New Home Office Regulation in Mexico From a Technological Perspective

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The COVID-19 pandemic has come to change our lives in many ways, and home office work is one of those many changes that are here to stay. Coronavirus has forced us to work from home and such practice has forced the Governments to provide a specific regulation in order to avoid abusive practices that could affect employees.

In December 2020, the Mexican Congress approved a Bill of Law in order to reform the Federal Labor Law in terms of home office work, and last January 12, 2021 said reforms entered into force, modifying article 311 of the Law and included a new section titled “Home Office Work” or in Spanish, “Teletrabajo”. Home Office Work is defined by the Law as a form of work consisting in the performance activities in places other than the employer’s establishment; so the physical presence of the employee is not required at the workplace, using primarily information technologies. For the work to be considered “home office work”, 40% of the activities must be carried out at home or at a site different from the original workplace.

This new section includes new obligations for both parties: the employee and the employer. These obligations are not only in respect to labor issues, but also in respect to information and telecommunication technology ones.

Employer’s obligations:

  • Provide the employee with the necessary technological equipment, such as computers, working chairs or printers, among others.
  • Pay the corresponding employee’s electricity and telecommunication service costs.
  • Implement mechanisms in order to preserve employer’s information and data security.
  • Respect the employee's working hours under a so called “right to disconnection”.
  • Establish the training and counseling necessary to guarantee the adaptation, learning and proper use of information technologies.

Employee’s obligations:

  • Maintain and preserve the equipment, materials and tools received from the employer.
  • Timely inform the employer of the costs incurred in the use of the telecommunications and electricity services.
  • Use the operating mechanisms and systems to monitor the employee’s activities.
  • Comply with the data protection policies and mechanisms used in the performance of the employee’s activities, as well as restrictions on the information use and storage.

In terms of data protection, the mechanisms, operating systems and any technology, used by the employer to monitor the employees, must be proportional to the work’s purposes, guaranteeing the employees’ right to privacy, and respecting the applicable legal personal data protection framework. On the other hand, video cameras and microphones may only be used to monitor the work under extraordinary basis, or only when the nature of the work so requires it.

Co-Authors:

  • Sergio Legorreta (Mexico City / New York)
  • Diego Gonzalez (Mexico City)
  • Laura Estrada (Mexico City)
  • Ana Paula Boy (Mexico City)

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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