How future-oriented is the right to work from home?
Germany's Minister of Labour Hubertus Heil has presented the draft for a "Mobile Work Act" that would grant full-time employees the right to work from home 24 days per year. According to the draft law, companies and employees are to arrange questions of accessibility by mutual agreement, and digital timekeeping is to become mandatory. The press is not entirely convinced.
No real departure from the old order
The draft law does not go far enough for the Tagesspiegel:
“Two days a month cannot really signal the creation of a new work culture. They will not be a determining factor in improving the work-life balance. Companies will not have to address the question of whether employees are properly equipped at home, or who must bear the additional costs of teleworking. ... All those who actually want to go back to the old office rules after the pandemic will find all the justification they need in the Minister of Labour's proposal.”
No one should be forced
In seeking a legal framework for working conditions the motto should be maximum flexibility, the Financial Times urges:
“The right approach may well differ from country to country, and even within industries and individual firms. The guiding principle for all parties, however, ought to be one of equivalence. Rules should neither force workers unhappy with new arrangements to continue working from home, nor push those who prefer the new environment to return en masse to the office. Achieving that is a delicate balancing act. But there is a chance here to emerge from the crisis with the design of our working lives and economies enhanced.”