Covid-19: strengthening teleworking in companies, instructions for use

Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne asked companies to strengthen teleworking to “three or even four days” per week in the face of the fifth wave of Covid-19 and the spread of the Omicron variant, without however making the measure mandatory.

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How to enforce a measure which is not compulsory? On Wednesday 22 December, the Minister of Labor Elisabeth Borne asked (but not imposed) companies to strengthen teleworking at “three days minimum, or even four days a week where possible“, to halt the rise of the fifth wave of Covid-19 and limit the effects of the Omicron variant.he government relies first and foremost on a sense of corporate responsibility.

But the public authorities still have a legal lever to ensure that this incentive is strong without being compulsory: companies have an obligation to ensure the good health of their employees. The refusal to set up or strengthen teleworking in times of high epidemic pressure can be seen as a breach of this obligation.

Companies are also exposed to a double legal risk. On the one hand, they can be sued by employees on this basis. On the other hand, they are liable to sanctions from the labor inspectorate. The ministry did not wait to increase the number of checks, from 1,000 per month this summer to 5,000 per month.

According to the Minister of Labor, employees are not teleworking enough at present to contain this new epidemic outbreak. In recent weeks, companies have returned to it, just under two-thirds of employees who can do so for three days last week according to Elisabeth Borne, while the use of teleworking had largely eroded after the ‘summer.

The latest version of the corporate health protocol recommends two to three days of teleworking per week. The employer is supposed to define the dose in consultation with the employees. But the government and the social partners are unanimous in considering that this protocol is insufficient in the face of the double sickness of the fifth epidemic wave and the arrival of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

All admitted it at the beginning of the week during the consultations around a possible compulsory health pass in the workplaces. They ask for more teleworking, but without going up to 100%.

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