We start with some context: the annual medical check-up, that obligation that is not generally enforced, is done by only around 1/3 of staff . Why might this be? Well, cost is an issue: while the check-up itself and associated laboratory tests are normally reimbursed at 100%, anything stemming from that check-up (‘diagnostic examinations’ or ‘additional treatments’, for examples) will be reimbursed in the normal way (85% up to set ceilings which may or may not correspond to reality, we hear you Luxembourg ). Continue reading The annual medical check-up: the ‘new normal’
*Update 14.12.2022 list of buildings closed Dec/Jan* We, the Commission staff, have shown (and continue to show) outstanding flexibility, especially during the recent crises: whether that’s the pandemic and the lockdowns, war in Ukraine, energy resources or skyrocketing inflation. In spite of all this and the exceptional workload these crises created for many DGs, staff made every possible effort to continue to deliver business continuity in the interest of the European people we serve. Continue reading High time for the Commission to show flexibility!
*Update 03.01.2023, please don’t give up your >12 days of annual leave!* *Update 18.11.2022 many buildings will be closed between Christmas and New Year.* Use your own allocated desk as much as possible, or you might find yourself soon in hot-desking (or as the Commission calls it, a ‘dynamic’ environment). In fact, this non-optimal use of workstations was the reasoning used as a basis to move colleagues to hot-desking environments of the most extreme type – large open-plan office space with no assigned desks, where furniture, individual storage space and quiet rooms are reduced to the bare minimum. Continue reading Use it or lose it at the Commission
*Update 09.01.2023: he original survey had >1200 participants, this follow-up is not yet half way, please help to make this comparison survey representative! We need you!* As promised in October, we ask you to participate in this, our follow-up survey on the utility costs related to working from home in order to make a comparison with the answers you provided to our original survey (January 2021 – January 2022). We want to demonstrate any further change in costs: our first survey related to an expected increase in the consumption of energy but the issue now is related to Continue reading Follow-up survey on teleworking utility bills
Here is the update on Court case T-486/21 promised in our article on whether working from home can truly be considered voluntary. We noted there that the Court rejected the application made by one of our colleagues for reimbursement of teleworking-related internet and phone costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic (judgment 07/09/2022). We’ve been raising the issue of additional teleworking costs for over 2 years now and even though all OSPs succeeded in having this issue explicitly mentioned in the Commission Decision of 24/03/2022 on working time and hybrid working (Article 13) we see the Commission is increasingly reluctant to act. Continue reading Reimbursement of teleworking expenses: the Court says ‘no’
*Update 14.12.2022 many buildings will be closed between Christmas and New Year. Here is a list. Here is how to find and book a desk.* In August 2022 we asked whether working from home could really be considered voluntary, given the general reduction in office space across the Commission and the closure of many buildings for several weeks over the summer as part of the Buildings Energy Saving Together (BEST) Action. Well we can now add to that list the plan to lower temperatures in the buildings still in use. BEST was to save energy by powering down ventilation and air conditioning. The staff normally based in these ‘volunteered’ buildings (again, who volunteers each building?) could either telework 100% from the place of employment or find a desk in another building. We repeatedly asked for details on provision made for staff with specialist equipment e.g. those with disabilities or additional needs, but received no clear response on this other than that staff can work from home. Continue reading All at home! Will the Commission (again) close buildings?
*08.11.2022 we have republished this survey to enable a comparison, please participate!*
*Update 07.11.2022 we add a list of all available state aid in Luxembourg.*
*23.10.2022 the teleworking costs court case has been unsuccessful.*
It’s the perfect storm of costs: increased consumption of utilities and higher bills due to teleworking meets increased energy costs due to the political situation and even higher bills. We intend to show the compounded effects of these two hits by comparing the snapshot we took at the end of 2021 with a new pic from now: we will republish our survey and ask you again to contribute. Continue reading The future of our survey on the rise in teleworking energy bills
*Update 14.12.2022 many buildings will be closed between Christmas and New Year. Here is a list. Here is how to find and book a desk.* *Update 21.09.2022 links to assistance for those facing financial difficulties added * *Update 09.09.2022: the colleague who requested reimbursement of the teleworking-related internet and phone costs during COVID-19 has lost case T-486/21, see judgment (07.07.2022).*
There’s a disconnect between the image presented in the working time and hybrid working (WTHW) decision and the reality for Commission staff in terms of choice of work location and working-from-home (WFH) costs. First on choice, the WTHW states that WFH/teleworking is voluntary (Article 9(3)) while the Commission simultaneously pursues a building policy of reducing overall office space and open-plan/hot-desking environments. Would there really be a desk for everyone if all Commission staff chose to work from the office at the same time? Continue reading Is working from home really voluntary?
New Decision on Working Time and Teleworking: service à la carte = discrimination! 
Two months into the implementation of the new Decision, Generation 2004 has already received many complaints from colleagues whose Directorate General (DG) has a restrictive reading of the decision. According to the information we have received, several DGs and services, including DG GROW, DG TAXUD, OIL and the Legal Service, have drafted – or are drafting – guidelines that set up an obligation to come to the office 3 or even 4 days per week, to the dismay of many among their staff. Often the reason given is a generic “interest of the service”, without offering any specific details and consulting staff, while such need was not necessary prior to the pandemic. And without carrying out an analysis based on different types of jobs or tasks inside the DG or service. Continue reading The much expected new normal arrived, and it’s unfair for many!!!
16 March 2022: exactly 2 years since 100% teleworking became obligatory for almost everyone at the Commission. On that first day in 2020 some of us did not even have an internet connection at home or a computer. Nevertheless we did what we could with what we had and ensured business continuity at the Commission in the face of a global pandemic. We bought computers, got the internet connected, used our own mobile phones, joined work whatsapp groups, Continue reading It’s been two years of mandatory teleworking