Legislation For Remote Work Of Employees

G. Vrikis & Associates Ltd


G. Vrikis & Associates LLC is a rapidly expanding and prominent law firm in Cyprus. Established in 2015 by its managing partner, Mr. George Vrikis, the firm has been focused in providing high-level legal advice to its clients and expanding its international profile and clientele, while at the same time maintaining a prompt, proactive and family office-approach for its clients. The Firm has expanded to a second location in Limassol in 2019, with the addition of Mrs Christiana Kouppi as a Partner.
The duration for the above mandatory telework would extend only to the timeframe covered by the Decree, or until the employee's health is no longer at risk...
Cyprus Employment and HR
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The duration for the above mandatory telework would extend only to the timeframe covered by the Decree, or until the employee's health is no longer at risk and they can return to the employer's establishment.

It is important to note that, the Law establishes safeguards from the outset concerning the terms of employment teleworking scenarios. These terms are not subject to adverse effects resulting from the transition to telework. The employment status and/or the employment contract of the employee remain unaffected by the alternation in the mode of work. Discrimination against an employee who does not consent to teleworking is expressly prohibited.

Furthermore, the Law introduces various safeguards, the main of them being:

  • prohibition of discriminatory treatment of employees who are working remotely;
  • obligation on the employer to cover any costs incurred by the employee due to remote work and provide relevant technical support to this effect;
  • obligation on the employer to provide information rights to the employees;
  • the right of the employees to disconnect; and
  • obligation on the employer to undertake risk assessment and health and safety obligations as to the place of remote work of the employee.

Employer's Obligations

The employer assumes the cost of the employee's teleworking, which includes the cost of relevant equipment and its maintenance, telecommunications, use of the home as workplace, and the repair of breakdowns. Employers are also obligated to provide the employee with the necessary technical support and cover the costs of repair or replacement of equipment used during teleworking, which is damaged through no fault of the employee. Any payment of any amount to the employee for the above shall not constitute salary and shall not be subject to any tax or social insurance contribution. It is worth noting that the above matters covered by the employer shall constitute a tax deductible expense of the employer.

A minimum monthly amount payable by employers to the employees for such remote work will be determined by the Council of Ministers by way of issuance of a relevant Decree. At the time of writing of this Articles, the Decree was not yet issued. Matters which will be taken into consideration is a pro rata calculation of the frequency and duration of remote work, if technical equipment was provided by the employer, and so forth. In the absence of the Decree, the obligation on the employer to cover such costs is still applicable, and should be calculated accordingly to the best of their abilities.

Further, the employer now has the obligation to inform the employee, in writing or electronically, and through posting in the employer's internal network, within eight days from the commencement of telework, of the following:

  • Reference to (i) the right of remote workers to disconnect from the electronic means through which they provide their services remotely using technology, (ii) the technical and organisational measures taken to ensure the disconnection of the remote workers from the digital communication and work tools, and (iii) the fact of prohibition of discrimination against remote workers because of the simple exercise of their right to disconnect;
  • Analysis of costs of remote work, including costs of telecommunications, equipment, and maintenance;
  • Necessary equipment and whether the employee will buy it and ask for reimbursement from the employer or if the employer will provide the equipment, technical support, maintenance and repairs;
  • Any restrictions to the use of equipment and possible sanctions in case of breach;
  • Any possible agreement on remote work readiness, including timeframes and deadlines for remote workers to respond;
  • Risks and measures of protection and prevention on the basis of the written risk assessment;
  • Obligation to protect and secure business data and personal data and the actions and procedures that need to be followed to fulfil this obligation; and
  • Supervisor from whom the remote workers get instructions.

Additionally, the employer has a duty to have a written and adequate assessment of the health and safety risks involved in remote working, in order to determine preventive and protective measures for employees, and to provide the necessary information, instructions and training to ensure the health of his employees. The provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Law 1996 (as amended) remain applicable.

Employee's Rights and Obligations

Employees have the same rights and obligations as comparable employees who work on-site and include, among other things, rights and obligations in relation to the volume of work, criteria and evaluation procedures, rewards, access to information relating to the employer, training and professional development and trade union action.

Employees also have the right to disconnect from the electronic means through which they provide services remotely, with any discrimination for exercising this right expressly prohibited.

During employee performance evaluation, the employer must respect the employee's privacy and safeguard their personal data. Monitoring employees through the use of a camera or similar intrusive applications for performance evaluation purposes is prohibited.

Inspectorship and Penalties

Within the framework of the Law, the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance will appoint Ministry officials as inspectors. These inspectors will be entrusted with ensuring the effective implementation of the legislation, providing relevant information, reporting problems and making proposals for resolution. Inspectors will have the authority to freely enter any place of employment, excluding private residences (unless the individual consents), and conduct necessary checks, inspections, investigations inquiries or examinations. Obstructing an inspector in exercising these powers constitutes a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment of up to 6 months and/or a fine of up to EUR 10,000.

Complaints arising from disputes related to the application of the provisions of the Law shall be submitted to the inspectors who have the right to investigate and attempt to reach a settlement.

Civil Disputes arising under the Law shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Industrial Disputes Tribunal.

Any violation by the employer of the provisions of the Law constitutes an offence punishable by a fine of up to EUR 10,000.

The Law does not specify a general deadline for the implementation of the obligations outlined therein. However, it effectively lists general principles to be observed when formulating drafting remote work policies and the rights of labour inspectors.

Lastly, it should be noted that the current definition of remote work under the Law does not appear to limit the place of remote work within the Republic of Cyprus and as such, the Law may also apply to cases where the employee choses to work remotely from abroad. Such cases should also take into account local labour laws, tax laws, and social insurance regulations of the country from which the employee will be working from.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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