Teleworking is one of the measures introduced in companies to combat Covid-19.
In order to provide a framework for this type of telework and to ensure its smooth running, the National Labour Council concluded Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) No. 149 on 26 January 2021.
This agreement is concluded for a fixed term, from 26 January 2021 to 31 December 2021.
Aimed at teleworking
CLA No. 149 applies to teleworking made mandatory or recommended by the public authorities as part of the measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 (= 'Covid-19' telework).
CLA No. 149 applies to companies that have not developed a teleworking scheme by 1 January 2021:
- either on the basis of the regulations governing structural teleworking;
- or on the basis of the regulations governing occasional teleworking.
These companies are now required to conclude 'Covid-19' telework agreements for each teleworker.
Important note! If telework agreements have been concluded within companies before 1 January 2021, in accordance with the social dialogue rules, these agreements remain applicable.
Conclusion of agreements at company level
Where ‘Covid-19’ telework agreements are to be concluded, these must cover:
- the provision by the employer of the equipment (portable PC, etc.) and technical support necessary for teleworking;
- if the teleworker uses his own equipment, reimbursement or payment by the employer of the costs of installation, operation, maintenance and depreciation of the required computer programs;
- the reimbursement of additional connection costs.
In this context, the more global framework of all costs or compensation paid by the employer to the teleworker during the Covid-19 health crisis will have to be taken into account.
Companies will also ensure that, as far as possible, they have agreements on the following points:
- work schedule arrangements (see below);
- the rules governing the teleworker's availability and unavailability (see below);
- the arrangements for monitoring the results to be achieved and/or the assessment criteria (see below).
Companies obliged to draw up Covid-19 telework agreements must observe the usual procedures for consultation, among others, with the employees (or their representatives).
The agreements thus concluded will be the subject of:
- a company collective labour agreement or;
- a mention in the employment regulations applying in the company or;
- an individual agreement or;
- a policy that is communicated by email, intranet, etc.
'Covid-19' telework rules
CLA No. 149 describes certain rules to perform 'Covid-19' telework. These can be summarised as follows:
Equality of treatment
In case of 'Covid-19' telework, the teleworker must:
- benefit from the same rights and obligations in terms of working conditions as those applicable in the event of employment at the employer's premises;
- (if applicable) be informed about the working conditions that are specific, complementary or derogatory to those applicable in the event of employment at the employer's premises;
- have the same workload and performance standards as those applicable in the event of employment at the employer's premises;
- benefit from the same collective rights as in the event of employment at the employer's premises (possibility of communicating with the employee representatives via digital tools, etc.).
In case of 'Covid-19' telework, the employer must:
- inform the teleworker of the well-being policy implemented in the context of teleworking (guidelines on equipping workstations and the use of display screens, contact details of prevention advisers, etc.);
- take appropriate measures to avoid isolation of the teleworker (scheduling of limited return moments while respecting sanitary rules, etc.);
- inform the teleworker about the rules relating to the protection of company data.
Work schedules and (un)availability of the teleworker
In case of 'Covid-19' telework, the teleworker manages his work within the framework of the working hours applicable in the company.
In the absence of specific work schedules arrangements agreed between the parties, the teleworker follows, in principle, the work schedules he should have followed in the company.
The availability and unavailability of the teleworker (= times during which he must be reachable or not) during the working hours applicable in the company will be agreed between the parties as far as possible.
Monitoring by the employer
The employer may monitor the results and/or performance of the work carried out in the context of 'Covid-19' telework, provided that the monitoring is carried out in particular in an appropriate, proportionate manner and in compliance with the GDPR.
He must inform the teleworker about this.
Do you need help or wish to obtain a model for ‘Covid-19’ telework? Then you can contact our Legal Partners via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Collective Labour Agreement No. 149 of 26 January 2021 concerning recommended or mandatory telework due to the coronacrisis, www.cnt-nar.be.