Home Office Regulatory Framework Under Debate in CongressBy Daniel González | Wed, 08/19/2020 - 16:32
Congress will resume duties in September, after a couple weeks of no legislative activity as a result of COVID-19. The government entity will return to work on the Federal Labor Law reform already approved by the Senate, which is now a top priority. However, the original proposal draft has been affected by the pandemic as millions of people have been working from home for months.
Employers and unions are actively participating in drafting a new law, while expressing their different points of view. One of the main topics of discussion is to set clear what will be the standard working hours for those working from home. Today, the number of hours people work from home is established through an agreement between employee and employer, a formula that could continue after the September reform. Alfonso Bouzas, Coordinator of the Citizens’ Observatory for Labour Reform, does not agree. “It is a fundamental obligation to establish the length of working hours in a day in the individual’s employment contract.” The contract must also establish the full working schedule to guarantee and preserve worker’s rights, in addition to including the worker’s right to disconnect,” Bouzas continued.
The right to disconnect was precisely one of the great obstacles that had to be overcome in Argentina, a country that, despite rejection from employers, has also recently reformed its labor laws while taking into account the effects of the pandemic. The STUNAM union, representing workers from UNAM, is one of the unions that is having the greatest impact claiming that employees will not be able to receive any more tasks once their working hours are over.
According to José Armando Rocha Acosta, professor at the Law School of Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, the concept of teleworking already appears in the current version of the federal law. “There is legal precedent for working from home. The Federal Labor Law already supports it in a general way. Chapter 12 speaks of home work and defines it as work performed for an employer at the worker's home or in a location freely chosen by the worker to carry out the activity. In the 2012 Reform, this article was included to recognize that working from home can also be any labor performed at a distance using information and communication technologies,” Rocha said to El Heraldo de Chihuahua.