It is April and the new decision on working time and hybrid working has come into effect. Generation 2004 was heavily involved in the discussion process with the administration and we would like to present you the main points of the new decision. The decision is rather complex: FAQs are available as well.
Before starting, please understand that this is a completely new decision and that many details will depend on your DG and your line manager. Therefore, we are especially interested in your feedback! How does your DG interpret the rules? Is it a flexible approach or a one-size-fits-all model? Is your DG rather strict on the amount of teleworking or can you use the full 60% available for “normal” cases?
Now, for the new rules:
- Structural and occasional telework ceases to exist as a concept. It is completely replaced by a combination of telework and presence in the office (hybrid working).
- There is a bandwidth for working hours from 08:00 – 19:00; outside this period, you cannot be contacted except unless
- It is an emergency
- It is pre-agreed
- The nature of your work requires it.
Nothing prevents you from working outside the bandwidth, but you cannot contact your colleagues in such a case.
- You should be available for interactions with your colleagues between 09:30 – 12:00 and 15:00 – 16:30 (16:00 on Wednesdays and Fridays). You can agree with your line manager on different availability hours. Previously established local working time arrangements remain in place.
- Teleworking arrangements
- Up to 20% of your weekly working time can be teleworking time. This is a right! Of course, you need to agree with your line manager on details like the precise days of your telework. Such an arrangement is valid for a renewable period of 6-12 months. The renewal should allow a fair treatment for all staff, so that not only a selected few get their preferred days forever. How this works out in practice remains to be seen.
- You can telework up to 60% of your time, if your line manager agrees. The renewal period will be six months. Generation 2004 calls upon line managers to show some flexibility here – if no one ever dares to try out something new, we will forever remain in the stone age of HR policies.
- Both you and the line manager can request a change to any agreed arrangement. A modified arrangement enters into force after one month.
- More than 60% of telework are possible, if the line manager considers it in the interest of the service. While this looks good on paper, first experiences suggest that line managers are reluctant to go for this option.
- Teleworking from outside the place of employment is possible for 10 days per calendar, with the agreement of your line manager. There is no longer a need to combine this with holidays. One of the reasons for “rushing in” the new decision was to allow you to use this possibility for Easter.
- You can also work from outside the place of employment in exceptional circumstances, like imperative family reasons. Such an arrangement is possible for up to one month and renewable. Again, while this looks good on paper, you should not count on it: we expect that DG HR will interpret this phrase rather restrictively.
- Subject to budgetary availability, DG HR may adopt a decision providing for a lump sum covering certain costs of teleworking staff. This is of course a topic where Generation 2004 will keep on pushing, but we do not expect any short-term results here.
In total, the new decision relies heavily on a culture of mutual trust. Agreements with your line manager can be both formal and informal, but at least for agreements that are “unusual” in your unit/DG, a written agreement seems to be preferable.
As already said, we are keen on hearing about your experiences with the new rules.