Government incentivises remote working, but inequalities need to be addressed – minister

Last Updated on Tuesday, 9 March, 2021 at 8:34 pm by Andre Camilleri

Teleworking and remote working will be incentivised, Minister for Finance and Employment Clyde Caruana said, but added that the government must be careful as inequalities can emerge.

The Finance minister was answering a Parliamentary question posed by PN MP David Thake regarding teleworking and its relation to green policy; namely how the country can work to reduce emissions and traffic.

“When you have people working from home and are unable to interact with others at the place of work, or others that can’t come to the place of work, it creates problems amongst certain colleagues in terms of how certain work is going to be split,” Caruana said. “We need to incentivise remote working, but we need to tackle the issue of inequality; there are people who can work completely from home, and there are those, due to the nature of work, who cannot.”

The Minister said that “as much as teleworking seems like an optimistic solution”, the same teleworking “creates certain angst amongst colleagues because there would be these injustices”

Thake was displeased with such an answer, saying that it is supposed to be the minister’s job to find a solution to these disputes between colleagues, not simply cast a dark shadow over remote working and teleworking, as there are people who benefit from it, even in the long-term, and it also helps the environment.

Thake asked: “What are you going to do to solve this problem?” To which Caruana said: “I do not think that David Thake has experience when it comes to dealing with managing a group of employees.”

A number of private companies and government entities switched to teleworking and remote working at the start of the pandemic’s spread in March 2020 in order to curb the spread of the virus. Various companies around the world have been following this practice.

Teleworking is when an employee is allowed to carry out their work from offsite locations, but sometimes there might be the need for in-person office attendance. Remote working, on the other hand, is when work is conducted completely out-of-office, and where colleagues and employees rarely meet with their respective managers in person.

In a report published this year, the Central Bank of Malta found out that up to 25% of jobs can be done from home

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