Italy embraces smart working… At last

21 May 2018

When it comes to fashion, Italians love to look smart. But it’s only in the last few years that Italians have begun to work smart. Increasingly, smart working has gained favour in many Italian companies, especially ICT firms with international connections.

Smart working offers greater flexibility in terms of working hours and location. It makes increased use of ICT tools and does away with the need for a fixed workstation, regardless of whether one is at the company or elsewhere. It should not be confused with teleworking, where an employee works from home using ICT tools supplied by the company that allow the employee to remain in contact following set working schedules and established procedures.

Employees like smart working as they can balance personal/family needs and work more easily. Companies favour it as they reap the benefits of happier employees and can cut certain fixed costs incurred for having an employee permanently on site.

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A new law was recently adopted to regulate such practices, defining smart working as the option to do part of one’s work at the company and part elsewhere, within the limits on daily and weekly working time established by law and collective bargaining agreements.

The law leaves much of the definition of the flexible employment relationship to the individual agreement that must be drafted, in writing, as proof and to show compliance with administrative requirements. Such an agreement also governs the work done away from the company’s premises, including the ways in which the employer can exercise its managerial power and the tools used by the employee. The agreement must also stipulate the employee’s rest periods (i.e. the right to breaks) and the technical and organisational means needed to ensure the employee has breaks from the technical equipment used for work. Such agreements can be fixed-term or open-ended.  In the former case, the parties can only withdraw from the agreement on justified grounds, while in the latter notice of at least 30 days is required.

Smart workers have the right to the same economic and legal treatment as employees who perform the equivalent role in the company. To guarantee workplace health and safety, the employer must provide the smart worker and the workplace safety representative with a written disclosure identifying the general and specific risks linked to this form of employment relationship.

 

Author: Luca Pirola, HLB Italy,  Labour Consultant at Triberti Colombo & Associati

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