Is telework the rule in Spain and the United Kingdom?

In France, the government asked employers to schedule by Monday 3 January and for “Three weeks, teleworking at least three days per week for positions that allow it”, and whenever possible, “This number can be increased to four days a week”, Abroad, telework is also widespread?

in Spain, culture of presentationism

In Spain, there is no obligation, large companies practice it little, small ones very little. The law has been reformed to facilitate teleworking but is not yet very widespread in practice. We can talk openly about failure. Maybe a collective failure, policies, companies, even unions. The proportion of active Spanish workers who worked remotely for at least half of their time, for example three days a week, stood at 8% in the third quarter of 2021, according to data from an observatory dependent on the economy ministry. But the worst part is that this segment of telecom is on a continuous decline. It was 16% in the second quarter of 2020, so double the current rate, 11% in the first quarter of 2021 and 9% in the second quarter.

For this failure, a major cause has not been identified. news paper secret It took a long look at the subject, interviewing economic players and experts. In the way of reflection, there’s a culture of presentation called: You have to sit in your chair in the office to be noticed by the boss, even if you’re more productive at home. There is also the size of the companies. Spain, along with Italy and Malta, is one of the European countries with the most micro enterprises with less than ten employees. Exactly those who have the most difficulty in setting up telework. And then the regulation is not binding at all. The law enacted in February 2021 only talks of encouraging telecommuting… and the government recalled that it was not an obligation in any way, neither to the employee nor to the employer.

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Failing to facilitate teleworking for the Spaniards, the country seeks to attract teleworking from foreigners. These are the so-called digital nomads that different regions want to attract. First, there were individual initiatives. Municipalities on the coast, Benidorm, Barcelona, ​​islands or sunny areas, Canaries, Andalusia have started campaigns on this topic. This allows to fill hotels or tourist apartments. And then three weeks ago, the central government passed a law on start-ups that includes a whole specific component. “The bill establishes a simplified procedure for obtaining visas and residence permits for teleworking of highly qualified workers”, says Economy Minister Nadia Calvino. They will also be able to benefit from the income tax regime for non-residents for a maximum period of five years. These are important steps to attract digital nomads to our country.”

Hence the tax benefits, and a simpler bureaucracy. Note that Spanish expatriates for five years can also benefit from these benefits if they return to the country to establish their activity.

In the United Kingdom, no obligation but a recommendation

Telecom back in the UK since last December to curb “Omicron Variant Tidal Wave” According to Boris Johnson. Working in English at home is not mandatory and has never been done. But the Prime Minister’s tone has changed since the first imprisonment. In 2020, the message was clear: work from home unless impossible. Today the message is hazy: work from home if possible, work from home if you have to. The government only recommends that those who have to go to work get regular check-ups, but does not make it mandatory. An exception is Wales in the UK, where teleworking is mandatory. Companies are fined £1,000 and employees £60.

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The announcement of a return to telecommunications was well received by the public and employees. The same goes for politicians, even if some may not be dissuaded from mocking the government, which by tradition authorized Christmas celebrations between friends and colleagues. Conservative lawmakers, in principle hostile to the restrictions, rebelled more against health passes than teleworking. The government is reassuring and claims the UK has one of the least restrictive systems in Europe. On the business side, they are customizable. Most do not close off their premises to allow employees to access their work equipment. But you have to walk around town only to find that offices are empty, many shops and restaurants are closed, and gyms are in dire need.

The government was already thinking about the issue of teleworking before the pandemic, but of course, circumstances escalated. In September, the government decided that an employee could ask their employer to telework immediately after being hired. Whereas earlier you had to stay in a box for at least 6 months before submitting such a request. In 2020, just over a third of workers experimented with telecommuting, according to a British study.

Several positive trends can be seen: more than half of women believe their careers have been boosted, older workers are ready to postpone their retirement, and companies are emphasizing the well-being of their employees. Finally, to end on a lighter note: The British, back in the office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, made Thursday evenings “Thirsty Thursday”. Now it’s Thursday and not Friday, we meet around a pint in the pub in the evening.

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

Organizer. Zombie aficionado. Wannabe reader. Passionate writer. Twitter lover. Music scholar. Web expert.

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