Teleworking in the labor laws of LatAm

Teleworking has been incorporated into labor legislation in Latin American countries.

New technologies have allowed the popularization of forms of employment that do not require workers to be inside the facilities of companies to perform the assigned tasks.

These modalities of remote work are known as “teleworking.” Jobs such as sales or project development have always fallen in this mode. However, new technologies allow more companies to adopt them thanks to the fact that employees or self-employed workers can keep in touch with new technologies such as personal computers, laptops, tablets, or smartphones.

Telework offers advantages at different levels: for companies, it reduces costs; for cities, it reduces the environmental impact of transport and space; for workers, it allows a better balance between personal life and private life.

Digital technologies also allow greater flexibility between working hours, so it also stands as an alternative for women, young people, and the disabled.

Not everything is honey over flakes. Remote work can erase the barrier between personal and work life. For this reason, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has expressed concern that there is legislation to regulate it, recognizing the benefits it brings both employers and workers.

Teleworking in Mexico

Since 2012, teleworking has been incorporated into labor legislation in Mexico. However, legislators only considered jobs where product units have to be delivered so that administrative, software development or research work does not fall within this category.

The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation set some legal background to create the guidelines of a bill in this area when it established that the State should promote new Information and Communication Technologies, to guarantee individuals adequate access to these.

For the advantages of online communication to reach the workplace, governments have sought to legislate on this matter. In this regard, in September 2018 Mexican Senator Alejandra Noemí Reynoso presented a reform to the current labor law to expand the concept of teleworking.

The Labor and Social Welfare Commission of the Chamber of Senators has already presented an opinion to modify the regulations that exist on teleworking.

The initiative is now in the Chamber of Deputies, which must approve it to become a current and binding law.

For some analysts, such as Marcos del Rosario Rodríguez, this law will allow a change in the country’s labor culture.

Teleworking in LatAm

Other Latin American countries have already followed this path. Argentina and Brazil are the leaders in the establishment of policies that promote this type of work. Since 2003. At the end of 2018, it was estimated that in Argentina, more than one million people worked from home.

Regarding legislation, Chile has been the first Latin American country to develop a legal framework to promote teleworking, when in 2001. In 2008, Colombia and Costa Rica created provisions for this labor modality. It is worth highlighting the case of Colombia, where teleworking was considered a way to solve the mobility problem that Bogotá, a city of 9 million people, is experiencing.

Peru and Uruguay have recently proposed policies that promote work at home.

In some companies, they point out that teleworking improves productivity by reducing transport time.