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Teleworkers [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for teleworkers.

If you work from home, you are among the 17 % of EU employees engaged in telework or mobile work. This type of work can be good for your work-life balance, reducing commuting time and boosting productivity; but it also brings the risk of longer working hours and work-home interference.

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Freelancer working from home

© Jelena / Fotolia

The 2002 European Framework Agreement on Telework improved the protection of teleworkers and laid down rules to ensure they enjoy the same rights as their counterparts working on the employer’s premises. The guidelines cover data protection, privacy, work organisation, health and safety, training, and career prospects. They have been implemented in accordance with each country’s national procedures, via changes to legislation or collective agreements.

Further protection for teleworkers is offered by EU rules on working time and health and safety. The Working Time Directive sets standards for maximum working hours, daily and weekly rest periods, annual leave, and night and shift work. The Health and Safety at Work Directive, and additional rules on the use of work equipment, display screens and workplace requirements, helps to make sure working environments are safe, also covering the use of ICT equipment and ergonomics. The European Pillar of Social Rights puts a strong emphasis on fair working conditions and equal opportunities for workers in atypical working conditions, such as teleworkers.

The EU also publishes research on telework. Eurofound and Eurostat prepare statistics, surveys and reports on the extent of telework, sectors and types of jobs, and the effects on people and firms.

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