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A considerable proportion of people in the EU will continue to telework in some form after the Covid-19 pandemic. In a new report, Eurofound analyses telework legislation, collective agreements, political and scientific debates and the many challenges involved.
There is no single approach in Europe:
- New legislation in Austria, Spain, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Portugal, with changes focusing on access to telework and the information the employer must provide to the teleworker, new definitions, organisation of working time and the right to disconnect, compensation of costs.
- Draft laws under discussion: Germany, Ireland and Luxembourg.
- Binding national agreements on telework negotiated or updated: Belgium, France and Luxembourg.
- Code of practice: Ireland.
A significant number of collective agreements on telework have been introduced during the pandemic at company and sector level. This is particularly true where provisions already existed, such as in financial services, manufacturing or information and communications.
Since the start of the pandemic, twice as many countries have included the right to telework in their national legislation. In several countries, employees in “teleworkable” positions are now allowed to request telework, including France, Lithuania, Portugal and the Netherlands, while legislation is being developed in Germany and Ireland.
“Monitoring developments in EU countries must remain a priority for policy makers, including on different types of telework arrangements, working time arrangements, the right to disconnect, the right to request telework, the relationship between telework and gender equality, work-life balance and psychosocial risks. If teleworkers across the EU are to be protected in the same way, common standards will also be needed.”