Perhaps nothing shows the growing momentum of the flexible work movement more than the plethora of new laws, rules, and regulations surrounding it, both across the United States and around the world.
We’ve written about this before at 1 Million for Work Flexibility. And while we don’t endorse any specific legislation, a look at recent developments indicates that more cities, states, and nations are showing they care about flex.
First, consider some interesting flex developments around the world.
In the European Union, remote work is not regulated by an overall directive, but is left to individual member states to manage. Turkey is one nation that has not had any such regulations in the past, but now that has changed.
According to an Enhesa blog post, Turkey’s Labour Law No. 4857 was recently amended to introduce the concept of remote workers, or uzaktan çalışma. The new law defines remote work and requires employers to sign a contract with their remote workers that includes details of tasks that will be performed, work duration, and equipment provided by the employer.
“The law also bans any discrimination of these workers, namely remote workers cannot be discriminated against for reasons of the nature of their employment contracts,” the blog post says. “The law also clearly requires employers to provide information and training to remote workers.”
Closer to home, MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour in Canada, recently released the results of “broad public and stakeholder consultations” to find out how Canadians feel about the right to request flexible work arrangements.
“Over the coming months, the government plans to move forward on its pledge to amend Part III of the Canada Labour Code to give workers in federally regulated sectors the right to request flexible work arrangements and explore other ways to help them better manage their work and personal lives,” the report concludes.
National Developments: “Right to Request”, Schedule Predictability, & Freelance
“Right to request” legislation has also taken a step forward in the United States. New Hampshire recently became the second state—after Vermont—to give workers the right to ask for flexible work arrangements without fear of retaliation or retribution. San Francisco has a right-to-request law on the books as well, although it’s specific to caregivers. There are movements in New York City, where Comptroller Scott Stringer is promoting the right-to-request as it benefits families, and in Berkeley, California, where the Berkeley Flexible Work Time Initiative is touting the benefits of flex for the environment.
On the flip side of the flexibility coin is predictability. Also in the U.S., the City Council in Emeryville, California, unanimously approved an ordinance last month that requires large retailers to provide workers with their schedules two weeks in advance and give extra compensation for last-minute schedule changes, according to an article on SFGate.
“It also requires businesses to offer extra hours to existing part-time employees before hiring people to staff those hours,” the article says. “The ordinance is the second of its kind in California and the third in the country, after San Francisco and Seattle. Emeryville’s ordinance will take effect in July.” Seattle’s “secure scheduling” law is also expected to take effect in July.
Building on that base, several Oregon lawmakers say that, next year, they are going to propose similar legislation for that state. And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he is going to push for the same regulations there.
Also in New York, just last month the New York City Council voted to pass the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, which is said to be the first of its kind of protection for freelancers. It requires written agreements for the timeline and payment of freelance work, with penalties for employer violations.
As states and municipalities create such flexibility initiatives, though, federal regulations have been slow to develop in the U.S. While the two leading presidential candidates—Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump—have yet to explicitly state their positions on work flexibility, 1MFWF has scoured news articles and other information to get a handle on where they might stand. As you prepare to head to the polls, be sure to check out our elections page for the latest information.
We’ll continue to monitor new developments in the regulation of flexible and remote work in the U.S. and worldwide.