Foreign companies operating in Argentina should be aware of new teleworker regulations.
Advances in technology have opened the way for employees to work remotely. Now around one in five workers telecommute in Argentina with the Government recently updating laws relating to this group.
Argentina’s occupational health and safety body, the Superintendencia de Riesgos del Trabajo (SRT) has brought in a host of new regulations for teleworkers setting out out minimum registration and occupational safety and health requirements for this group.
A new teleworker environment
The new regulations, targeted at teleworkers performing duties under the scope of Act 19587 and Act 24557, govern a new labour environment. To date progress has strictly been confined to drafting a “Telework Best Practices Manual” - the result of activities conducted by the Telework Coordination Unit. Now employers are required to look after health and safety for this group - from providing an ergonomic chair to supplying a fire extinguisher to every teleworker.
Teleworking implies that employees perform duties under the terms of an agreement that is fairly similar to the civil law-based “contrat de travail à façon”. The nature of this agreement is intrinsically similar to the “work for hire” rules since compensation largely depends on the work outcome and is not based employment only on a fixed salary.
Technology companies beware
The reasons for updating the law are obvious - the Argentine Labour Act 20744 was passed in 1974 and ways of working have substantially changed in the 36 years since this law was adopted. In addition, there is a loophole in the law currently in force, especially regarding technology issues.
This makes regulatory oversight extremely important for technology firms, especially foreign ones, and specifically those engaged in cross-border services when hiring Argentine staff from abroad or upon disembarking in Argentina.