The labour ministry intends to bring before the cabinet a bill on regulating working from home next Thursday, Labour Minister Yiannis Panayiotou said on Tuesday.

Speaking before the House labour committee, he said that after getting cabinet approval the bill will be forwarded to the House with the hope that it will be voted through before parliament breaks for the summer.

The minister reminded that the government has committed to regulating the issue in the first six months of 2023, as part of the Recovery and Resilience plan.

However, he added that because there is also a commitment to regulate the matter at European level, if a relevant directive is approved by the EU in the meantime, the bill will be withdrawn, while if there is a directive after the law is passed, European law will prevail.

The labour ministry’s intention is to regulate these issues to make better use of this flexible form of work, he said.

Deputies also quizzed the minister on a number of other issues, including that of granting a physical injury allowance in case of accidents to workers over 63 who choose not to retire, which he said his ministry would examine.

The ministry’s director Andreas Zachariades added that due to an omission, injuries were not covered in a previous bill that was passed on the matter covering the sickness allowance of this particular category of workers.

Panayiotou was positive about the issue of food delivery drivers, saying that the dialogue with the companies is ongoing to regulate the issue in the context of a collective agreement.

Regarding allowances for self-employed workers, the minister mentioned that a plan is being drawn up to diversify them.

However, he said that things are becoming more complex for the unemployment benefit and a more comprehensive discussion should also take place within the framework of the labour advisory body.

Asked about parental leave, he said that while the relevant legislation has been passed, the technological infrastructure needed to properly implement it in practice does not exist, and that to this end his ministry’s aim is to make better use of technology so that people receive their benefits in a month.

Lastly, a discussion on the new employment strategy for workers from third countries, the minister said that since the summer season is approaching, the legislation should be implemented in a way that will prevent abuses, while assuring that the tourist industry will not be hindered.