Mexico lags behind in regulating home office

Protocols are Created Given that regulation of home office in Mexico is precarious, protocols need to be created, taking into account:
·     Basic guidelines on information security, particularly in regard to sensitive information

·     Proper use of work equipment and other tools

·     The person working under this modality must be visited, to review his work area and verify whether he has all he needs. The worker’s greater commitment and productivity is thus ensured.

·     Teleworkers may be subject to occupational hazards in their home (such as posture, as a consequence of being seated for long periods of time, sight, stress produced by confinement, etc.).

·     Define penalizations and conducts that could be causes for recission, particularly all that are related to conduct and work response.

At the regional level, Mexico lags behind in the regulation of home office, as other countries have more specific legislation in this regard.

Blanya Correal, Latin American expert in Strategy and Labor Relations at the De la Vega y Martínez Rojas Firm, pointed out that there are countries like Chile, Argentina and Colombia that stand out for having developed laws on telework.

“Colombia contemplates three types of virtual telework. There is a kind of worker who remains at home 100 percent of the time, and this has implications in regard to the worker’s rights.

“Another kind is the worker who carries out his activities from any place, such as a salesman, who doesn’t have a telework office or center and can be on the move at all times. And there is another mixed modality”, she described.

She added that the length of the working day is regulated in Chile and they even have the “right to disconnect”.

This means that there are certain hours during which the company shouldn’t contact the worker.

“No meetings can be held at those times, no emails can be sent either”, described Correal.

In Argentina, companies have the obligation of creating a proper workspace at the worker’s home.

Correal pointed out that the question of “reversibility” was adopted in the region. This means that both the company and the worker have the right to request that the home office scheme be changed if either one of them realizes that it is not working.

She added that having clarity on the modality of telework helps establish rules as well as having control over and being able to manage workers’ health risks.

“What happens if a worker has an accident while at home within working hours? Is it an occupational accident or not?

“Risk elements arise, as in the case of a sedentary worker that sits in front of a screen for 8 or 10 hours; this is a person that a program must be developed for, as he can develop diseases linked to a sedentary lifestyle at home”, she said.

Correal stated that companies are responsible for anticipating these situations.

Only 15 percent of Latin American companies were prepared with a clear home office protocol prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the opinion of labor lawyer Óscar de la Vega, the concept of working from home exists in Mexico and it is incipiently regulated, as it was conceived more along the lines of a trade, such as that of a seamstress to whom garments to be fixed are delivered, but nothing related to the use of a computer.

In practice, he said, work should be conducted based on addenda to individual employment contracts or by means of internal work regulations to regulate the way in which the workday will be measured.

In addition to regulating the manner in which the salary and work tools, such as internet and computer equipment, among others, will be delivered.

Note published in Reforma, Negocios [Business] Section by Verónica Gascón.

Note published in El Norte, Negocios [Business] Section by Verónica Gascón.

Note published in Mural, Negocios [Business] Section by Verónica Gascón.