May 27, 2022

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“You can’t say it’s the law!” : when the labor inspectorate tries to enforce telework in companies



“Hello, it’s the labor inspectorate, it’s for a visit.” In Éragny, in the Val-d’Oise, two labor inspectors have just knocked on the door of a small SME. They are welcomed by the HRD and the manager. “We can follow you for a tour of the premises”, launches one of the inspectors. While the government wants to extend the rule of three minimum teleworking days for two weeks, some companies are not playing the game. The Labor Inspectorate has therefore been ordered to carry out more checks.

The difficult application of telework in companies by the labor inspectorate – Sarah Lemoine’s report

to listen

Respect for barrier gestures and distancing, everything is reviewed. Near the coffee machine, there is this box of chocolate that makes the inspectors wince: “It’s better to delete, it’s like the galette, it made us clusters. So no, no galette, no festive events. Ultimately, if you want to share chocolates, you need wrapped chocolates. “

Then comes the question of telecommuting. According to the calculations of the inspectors, nine positions can be teleworked, but the SME has not put anything in place. The director of human resources argues: “We have employees who don’t have a computer at home or who don’t want to use private mobile phones. How do we do it?” “You provide material”, answers the inspector. “Yes, but society cannot buy”, replies the HRD.

Then, the tone rises between the HRD and one of the labor inspectors:
“We don’t want to telecommute, so that’s it”, advances the HRD.
“You are asked to put in place provisions which are not debatable since it is the government which requests it”, answers the inspector.
“Everything is debatable, you can’t say it’s the law!”
“Ah yes, it is the provisions of article L4121-1 of the Labor Code which requires the employer to put in place the general principles of prevention.”
– “If possible !”
– “It’s not optional, it’s a regulatory obligation”, concludes the inspector

The disagreement is noted. After receiving the inspectors’ report, the SME will have a few days to comply. Under penalty of being put on notice and subject to a fine of 500 euros per employee who can potentially telecommute. In the event of a repeat offence, the public prosecutor may be seized. Criminal proceedings may be initiated.