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Covid-19: Medef is worried about the “big disruptive effects” of teleworking



“Three days of teleworking is a lot for a number of activities”, reacted Patrick Martin, deputy chairman of Medef, Tuesday, December 28 on franceinfo, about the appeal “obligatory” telework from the start of the school year “for all employees for whom it is possible”, as Prime Minister Jean Castex indicated on Monday. According to Medef, teleworking has “big disruptive effects”.

franceinfo: Three days of compulsory teleworking per week, in your opinion, is this a “proportionate” measure?

Patrick Martin: We have already escaped the control of the health pass in the company, which we fiercely opposed, and are awaiting decisions concerning the period of isolation of employees in the event of contact. The important thing is that we must not halt the economic dynamic, reflected in November by the fall in unemployment, and continue to provide a service to the entire population, whether in transport, at home. hospital or in commerce. Teleworking is not a panacea. We know that many employees no longer want it, that it creates fractures between “white collar” and “blue collar”, this poses operational problems and it can especially create environmental problems in the company. Three days of telecommuting, if necessary four, is a lot for a number of activities. So it will have big disruptive effects. But we are suspended from the news and the sovereign decisions of the health authorities. It will last three weeks, which is indeed a lot, but if it can help stop the pandemic and reduce the rate of stress in the hospital, it will have been a complicated period for companies but we will live with it.

The Minister of Labor will consult with the social partners and you on this subject. What do you expect from it?

We want this measure to be clarified, in particular on what is meant by “eligible population” which would be subject to this taxation of teleworking. Will traveling salespeople be subject to it? We need an empirical, pragmatic approach and perhaps adaptations, from one territory to another. Teleworking is probably effective in large cities because it reduces travel by public transport, but this is much less true in small towns and rural areas. Together, we have to find the right balance between health security and economic dynamics.

Jean Castex mentioned a reduction in isolation periods was under consideration. Does it relieve you?

Having employees with isolated contact cases for 17 days is necessarily disruptive for the company. In all service trades in particular, such as hotels and restaurants, trade or transport. But also in so-called “intellectual” service professions. Let us not forget that this affects professions which, again, take full face, such as events or shows. Anything that can, under the control of health authorities, lead to reducing this isolation period will be blessed bread for businesses and for the smooth running of the country.

You mentioned the sectors most affected by these measures. Bars, restaurants for example. Are you vigilant that these impacted professionals receive sufficient help?

From the beginning of December, the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Economy and Finance announced that they were reactivating the support mechanisms for these sectors. We will be very careful to see this happen. The psychological dimension should not be neglected either. A lot of business leaders are in low spirits, it’s a Scottish shower for them. In performing arts, for example, many say to themselves that they are going to stop this profession because it is no longer possible. So let’s be very attentive to these professionals to help them materially and psychologically.



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