Telework agreement concluded at Statoil

An agreement on teleworking was concluded in June 1999 between the Norwegian oil company Statoil and the Norwegian Oil and Petrochemical Workers Union (Nopef). The new agreement provides a structural framework for home-based telework within Statoil, but leaves room for more flexible arrangements at workplace level.

An agreement on teleworking was concluded in June 1999 between the state-owned Norwegian oil company Statoil and the Norwegian Oil and Petrochemical Workers Union (Norsk Olje- og Petrokjemisk Fagforbund, Nopef).

The new agreement provides a structural framework for home-based telework within Statoil, while leaving room for more flexible arrangements at workplace level. The main principle of the agreement is that telework must be on a voluntary basis, and that termination of the arrangement is a mutual right both parties enjoy. The decision whether or not telework may be utilised as a means to organise work lies with the management, and must be based on an evaluation of its operational purpose in each relevant case. Telework activity must not exceed 80% of an employee's full-time work, and the remaining 20% must take place at the traditional workplace.

Since existing statutory provisions, such as the Worker Protection and Working Environment Act, are not sufficiently able to accommodate teleworking activity, and especially home-based telework (NO9802149F), the Statoil agreement formulates special provisions with regards to the working environment. It stipulates that the working environment must be subject to a prior agreement between the employer and the employee on issues concerning working time and safety, and more specifically the relationship between leisure time and working time, and the shaping of the physical environment. The Statoil provisions in this area will expire, unless agreed otherwise, on the date of the introduction of new legal regulations concerning the working environment.

The Nopef-Statoil agreement is a special agreement grounded in the industry-wide agreement for shore-based activity in oil companies, into which a clause was incorporated during the 1998 wage settlement, stipulating that agreements on telework were to be concluded at company level. Nopef and the Norwegian Oil Industry Association (Oljeindustrien Landsforening, Olf) have also established a joint working group, which is to evaluate telework as a form of organising work with the view to establish a common understanding on the issue. The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development is presently deliberating the legal regulation of home-based telework, in response to developments such the obligations placed Norway by the European Economic Area agreement, and the question of ratification of the 1996 International Labour Organisation Convention No. 177 concerning home work.

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