The regime of teleworking in Greek Labour reality

In the Greek labour reality, the teleworking employment regime was specifically provided for in article 5 of L. 3846/2010. However, teleworking as an employment practice was not widely implemented until the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The above-mentioned provision was recently amended by the new Labour Law 4808/2021. In article 67 of L. 4808/2021 it is regulated the remote employment more comprehensively than the respective one of L. 3846/2010, defining also the types of teleworking or remote working and whether such working can be implemented unilaterally or not. In addition, the entitlements of the employees are reinforced. Specifically, it has been acknowledged to the teleworkers for the first time the right to disconnect, namely, to refrain completely from performing their work and not to communicate digitally or answer telephone calls, e-mails or any form of communication outside working hours and during their statutory leaves. Additionally, it is provisioned that the monitoring of the employee’s performance needs to be conducted in a privacy-friendly manner and in compliance with the protection of personal data.  Also, health and safety of teleworkers is acknowledged and thus the employer must inform the teleworker regarding the employer's policy on health and safety at work, including in particular the specifications of the teleworking area, the rules on the use of visual display screens, breaks, organizational and technical means. Finally, the employer has to ensure that teleworkers have the same rights and obligations as comparable employees on the premises of the undertaking in relation to workload, assessment criteria and procedures, rewards, access to information concerning the undertaking etc.

One more significant aspect of the regulation of teleworking is that the employer bears the costs incurred by the employee as a result of teleworking, i.e., the cost of the equipment, unless it is agreed that the employee's equipment will be used, telecommunications, maintenance of the equipment and repair of damages. The employee is provided with technical support for the performance of the work and the employer undertakes to reimburse the costs for such repairing or to replace the equipment in the event of a breakdown. This obligation also applies to the equipment owned by the employee, unless the agreement or employment relationship stipulates otherwise.

In virtue of art. 67, the Ministerial Decision 98490/3.12.2021 was issued, determining the minimum monthly cost of teleworking that the employer is required to pay. In particular, the compensation covers the use of the household space as workplace amounting to 13 euros, the cost of telecommunications amounting to 10 euros, as well as the maintenance cost of the equipment amounting to 5 euros. The payment by the employer is made in the employee's payroll account with cause of payment “teleworking costs". In case, the days worked via teleworking are less than 22 in a month, then the employer has to pay the 1/22 of the above expenses for each day of actual teleworking. If the employer has separate contracts with fixed and mobile communication providers and directly pays the cost of telecommunications as well as if the employer provides the equipment to the employee, then no amount is due for the cost of telecommunications and equipment maintenance. These amounts are not remuneration nor subject to employer's and employee’s social security contributions, nor do they have any tax and constitute deductible expenses for the employer. 

It is worth noting that the above-mentioned regulations for teleworking are a turning point for the Greek legal order and reality, as until recently Greece had one of the lowest rates of teleworking within the European Union. As already mentioned, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the previous reality, and as a result teleworking became, for a certain period, mandatory for a specific percentage of employees, while it is now up to the employer to determine this percentage.

 

Author,

Konstantina Botsari,

 

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