Technical Note 17 From the Ministry of Labor and The Home Office

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By Daniel Rangel

In 2020, we were all caught off guard with the COVID-19 and its impact on diverse legal affairs.

It was no different for Labor Law, where companies and employees had to urgently adapt themselves to a new reality, implementing mechanisms that had until that point been rarely discussed in the everyday life of workers.

Among the most adopted measures during the Covid-19 pandemic, and which created the greatest concern, is the adoption of the home office system. The change to this new work system, many times, had to happen suddenly, without due provisions from the labor point of view.

Now in 2021, with a new wave of infections and the continuation of measures that restrict the movement of people, the concern with labor measures over the course of the pandemic remains.

Recently, the Public Ministry of Labor (MPT) prepared Technical Note 17, which describes a series of guidelines to be followed especially in the context of the home office.

Among the measures highlighted by the MPT, it is important to note that, regardless of the conditions that will be offered by companies to employees in the transition to the home office regime, it is essential that this transition is marked by an amendment to the employment contract.

In the amendment to the employment contract, all issues inherent to the change to the home office regime must be addressed, among which the following stand out: control of hours (or not); reimbursement for expenses related to working at home; infrastructure and equipment supply.

Another aspect that reveals the importance of the employment contract addendum to the home office regime is the fact that the legislation is still lacking in regulation on the subject, which can create uncertainties and legal questions. Thus, the preparation of the employment contract amendment fills the gaps in the law, providing for the exact conditions for the home office regime and providing the necessary legal assuredness.

Considering that the notes prepared by the Public Ministry of Labor serve as guidance in the monitoring and penalties of the MPT, it is essential that the home office regime is duly formalized, providing for working conditions in this arrangement and all other implications arising therefrom.

It is emphasized that the measure is essential to bring legal certainty to labor relationships, so that the working conditions in this period are clear, protecting the company and employees, above all by protecting the employer from any inspections or penalties by the responsible bodies.