EconomyFinancialWhat are the obligations that companies have with employees...

What are the obligations that companies have with employees who work from home?

The new variant of Covid-19, omicron, prompted dozens of companies to extend or return to the home office mode. A scheme that has generated new obligations for companies towards their workers .

As of the reform to article 311 and the addition to chapter XII BIS of the Federal Labor Law (LFT), made in 2020, employers must provide, install and maintain equipment for work, such as computers, printers, ergonomic chairs or other benefits that are considered necessary for each collaborator to carry out their duties.

The companies will also have to assume a proportional part of the internet, telephony and electricity services.

The labor lawyer Kair Vela explains that a home office modality is when a collaborator works remotely more than 40% of his total day. If so, both the time worked remotely and the salary, benefits and additional payments to carry out telecommuting functions will have to be in writing.

Companies must also pay the salary in a timely manner, not less than the salary received by a worker in face-to-face mode and respect the right to digital disconnection: workers can disconnect at the end of the working day and immediate bosses will have to respect that right.

If they do not do so, companies can receive a fine of 21,720 to 217,200 pesos, according to article 992 of the LFT. But some gaps detected by the specialists in the legislation have limited the fulfillment of the obligations.

Regulatory gaps

The home office reform does not define how to calculate the “proportional” payment of services, giving rise to various interpretations.

“The law implies that the employer must pay in full. It can be understood as the consumption used by the worker to carry out the work that, in any given case, could be obtained based on the difference in consumption before teleworking and after it”, explained Alejandro Velasco, manager of Internal Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility of Sodexo Benefits and Incentives Mexico.

Only one employer out of six supports its workers with home office expenses. The support is approximately 350 pesos and only 20% of the employers give it, according to data collected by Mercer Mexico.

“Despite the success of the home office, the evolving state of hybrid work will bring many challenges as regular life resumes, Velasco added.

The ability to adapt to remote or mixed work has not been easy. The IT, finance and management insurance industries have had a smoother conversion. Manufacturing and food service companies, and functions such as customer service and shop floor workers have experienced a more complex transition.

With information from Nancy Malacara

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