Friday, January 21

Teleworking: up to 50,000 euros fine for reluctant companies

Recalcitrant employers could be sanctioned more quickly: an administrative fine of up to 1,000 euros per employee concerned, up to a limit of 50,000 euros, will be introduced to crack down on companies that do not play the telecommuting game in the face of Covid-19.

The Minister of Labor, Elisabeth Borne, unveiled the principle of this fine to the social partners on Tuesday. She specified the amount on LCI on Thursday. An amendment to this effect will be tabled by the end of the week to the bill on the vaccine pass, discussed in session from Monday in the National Assembly.

“We see that most companies play the game very well (…). We have a few companies which do not, which do not follow the recommendations of the labor inspectorate and which take advantage of the length of the procedure sanction for breaking the rules, ”she said.

“I want a faster and therefore more dissuasive system by allowing the labor inspectorate to be able to pronounce sanctions without waiting for the legal procedure,” she continued.

Regarding controls, Ms. Borne recalled that she had asked in early December to return to 5,000 per month (against less than a thousand in October).

A new national company protocol (PNE) was published on Thursday, requiring employers to set “from January 3 and for a period of three weeks, a minimum number of three days of teleworking per week, for positions which allow it. “. Where possible, “this number may be increased to four days per week.”

Note that the idea of ​​an “average” of three days, mentioned Monday by the ministry, has disappeared.

While this PNE does not strictly speaking have the force of law, employers have an obligation to ensure the health of their employees, according to the labor code, and labor inspectors can already issue “formal notices” when ‘they consider that the measures implemented in the controlled companies are insufficient.

In the event of non-compliance with a formal notice, the employer incurs a correctional fine in the amount of 3,750 euros per employee concerned.

– 110 formal notices in 2021 –

According to the CGT-TEFP, the first union of labor inspection agents, some 28,000 interventions were carried out on the theme of Covid from January to November 2021, giving rise to 110 formal notices.

The union has been demanding for months a tightening of the legal framework concerning teleworking, denouncing the weakness of the penalties incurred and the lack of staff to control companies.

The announcement of an administrative fine shows that the “ministry realizes the insufficiency of the current measures”, commented Tuesday to AFP Alexandra Abadie, national secretary of the union.

But the CGT-TEFP would have preferred that the inspectors could suspend the activity of a company in the event of failure to meet its obligations concerning teleworking, as they can do in matters of exposure to asbestos, falls from heights or electrical hazards.

The Medef, for its part, said Thursday “opposed the principle (of a fine), whatever the amount, because it is a bad blow to confidence between the government and businesses, d ‘all the more unfair as they have been exemplary in the (Covid-19 health crisis) “.

The CPME, which had denounced Tuesday a “nonsense”, was shown Thursday more nuanced. “The amount announced, even if it can be heavy for a VSE / SME, remains below what exists elsewhere,” commented its president François Asselin to AFP.

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