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new decision on working time and hybrid working
a few breakthroughs, some shortcomings and a clause for review in 18 months

The long-awaited Commission Decision on working time and hybrid working was adopted on 24 March and enters into force on 1 April. This decision sees the light after long discussions with staff representatives for over a year.

 

Here are a few key points:

 

  • Arrangements for telework have been simplified, with no distinction between structural and occasional teleworking.

  • Teleworking becomes a right for those who can do their jobs remotely; you have the right to telework for 20% of your working time and can agree with your manager to telework up to 60%.

  • Teleworking remains voluntary, except in cases of force majeure.

  • Teleworking from outside the place of employment permitted for up to 10 days a year; longer (up to a month renewable) if there are compelling family reasons or if you are called to duty while on leave. The requirement to combine teleworking from abroad with annual leave has been dropped.

  • Core time has been abolished as such, though we should still be reachable at least by phone during the former core hours, and establish a framework for interaction with colleagues.

  • A ‘right to disconnect’ from 19:00 to 08:00 has been established (with some common sense exceptions as emergency, prior agreement, or where the nature of the work or tasks require availability during such hours).

  • A Joint Committee is set up to issue recommendations should it detect inconsistencies and/or unequal treatment, though not entitled to deal with individual queries.

  • There will be guidelines to implement these new rules - this remains of fundamental importance to bring further clarity on concepts that have remained too vague, such as the reasons that could motivate breaking the so-called ‘management trust’; also on the need for managers to get specific training and further assistance on how to manage large number of staff numbers in telework.

 

The guidelines should also allow to better define which cases could justify benefiting from the possibility of up to a month of telework from abroad in addition to the regular ten days.

 

 

TAO would comment as follows:

 

  • We welcome the inclusion of a ‘right to disconnect’.

  • A matter of particular concern for is the fact that the DGs will all be entitled to introduce their own instructions, thus compromising the overall coherence/equitable implementation.

  • 10 days of telework from outside the place of employment clearly falls far short of what believes should be offered by a modern administration wishing to become more attractive.

  • welcomes the inclusion of the principle of financial support to compensate for the costs of telework. We would nonetheless like to remind our administration that they should also find a suitable way of compensating for the expenses incurred in the last two years of the pandemic.

 

TAO representatives, who have participated actively all throughout this process, remain at your disposal to clarify any doubts.

 

We will follow up on the implementation of this decision to make sure it is done correctly across the institution, and will work on contributing to its improvement both for the adoption of the forthcoming guidelines and on its overall revision in 18 months’ time.