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HR Legal

Remote working

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Legal news
calendar 25 April 2021
globus Denmark

With the latest announcements from the Danish government, remote working will continue to be a reality to many employees for a while yet. For many, the possibility to work from home has also come to stay, to a greater extent than previously. In this newsletter, we are therefore revisiting what rules and recommendations that apply to the home office.

Most companies currently still find themselves in the new and extraordinary situation created by the coronavirus, which continue to trigger a series of questions and challenges in connection with the home office. Following the latest developments, many employees will continue to work remotely for a while yet. Also, for many employees, working from home will be part of work going forward.

Don’t forget the work environment

When employees are working remotely, companies must first and foremost focus on its general obligations under the Danish Working Environment Act which continue to apply. In short, the general obligations entail that companies are subject to a duty to ensure and contribute to the home office being fully adequate from both a health- and safety perspective. Should an employee have more than one employer, the companies have a duty to co-operate.

When employees work from home regularly and at least one day per week in average within a normal working week, requirements on the organization of the home office applies, including on screen work. Consequently, when employees work from home several days per week as a result of the restrictions triggered by coronavirus, the rules under the Danish Working Environment Act applies.

More specifically this means that companies must ensure to comply with the rules regulating computer work, the requirements on workplace health and safety risk assessments (APV), health and safety at the workplace, daily rest periods, and the weekly day off etc.

With respect to the requirement on workplace health and safety risk assessments, the Danish Working Environment Authority has stated that irrespective of the current situation, companies remain subject to its obligation to draft the statutory workplace assessment. On the other hand, companies are also allowed to postpone elections for new safety representatives. On the question of daily rest periods and the weekly day off, the Danish Working Authority has noted that companies may be allowed to derogate from the requirements that employees must have a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours and one weekly day off. This presumes that the company has specific working procedures that are extraordinarily burdened due to the coronavirus. Consequently, companies that become subject to significant work pressure, may have access to maintain their activities.

The Danish Working Environment Authority has announced that as a main rule, private homes will not be subject to inspections, except in the case of serious accidents or complaints.

Increased focus on data protection

Besides from ensuring compliance with the general requirements under the Working Environment Act, the home office may concurrently give rise to complications when appropriate data safeguards. Companies must consequently secure the necessary safeguards pursuant to the applicable data protection rules when employees are working from home. In this connection, companies must namely focus on ensuring:

  • That the level of security corresponds to the current increased risk of cyber attacks
  • That employees are informed and familiar with internal procedures on remote access
  • That the technical infrastructure supports remote access, sufficient capacity, and licenses etc.
  • That adequate safeguards have been established to secure the security level at home
  • That ongoing system updates are introduced and implemented on a regular basis

Because most data breaches occur during business travels or while the employee is working remotely, employees play an important role in ensuring compliance with applicable data protection rules. Among other things, measures which may be taken include:

  • That the employee only communicates via secured communication channels
  • That the employee complies with the requirements and policies in place
  • That the employee secures remote access, encrypts data, and accepts system updates
  • That the employee guarantees adequate organizational measures pursuant to company guidelines

Working remotely, abroad

Working from home can also raise questions for companies with employees normally commuting across EU/EEA-borders in relation to, among other things, social security and potential tax consequences. However, on social security, the Danish authorities have already announced that employees commuting across borders will maintain their social security despite working from home.

On the potential tax consequences which may be triggered by the new home office, on the other hand, the Danish tax authorities have not announced whether taxation for employees who usually commute across borders for work, and are currently working from home, will be impacted. Companies should therefore be aware of issues relating to tax for cross border commuters.

For the same employees, the Øresund Agreement applies. This usually means that tax will be deducted in the country where the employee works, regardless of where they have residence and are working remotely from. The agreement applies when the work in the country to which the employees commute, takes up more than half of their working time of every three months period. If employees have more remote working days than usual due to the coronavirus, this may imply they are no longer only taxed in the country to which they commute.

The psychological working environment

Working remotely has affected the mental working environment, as the general well-being and mental health of employees can be challenged without the usual social interaction with colleagues.

Companies have an obligation to ensure that work is planned, organized, and carried out in a safe and healthy manner. That entails that companies must prevent burdens to the mental work environment.

To secure a safe and healthy mental work environment with the changes caused by the coronavirus, companies can focus on ensuring:

  • An ongoing dialogue with the employees, for example via video meetings
  • Individual talks with employees about their well-being
  • Creating clear work assignments and good communication with employees
  • Help to employees, if necessary, set boundaries between work and leisure

IUNO’s opinion

The home office continues to create challenges, and companies must therefore, in co-operation with their employees, ensure that the temporary office is secured in the best possible way. Companies should therefore ensure an ongoing dialogue and seek to deal with any inconveniences that may arise following the new home office.

IUNO also recommends that companies have clear guidelines in place to guarantee that personal data remains subject to adequate safeguards – also when working remotely. As part of its compliance obligations, companies should actively supervise compliance with the guidelines in practice. Read more about how we can assist your company with ensuring compliance under the applicable data protection rules here.

