The changes caused by the negative factors are not always destructive. Very often the crisis accelerates processes, which have been important for a long time and needed to be implemented. Meanwhile, correct understanding of the crisis helps to normalize the stagnant processes, focus on the problem and accelerate its solution.
One of such problems was an obsolete approach of the legislative bodies to the term “work schedule” and understanding of time when the employee must work and place of such work.
Insufficient legal regulation interfered with the employer, whose modern work pace usually bumped into stiff Ukrainian legislation and, in particular, with the employee, who sometimes had to work off-the books, because official labor relations resulted in additional liabilities for the employer.
To make it clear: The work from home was regulated by the Order of the USSR State Committee on Labor and Social Issues No 275/17-99 dated 29 September 1981. Of course the document, approved almost forty years ago, could not foresee modern automation systems and existence of the Internet. This Order was aimed at regulation of manual labor, relating to production of goods and provision of services to population, including work of clothing repair shops and other services.
Now, after approval on 30 March 2020 of the Law “On introduction of changes to certain regulations, aimed at provision of additional social and economic warranties in connection with the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-1),” in addition to the provisions of the ILO conventions, ratified by Ukraine, the Code of Labor Laws of Ukraine defines remote work (work from home) as a form of labor organization, when work is performed by the employees from their homes or other places, chosen by them, beyond the employer’s premises.
It is stipulated that in case of remote work, the employees can distribute the work time at their own discretion, and unless otherwise set forth in the labor contract, the internal code of labor conduct does not cover them. In case of remote work, general amount of work hours cannot exceed norms, set by the legislation, and payment shall be made in full, unless the employee and employer agree otherwise.
Also the Code of Labor Laws of Ukraine defines the flexible work schedule. This term is not new for the Ukrainian legislation, earlier, in its Guidelines on Introduction of Flexible Work Schedule on 4 October 2006 the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of Ukraine defined flexible work schedule as a form of labor organization, according to which some categories of the employees can have work schedule which allows to adjust time of start and termination of work during the work day.
The Code of Labor Laws of Ukraine with the last changes stipulates that flexible work time is a form of labor organization allowing to set work schedule, which differs from the internal one, provided that the standard duration of the work day is not changed. Meanwhile flexible work time can stipulate:
1) Fixed time during which the employee must be present at work place and perform his/her tasks; the day can be divided into several parts;
2) the time, during which the employee chooses work time at his/her discretion adhering to the set duration.
3) time for break and meal.
Flexible work schedule can be applied to the employee for some set period of time or all the time.
It is necessary to mention that flexible working hours do not cause changes of norms and wages, and do not influence on volume of the employee’s labor rights.
The difference is that the new rules allow to apply flexible work schedule to any employees. There is a provision relating to the constantly working enterprises, which require the employees to be at work place at exact time, and enterprises, where flexible work schedule is inconsistent with labor safety rules, – such enterprises cannot apply flexible work schedule.
With a view to the above mentioned, we shall remember that any crisis, as well as any restrictive measures, applied to people or business, are temporary. But new realities, faced by us under such circumstances, also bring positive changes, which can later improve conditions for business and work of people. While the specialists are arguing as to how much time will be needed to return to normal work and renew economy, we can efficiently use the changes introduced by the laws and improve work of our enterprises.