How to regulate remote work?

20, January

As of March of last year, the promotion of remote work became a huge opportunity for Latin America New ...

As of March of last year, the promotion of remote work became a huge opportunity for Latin America

New opportunities have opened up for millions of skilled workers. Many began to provide their services across borders from the comfort of their homes (or wherever they wish)

For companies, it opens the possibility of finding the best talent in the world, without having to limit their search to a city, region or country.

One of the main barriers to achieve this purpose is the archaic labor legislation that we have in all Latin American countries

In the case of Colombia, Alex Torrenegra and Santiago Martinez Mendez stated in Semana that the law on teleworking was drafted thirteen years ago for a world that no longer exists. It has more obstacles than facilities to be able to develop this modality of work. Among other obstacles, the following can be listed:

The teleworkers of companies that are based in Colombia must be located in Colombian territory.
The one who migrates to the telework scheme, at any time, could request to return to the employer’s premises.
A tortuous process must be followed with the labor risk manager.
The work site must be adapted and a particular place where the services will be provided must be defined.
The work regulations must be modified and a special agreement must be entered into with each worker, among others.
However, Congress adequately interpreted the need to promote a more agile and simple regulation that includes digital nomads. Law 2069 of 2020, better known as the Entrepreneurship Law was passed on the last day of last year. In this law, Article 17 states that: “Taking into account the new global circumstances, enable remote work beyond teleworking, in order to ensure employment generation in the country, and the consolidation and growth of enterprises.

It will be the national government that will have to issue the regulations on remote work. Although it does not expressly repeal the rules on teleworking, we can understand that in a certain way it subrogates them in everything that is opposed. Therefore, since it has not yet been regulated and with the purpose of contributing to the construction of the announced Decree, Torrenegra and Martinez Méndez shared with the Government and the public in general contributions for an adequate regulation.

Less is more: When it comes to regulating all the details, there is a tendency to generate confusion, gray areas of interpretation and obstacles. Regulating what is strictly necessary and fundamental is the first step.
This modality should not be exclusive for those who have work contracts, it should also be enabled for the independent or self-employed: we cannot fall into the error of thinking that all remote work should be governed by an employment contract. The rules that define the existence of an employment relationship are given by the labor legislation.

Flexibility of part and part: this type of modality must give space so that those who provide their services remotely do not have to be circumscribed to a particular physical space, but precisely that they can mobilize themselves and work from different places, which in turn do not necessarily have to be subject to a certain schedule but rather to the fulfillment of the tasks, deliverables or commitments they have made.

Tax advantages: workers in Colombia who are hired by companies that are abroad should be offered advantageous treatment in terms of taxes, by giving them the possibility of paying less taxes locally, which would favor the entry of more foreign currency into the country. (Remaining task for the tax reform).

From the paper to the system: to try that they do not have to fill so many forms, administrative procedures and that they can make processes of linking, administration of the relation and digital, agile unlinking.

That the self-care is the protagonist in matters of prevention of accidents or diseases of occupational origin: to think about attributing to the employer or contracting party all the burdens of situations that cannot be fully insured, breaks the equity and reasonability of this work model.

Computer security and privacy protection, two great elements to protect. The importance of the protection of the information of the companies must be foreseen and that those who provide their services cannot violate the confidentiality, but at the same time, sufficient means so that the privacy of the workers is safeguarded. As well as all the fundamental rights of the parties.
Not to repeat the mistakes of the previous legislations that because they wanted to do more they achieved less, because they created from the desk they forgot what happens in the territory.

Remote, modern work is a generator of employment and opportunities for Latin American talent

Translated with (free version)