In Lithuania, telework is defined by the Labour Code as the way in which work is performed regularly or in parts at a place other than the place of employment, while using information technology.
Employees have the right to request to work remote; however their refusal to work remotely if asked to by their employer cannot be used as a legitimate reason to end an employment contract or change working conditions. When such a request is issued by certain employees (an exact list of such employees is provided below), employers can reject the employee’s request only if they can prove such arrangement would lead to excessive costs. In case of pregnant employees, those breastfeeding, parents with children up to the age of 3, single parents raising a child under the age of 14 (18 if the child has a disability), or a request by the health care institution to allow the employee to work from home, the employer must agree to the employee’s request to work remotely for at least 20% of their total working time.
Working from home can be either agreed on between the employer and the employee or requested by the employee. Upon agreement, the remote work and home office arrangements must be established in writing and address the following clauses:
Employers must (1) provide the equipment necessary for work and (2) cover any installation costs. If employees incur any additional costs in connection with work when working from home, the employer must reimburse them. The amount of compensation and the terms of reimbursement are determined as agreed between the parties on the employment contract.
Teleworkers may distribute their working time at their own discretion, without violating the maximum working hours and the minimum rest time requirements.
At least once a year (at the request of the works council), employers must inform the applicable works council or union about the status of telework within the company, including the number of remote workers, their positions, the average salary per occupation, and their genders.
As employers don’t have total control of the employee’s home office, employers should set the expectations in cooperation with the employee and instruct them about health and safety, while employees have the duty to follow and care for their health and safety when working remotely. It is the employer’s obligation to ensure that the working conditions are safe and appropriate. Employees working with a display screen should take breaks regularly to rest their eyes. It is important to note that the employer remains responsible for the employee’s occupational health and safety, even if the employee works remotely.
Employers and employees should discuss any special measures to protect confidential information for employees working remotely. The Labour Code and the Law of Protection of Commercial Secrets briefly list the employee’s confidentiality obligation. However, company handbooks or individual agreements should address security policies in more detail and provide an accurate list of confidential information and commercial secrets.
Employers must take all reasonable steps to ensure the employee’s workstation is correctly set up, safe, comfortable, and easy to use in order to reduce potential injuries, while employees must also care for their own health and safety and follow any reasonable policies or directions their employer gives them.
To ensure the employee’s workstation set-up is safe, employers should do the following:
While working remotely, workers must inform employers of any work-related incidents or injuries that occur.
An appropriate workstation will include the following:
Employees working from home have the same rights as those working in the employer’s office. There should be no restrictions on calculating length of service, promotion, training, or any other rights established in the Labour Code. Most importantly, the implementation of telework should not violate the protection of employees’ personal data and their right to privacy.