Amid concerns another lockdown may come, government, unions and business leaders are close to agreeing measures to give extra protection to staff who now work from home (WFH).
Unions have been pushing for a special law and a draft is being finalised. Public sector workers are likely to be left out however at this stage. The large UGT union has said that the draft is "innovative" and "very balanced" in the rights and responsibilities of WFH staff.
The Ministry of Work hopes to issue a final draft shortly after a meeting this week. The government has agreed to increase the threshold of the amount of a worker's time that is regularly spent at home for them to be classed as WFH staff from 20 per cent to 30 per cent, approximately a day and a half a week.
Business leaders in the negotiations had complained that the original government threshold of 20 per cent, or one day a week, pushed too many workers into the WFH bracket, as staff frequently are allowed a day out of the office as a flexitime perk. The unions appeared prepared to concede this change, depending on seeing the final document.
The new law aims to protect workers with help paying some of their home office expenses and ensuring their free time is respected. WFH staff's duty to their employers is also included.