The measures imposed by the government of the Republic of Cyprus for tackling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused sudden and extensive changes to the day-to-day operation of many businesses. One of the main changes caused has been the digital transformation of the workplace with the implementation of work from home by many businesses.
The implementation of work from home has been imperative for businesses to comply with the Orders issued by the competent Ministries of the Republic of Cyprus and to also ensure the uninterrupted provision of services and business viability.
However, work from home is not and should not be considered a temporary measure for tackling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the rapid development of technology has long shown the inclination towards the introduction of remote work.
In the Republic of Cyprus, no specific legal provisions have been adopted in relation to the implementation of work from home, despite the deadline for the transposition of the European Framework Agreement on Telework being set for July 2005.
In the absence of legislation in this regard, the employer has the discretion to change the place of employment in a way that does not harm the employee’s rights, as such are stipulated in the employee’s employment contract, provided that the employee's consent is secured. A question arises however as to whether the refusal of an employee to accept the implementation of work from home can justify the termination of his or her employment contract.
Issues also arise regarding the provision of a safe working environment at home, the protection of employee’s private life and the protection of personal data.
Taking the above into consideration, the need to regulate the implementation of work from home in the Republic of Cyprus is critical as it will result in the modernisation of the workplace by introducing flexible working arrangements and providing autonomy to the employee.