Return to the office well out of sight

As we have done since the very beginning of the COVID‑19 pandemic, we at Generation 2004 continue to closely monitor developments and their repercussions on our working conditions, as well as the health and well-being of staff. In November we participated in two Social Dialogue meetings with DG Human Resources and Security (DG HR) to discuss all the issues pertinent to the health emergency.

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Home-office equipment dilemma: zero clarity

Following the announcement by Commissioner Hahn and DG HR of a move to help staff equip their home offices, many of you contacted Generation 2004 to enquire about the two different schemes mentioned. Yes, you read that correctly, the Commission has set up one scheme for the (partial) reimbursement of a screen and an office chair (purchase deadline 31 December [1]) and is developing a more comprehensive second scheme for 2021.

Generation 2004 was pleased that the Commission is at last taking steps in the direction we have been advocating for since the start of the COVID‑19 crisis: support staff under the compulsory teleworking arrangements by improving ergonomics at home.

Continue reading Home-office equipment dilemma: zero clarity

Office-space reorganisation: reply from DG Trade

Generation 2004 sent a note to Ms WEYAND, Director-General of DG Trade on 4 November 2020 to request clarification on their plans for an office-space reorganisation.

We were contacted in relation to plans to move only assistants/secretaries and clerks (ASTs/AST-SCs) and contract agents (CAs) into shared offices.

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Things to check before holidays start (Tips)

Although at the moment you are most probably in full trying-to-find-one-last-gift mode (good luck with that!), there are perhaps some other things worth checking before your well-deserved Christmas and New Year holiday leave.

If you meet the criteria, submit your request to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as it is available: the deadline is 15 January 2021. Continue reading Things to check before holidays start (Tips)

Finally – reimbursement of teleworking costs

Yes, we can! This is the bottom line of this article. Yes, we can convince the Commission to do the right thing, even if it takes a lot of pressure (and more pressure) and  notes (and more notes). After many discussions and meetings, DG HR has agreed in its Coronavirus update #23 to reimburse the costs for a screen and an ergonomic chair with ceilings of €150 and €200, respectively. While the reimbursement process has only just been set out [1] (and for seconded national experts (SNEs) is still being worked on [2]), this is a huge win for our colleagues, and we take the opportunity to thank all of you who have supported us during the last 8 months while we fought this uphill battle. A special thanks goes to the colleagues who used our template to request a reimbursement. While DG HR has refused these Art. 90.1 requests, the sheer number of them proved that there is a real need. This is your victory.

Continue reading Finally – reimbursement of teleworking costs

COVID-19: Return to office put on hold

Generation 2004 continues to closely monitor the developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on our institution and our working conditions. In the last two weeks we have had two meetings with DG HR to discuss all the issues related to the pandemic and the way forward. Generation 2004 stated that the return should only happen when the pandemic situation improved: when there was a lower possibility of contagion. Continue reading COVID-19: Return to office put on hold

Avoiding surprises with JSIS when choosing a psychotherapist

While we hope that our readers will never need a psychotherapist, the sad reality is that a certain number of colleagues need to consult them. However, there are some points to consider when choosing a therapist as regards subsequent reimbursement by JSIS.

Firstly and importantly, a psychotherapy needs prior approval. If you start the therapy sessions before having obtained the prior approval, JSIS will not reimburse these sessions. Even if the prior approval is finally granted, JSIS will only reimburse sessions that happened after the prior approval! Continue reading Avoiding surprises with JSIS when choosing a psychotherapist

Do you want to prevent burnout?

Generation 2004 is organising a coaching laboratory on burnout prevention and well-being, in collaboration with a colleague with experience in this field.

  • Do you work in a complex environment and have to deal with difficult situations?
  • You want to make the difference between the professional and private sphere and you do not know how to do it?
  • Your health is the priority… and you do not know how to protect it? Continue reading Do you want to prevent burnout?

New teleworking guidelines and teleworking from abroad: here we go again!

In our July newsletter we informed you of our actions to guarantee fair and consistent application of the new teleworking guidelines throughout the Commission, especially as regards the possibility of 2 weeks of teleworking from outside the place of employment [1].

We wrote a note to DG FISMA concerning their overly strict interpretation of the rules, and received a positive reply to our request.

However, we decided to ask for your feedback – both in that article and through an email sent to all our members – on the procedures in place where you are and on the outcome of your request.

As a result, we were flooded with messages stressing the very different procedures and layers of approvals necessary to be granted these 2 weeks of teleworking in different DGs and different parts and sites of the Commission. Continue reading New teleworking guidelines and teleworking from abroad: here we go again!

A national-insurance card for colleagues in the Netherlands

If you work for the Commission in the Netherlands, you might have had some problems in the past with your health care, due to the lack of a health-insurance card. This results in additional costs for JSIS members, e.g. the “passantentarief” when you are not registered with a general practitioner (GP) and, since the JSIS does not issue a Dutch health-insurance card, you simply could not register with a practitioner.
In order to remedy this problem, the PMO has negotiated with a Dutch health insurer, CZ. The resulting agreement should guarantee a non-discriminatory treatment of JSIS beneficiaries under primary cover. Please note that the agreement does not apply to beneficiaries under top-up cover (they should already have a health-insurance card from their primary cover).

Update 05/10/2020: Following enquiries by colleagues, we have reached out to PMO to clarify who exactly is eligible for the CZ card at the moment. Right now, the CZ card is limited to active colleagues and pensioners who reside themselves in the Netherlands (and their family, if they reside in the Netherlands as well). Once the new system is running smoothly, PMO might consider extending the card to cases like staff members not residing in the Netherlands but whose children reside and study in the Netherlands. We will keep you informed.

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