The framework agreement on telework was negotiated in 2001/2002 and is the first agreement to be implemented by the social partners at national level (see Procedures). The social partners see telework both as a way for companies and public service organisations to modernise work organisation and as a way for workers to reconcile work and social life, giving them greater autonomy in the accomplishment of their tasks.

Teleworkers are defined as follows in the agreement:

“Telework is a form of organising and/or performing work, using information technology, in the context of an employment contract/relationship, where work, which could also be performed at the employers’ premises, is carried out away from those premises on a regular basis.”

Telework is voluntary for both sides, the worker and the employer. A switch to telework does not affect employment status. If the worker refuses to change to telework this cannot be a reason for termination of the employment relationship or for changing terms and conditions. The decision to switch to telework is reversible by individual and/or collective agreements, if telework is not part of the initial job description. Teleworkers benefit from the same rights as comparable workers at the employer’s premises, but it may be necessary to take the particularities of telework into consideration. Teleworkers have the same active and passive collective rights as workers at the employer’s premises.

The employer is responsible for the following:

  • relevant written information needs to be provided to the teleworker when engaged in telework;

  • data protection;

  • providing, installing and maintaining equipment;

  • costs directly caused by telework;

  • providing appropriate technical support facilities;

  • health and safety;

  • providing the same access to training as to comparable workers at the employer’s premises.

Concerning work organisation:

  • working time is managed by the teleworker (within the framework of applicable legislation, collective agreements and company rules);

  • workload and performance standards are equivalent to comparable workers at the employer’s premises;

  • measures must be taken to prevent the isolation of the teleworker.