Most companies currently still find themselves in the new and extraordinary situation created by the coronavirus, which continue to trigger a series of questions and challenges in connection with the home office. Following the latest developments, many employees will continue to work remotely for a while yet. Also, for many employees, working from home will be part of work going forward.

Don’t forget the work environment

When employees are working remotely, companies must first and foremost focus on its general obligations under the Danish Working Environment Act which continue to apply. In short, the general obligations entail that companies are subject to a duty to ensure and contribute to the home office being fully adequate from both a health- and safety perspective. Should an employee have more than one employer, the companies have a duty to co-operate.

When employees work from home regularly and at least one day per week in average within a normal working week, requirements on the organization of the home office applies, including on screen work. Consequently, when employees work from home several days per week as a result of the restrictions triggered by coronavirus, the rules under the Danish Working Environment Act applies.

More specifically this means that companies must ensure to comply with the rules regulating computer work, the requirements on workplace health and safety risk assessments (APV), health and safety at the workplace, daily rest periods, and the weekly day off etc.

With respect to the requirement on workplace health and safety risk assessments, the Danish Working Environment Authority has stated that irrespective of the current situation, companies remain subject to its obligation to draft the statutory workplace assessment. On the other hand, companies are also allowed to postpone elections for new safety representatives. On the question of daily rest periods and the weekly day off, the Danish Working Authority has noted that companies may be allowed to derogate from the requirements that employees must have a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours and one weekly day off. This presumes that the company has specific working procedures that are extraordinarily burdened due to the coronavirus. Consequently, companies that become subject to significant work pressure, may have access to maintain their activities.

The Danish Working Environment Authority has announced that as a main rule, private homes will not be subject to inspections, except in the case of serious accidents or complaints.

Increased focus on data protection

Besides from ensuring compliance with the general requirements under the Working Environment Act, the home office may concurrently give rise to complications when appropriate data safeguards. Companies must consequently secure the necessary safeguards pursuant to the applicable data protection rules when employees are working from home. In this connection, companies must namely focus on ensuring:

  • That the level of security corresponds to the current increased risk of cyber attacks
  • That employees are informed and familiar with internal procedures on remote access
  • That the technical infrastructure supports remote access, sufficient capacity, and licenses etc.
  • That adequate safeguards have been established to secure the security level at home
  • That ongoing system updates are introduced and implemented on a regular basis

Because most data breaches occur during business travels or while the employee is working remotely, employees play an important role in ensuring compliance with applicable data protection rules. Among other things, measures which may be taken include:

  • That the employee only communicates via secured communication channels
  • That the employee complies with the requirements and policies in place
  • That the employee secures remote access, encrypts data, and accepts system updates
  • That the employee guarantees adequate organizational measures pursuant to company guidelines

Working remotely, abroad

Working from home can also raise questions for companies with employees normally commuting across EU/EEA-borders in relation to, among other things, social security and potential tax consequences. However, on social security, the Danish authorities have already announced that employees commuting across borders will maintain their social security despite working from home.

On the potential tax consequences which may be triggered by the new home office, on the other hand, the Danish tax authorities have not announced whether taxation for employees who usually commute across borders for work, and are currently working from home, will be impacted. Companies should therefore be aware of issues relating to tax for cross border commuters.

For the same employees, the Øresund Agreement applies. This usually means that tax will be deducted in the country where the employee works, regardless of where they have residence and are working remotely from. The agreement applies when the work in the country to which the employees commute, takes up more than half of their working time of every three months period. If employees have more remote working days than usual due to the coronavirus, this may imply they are no longer only taxed in the country to which they commute.

The psychological working environment

Working remotely has affected the mental working environment, as the general well-being and mental health of employees can be challenged without the usual social interaction with colleagues.

Companies have an obligation to ensure that work is planned, organized, and carried out in a safe and healthy manner. That entails that companies must prevent burdens to the mental work environment.

To secure a safe and healthy mental work environment with the changes caused by the coronavirus, companies can focus on ensuring:

  • An ongoing dialogue with the employees, for example via video meetings
  • Individual talks with employees about their well-being
  • Creating clear work assignments and good communication with employees
  • Help to employees, if necessary, set boundaries between work and leisure

IUNO’s opinion

The home office continues to create challenges, and companies must therefore, in co-operation with their employees, ensure that the temporary office is secured in the best possible way. Companies should therefore ensure an ongoing dialogue and seek to deal with any inconveniences that may arise following the new home office.

IUNO also recommends that companies have clear guidelines in place to guarantee that personal data remains subject to adequate safeguards – also when working remotely. As part of its compliance obligations, companies should actively supervise compliance with the guidelines in practice. Read more about how we can assist your company with ensuring compliance under the applicable data protection rules here.

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Anders

Etgen Reitz

Partner

Søren

Hessellund Klausen

Partner

Kirsten

Astrup

Associate

Cecillie

Groth Henriksen

Associate

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