Watch out! Updated teleworking guidelines coming on 22 June

Updated Commission teleworking guidelines (replacing the previous version of these rules) were announced by DG HR on 16 June in the  Communication to Commission staff – Update 15 and come into force from Monday 22 June 2020. The guidelines document is published in the MyIntracomm Coronavirus and COVID-19 News & Helpdesk page.

Here is a short summary of what will change with regards to the original Action Plan for a Gradual Return to the Office from 29 April: note that all changes depend on circumstances (and some on your line manager’s approval (see point 2 below)).

Between Phase 1 and Phase 2 there will be a new phase ‘1+’ (also being called ‘1B’).

  1. The upper limit for attendance at the office is 20% in specific circumstances and an exception (‘derogation’) must be granted.
    1. This is the application of the upper limit of the range given in the original action plan (to date applied as 10%).
    2. As in phase 0 + a small number of colleagues for each unit (not more than 10%-20%) will be allowed to work from the office on a voluntary basis and on weekly shifts’
    3. Attendance at the office remains voluntary for the majority.
    4. Mandatory return (Point 4.1b) is still a possibility for those performing tasks which cannot be performed remotely or those performing critical/essential tasks, except for staff with special circumstances (health/quarantine/mobility/family health) or those with children under the age of 13 not yet back at school or kindergarten.
    5. All social distancing and wearing-of-mask rules remain unchanged (Point 4.1 of the guidelines).
    6. The norm continues to be rotation in shifts, though no distinction is now made between critical and essential tasks and shifts may be reorganised e.g. if people in opposite shifts need to be able to work together (Point 4.2 of the guidelines).
  2. Working from somewhere other than the place of assignment, is to be permitted in specific circumstances, with the approval of your line manager (Point 5.1b).
    1. For the period of COVID-19 restrictions: staff with circumstances such as spouse/partner/children live in another Member State or there is serious illness.
    2. During the summer period (15 June – 15 September), derogation may also be granted to staff members in specific and exceptional circumstances, such as mandatory quarantine imposed by the Member States in the place of origin or specific family circumstances linked to arduous conditions where parents need support from their family living abroad to take care of children. Where the line managers confirms that teleworking abroad is compatible with the interests of the service, a derogation may be granted at Directorate-General/service level. Such derogation may not exceed two weeks and should immediately precede or follow an annual leave period; they are to be reported to DG HR.

As concerns the revised rules on teleworking from outside the place of employment, Generation 2004 would like to welcome the changes proposed by HR. However, in our opinion, we believe they are still very restrictive and do not go far enough in facilitating staff’s well-being in these difficult times. In our note of 23 March 2020  to Mrs Gertrud INGESTAD, Director General in charge of HR matters, we asked to temporarily lift the requirement to telework at the place of residence.  This summer period telework arrangement (point 2.b, above) is also an administrative hybrid. Why should this procedure be handled at director general level   directly involved in this procedure, if not to discourage the staff?

Overall, this update will not bring us to Phase 2 yet, and teleworking is still the general norm for the near future.

Generation 2004 would also like to remind you that the maximum credit-balance carry-over each month remains 20 hours (unless your DG has a derogation) and that there has been no change to the maximum annual-leave carry-over of 12 days (except for the usual cases). So, please make sure you check what has changed for you and make sure you do not lose any of that precious time off!

Leave a Reply