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Working From Home Erases Line Between Working Hours and Private Time - Round Table

By 5 October 2020
Working from home erases line between working hours and private time
Working from home erases line between working hours and private time Source: Pexels

ZAGREB, October 5, 2020 - The Bridge party organised a round table on Monday on the topic "Working from Home: Do we have the right of disconnect", which discussed amendments to the Labour Act due to the coronavirus, where a lot of people work from home and the line between working hours and private time disappears.

The discussion was organised following announcements that changes would be made to the Labour Act. A lot of workers work from home due to the coronaviurs situation and in many cases have to work more and need to be available all the time.

"It has been seen in practice that work from home often leads to an overlap between working hours and private time and that the fine line is being moved or erased completely," president of the Independent Croatian Unions, Kresimir Sever, said.

He explained that an employee's working hours with an employer are clearly defined, but if that employee starts working from home, a good portion of employers abuse that and expect employees to work a lot more, leaving less time for leisure activities.

"Until such time that that system is put in order, we cannot talk about real remote work," said Sever.

He added that times of crises are not a good time to amend laws.

"Laws should not be adapted to crisis situations, but should be regulated during normal times, emphasising that a  crisis may occur," he said.

He warned that the crisis situation is being exploited to introduce a more flexible labour system in Croatia which is unacceptable for the unions, and all under the guise that remote work has to be regulated.

"The Labour Act is extremely flexible in Croatia. It allows employers a wide spectrum to arrange labour relations. The thing that would provide real flexibility is collective bargaining and there is very little of that in Croatia," Sever believes.

Viktor Gotovac from the Labour and Social Law Department at the Faculty of Law does not agree that the law is good as it does not regulate remote working.

"That means that the law is not good. We have student contracts, employing pensioners, author's contracts, everything just not to change the law... I worked form home after the earthquake and my employer immediately cut off my travel allowance, but I was not paid for using my own premises, resources," Gotovac underlined.

He did not agree that the coronavirus caused the problem but rather pointed out what needs to be changed for a better legislative framework which would regulate wages, working hours and leave.


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