Learn About the New Colombian Regulation on Telework
On July 18, 2022, Decree 1227 of 2022 came into force, which modifies and adds some provisions on teleworking. In this regard, bear in mind that teleworking is a form of work organization that consists of the performance of activities by the worker using Information and Communication Technologies “ICT” as support. Thus, the contact between the worker and the employer occurs through ICT without requiring the physical presence of the worker in a specific place of work. Additionally, there are three types of teleworkers: (i) autonomous, when teleworkers use their own home or a different place agreed upon with the employer and only sporadically go to the company; (ii) mobile, when they do not have an established workplace and use mobile devices to perform their functions; and (iii) supplementary, when depending on the needs of the service, they work two (2) or three (3) days a week at home and the other days they work in the company. With this in mind, below we detail the modifications that you must take into account as an employer if you want to implement this type of employment contract in your company in Colombia:
- In the employment contract employers must indicate the necessary conditions for the performance of the functions assigned to the worker, the technological means required, the description of the equipment and computer programs and the responsibilities regarding the custody of work items and restrictions and responsibilities that the breaches of these conditions entail. Additionally, it must indicate the modality of telework that will be performed, the weekly working schedule that teleworkers will have, the security measures that they must know and comply with and the description of the minimum requirements in terms of ergonomics and technology that the workstation must comply with. Finally, the employment contract must indicate the procedure that teleworkers must follow to return the equipment that was delivered to them once the telework or contract ends.
- The previous requirement to include in the Internal Work Regulations (RIT, by its Spanish acronym) the special conditions for teleworking to operate and the provisions related to the proper use of equipment, programs and information management applicable to these workers, has been eliminated.
- The following obligations are established for employers: (i) affiliate teleworkers to the Labor Risk System and inform the workers’ compensation administrators (ARL, by its Spanish acronym) about the chosen telework modality, the weekly working schedule and the corresponding risk class. Additionally, for supplementary and autonomous teleworking, the chosen workplace for the teleworker to carry out their functions must be reported and for mobile telework, the conditions in which the contracted work will be performed; (ii) in the Annual Work Plan of the Occupational Health and Safety Management System (SG-SST, by its Spanish acronym) all the actions considered necessary to identify and control the dangers and risks of the company’s teleworkers must be implemented; (iii) order periodic medical evaluations that may be performed by telemedicine; (iv) adopt and publish a telework policy in which the terms, characteristics and conditions of teleworking are regulated in accordance with the needs and particularities of the service; and (v) inform the Colombian Ministry of Labor about the number of teleworkers that their company has.
- Towards teleworkers, employers have the following obligations: (i) inform them of the communication mechanisms they have to report any updates related to the performance of telework, work accidents and occupational diseases; (ii) provide them with adequate work equipment and tools, ensuring that they receive training and information on the risks arising from their use. However, this does not prevent teleworkers from using their own equipment and work tools; (iii) respect human dignity, the right to privacy and access to information of teleworkers; (iv) guarantee the right to disconnect from work and protect the mental health and emotional balance of teleworkers; (v) train them in advance, virtually or in person, in terms of mental health care, ergonomic or biomechanical risk factors, use and appropriation of ICT and digital security; (vi) inform them about the restrictions on the use of computer equipment and programs, protection of personal data, intellectual property, information security and penalties for non-compliance with these provisions.
- The possibility that the parties retain the right to reversibility of teleworking is established. That is, the parties may have the power to request at any time the definitive return of teleworkers to perform their functions in person at the company. However, this will depend on what the parties agree to in the employment contract and the possibilities that the employer has to locate the worker within their company.
- This decree states that the parties must seek flexibility regarding the time and mode of performance of the teleworker’s functions, provided that the established weekly working schedule is met. For this, the parties will be able to agree on schemes of compliance and monitoring of functions. However, this flexibility cannot affect the effective rest of teleworkers or their right to disconnect from work.
- The possibility that the parties agree that the teleworker use their own work equipment and tools is established. In this case, teleworkers must keep their equipment and tools in good functional condition to fulfill their functions and employers must refrain from subsequently requesting equipment other than those agreed upon. The parties can agree on a compensatory amount for the use of these tools, but it is NOT mandatory.
- The parties can agree on a monthly aid to compensate for the teleworker’s expenses on Internet, land and mobile telephony and energy. This aid is NOT mandatory and will depend on the will of the parties.
In case you have any doubts, please contact us.