Remote working/Home Office is generally permitted although an (written) agreement between employee and employer is required. The employer cannot unilaterally order remote working. If home office is agreed, the employer is obliged to provide the digital work equipment (laptop and, in principle, also cell phone including data connections). If the employer refuses to do so, the employee is entitled to reimbursement of costs. Furthermore, the employer must track (entire spent in the) home office days (this is due to tax benefits). In general, certain reservations should be included in the corresponding agreement, also with regard to termination as well as a general (preliminary) permission only for home office activities in the state of the company (Austria).
Home office abroad may – under certain circumstances – lead to a change in taxation rights/the change in the tax status of the employees concerned. The relevant double taxation agreements, consultation agreements, cross-border commuter regulations, etc. should therefore be observed in advance.
Further, it should also be noted that if Austrian employees of a foreign employer temporarily work in an Austrian home office and social security contributions are generally payable abroad, exceeding a scope of activity of 25% due to the home office activity can lead to the fact that the social security obligation changes in principle to the country of residence/Austria. However, it is partly (at least for certain countries) also argued that only Covid-19 conditional changes due to temporary emergency measures do not lead to change – Therefore, also the special regulation created on the occasion of the Corona crisis, according to which COVID-related home office should not change the social security competences, was extended by the EU Administrative Commission until 31. 12. 2022. However, also the concrete and current national views of the social security agencies must be considered in each individual case.
Moreover, an employee’s home office activity in Austria may, under certain conditions (especially if it is not only temporarily due to Covid-19 restrictions), constitute a permanent establishment of a non-Austrian employer in Austria leading to an Austrian taxation right for that part of the employer’s profit which is attributable to the Austrian permanent establishment.
Remote work and hybrid work (part face-to-face and part remote) allowed.
Normally, employers may at their own discretion make work-from-home arrangement, which, however, shall still be subject to normal salary payment. Compulsory work-from-home rules including salary payment may apply from time to time depending on local pandemic situations and policies.
According to an amendment to the Czech Labour Code (effective from July 2021) employers have access to state relief in case of partial unemployment ('Kurzarbeit') resulting from a serious economic crisis caused by an extraordinary event (f.e. epidemics).
The state relief is provided to private sector employers:
- for each employee in an employment relationship based on a standard employment contract in force for at least 3 months as at the date of applying for state relief, and such an employee is affected by the extraordinary event
- monthly for up to a maximum of 12 months
- as 80% of each affected employee's salary compensation (in Czech 'náhrada mzdy') and statutory payments, up to the maximum of 1.5 times the gross average salary in the Czech Republic
- within 8 days from filing a monthly report.
If applying for the support, employers must:
- notify the employees in advance in writing of any obstacle to work on the employer's part pursuant to the Labour Code and connected with an economic crisis caused by the extraordinary event
- file the request, including all necessary details and documents
- pay the affected employees salary compensation (in Czech 'náhrada mzdy') of at least 80% of their average salary
- assign work to employees in the extent of 20% to 80% of their usual monthly working hours
- file a monthly report.
England & Wales
As a result of Brexit, from 1 January 2021 the same immigration rules apply to non-European and European citizens coming to the UK to live, work and study. The only exception is for Irish citizens who are exempt from any immigration restrictions due to pre-existing Common Travel Area arrangements.
Employees may benefit from remote working based on a collective agreement, a charter or an individual agreement with the employee (employment contract) depending on the situation.
During Covid-19 employers faced more often remote working requests from employees. There is (currently) no legal entitlement to home office/mobile work in Germany. The employer cannot unilaterally order remote working and employees may not start working from home on their own intitaive. The employee therefore is only allowed to work from home or remotely if this is permitted either under the employment contract, a company agreement or subject to prior approval by the employer. It is important to observe various regulations when working remote, included but not limited to health and safety regulations, working time regulations as well as data protection and privacy regulations.
Moreover, an employee's home office activity in Germany may, under certain conditions (especially if it is not only temporarily due to Covid-19 restrictions), constitute a permanent establishment. This must be finally assessed by a tax advisor.
