Occasional remote work

Employment Alert

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The Flexible and Workable Work act (FWW-act) introduces occasional remote work, allowing employees to work from home or any other place to deal with occasional situations and to improve their work-life balance.

Lack of legal framework

Before the FWW-act, there were no legal provisions regarding occasional remote work. Employees could work from home on an occasional basis, by mutual agreement with the employer and without any mandatory legal rules or conditions.

In contrary to occasional remote work, regular remote work was already regulated by a collective labour agreement. Regular remote work is the performance of work from home or elsewhere, other than the company premises, on a regular and non-random basis.

New legal framework for occasional remote work

The FWW-act defines occasional remote work as a form of organisation or performance of work whereby activities, which can also be performed at the premises of the employer, are performed outside those premises on a random and non-regular basis.

The principles of occasional remote work can be summarized as follows:

Provided the performance of his function or activity is compatible with occasional remote work, employees can request to perform occasional remote work. This is only possible in case of force majeure (e.g. car trouble) or personal reasons hindering the performance of work at the employer's premises (e.g. doctor's appointment).

Employees must apply for occasional remote work within a reasonable time and in a motivated manner. Employers can reject the application, e.g. to ensure the proper organization of the activities, by notifying employees in writing of their reasons as soon as possible. Note that, in case of force majeure, it should be possible for employees to ask for occasional remote work the same day by telephone or email.

If permission is granted, employers and employees have to agree on the specifics of the occasional remote work, in particular on (1) the necessary equipment or technical support eventually provided for by the employer, (2) the possible availability of the employee and (3) the possible remuneration to be paid by the employer covering the costs of occasional remote work.

The occasional remote worker has equal rights regarding working conditions, workload and performance standards as employees working on the employer's premises. He organises his work himself, within the frame of the working time applicable in the company. Occasional remote work can be performed from home or any other place of choice of the employee.

Employers can determine a general framework for occasional remote work applicable within the company, covering at least the following items:

  • The compatible functions/activities within the company
  • The procedure to apply and to grand occasional remote work
  • The necessary equipment or technical support eventually provided for by the employer
  • The possible availability of the employee
  • The possible remuneration to be paid by the employer, covering the costs of the occasional remote work

This framework can be set up in a company collective labour agreement or in the work regulations.

Actions

(i) companies already providing the possibility for their employees to perform occasional remote work based on a mutual agreement, should verify if the agreement complies with the new framework. If not, it is recommended to make modifications to comply with the new rules.

(ii) If the possibility to perform occasional remote work is not provided, we recommend to work out a framework to apply within the company. This framework can be determined in a company collective labour agreement or in the work regulations, according to the legal procedure thereto.

Return to "Workable work".