For a year, the arrival of Covid-19 in our lives and in Mexico changed everything. No one has been exempt from changes in their personal, family, sentimental, and, above all, professional life. The social distancing measures dictated by the authorities have, in many cases, forced employees, employers, and independent professional service providers to apply the work model known as home office or telework because they cannot attend their offices.
The jump had to be abrupt. There was no time to plan the migration from the comfort of the workplace or office to the private home. This has caused some family tensions, has exacerbated the lack of spaces in homes, and has also shown that the pandemic caught our legal system off guard.
Before the pandemic, legislators did not pay much attention to the Federal Labor Law ( LFT ) thinking about the home office, since it was until last January that various reforms that regulated it came into force. I am telling you about that today.
For our legal system, teleworking is the form of subordinate labor organization that consists of the performance of paid activities, in places other than the employer’s establishment or establishments. The physical presence of the worker is not required, in the workplace, primarily using information and communication technologies, for contact and command between the worker under the teleworking modality and the employer. However, you should also know that the one that is carried out occasionally or sporadically will not be considered a home office.
In the terms that the LFT is drafted, the change in the modality from face-to-face to teleworking must be voluntary and established in writing, except in cases of duly accredited force majeure. This means that in principle it must be agreed in a contract; and, secondly, in extraordinary cases, it will not require such an agreement.
When there is a change to the home office modality, the worker has the right of reversibility to the face-to-face modality, for which the necessary mechanisms, processes, and times must be agreed to make valid their will to return. This is when I consider that, although there is no universal right to telework, there is the possibility of agreeing to it. in addition, what is foreseen is the right to return to face-to-face work.
Surely they raised the home office modality in your workplace. The conditions must be in writing and must contain the following specifications:
- Nature and characteristics of the work.
- Amount of salary, date, and place, or form of payment.
- The equipment and work supplies, including those related to the health and safety obligations that are delivered to the worker under the telework modality.
- The description and amount that the employer will pay to the worker under the home office modality for the payment of services at home related to telework
- The mechanisms of contact and supervision between the parties, including the duration and distribution of schedules, as long as they do not exceed the legal maximums.
You should also know that in the teleworking modality, employers have some obligations (and consequently, rights configured for the worker), such as:
- Provide, install and take care of the maintenance of the necessary equipment for the home office such as computer equipment, ergonomic chairs, printers, among others.
- Assume the costs derived from the work through this modality, including, where appropriate, the payment of telecommunication services and the proportional part of electricity.
- Respect the worker’s right to disconnect at the end of the working day.
In conclusion, I can tell you that the right to work is only one, but it can be exercised in various ways, including the one that currently protects Mexican legislation under the concept of teleworking. So I hope these reflections have been useful to you.