Spain regulates teleworking: electricity consumption was one of the debated factors

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Spanish companies will not be able to impose teleworking on their employees, which has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic, and will have to cover the costs, according to a bill approved this Tuesday by the left-wing government.

"This puts us at the forefront of European legislation," Labor Minister Yolanda Díaz, a representative in the executive of the radical left-wing Podemos party, told reporters.

"Neither the employee nor the company will be able to impose the standard of remote work", whose refusal will not be able to justify a dismissal, he stressed when presenting this text as a result of an agreement between the social partners.

These rights will apply to employees who work at home at least 30% of the time, or one and a half days a week, for at least three months. An agreement between the management and the unions should organize teleworking at the company, sector or branch level.

The companies will have to assume the costs of "equipment, tools and consumption related to carrying out the activity" remotely, the government said in a statement.

In this way, bills for electricity, internet, telephone, computer equipment or ergonomic chairs can be covered.

The control by companies of compliance with the obligations of employees should take into account their right to privacy and digital disconnection, the government said.

Teleworking, not very widespread in Spain before the pandemic, is now practiced by between 20 and 30% of employees, according to several studies.

Spain, which is already one of the European countries most affected by the pandemic, is currently facing a second wave of contagion, especially intense in the Madrid region.

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