Monday, April 19, 2021

State spent 10.8 million for teleworking in the Civil Service – ZAP

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Manuel de Almeida / Lusa

The Minister for Modernization of the State and Public Administration, Alexandra Leitão

The State spent 10.8 million euros in 2020 on equipment for teleworking in the Public Administration, according to Alexandra Leitão, Minister of State Modernization and Public Administration, told Lusa.

“The distribution of equipment corresponded to an expense of 10.8 million euros during the year 2020 for teleworking costs”, including distribution of computers, costs with software or videoconferencing systems that had to be streamlined, which shows that there was “some investment in equipment” referred Alexandra Leitão.

The minister will be this Tuesday in a webinar to present the study “The adaptation of work organization models in the central public administration during the Covid-19 pandemic: difficulties and opportunities”, in which 37.02% of the civil servants surveyed and who were in a teleworking situation refer that the employer “Did not provide any means or essential equipment for carrying out professional activities in teleworking mode ”.

According to the study, 66% of respondents pointed to the increase in expenses with Internet, energy, computers and other elements necessary to work at home as one of the most negative points of teleworking.

Alexandra Leitão referred that this issue of expenses “will have to be analyzed even in partnership with the Labor area, since this is a matter regulated in the Labor Code and that does not have a specific regulation in the Public Administration”.

Asked if teleworking expenses, namely with Internet and telephone are being paid to teleworkers, the minister said she did not have data to answer with certainty, but affirming that she did not want to hide the issue, she admitted that “In many cases they will not be paid those expenses ”.

“Now we have to see this in a global context, in a pandemic context in which people went home in an urgent situation, which will also not be the normal way of working at home”, he said, stressing that the exceptional pandemic situation that forced the sending of thousands of people to the teleworking regime, does not allow “shooting for specific regulations”.

Still on the study, Alexandra Leitão highlighted the fact that a majority of leaders considered that the teleworking productivity it has remained the same or even improved compared to face-to-face work, which is a relevant element when it comes to taking into account the aspects of workers’ rights and that of the quality of work.

The study also highlights the importance of communication and team work or face-to-face contact with colleagues, dimensions that can be more affected in the teleworking regime, considering the minister that this is an aspect that must be considered on the way to find ways “to prevent this difficulty”.

Alexandra Leitão also emphasized the fact that the study demonstrates that there are no reasons for a stigma on teleworking and work is being developed between the various services aimed at producing guides for adapting ways of working in this regime.

The minister has said that the number of Public Administration workers with functions compatible with teleworking in the central administration is around 70 thousand, and the use of this regime will always be on a voluntary basis.

During the first confinement, around 68 thousand civil servants were teleworking. In the current, the maximum number was around 60 thousand.

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