Is teleworking a benefit?

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Teleworking was approved in April 2018 as an advantage for both the employee and the employer, although there aren’t significant differences from work from home which is mentioned in the Labor Law. However, since work from home was not taken very well by employers, teleworking was introduced as a fresh start. Until telework occurred, employers accepted work from home only for people with disabilities who could not commute daily to their headquarters, and whose activity could not to be neglected: either as an important contribution to the activity or as aid in reducing expenses with the handicap fund.

Therefore, teleworking is the employment where employees carry out their work somewhere else than employer’s headquarters at least one day per month.

The teleworker is the employee who carries out his / her work either as a full-time or part-time/ at least one day per month from a place other than the employer’s headquarters. Teleworking must be mentioned in the employment contract or be subject to an additional act concluded with the agreement of the parties.

The teleworker’s employment contract or the additional act are concluded based on Labor Law in conjunction with art. 5 paragraph 2) of Law 81/2018, and must cover at least:

  •  The term that the workplace is subject to change, the option for telework, plus the place/places where teleworking is going to be performed;
  • The teleworking days; it is mentioned whether the whole activity is carried out as teleworking or only the teleworking days agreed upon (and the rest of the period of activity are carried out at the employer’s headquarters.)
  • Working time / days for teleworking. There must be a system / a way to keep records of the hours worked, to fulfil the required working hours per week. Full-time teleworkers may work overtime, but with the agreement of the parties. The employer can’t oblige teleworkers to work extra hours, and the teleworkers can’t come up with extra hours if it was not agreed upon with their employer. Forcing the teleworker to work extra is penalized with 5000 Ron.
  • Working hours, or the time when the employer can check the teleworker’s work.
  • The obligation of the employer to provide to teleworker all the necessary equipment for a smooth and steady work activity.

The teleworkers has the same rights and obligations as all employees, and the employer must take measures to avoid isolating the teleworkers from the other employees, must inform and encourage them to participate in team activities, teambuilding or other meetings with their colleagues. If the employer does not mention the above, when hiring a teleworker or teleworking of an existing employee, the employer risks a penalty of 10,000 Ron for each teleworker.  The employer must provide adequate and appropriate training on health and safety at work, otherwise risking a fine of 2000 Ron.

If the teleworker no longer wants to perform teleworking, he/she can’t be compelled by the employer, nor put under disciplinary search, sanctioned or dismissed for this reason.

Unlike the work from home expressly regulated in the Labor Law, teleworking obliges the employer to train the employee regarding to the work place, allows the employer or employee representative’s access to check the activity of the teleworker and establishes clearly the penalties for non-compliance with teleworking conditions.

Teleworking’s advantages:

  • Lack of competition at work;
  • Lack of subordination sense, and the appearance of freedom of choice;
  • Elimination of harassment at the workplace;
  • Time spent from home to work and vice versa is eliminated as well as daily stress due to traffic

Disadvantages:

  • Lack of team spirit or collaboration, encouragement of individualism
  • Difficulty and waste of time in paperwork;

Good to remember is that teleworking is doesn’t give a total freedom in choosing where and when to work, you cannot go on vacation and take your laptop with you thinking you can do both at the same time.The place of teleworking is established in writing, mutually agreed with the employer, and if this is not well established, the employer risks a fine of 5000 Ron.

Furthermore, the employer has to train the teleworker regarding health and safety at the workplace. If  teleworker decides working somewhere else without employer’s knowledge, and get any injuries or is being exposed to any hazards, the employer is sanctioned, and the teleworker is disciplinarily investigated.

Therefore, teleworking does not mean freedom, however it is something new to the market and might have a large market due to nowadays’ technology development.