Avoid commuting, minimize physical contact and stay home… while continuing to work. Adopting telework when you are sick seems in some cases to be an easy solution. This is why companies and employees sometimes prefer this practice. Today, let’s see together what the law says, and what should be formalized. Telecommuting when you are sick: is it possible?
Telecommuting while sick: two scenarios
Ad hoc schedule change
In some cases, teleworking can be a good tool for managing absenteeism. This is for example the case when a person does not feel quite in good shape. This solution can also be ideal in the case where an employee is temporarily physically unable to move but perfectly fit to work remotely.
We then speak of occasional teleworking to qualify the occasional modification of the timetable. It is for an employee to telecommute a few days or a few weeks a year, during an exceptional situation. Occasional teleworking is thus opposed to regular teleworking, for which the employee has a relatively fixed schedule (for example, 2 or 3 days of teleworking per week, all year round).
The case of sick leave
During a sick leave, an employee may be tempted to continue working from home. Even in an emergency or exceptional situation, it can be dangerous for the employer to accept this arrangement. He not only takes a financial risk, but also that of incurring his liability for breach of his security obligation.
An employee may, however, officially request the implementation of telework for health reasons. Occupational medicine can then support its request if it deems this change necessary and beneficial. Only occupational medicine is competent to support this request (and not a general practitioner or psychiatrist, for example). This is not a prescription, but a confidential letter that occupational medicine sends to management as advice. The company therefore retains its decision-making power and is not obliged to accept.
How to set up occasional telework?
First, it is imperative to train the managers of the organization in the specificities of telework. Indeed, this mode of organization can really shake up the methods and tools usually used, but also damage team cohesion. Training is therefore necessary to maintain productivity and a good quality of life.
On the other hand, occasional telework constitutes a voluntary agreement between the employee and the employer. Therefore, a refusal on the part of the employee cannot constitute a valid reason for termination of the employment contract.
The agreement must be formalized, either:
- By convention or collective agreement;
- By a teleworking charter after consulting the CSE;
- By agreement between the employee and the employer (made by any means), after consulting the CSE.
In the case of a collective agreement or a charter, it should be ensured that these documents provide for the conditions for switching to teleworking (methods of acceptance, control of working time, equipment provided or not, etc.)