Sunday, June 26

Savings ahead of rights: the teleworking “patch” for civil servants is now official


The Council of Ministers has approved this Tuesday the Treasury plan to save energy in the General State Administration (AGE). Among the measures contemplated in the document is that of granting up to three days of teleworking to all those officials whose positions are likely to be carried out remotely, as we already mentioned in Xataka.

According to the provisions of this plan, from now on each ministry or state entity must approve a work plan that incorporates a declaration of positions that can be teleworked, which will be able to carry out their work remotely up to three days a week. So far only one was allowed.

disgust of unions. The plan has not sat very well with the unions, despite the fact that they have spent months chasing the Government to grant public employees the possibility of working remotely more days a week. The reason? That the remote work modality be included as one more measure within a savings project and not have its own regulation, as the Ministry of Finance itself promised to the workers’ representatives more than a year ago.

The trade union organizations have been annoyed that the Government has created an energy saving plan and has approved it by forced marches as a result of the war in Ukraine and that, however, it has been successively delaying the rule that regulates the teleworking of civil servants from the end of 2021. A rule that would give greater protection and guarantees to public employees in relation to teleworking than the measures approved this Tuesday.

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successive delays. The government and unions already agreed in April 2021 on their own regulation, which was to come into force by royal decree and included the rights and obligations of civil servants in relation to teleworking. The Executive then told the workers’ representatives that the rule would be approved by the end of 2021, a date that was later delayed to February, March and October 2022, successively. Reason for which the union organizations consider the measure approved this Tuesday a “patch” that harms public employees.

The Minister of Finance and Public Function, María Jesús Montero, pointed out at the press conference after the Council of Ministers on Tuesday that the organizational measure of the savings plan regarding remote work “will be applied regardless of the decree that will specifically regulate teleworking, whose elaboration is being finalized and that the Government hopes to approve shortly”.

Same conditions… In principle. The Government has informed the unions that the teleworking that it proposes through the energy saving plan will be governed by the same conditions that they already agreed on in April 2021: three days a week (with some exceptions), voluntary and reversible, only for those positions that can be performed remotely and with computer equipment and internet connection by the AGE.

However, that initial agreement has undergone some variations in this time. As we already explained in Xataka, the Treasury introduced an additional provision in the draft of the royal decree on the teleworking of officials by which it gave the State Administration room until December 31, 2023 to provide the necessary equipment and connections for work to distance from your employees.

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personal teams. This would mean that many public employees would be forced to use personal resources (equipment and connections) to be able to telework, as has been happening for much of the pandemic, as both unions and several public employees explained to Xataka, who assured that it was the only alternative that offered by the Administration if they wanted to work from home due to the lack of resources to provide all of them with computers and internet connection for the time being.

The definitive conditions of teleworking that the Treasury now proposes have not yet been published, so it will be necessary to wait until they are available to find out if the Administration returns to the conditions agreed in April 2021 and provides all officials who work remotely with equipment and connections, or if, on the contrary, it maintains the additional provision introduced later, which would oblige some public employees to use their own resources to perform their duties.

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