Akava, the Finnish Confederation of Trade Unions for Employees with Higher Education, is proposing changes in legislation to provide better coverage for teleworkers in case of accidents at work. If they are covered at present, it is not under the same circumstances as in the workplace. Moreover, the legislation is partly open to interpretation, according to Avaka.
A survey conducted by the Swiss Confederation revealed that one in four teleworkers is currently covered by a voluntary supplementary insurance policy taken out by the employer, in addition to the compulsory insurance against accidents at work. Katarina Murto, Akava’s labour market director, pleads for such insurance to become compulsory.
Akava’s proposals on telework concern employees in the private and public sectors. They can be summarised as follows:
- Add the definition of telework to the laws on working time, safety at work and accidents at work and specify the rights and obligations linked to telework;
- Allow the employee to have the right to partial telework if his/her duties allow it but the employer cannot force him/her to work remotely and must continue to provide adequate and safe working premises;
- Agree on the amount of telework and the usual instructions related to occupational safety and health. The telework code of conduct should at least indicate working time arrangements, breaks, working time monitoring and telework insurance coverage by the employer;
- Extend the scope of the Workers’ Compensation Act to better cover telework-related accidents; identify and assess telework-related risks in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act;
- Make telework insurance mandatory for the employer;
- Include in the Occupational Safety and Health Act the obligation for the employer to ensure the ergonomics of the workstation also in telework so that it does not cause physical or mental strain that is harmful or dangerous to the employee’s health, and to ensure the acquisition and functioning of the work equipment necessary for the performance of telework tasks.
To find out more (in Finnish)