When the remote working is cross border related, the remote working activity may (even if it is undertaken in the EU, EEA or Sitzerland) - under certain circumstances - lead to a change in the tax and social security status of the employees concerned. The relevant double taxation agreements, time limits and documents such as A1 certificate must be observed and/or obtained.
Information unavailable or not applicable
Remote working (teleworking) is where the employee works at a place other than the employer’s facilities in some or all of the working time. The employer and the employee can agree on the means of teleworking, if there’s no such agreement, teleworking arrangements are based on the Labour Code. The employer can supervise the place of teleworking, but it may not bring unreasonable hardship on the employee. The employer shall provide all information to persons employed in teleworking
as is provided to other employees.
Employers must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health, and welfare at work of their employees. That responsibility rests with the employer whether or not that work is being done at the employers' premises or the employee's home. Employees are under a general statutory duty to take reasonable care to protect their own safety, health and welfare while working from home and that of any other person or people who may be affected by the work they are doing. Recently, the Government released the "Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect". However, this is merely guidance and does not have any legal standing.
A number of additional considerations also arise for employers of a fully or partially remote workforce, such as taxation and data privacy.
Following the pandemic, remote working (without specific constraints in terms of place of work and working hours) is increasingly common in Italy. Pursuant to the law (Law n. 81/2017), smart working must be mandatorily regulated by an individual written agreement between the employer and the employee, regulating a number of aspects (e.g.: duration, employer’s disciplinary power, equipment, disconnection measures, etc.).
The current Dutch Flexible Working Act regulates the rights of employees with regard to working hours, working time and workplace. If an employee wants to change one of these things, (s)he can submit a request to the employer. This law only deals with the choice of work location to a limited extent. A new legislative proposal is pending, which includes that the employer must grant an employees' request on the adjustment of the workplace, unless there is a compelling business interest opposing the adjustment, making it more difficult for employers to deny the request.
Due to the Covid pandemic employers are authorised to unilaterally order their employees to work remotely if this is feasible for a given job position and individual. This rule is applicable for the whole period duration of the Covid-19 epidemiological threat or the epidemic period, and also for three months afterwards they are declared over. Another option is concluding an agreement on tele-working based on general rules. Teleworking is the work performed outside the employer’s premises on a regular basis. Employers may also introduce their own internal rules on occasional remote work. There is an upcoming amendment to the Polish Labour Code which will regulate remote work and liquidate telework. We expect it to be proceed in Q4 2021.
A new teleworking regime was introduced in the Portuguese Labour Code having entered into force on the January 1st, 2022. Under this new teleworking regime and following an international trend worldwide discussed, Portugal was among the first countries to rule the right to disconnect –– as the employer now has a duty to avoid contacting any employee during the rest period, except when due to force majeure. Special entry permits and working visas for foreign digital nomads are also on the verge of entering into force in Portugal.
Information unavailable or not applicable
Remote working or work from home may be agreed upon employment contract with stipulating conditions and extent of such work. Working from home was legally possible even before the COVID-19 pandemic, however it is more widely used now.
Since October 13, 2020, a new legal framework has been in place to regulate home-based working.
Thus, only work that is carried out remotely for a minimum of 30% of the working time will be recognised as such. If so, the employee is given certain rights such as entitlement to be reimbursed costs in connection with remote working.
Remote working in Spain may not be imposed on the employee, nor may it be compulsory for the company to offer it. In other words, is always voluntary for both employer and employee.
To be effective, the agreement must be formalised in writing and such agreement has a minimum mandatory content.
Cross-border employment among EU member states is regulated according to EU legislation. Furthermore, Spanish law will be applicable to employees hired in Spain rendering services to Spanish employers abroad, notwithstanding public policy rules applicable in the countries where the services are rendered.
United Arab Emirates
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, remote working in the UAE has become more common. Further, under the UAE Labour Law, new models of work have been introduced, including remote working.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has also issued certain guidelines on working from home, which both employers and employees in the UAE are recommended to follow.