With the end of the pandemic state of emergency, or 31 March, companies and workers are wondering what will become of smartworking starting from April. A way of working massively tested during the pandemic, and which according to a survey by the Politecnico di Milano, one in three workers would like to continue to adopt.
What appears very probable, to date, is that April 1st will not reserve the bad joke of a mass return to work in presence and the stop to smartworking, perhaps in overcrowded offices reached on board of crowded public transport.
Following the pressures made in recent months, the simplified procedure adopted during the pandemic emergency could be maintained, but let’s see how.
Smartworking in April: simplified procedure begins
According to what refers to the Sole 24 Ore Pasqualino Albi, full professor of labor law at the University of Pisa e advisor to minister Andrea Orlando, a amendment to the first available regulatory vehicle e a decree of the Ministry of Labor to introduce new simplified procedures which make it possible to maintain agile work even in ordinary times, following the intentions set out in black and white in a protocol signed by trade unions and trade associations on 7 December last.
In fact, during the state of emergency, a unilateral agreement from the company is sufficient to activate agile work. However, employers, with the simplifications under consideration, will not have to perfect one by one million agreements tailored to each employee and send them individually to the ministry: it will be allowed to prepare standard facsimile models to collect the adhesions of the staff, to then proceed to the massive sending of communications, without the need for further formalities.
Remote work will only be on a voluntary basis
Smart working, which according to ministerial estimates affects between 5 and 8 million people, about 30% of the workforce, will in any case return to be formally regulated by individual agreements as established by law 81 of 2017, and cannot be imposed by the company but only chosen byl worker with a written individual agreement and with the right of withdrawal.
Any refusal by the worker cannot trigger dismissal for just cause or justified reason. Furthermore, the performance of the service in an agile mode must not affect the contractual elements (level, duties, remuneration) and gives the right to the same economic and regulatory treatment recognized to workers who perform the same duties in presence.
Agile work during the pandemic
According to the latest data released by the Politecnico di Milano, in the first quarter of 2021 ‘remote’ workers exceeded 5 million 370,000, a figure which dropped to 4 million 710,000 in the second quarter and just over 4 million in the third quarter of the year. In the post-emergency Covid-19 phase, then, the number of ‘agile’ employees has returned to exceed over 4.3 million.
Looking to the future, a survey also conducted by the Politecnico di Milano highlights that on a sample of workers who have experienced smart working during the pandemic: 14% would like to return to carrying out their duties mainly in presence, 53% would like to pass to a hybrid work model and 33% would like to continue the activity ‘remotely’.
To take sides in favor of smartworking, there is also the Codacons who, one day ago, did come up with estimates on how much each worker would save by working from home. According to the consumer association, in fact, every single worker would enjoy the smart working of a annual savings of between € 2,845 and € 5,115.
But not only. Among the earnings for workers even 7 days a year deriving from less time lost in commuting from home to work. While for companies the Codacons speaks of a saving of 30% in out-of-pocket expenses.