Working from home. What needs to be considered in the home office

© Nicole Schipani

© Nicole Schipani

The TUW Home Office Guideline from October 2020 has been adapted in a few points to the legal regulations that have been in effect since 1 April 2021.

The TU Wien has been offering the possibility to work from home since 2012 . The goal was already at that time to give employees more flexibility and save time by eliminating the need to travel to work. This is associated with more personal responsibility in the completion of tasks.

Until a year ago, home office was the exception rather than the rule, but this quickly changed due to the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic. For many colleagues, their current main workplace is their home. What this has shown is that the quality of the results does not depend on where the work is done.

TUW Guideline and Legal Framework

The term home office, i.e. working from home, has been circulating for years. Until now, however, there have been no concrete legal regulations, which is why both employers and employees have been moving in a legal grey area. Due to the Corona pandemic, many people were able to or had to switch to a home office for a longer period of time. The legislator reacted with a legal directive that has been in force since 1 April 2021. The comprehensive TU Wien guideline on working from home was already published in October 2020, which already contained many of the points now enshrined in law. The current version (PDF at tiss.tuwien.ac.at/mb­l/main/mbl_anhang’a=0&n=2121 ) therefore only had to be adapted to the legal requirements in a few points.

This regulation is not a Covid 19 measure, but applies in the long term to planned work in the home office as well as to agreements made at short notice, as is currently the case due to the pandemic.

Home office, what now?

The updated version of the home office guideline answers questions about rights, obligations and framework conditions for all TUW employees on a legal basis. The most important points are:

  • The possibility to work from home will continue to be voluntary. Home office can neither be ordered unilaterally nor is there a legal right to it. As before, the basis for working from home is a written agreement (login required) between employer and employee,
  • Work in a home office is when an employee performs work at home. The term "home" also includes a home at a secondary residence. Working from a café or in a park does not count as a home office.
  • As in the past, the TU Wien provides a PC (incl. screen, keyboard, mouse) or a laptop. If the employee has his/her own digital work equipment at the home office workplace that meets the usual company standards, the use of this can be agreed.
  • In addition, the TU Wien pays a tax-free reimbursement of expenses. The amount depends on the number of home office days and on whether the TU Wien’s work equipment is used or the employee’s own.
  • According to the new Home Office Act, the actual home office working days must be recorded in a list in future. To make this as simple as possible, the SAP team is currently developing an electronic workflow.
  • The reason for working in the home office is not relevant, because no distinction is made between Covid home office and "normal" home office.
  • The Home Office Act makes it clear that damage to the employer’s work equipment, such as TU IT hardware, caused by members of the household is attributed to the employee as the "person who caused the damage". As a result, the privileges of the Employee Liability Act are also applicable in these cases, e.g. possible reduction of the claim for damages.
  • Accidents in the home office in connection with the substantiating employment will continue to be considered occupational accidents in the future.

The home office guideline, the necessary agreements and certificates as well as detailed FAQs can be found after login in the internal area of the Labour Law Department: www.tuwien.at/intern­/personalwesen/fb-arbeitsrecht/homeoffice

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