In mid-November, Frédérique Lardet, a LREM member of parliament from Haute Savoie, tabled a bill aimed at simplifying the reimbursement of teleworking expenses, particularly when it is carried out from a co-working space. This "telework voucher" could be worth up to 600 euros per employee per year.
How did you come up with the idea of the "telework permit"?
In parallel to my mandate as a Member of Parliament, I am president of the Greater Annecy agglomeration community, which employs more than 1,000 people. During the successive confinements, the introduction of teleworking has highlighted the social inequalities between the agents. Not everyone is lucky enough to live in spacious accommodation. Many employees have had to telework in small studios with their spouses, in conditions that are not always optimal.
Employees must have access to coworking spaces close to home. I believe that telework should be possible in places other than one's own home. However, at present, these places are excluded from the system for covering the costs of teleworking, particularly for electricity, internet and insurance.
What is the "telework permit"?
This is a fixed-rate telework allowance, paid by the employer, on the same model as the mobility allowance; it is therefore a tax-free fixed-rate allowance of up to 600 euros per year (2.50 per day teleworked) per employee to cover his or her expenses related to telework, whether it is carried out from any location (home, co-working, third places etc.). I would like this to take the form of a specific, dematerialised and prepaid payment solution for employees.
Some bosses are reluctant to use the home office, many business leaders are afraid of it and are more reassured by the idea of having employees working from co-working spaces. It is a structured environment, where there is a social link, which allows some employees to concentrate better than at home. And this can help prevent or avoid psycho-social risks linked to the isolation of teleworkers.
How do you see the evolution of work organisation practices?
I believe that telework is a necessary societal advance. It is an integral part of the quality of life at work. Today, the average distance between home and work is 26 kilometres, which is enormous! To get to the office, employees often have to travel for an hour, whatever their means of transport, by car or public transport. That's two hours a day lost with their family!
When I was a young mother, I had my own company, which allowed me to telework and therefore spend more time with my children. We need to give employees this flexibility so that they can reconcile their personal and professional lives.
In addition to improving the quality of life, teleworking can reduce the carbon footprint of employees. According to Ademe, working remotely on average two days a week would reduce the carbon footprint per employee by 10%.
Finally, as a local councillor, I know that telework helps to revitalise rural areas. I believe that it is in our interest to disperse employees outside the central municipalities, in order to give more life to less densely populated areas.
What do you think of the therapeutic telework introduced in some companies, which aims to give more flexibility to vulnerable employees (elderly or disabled people, pregnant women, etc.)?
I am in favour of this. In the civil service, work stoppages represent more than 30 days per person per year, which is catastrophic. Remote working helps to reduce absenteeism, and this could represent considerable savings for social security.
What is the future of your proposed law?
I hope to be able to defend it in the National Assembly before the end of my mandate, as I am not standing for re-election. The text could be examined next February, which I very much hope will happen. Otherwise, it will be for the next legislature! Today, some forty parliamentarians support the bill, which I hope will be effective by the end of 2022. I think that it is a necessity because telework is becoming more and more widespread.
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