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. What is more, in some cases staff members were discouraged from applying for telework from outside their place of employment to the point that they did not even submit their request.

This unfair situation was flagged to DG HR in our meeting on 9 July. In particular, we are following the evolution of this matter in JRC, OLAF, EASME, OP, to mention just a few.

We will continue to monitor the application of the teleworking guidelines closely, and intervene every time the rules are not applied fairly and consistently.

We will also ask DG HR for the data concerning the number of application received for telework from outside the place of employment, the number of refusals to grant those requests and the reasons for refusal.

As a reminder, the possibility to telework from outside the place of employment for 2 weeks in the period 15 June-15 September 2020 is justified for reasons such as mandatory quarantine imposed by the Member State in the place of destination or specific family circumstances linked to arduous conditions where parents need support from their family living abroad to take care of children. However, this list is not exhaustive, and other cases are also possible, as clarified by HR in a recent meeting: people that need to help their elderly parents living in another country, those who were isolated for months in their place of employment and need to reunite with their loved ones, etc.

Stay tuned for more information on this “hot” summer topic and let us know if you encounter any difficulty with your request.

[1] Teleworking from abroad 2 weeks pre-Christmas was also made available 20.11.2020: p.7, Point 5.1b: ‘Staff may be authorised by their line manager to telework from abroad as of 10 December and until the start of the end-of-year period of the Commission (24 December)’.

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