New changes related to remote work
In addition to its social impact, the current crisis generated by the Covid-19 phenomenon has created numerous changes, especially related to finance and the economy. The business world has not been exempt either, while in the social distancing context “work from home” suddenly turned from a dream into a completely unexpected reality.
Even though initially this represented a challenge for most of us, later on, the perception has changed. Thus, according to a study regarding Romania conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and BestJobs, approximately 9 out of 10 people stated that the “fully remote” or hybrid work system should continue even after the end of the pandemic.
Recently, the Romanian Government’s Emergency Ordinance 36/2021 was adopted, which includes new guidelines regarding remote work, that are especially relevant for the world of business and which are useful to know regardless of whether you are an employee or an employer.
The definition of remote work has been modified
The concept of “working from home” already existed within our legislation, however, it came to the forefront and grew increasingly popular amid the events of the last year. Hence, remote work is:
“A form of work organization through which the employee regularly and voluntarily fulfills the duties specific to his position, occupation or profession in a place other than where the work is organized by the employer, for at least one day a month, [using tools provided] by information and communications technology.”
According to the amendments brought by GEO 36/2021, remote work enjoys a much higher degree of flexibility, eliminating the obligation that at least one day per month the employee’s activity be performed in this form. Therefore, “work from home” is now defined as a means by which an employee can perform his duties in a “remote” system, through devices such as PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone, and of course with the help of the internet, not being conditioned by a certain period of time.
Checking up on the remote worker
The new changes also concern the way in which the employer can check if the remote worker fulfills his tasks correctly and on time. Therefore, the legal framework is the following:
“The employer is entitled to verify the activity of the employee mainly by using [tools pertaining to] information and communications technology, under the conditions established by the individual employment contract, internal regulations and/or applicable collective labor agreement, in accordance with the law.”
The article comes to “shed some light” upon the matter, being extremely useful, because since the beginning of the pandemic there have been various points of view presented on this issue. Basically, the process of verifying employees is not carried out as we have seen in many recruitment ads via video surveillance or recording practices, which also breach GDPR regulations, and make the employee believe that he is… “spied upon”.
Among the “safe” options you can use there are: the use of email or various chat applications (WhatsApp, Slack, Telegram, Facebook), the use of services that allow tracking “live” projects, such as Google Drive, calling the employee by phone, and even “visiting” them with the help of Zoom, Teams, Google Meet, etc.
The secret of managing “long-distance” labor relations is to establish the type and frequency of communication.
The place of the actual work
In the “classic” regulation regarding remote work, the individual employment contract had to specify the place where the employee will carry out his activity, agreed upon by the parties, that is other than the one organized by the employer.
The good news is that, according to the new rules, this obligation has been eliminated, practically as long as you fulfill your duties, you can be at home, in the park, at a coffee place, or, perhaps, at one of the locations provided by us.
Lastly, even if remote work does not involve direct contact with other people, the employer must provide the employee with adequate training in the field of workplace health and safety, especially about the use of display screen equipment, whenever necessary, and not only at the beginning of the employment.
The new changes are welcome, having the role of further “strengthening” the idea that remote work is a choice that is worthy of the future.
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