Smart working: a valuable opportunity for the employer
Smart working is a flexible form of work organization, which aim is reducing the labour costs and consequently increase the businesses' efficiency and productivity. The 2019 budget law promoted the spreading of the smart working within the companies, which is quickly growing also by virtue of the recent technology which make employees able to efficiently carry out their tasks out of the office, remaining cost-effectively connected with their employers. What are the disciplinary powers of the employer?
Smart working is a flexible form of work organization, introduced in the Italian legislation few years ago with the aim of easing the employees' work-life balance, as well as for reducing the labour costs and consequently increase the businesses' efficiency and productivity.
Differently from the teleworking (telelavoro), its "ancestor", which provides that employees work from a certain location, in a stable manner and with a determined working-hours, the smart working is featured by higher flexibility in terms both of time and place of work, since smart-workers can perform their job tasks at any place equipped with proper internet-connected computer devices, without being necessarily required to follow a standard working hours.
Technically, smart working is not a special kind of employment contract but a different scheme of performing the job tasks set out by a specific written agreement between the employer and the employee.
The smart working agreement, which can be executed with any employee regardless of professional qualification and classification, terms the methods and procedures to be followed for performing the employee's activities and the modalities under which the employer supervises and monitors the work performance. Moreover, the individual agreement regulates the rest times and it may provide for the assignment of suitable devices to the employee.
The law provides for a general principle of equality, by virtue of which the smart workers have right to salary and normative treatments not lower that the ones which apply, according to the collective bargaining agreements, to the employees who work in the company premises only.
The smart working agreement can be stipulated for a fixed-term or for an indefinite period of time. In the latter case, the withdrawal must be communicated with at least 30 days' notice, unless a reason justifying the immediate termination of the smart mode exists. For disabled employees, the withdrawal notice period can not be lower than 90 days.
With regard to the disciplinary aspects, the individual agreement may regulate how the employer's supervision powers can be exercised on the performance of the service outside the company premises, also specifying the conducts that might bring to disciplinary sanctions, in compliance with the procedures set forth by the law and the reference collective bargaining agreements.
As for the health and safety law requirements, the employer has the obligation to ensure the safety of the smart worker, and to this end it is obliged, inter alia, to deliver to the employee and to the health and safety workers' representative (RLS), on an annual basis, a written informative note indicating the general and specific risks connected to the particular methods of performance of the working activity.
For its part, the smart worker must cooperate with the employer for the implementation of the preventive measures identified in relation to the risks deriving from the performance of the work activity outside the company premises.
With regard to insurance protections, the smart workers must be insured against accidents at work and occupational illnesses extended to the events that occur during the journey to and from home to the place where the work activity is carried out.
Smart workers are beneficiaries of the facilitations provided by the law in relation to the productivity and efficiency increases set out in company welfare plans agreed under the collective bargaining. Accordingly, smart workers can benefit from the relevant tax breaks, or opt for receiving instead goods, services, supplementary pension and health care plans, etc.
In order to promote the smart working, the 2019 budget law provides for the obligation for the employer to give priority to smart-working requests from female workers in the 3 years following the end of the period of compulsory maternity leave and to workers with disabled children.
The law is therefore promoting the spreading of the smart working within the companies, which is quickly growing also by virtue of the recent technology which make employees able to efficiently carry out their tasks out of the office, remaining cost-effectively connected with their employers.