Legal Wins for Remote Teams: Expectation vs. Implementation | Hacker Noon


Behzad Sharifi Hacker Noon profile picture

Behzad Sharifi

Executive Director at ResponseCRM

Portugal makes it illegal for bosses to text employees after work in new remote work laws

This headline earned quite a few kudos for Portuguese lawmakers. Well done. Well deserved.

Remote workers in Portugal couldn’t wish for a better “response to the explosion of home working as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.” Of course, every remote worker knows that an ideal work-from-home situation requires more than just peaceful after-work hours.

Under the new laws, companies will have to help pay for expenses incurred by remote working, such as higher electricity and internet bills. Employers could also face penalties for contacting workers outside of office hours. The new laws also forbids employers from monitoring their employees while they work at home.


So, Which Country is Next to Introduce or Improve Their Remote Work Laws?

In Germany, it became mandatory for workplaces to offer staff the opportunity to work from home. Truth to be told, “this is being offered as an option, rather than an obligation, for all workforces to stay put inside their homes.” Every legal cloud has a silver lining. In this case, German “businesses that do not comply may be contacted by their local authority and asked to explain their reasons for not doing so.” Fair enough.

Let’s see what’s currently happening or planning to be done in this field in other countries?

The Irish government plans to make hybrid working available to all people in relevant industries by next year. From then on, your boss will need a very good excuse to decline a request to work from home.

Russia has an interesting and very practical approach. “Russia is currently focused on material support for remote workers. Employers must provide remote workers with the necessary equipment and means to fulfill their work duties if they choose to work from home. This can include reimbursement for software, office chairs, and desks.”

Is this the best we could do, and why did we have to wait this long?

The Laws Portugal Introduced in November, Turkey Had Already Implemented in March

The 2021 Turkish Airlines advert has been impossible to ignore thanks to the beautiful song that was featured in the ad.

I’m going to save you time searching for it on Google by pointing you in the right direction – it is called “Fly Above” and performed by Mahmut Orhan Feat. Sena Şener.

The Turkish lawmakers fly above and fly first when they realized that they needed to implement new amendments to the existing labor law.

“Because of the pandemic, the remote work tendency has increased. So the regulation has been drafted to actually [align] with the new requirements and the new practices born out of this remote work,” said Altuğ Özgün, an attorney with Cetinkaya in Istanbul. The employee and the employer must have a written contract before starting remote work, he said. Employers and employees must agree, beforehand and in writing, on the definition of the work, the hours, the duration of the remote work, salary-payment methodology, and the tools and equipment that will be provided.

The key points, which make these amendments essential for remote workers are that both sides “the employee and the employer must have a written contract before starting remote work,” and “the arrangement must be mutually agreed upon, except in extreme circumstances.”

This is exactly how it’s supposed to be done to ensure fairness. Neither can the employers force employees to get back to their offices, nor can the employees request to stay and work from home without the mutual agreement.

And, that’s not all. The Turkish lawmakers are thinking one step ahead. They want to be prepared for any new pandemic, and not just pandemics that can prevent people from their offices.

During some force-majeure times, like a pandemic or an earthquake or something else, the employer can also decide to continue to work in a remote-based relationship. … Other than that, you cannot change the employment conditions only with the employer’s decision. You need to have the consent of the employee as well.

Here it is again – the consent of the other party, which is a must-have for establishing a remote work relationship under the new circumstances.

They really thought it through, didn’t they?

Where do we Remote Work from Here?

I don’t need the law to tell me when it is appropriate to reach out to my remote team members. It’s common sense, respect, and love I have for my employees and colleagues. I have no problem starting my day as early as possible, so I can have a meeting with my remote teams in Europe during their “regular” working hours. We have the night owls on our team, but it’s their choice and above free will if they want to stay up at night to discuss something related to our work.

At the end of the long remote day, it all comes down to a mutual agreement and respect for other people’s time.

Kudos to the new laws and night owls, but we should be inspired and bound by common goals. If we are on the same page when it comes to remote work legislation, let me know by casting your vote for my Noonies2021 nomination for the Contributor of the Year in Remote-Teams category. Thank you!