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CBA n° 149: a legal framework for COVID-19 telehomework in the private sector

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Last Tuesday, the social partners in the National Labour Council concluded CBA n° 149 on recommended or mandatory telework due to the corona crisis. 

1. What is the reason for this CBA?

Although telehomework has been mandatory (once again) since 2 November 2020, many companies do not have rules on the modalities of this telehomework. With the new CBA, the social partners are obliging these companies to make agreements about telehomework and thus offer legal certainty.

2. What is the scope of the CBA?

The CBA applies to all employers and employees in the private sector (not: the public sector) who organise telehomework because of the corona crisis, but who did not yet have a structural or occasional telework arrangement on 1 January 2021. When there is already an agreement (in the form of a CBA, an individual agreement or telework policies drawn up with due regard for the rules of social consultation) on telehomework within the company, that agreement remains applicable and the CBA does not come into play.

The CBA is concluded for a fixed term and will end on 31 December 2021. The CBA itself does not make telework mandatory. Therefore, if the government were to decide to put an end to mandatory or recommended telework at an earlier stage, the CBA would no longer be of any practical use. 

3. What does the CBA stipulate in terms of content?

Telehomeworkers have the same rights and obligations as the employees who (must) work at the company location.

Within the company, agreements must be made about telehomework concerning:

  • the provision of equipment, 
  • if own equipment is used, the reimbursement or payment by the employer of certain costs (such as installation of relevant programs, operating, maintenance and depreciation costs) and additional connection costs,
  • work schedules, 
  • (un)reachability of employees, whereby the means of reaching the telehomeworker can be specified, 
  • rules for monitoring the results to be achieved, etc. 

In addition, employees should be informed about the well-being policy related to telehomework (e.g. psychosocial risks, use of display screens, etc.) and about the modalities of any appropriate and proportional monitoring of the results/performance of work (in line with GDPR and CBA n° 81). 

4. To do

  • Has your company already made agreements with regard to telework? No further action is required.
  • Does your company not yet have agreements on telework? 
    • You will need to lay down agreements in a CBA, the work rules, policies or individual agreements. In doing so, you will need to take into account the rules of social consultation (works council, Health and safety Committee, trade union delegation or employees). You must explicitly communicate these agreements to the employees, e.g. via intranet, e-mail or an e-meeting.
    • You will have to inform your employees about the well-being policy and any monitoring of their work. This information can be included in the agreements, but is not mandatory.  

Apart from the impact of the now widespread Coronavirus (COVID-19) on our daily personal life, companies in Belgium and around the world also face important difficulties and challenges on all levels of their day-to-day business.

Find out more regarding various related topics

Our dedicated Lydian team is ready to assist you with any questions you might have regarding the impact of the Coronavirus on your daily business.

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