In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more employees are carrying out their work remotely with the aim of effectively reducing the spread of the virus. Working under a teleworking scheme is not a right but a concession granted by the employer to its employees. However, in light of the present circumstances, such concession has been highly promoted and recommended by governments internationally, the Maltese Government included, as part of the preventative measures which are currently being undertaken.
As per L.N. 312 of 2008, any agreement for the performance of telework has to be in writing and should include all of the data required by the Information to Employees Regulations. Furthermore, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, the employer is responsible to provide the employee with the appropriate technological facilities to telework. It is also the employer's responsibility to inform the teleworker about Data Protection considerations and to ensure that the required measures are taken by the teleworker when processing data to carry out his/her duties.
Malta Enterprise has issued a call for applications for the Facilitation of Teleworking Activities with the aim of facilitating the provision of teleworking arrangements for employees to carry out their work from their personal residences. The call is intended to support employers by covering the costs of teleworking solutions and to also encourage them to invest in the required technological equipment.
Whilst virtual connectivity is proving to be a major asset, it is of utmost importance to ensure cyber safety. It is important to assure that employees working remotely have a secure Wi-Fi connection and encryption tools installed amongst others. Moreover, employers can also play a vital role in ensuring cybersecurity, for instance by providing staff with a clear procedure to follow in case of a security incident.
With phishing attacks being on the increase during this pandemic, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity strongly recommends not to conduct work and leisure activities on the same device, and to be extra-vigilant with emails concerning COVID-19. In fact, individuals are advised to verify the authenticity of all sources requesting credentials, attaching documents and links. Here are a few important tips issued by the EU Agency for Cybersecurity: https://www.enisa.europa.eu/news/executive-news/top-tips-for-cybersecurity-when-working-remotely
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