An EU directive dealing with e-working, or the ability to work remotely from home, has been approved with some controversial concessions by the European Parliament. It is designed to give people the right to “induce” colleagues to work from home with the promise of financial benefits. We’ve already had the debate about tax on such work, but it now turns out that it might make more sense to rethink how the rules apply to work done remotely.
Currently a remote worker is treated as if they are physically working, at full cost, at the same time they are actually unproductive. That’s why freelancers need to find insurance to cover the likelihood of some days where they may work and others where they aren’t, and why micro-businesses may not have the systems in place to ensure uninterrupted business continuity.
Adopting the EU directive would simply add one more element to the “must-have” suite of policies that drive up workers’ compensation and insurance premiums.
It also ignores the issue of fairness. If workers weren’t penalised by government for giving up paid work, then there would be no reason for them to stick to the traditional end-of-day salary.