces the following changes:
- Working from home must be agreed upon between the employer and the employee in writing in an employment contract.
- Teleworking may be performed anywhere outside the employer’s premises. It is no longer necessary to be only performed from the home of the employee.
- Employees and employers may agree that employees will determine their own working hours for more flexibility. In that case, the employee may lose its entitlement to certain salary premiums.
- Employees’ right to disconnect outside working hours must be agreed upon between the parties.
- Employers are now required to reimburse employees for increased expenses related to telework as agreed upon in the collective agreement or negotiated in the employment contract.
- Teleworkers should enjoy the same rights as on-site employees.
On 9 July 2021, Law 10/2021 replaced Royal Decree-law 28/2020, which passed on 22 September 2020. The legislation applies only to “regular” remote working when at least 30% of the employee’s total hours over any three-month period are carried out remotely. The main characteristics of the new remote work legal framework include:
- All remote working arrangements should be established in a written agreement and on a voluntary basis.
- Remote employees should enjoy the same rights as on-site employees.
- Employers are required to provide all employees, including those with disabilities, with the necessary resources, tools and equipment (including digital) to perform their jobs. Employers should also pay for any maintenance of such tools and equipment as needed.
- Employers are required to cover expenses related to remote work. Reimbursement of the expenses and details on what should be provided to enable the remote work of employees must be agreed upon between the employee and the employer in the employment contract unless already established by a collective agreement.
- Employers are prohibited from discriminating against remote employees on the grounds of age, gender, seniority, disability and professional groups.
- Employers are required to carry out a risk assessment of remote employees’ workspaces. The risk assessment should not only apply to psychosocial, ergonomic and organizational factors, but also the accessibility of the actual working environment. Further application decrees should clarify this new factor.
On 2 August 2022, Sweden implemented the EU Balance Directive which aims to create a more flexible work-life balance for parents and employees who take care of sick relatives. This implementation entails the following:
- Employees who care for children (up to 8 years old) or sick family members, may request accommodations for flexible working arrangements such as flexible working hours or working from home.
- If a flexible working arrangement is fixed for a period of time, the employee may return to the original working arrangement when the time expires.
- The employee may request to return to the original working arrangement before the time expires, and the employer must respond within a reasonable time.
On 23 June 2021, the government of Taiwan passed a new work from home regulation requiring employers to:
- Provide remote employees with the necessary tools and equipment to perform the job, which should include the use of ergonomically sound work equipment and up-to-date software on electronic devices.
- Pay for any maintenance of such tools and equipment as needed.
- Provide education and training on mental and physical health to ensure the well-being of their remote employees.
The Turkish government passed legislation clarifying the existing legal framework of remote work. The new remote work legislation entered into effect on 10 March 2021. Remote work is defined as the work performed outside the employer’s workplace using technology tools. The main changes include:
- The obligation to establish a written remote work agreement including the location where the job will be performed, the working hours, the communication methods between the employer and the employee, any additional compensation related to the telework, the equipment that will be provided, etc.
- The employer is required to provide teleworkers with the necessary tools and equipment to perform the job.
- Expenses related to telework should be reimbursed by the employer to the employee. Compensation for such expenses should be agreed upon between the employee and reflected in the employment contract.
- Employees can start working remotely upon hiring or may be hired to work on-site and agree with the employer to be converted to remote work later on. The employment contract should reflect the change. Mutual consent of both the employee and the employer is needed to switch from on-site work to remote work, except for in unforeseen circumstances. In such cases, employers can unilaterally decide that employees should work remotely.
Law N 4051, which entered into force on 27 February 2021, introduced a new legal framework for remote work. The law distinguishes between:
- Home-based work defined as the work that is done from home or a designated location agreed upon between the employer and the employee. Such work arrangement is more structured as employers can inspect employees’ remote workspace and employees are required to follow regular work hours (unless agreed otherwise). In addition, employment agreements including should be established in writing and the location may not be changed unless approved by the employer.
- Remote work is a more flexible option that allows employees to work from any location of the employee’s choosing and according to their own schedule. Remote work arrangements should be established in writing unless emergency circumstances preventing it (such as a pandemic).
The employer is required to provide remote and home-based work employees with the necessary tools and equipment to perform the job. Expenses related to remote and home-based work arrangements should be reimbursed by the employer to the employee.
In addition, the law introduced a specific provision for flexible working hours. Flexible working hours may be available at the request of the employee or at the initiative of the employer in the following circumstances:
- When there is a substantial change in working conditions (with two months’ notice).
- When there is a threat of epidemic or any emergency (no prior notice is needed).