With the arrival of the pandemic, many companies have incorporated remote working as an option to continue their operations in a health context that has complicated the global situation.
Although this type of work has worked as a good alternative for businesses, labor experts remind employers that applying remote work is a decision that should not be taken lightly and that they must comply with the employee-employer responsibilities indicated by law, despite the fact that the collaborators are not inside their offices.
“Companies that change from in-person mode to remote working mode due to a situation such as the pandemic must have clear guidelines, the most advisable thing is an internal policy and sign the addendums to employment contracts,” argued Lupita Quintero, a specialist in Labor Law.
The legal framework that protects remote workers establishes that remote working is voluntary for both the worker and the employer, and will be governed in its details by the agreement between the parties, the legal instruments protection of human rights and international legal instruments for the protection of labor rights and other labor legislation.
To establish a remote work relationship, the employer and the worker must sign a remote work contract, which is subject to Law 9738 and the other provisions that regulate employment in Costa Rica.
This contract must specify the conditions under which the tasks will be carried out, the obligations, rights and responsibilities that the parties must assume. If there is an employment relationship regulated by a previously signed contract, what is appropriate is to make an addendum to it with the conditions provided by law.
Likewise, when this modality is not part of the initial description of the functions of the position, both parties must jointly sign a voluntary agreement, in which the information with the necessary conditions for the performance of their functions under this work modality will be established. .
The employer has the power to grant and revoke the remote working modality, when it deems it appropriate, based on the policies and guidelines issued for that purpose; Said revocation must be raised at least ten calendar days in advance and applies only when the remote working modality has been agreed upon after the start of the employment relationship.
In cases where the remote work modality is a condition agreed from the beginning of the employment relationship, the worker may not subsequently demand to carry out their work in the physical facilities, unless the parties mutually agree to modify what was initially agreed.
According to the specialist in Labor Law, evaluating the positions subject to remote working, developing an internal remote working policy and signing a remote working contract and/or addendum are the key elements that companies must have in order to implement the modality.
“Internal telework policies must incorporate the obligations of teleworkers, employee commitment to occupational health guidelines, establish what to do in the event of an employee emergency or a work-related accident, communication tools and channels, and how to notify the employer if there is a failure of the equipment, of electricity or of the internet” commented Quintero.
Under this modality, accidents and illnesses that occur to remote workers on the occasion of or as a result of the remote work they perform in a subordinate and remunerated manner are considered work risks, as well as the aggravation or re-aggravation that results as a direct, immediate and undoubted consequence of these accidents and illnesses.
The policies provided for in-person work will be applied and will be governed by the provisions of Law No. 2 and the Labor Code. In addition, employees must be insured by the Costa Rican Social Security Fund and the National Insurance Institute.
Benefits of remote working for companies
- Reduction of capacity in the workplace that prevents the spread of Covid and its variants.
- Reduction of expenses in renting offices and related expenses.
- Productivity increase.
- Promotion of social inclusion.
- Use of new technologies.
- Talent attraction and retention.
- Promotion of work by objectives.