Amendments to the Labor Code Regarding Remote Work

I. Workplace for Remote Work

  • Parties to employment relationships may take advantage of the now expressly provided legal possibility to agree on more than one workplace in the employment contract, for example one workplace in the employer’s office and one in the employee’s home. An employment contract with more than one workplace is suitable for employers who intend to provide their employees with the opportunity for hybrid work, by working a certain number of days a week in the employer’s premises and the rest from home or another suitable place of their choice.
  • At the employee’s request, the employer may also change the workplace for a period of up to 30 days per year, which will allow employees interested in this option to work from a different place than their usual place of residence for a certain part of the year – for example from a seaside resort in the summer.

II. Assignment and Reporting of Work

  • Remote work by its nature limits direct contact between the employer and the employee, which is why the assignment and reporting of tasks under such conditions is often carried out through an information system. When the employer uses such an information system, he will be obliged to provide the employee or worker with written information about the type and volume of work-related data that is collected, processed and stored in the system. This implies that such information systems will only be able to collect data directly related to work. For personal data, Regulation (EU) 2016/679 will apply.
  • In this regard, decisions on the assignment, reporting and control of the work of workers and employees can be made through an algorithmic management information system. These systems make automated decisions on the assignment, reporting and control of work and can affect the assessment of the performance of workers, respectively all elements of the employment relationship, including the additional remuneration received, linked to the performance of employees. Probably data from the systems will also be presented when the employer has to justify the selection made. This is why employers who use an algorithmic management information system have an obligation to provide employees with written information on how decisions are made. There is also a provision that could be interpreted as an opportunity for workers to challenge the decisions of the algorithmic management information system by requesting in writing from the employer to check the system’s decision and to notify them of the final decision. In the spirit of the right of employees under the Labor Code to be informed about all elements of the employment relationship, they will have the right to access the data in the used system for the working time they have worked.

III. Safe and Healthy Working Conditions

  • Insofar as remote work is performed in premises and places chosen by the workers, employers may face difficulties in fulfilling their obligation to provide their employees with safe and healthy working conditions. In this regard, the legislator has provided for obligations for the parties to employment relationships, the fulfillment of which should lead to the provision of safe and healthy working conditions for remote workers.
  • Employers are already obliged to provide remote workers with information on the minimum safety and health requirements for the workplace. This implies the handing over of an additional document to the employee upon entering into an employment relationship. With the amendments, an obligation arises for the workers to provide the employer with written information about the characteristics of the place they have provided for remote work.
  • For his part, the employer is obliged to take measures to ensure, as of the date of commencement or amendment of the employment relationship, that the remote work places meet the minimum requirements for healthy and safe working conditions. It is not expressly regulated whether, when taking such measures, the employer can rely on the information provided by the employee about the characteristics of the place he has provided for remote work, and for a categorical answer to this question, the practice of the competent administrative bodies and courts should be monitored.

IV. Inter-day and Inter-week Rest

  • An express prohibition has been added for employers to initiate communication with workers during their inter-weekly and inter-day rests. An exception is also provided to this rule – if the individual and/or collective employment contract stipulates conditions under which such communication is permissible during inter-day and inter-week rests, the employer will have the right to initiate it.

V. Joint and Several Liability for the Remuneration of Contractors, If the Employer is Their Direct Subcontractor

  • Liability is also introduced for the remuneration of contractors under contracts, if the employer is their direct subcontractor. For clarity, it is about contractors who are not in a legal relationship with the worker, but are in a legal relationship with his employer, who is a subcontractor in this legal relationship. In these cases, the contractor under the contract will be jointly and severally liable for guaranteeing the payment of the remuneration of workers and employees. The contractor’s liability is limited to the employee’s rights arising from the contractual relationship between the contractor and the employer.

Author: Ivan Freguglia

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