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Telework provisions in El Salvador

Mario Ayala


On March 20, 2020, the Legislative Assembly of the Republic of El Salvador approved Legislative Decree number 600 that contains the Telework Regulation Law in order to promote, harmonize, regulate and implement telework as an instrument for generating employment and modernization of public, private and autonomous institutions, through the use of information and communication technologies; thus empowering employees to perform their tasks from places outside the office under the conditions established in said law.

Within the aforementioned law, the modalities of Telework are classified as follows:

I) According to the place where the tasks are carried out: 

1. Autonomous teleworkers: Those who use their own home or a specific place to carry out their work activities.

2. Mobile teleworkers: Those who do not have a specific workplace.

3. Supplementary teleworkers: They are those who carry out their work activities on certain days of the week as an autonomous or mobile teleworker and the rest of the days in person.

II) According to the establishment of working hours:

1. Connected telework: It consists in that the teleworker must be permanently connected to his work equipment and subject to any form of control by the employer.

2. Disconnected telework: In this case, the teleworker provides his services by connecting to the employer's technological systems; however, their communication with the organization is neither permanent nor constant, so the teleworker is not subject to a specific workday or to the employer's controls, but at the end of their day they must inform the employer of the results obtained in the tasks performed.

In addition, it is established that for the worker to be able to carry out his tasks, under any of the teleworking modalities described above (Article 8, letter b), the employer is required to provide the necessary tools such as equipment, connections, tools, programs and applications that are necessary and indispensable for the execution of the tasks, in accordance with the provisions of article 29 of the Labor Code. In the event that the teleworker voluntarily provides their work equipment, they will be compensated by the employer for their depreciation in accordance with current legislation.

People under the modality of telework have the same individual and collective rights as face-to-face workers, that is, social security, legal benefits, occupational safety and health and freedom of association.

Said decree also addresses Teleworking in the private and public work environment. The essential difference in the private sector is that it will be governed by the labor contract that is signed for this purpose and the provisions of the Labor Code. On the other hand, in the public sphere, it is governed by the signed contract, the special laws of autonomous institutions, or the government that have established hours and days to provide their work. For example Civil Service Law, Municipal Administrative Career Law, etc.

Advantages:

  • Minimizes fixed operating costs in companies.
  • Teleworkers can divide tasks between telework days and face-to-face days.
  • The teleworker has the same individual and collective rights as face-to-face workers, in terms of social security, legal benefits, occupational health and safety and freedom of association.
  • It provides economic benefits to the teleworker by not having to move to the workplace.
  • Leveraging technology to provide services.
  • Creation of new social benefits.

Disadvantages:

  • It does not establish who covers the cost of physically adapting a space in the teleworker's home to carry out their tasks.
  • It does not provide parameters in the disconnected teleworking day for the reporting of results because it establishes that this modality is not subject to a specific workday.
  • It does not establish the responsibilities of the teleworker or employer in case of not complying with the established obligations.

Currently, the decree containing the Telework Regulation Law is still in its formation process, given that the Executive Board has returned the Decree with observations to the Legislative Assembly, formulating in its resolution a list of observations that must be corrected prior to its approval. These observations are pending analysis by the Labor and Social Security Commission of the Legislative Assembly, among which are the comments indicated above. In this sense, said Decree is not yet in force.

In conclusion, Teleworking modality can bring many positive aspects so that companies and workers can take advantage of distance at work using new technologies and means of communication that currently exist in the world. For this reason, it is important that this modality is legislated, always seeking the protection and balance that must exist between both parties (worker and employer), and avoid over-regulation and imbalance.