(Aug. 24, 2020) On July 30, 2020, the Argentine Congress passed Law 27555 on the Teleworking Contracts Regime, which provides the legal framework for teleworking in employment settings that allow it. The new legislation, which will become effective 90 days after the national government declares the end of the country’s mandatory COVID-19 quarantine, was signed into law by President Alberto Fernández on August 14, 2020.
Application of the Regulation and Employees’ Rights
The telework regulation will apply when the task to be performed is carried out totally or partially at the employee’s home, or in locations other than the employer’s establishment, via information technology and telecommunication means.
The new law provides that teleworking employees be granted the same rights and obligations as employees performing their duties in person, and that their remuneration may not be lower than what an employee working on-site receives.
Except for force majeure situations, the change from on-site work to telework must be made by employees voluntarily and documented in a telework employment contract. Employees may reverse their decision at any time. Working hours must be previously agreed on and written into the telework contract in compliance with the legal and conventional limits in force. Employees who certify that they are in charge, solely or jointly, of the care of children under 13 years of age, people with disabilities, or older adults who live together and require specific assistance are entitled to work schedules compatible with the care tasks and work interruptions as needed.
To ensure teleworkers’ health and safety, the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security is required to issue hygiene and work-safety regulations applicable to this new labor modality.
Employers are not allowed to ask teleworking employees to work outside of their assigned workday hours or send them communications during off-hours through any means. Employees who disconnect from work communications during off-hours or leave time cannot be subject to a sanction.
Employers must provide the equipment, including hardware and software, and tools necessary to perform teleworking, as well as the necessary support for the performance of the tasks, which includes adequate training in new technologies through courses and support tools, both virtually and on-site. Employers must also assume the costs of the installation, maintenance, and repair of the equipment. Employees must be reimbursed for the use of their own tools.
Employees, for their part, are responsible for the proper use and maintenance of the work equipment and tools provided by the employer, except for normal wear and tear resulting from their normal use. They are also obliged to prevent their telework equipment from being used by others.
Collective Labor Rights
For union representation purposes, teleworkers are to enjoy the same collective rights as those enjoyed by those working on-site.
In addition, the hiring of nonresident foreign employees under this work modality will require the prior authorization of the enforcement authority—the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security. Collective labor agreements will provide for a limit on the number of such work contracts allowed.