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Labor Ministry's remote work manual says no to working from cafe

Labor Minister Lee Jae-kap attends a briefing Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Labor Minister Lee Jae-kap attends a briefing Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Remote workers would be violating rules if they work from a cafe, the Labor Ministry said Wednesday, but employers should also be open to their employees’ special circumstances arising from the merging of the workplace and personal space.

The ministry released a set of remote working guidelines for employers and employees as companies and businesses incorporate work-at-home standards in consideration of the prolonged coronavirus outbreak.

The manual aims to address confusion on remote work and protect workers in the new working environment.

According to the manual, work-at-home employees would be violating employment standards if working outside their designated workplaces without prior authorization from the employer. For working parents, their employers must be open to their employees taking care of family members as needed during working hours, but ensure they fill the hours at the end of the day.

Companies would not be required to pay extra expenses that employees would incur in setting up their work stations at homes, the ministry said, but they must be aware that injuries and deaths of employees at home during working hours could be categorized as occupational accidents.

Employers are not allowed to track the whereabouts of their employees in managing work levels, and they must provide the same number of leave days and other benefits to workers. Work-at-home employees are entitled to meal stipends if their employer had provided lunch as a benefit.

But most importantly, employers and employees must come to an agreement on work-at-home policies before starting it, the ministry said.

“Properly settling the work-at-home culture could be a way to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and an opportunity to revolutionize the current way of work,” Labor Minister Lee Jae-kap said in a statement.

“We expect this manual to provide guidance for workplaces to develop a good work-at-home culture under trust and understanding.”

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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