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MPs call for work from home rights to be protected in law

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The House labour committee asked the government on Tuesday to prepare legislation to regulate remote working in a bid to secure workers’ rights, which appear to have been affected during the pandemic.

Chairman Andros Kafkalias said with work-from-home there was a tendency to deregulate labour relations and the state must make sure employment conditions would remain unchanged.

The Akel MP said the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated procedures to include remote work in labour conventions as a flexible way of employment with a positive impact on workers and work conditions.

However, reality is different, he said, with people reporting many hours of unpaid labour, extension of work hours, raised stress levels, and a disruption of work/family balance.

According to a study by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working (Eurofound), 27 per cent of those working from home said they had been forced to work during their spare time in an effort to meet demands, Kafkalias said.

He said the bill must include provisions establishing workers’ rights to disconnect after their working hours and ensure fair remuneration.

Work hours must be clearly defined and a balance between private and professional life must be ensured, he said.

Edek MP Andreas Apostolou said social partners were optimistic that a bill will be submitted soon and will be supported by everyone.

Apostolou said what mattered to the committee was to ensure that the employee will have the right to choose whether to work at home or not when asked and employers in sectors in which working remotely is possible must afford the right of choice to their staff.

Especially where new mothers are concerned, a choice must be given when their maternity leave is over, he said.

 

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