Latest update: 26/10/2022

Framework agreement on telework

Framework agreement signed in 2002 by the European social partners, ETUC, UNICE, UEAPME and CEEP to address the emerging challenge posed by telework.

In the context of the European employment strategy, the European Council invited the social partners to negotiate agreements modernising the organisation of work, including flexible working arrangements, with the aim of making undertakings productive and competitive and achieving the necessary balance between flexibility and security.
The Framework Agreement establishes a general framework of rules on telework. It aims to promote the development of this form of work while safeguarding the protection of workers and the interests of employers.

The agreement defines telework as a form of organising and/or performing work, using information technology, in the context of an employment contract/relationship, where work, which could also be performed at the employers premises, is carried out away from those premises on a regular basis.
The agreement lays down a number of general principles to be observed by employers and workers performing telework. These principles include:

  • the voluntary nature of telework and the right to return;
  • a guarantee of maintenance of employee status and of equal treatment;
  • protection of privacy and protection of personal data;
  • questions concerning work equipment, liability and costs are clearly defined;
  • protection in the field of health and safety;
  • organisation of work by the teleworker within the framework of applicable legislation, collective agreements and company rules;
  • keeping in contact with the firm
  • same access to training and career development opportunities;
  • same collective rights as workers at the employer's premises.

The agreement was signed in 2002 and all parties involved agreed to implement the agreement within three years of the date of signature. In 2006, the EU Commission published a report on the implementation of the Framework Agreement on Telework. The report shows that the main provisions and principles of the Framework Agreement have been incorporated fully into most national implementing measures across the EU. 

Publication details
Published by: EU cross-sectoral social partners: ETUC, UNICE, UEAPME and CEEP
Publication date: July 2002
Number of pages: 4 pp.

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