Remote work in Belarus: is it legal?

When remote work in Belarus was introduced in the legislation

The coronavirus pandemic has made its own adjustments to the life of the state and society, including labor legislation. Remote work has become more in demand and popular. In this regard, amendments were made to the Labor Code of the Republic of Belarus, in particular, regarding the regulation of remote work. The changes took effect on January 28, 2020.

The Labor Code of the Republic of Belarus was supplemented with a chapter on teleworking. The definition of teleworking indicates that it is recognized that the employee performs a labor function outside the location of the employer, using information and communication technologies. Here we are talking about computer technology, since an employee and an employer in the modern world have the opportunity to exchange information and documents via the Internet – e-mail, instant messengers, chats, etc.

Remote work has its own characteristics. So, work can be performed remotely, the results of which have no material expression. For example, a janitor or a doctor whose duties include examining a patient cannot objectively work remotely. Remote workers are usually programmers, copywriters, editors and other employees who do not require a mandatory presence in the workplace.

Is it legal to work remotely from a foreign country

This issue has recently been actively discussed by lawyers and government officials. The explanations of state bodies indicate that employees enjoy the rights guaranteed to them by the Labor Code of the Republic of Belarus, geographically being located only in the Republic of Belarus.

On the other hand, an employee with whom an employment contract was concluded on the territory of Belarus is considered to be working in accordance with the Belarusian labor legislation, wherever he performs his labor function. At the same time, the question of obtaining sick leave for such an employee and other problem situations remains open.

In connection with the above, it still seems that it is not possible to work legally remotely from a foreign state today, unless the parties have agreed otherwise.

What types of employment contracts are suitable for remote work in Belarus

Employment contracts for telecommuting are different from regular employment contracts. An employment contract with a remote worker must necessarily contain an indication of the remote nature of the work.

If an employment contract has already been concluded, and the employee works for the employer, then it is advisable to conclude an additional agreement to him on the performance of work remotely. So, in the additional agreement, it is necessary to indicate that the work is carried out using technical means, as well as the mode of time and rest. It should be borne in mind that the remote worker is subject to general labor legislation on the length of the working week, the mode of work and rest, and others.

How to properly arrange remote work in Belarus

Registration of teleworking must be carried out in accordance with the general norms of labor legislation. The employee is obliged to personally be present at the conclusion of the employment contract, its conclusion remotely is not allowed.

At the same time, the employment contract must indicate that the work is remote. The following conditions must be spelled out in the contract:

– the procedure and methods of working contacts between the employee and the employer in the process of performing work;

– a list of computer communication means with the help of which messages, files, records are exchanged;

– the mode of work and rest (in particular, the period of time allotted for lunch is indicated);

– other conditions.

The difference between the work of homeworkers and persons working remotely is in the place of performance of the labor function. If the place of work of homeworkers is their place of residence, then the “remote workers” can have any place of work that is convenient for them.

Document exchange and document signing when working remotely in Belarus

The employment contract states that the exchange of work results is carried out through the means of information and communication communications (SMS messages, instant messengers, e-mail, etc.).

A distinction should be made between the concepts of an electronic document and an electronic document. An electronic document is an electronic document signed with an electronic digital signature.

When exchanging files containing text information, if necessary, documents must be sent by registered mail on paper within two days.

With regard to orders to impose a disciplinary sanction, the rule applies, according to which the employee must be familiarized with such an order personally against signature within 5 days from the date of its publication. Remote viewing is not allowed in this case.

Terminating Remote Work: Procedure

Legislation establishes that an employment contract for teleworking may be terminated on general grounds provided for by the Labor Code. The Labor Code does not provide for any special grounds for its termination.

With the order of the employer to dismiss the employee must be personally acquainted with the signature. Acquaintance is also allowed through the exchange of electronic documents.

Refusal of an employee to work remotely

If the employer has justified reasons (first of all, this is the threat of the spread of coronavirus infection), the employer notifies employees of a change in essential working conditions – the transition to remote work.

If the employee refuses to continue working in the new conditions, the employment contract with him may be terminated on the basis of paragraph 2 of Art. 35 of the Labor Code of the Republic of Belarus.

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