A national collective agreement to outline telework arrangements during the pandemic in Belgium
To alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 policies, many initiatives have been developed by civil society organisations – NGOs, local governments, or citizens. A team of national researchers from the RESISTIRÉ project has collected and highlighted a set of particularly relevant initiatives in 27 European countries and in Iceland, Serbia, the United Kingdom and Turkey. These Better Stories currently cover eight specific domains: gender-based violence, the labour market, the economy, gender-pay and pension gaps, gender care gaps, decision-making and politics, environmental justice, human and fundamental rights.
This Better Story has been collected by Igor Živković.
On 26 January 2021, the National Labour Council (NAR) concluded a national interprofessional collective agreement on teleworking during the COVID-19 crisis, which provides a clear framework for the minimum arrangements to be made at company level.
This was done to safeguard the rights of teleworkers. The new collective agreement applies to government-recommended or compulsory teleworking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The agreement mainly aims at forcing companies that do not yet have a solid framework for telework to make agreements on this issue now. It was agreed upon until 31 December 2021.
The principles of the agreement are related to:
- Terms of employment
The provision of equipment and technical support; the use of own equipment and the reimbursement or payment by the employer of related costs.
- Organisation of employment
The teleworker organises his/her own work, while respecting the agreed working hours.
The employer shall exercise control over the work of his employees in an appropriate and proportionate manner.
- Collective rights
Teleworkers have the same collective rights as when they work at the company site.
- Wellbeing at work
The teleworkers are informed about the company’s policy on well-being at work specifically related to telework. The employer must ensure that the teleworkers are connected to their colleagues and the company, with specific attention to vulnerable teleworkers.