Teleworking, new Operational circular n°7 (OC7)


Why the necessity to review the Operational circular n°7 (OC7) on the telework?

The COVID pandemic has drastically modified our way of working, and working from home has become the norm for most of us. The teleworking has proven itself an important aspect of ensuring business continuity, whereas under normal circumstances it provides also an opportunity for better work-life balance. On the other side for others, the teleworking may have negative effects, such as isolation (particularly for individuals living alone), and the loss of contact with colleagues.

Taking into account all these factors, the Human Resources department has presented the new principles on teleworking during the Standing Concertation Committee (SCC) meeting held on the 21st April. All the principles were endorsed unanimity.

The principle basis of the revised OC7 are: 

  • The teleworking will be possible for employed and associated members of personnel;
  • The teleworking is not entitlement and must be compatible with the needs of the service ad in the interest of the Organisation;
  • The teleworking must allow members of the personnel to work under flexible arrangements that benefit both the member of the personnel and the Organisation;
  • The monitoring of the teleworking must assure an equitable application;
  • The teleworking should not exceed 40% of the contractual working hours; etc.

Which steps must be followed during the revision of the circular?

Once the principles have been defined and concerted, the review of the text and wording takes place on the SCC sub-group n1 that sends the final version again to SCC for final approval. The sub-group is composed by four Sectors representatives, four Staff representatives, other attendees are the Legal service (on standing invitation) and other experts as invited.

Regarding the OC7, the Sub-group inspects and evaluates every word and sentence to ensure that the principles have been correctly reflected and to obtain comprehensible texts.

And what about the concertation?

The final version proposed was amended by the Management without concertation with the Staff Association, notably by introducing a limitation of the basis for calculating the 40% telework time to two weeks. The objective of this modification introduced by the Management was to avoid unrealistic expectations from members of personnel which could lead into conflicts with supervisors.

The Association supported the proposal, but at least for a four-week limitation. This would allow the possibility of teleworking during a full week (five consecutive working days) and therefore it would provide more flexibility to our colleagues who are single parents, in a difficult personal situation or otherwise.

At the last SCC meeting on 24 June, there was no active search for a common position, so the concertation did not take place.However, it was agreed to continue with a written procedure to try to find a common position between the Management and the Staff Association.

The Staff Association proposed to preserve two different type of teleworking: regular and occasional teleworking, both managed by EDH.  The regular telework should not normally exceed 40% of the contractual working time in any two week-period. On a punctual basis, members of the personnel may be authorised to telework for longer periods.

The aim is to maintain transparency and, above all, confidence in the member of personnel, while preserving flexibility for our colleagues in a difficult personal situation or otherwise.

The written procedure is still ongoing. After the approval by the SCC members, the Circular must be approved by the Director General.

The Staff Association is optimistic that it will be finally validated, demonstrating that the concertation is the best way to find common positions satisfactory for all the parties.