Teleworking: bosses speak of “exaggeration” and unions demand clarity

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    After the Government presented the Green Paper for the Future of Labor, the other side of the coin has already reacted. Teleworking is the biggest theme and bosses are not very interested in discussing major changes. The unions want to clarify the law on costs.

    The Government presented the document yesterday, which has 21 highlights, which underlines the need to improve various aspects of work in Portugal, giving great emphasis to teleworking.

    The Executive’s idea is to launch the debate on changes to the labor law, but there are social partners who do not want to hear about the topic – at least for now.

    One of the central themes, and the one that gathers more formed opinions, is the telework – which was made mandatory until the end of the year in the most risky municipalities, without the Government having clarified a number of aspects that have been pointed out by the social partners and lawyers specialized in labor law.

    Also for the Government, in the light of the Labor Code, companies have to pay expenses related to internet and telephone to workers who currently work from home, but, as the law does not regulate how these charges are calculated, the executive considers that this matter must be defined through collective bargaining, recalls Público.

    Speaking to the Observer, Sérgio Monte, UGT’s assistant secretary general, says that in some aspects, the Government goes “on the right track”. However, there are concerns that the union central will not fail to address – from the outset, as far as teleworking is concerned. UGT wants to regulate distance work, but with an essential premise on the horizon: that there must be agreement between parties.

    The position is shared by CGTP. The secretary-general of the inter-union, Isabel Camarinha, points out that “There always has to be an agreement of the worker, who can oppose if he does not have the necessary conditions for the performance of the work ”.

    UGT also advocates a hybrid system teleworking, in which the worker can alternate between face-to-face work with teleworking if he / she chooses.

    Another theme that the unions give more prominence to is the costs teleworking.

    UGT considers that the law must be explicit as to the costs that are included, but agrees that the definition of expenditure calculations can be “fine-tuned” in collective bargaining.

    CGTP also insists that there is no increase in expenses for workers – and that the invoice must be borne by the employer, even in the case of water and electricity.

    Bosses ask for “common sense”

    To Rádio Observador, the president of the Confederação Empresarial de Portugal (CIP) says that the current times are difficult and require “Weighting” and “more than ever, common sense”.

    António Saraiva considers “An exaggeration”Some claims. “Wanting employers to pay energy and water costs (…) and then what? We were going to discount the transport costs that are no longer made (…) it is necessary to regulate in the light of the new reality, to avoid abuse by both parties ”, he stresses.

    The Confederation of Commerce and Services of Portugal (CCP) also states that it does not want the Government to legislate hot on teleworking, a mass regime but that the employers’ confederation believes it will cease to be when the pandemic ends.

    On the other hand, there is also the regulation of working conditions in digital platforms (such as couriers that deliver products purchased through applications such as Uber Eats or Glovo), and Ana Mendes Godinho said that the Government will assume a legislative proposal “in the short term”.

    In the Green Paper, this is a recurring theme, with the Government establishing that a “presumption of labor” must be created for these workers and a contributory and tax system “adapted to this new reality”.

    The CCP, which represents some of these digital platforms, says that it will still analyze what is on the table, but shows openness in debating and guarantees that it is “understanding what the needs are”.

    Ana Isabel Moura Ana Isabel Moura, ZAP //