“Three days of teleworking is plenty for many activities”, Patrick Martin, vice president of Medif, reacts to the appeal at FranceInfo on Tuesday, December 28 “Mandatory” Telework from the beginning of the school year “For all employees for whom it is possible”, as Prime Minister Jean Casteux indicated on Monday. Telecom has a “huge disruptive effect,” according to Medif.
franceinfo: In your opinion, mandatory teleworking three days per week, is this a “proportionate” measure?
Patrick Martin: We have already escaped the control of health passes in the company, which we have strongly opposed, and are awaiting a decision regarding the period of isolation of employees in the event of contact. Importantly, we must not stop the economic dynamism reflected by the drop in unemployment in November, and continue to serve the entire population, whether in transport, at home, in hospital or in commerce. Teleworking is not a panacea. We know that many employees no longer want this, that it creates a fracture between “white collar” and “blue collar”, causes operational problems and can cause environmental problems, especially in the company. Three days of telecommuting, four if necessary, is plenty for many activities. So it will have a huge disruptive effect. But we are suspended by the news and sovereign decisions of the health authorities. It will last for three weeks, which is really a lot, but if it can help contain the pandemic and reduce the stress level in the hospital, it will be a complicated period for companies but we will live with it.
The Labor Minister will consult social partners and you on this subject. What do you expect from this?
We would like this measure to be clarified, in particular what is meant by “eligible population”, which will be subject to this taxation of telecommunications. Will traveling vendors be subject to this? We need an empirical, practical approach and perhaps adaptation from one area to another. Telecom is probably effective in large cities because it reduces travel by public transport, but this is much less true in smaller towns and rural areas. Together we must find the right balance between health security and economic dynamism.
Jean Castex noted that a reduction in the isolation period was being considered. Does it give you relief?
Having employees with contact cases isolated for 17 days is essentially disruptive to the company. Especially in all service businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, trade or transportation. But also in the so-called “intellectual” service professions. Let us not forget that this affects businesses that once again take full advantage, such as programs or shows. Anything that, under the control of the health authorities, can shorten this isolation period, will be the blessed bread for businesses and for the smooth running of the country.
You mentioned the areas most affected by these measures. For example bar, restaurant. Are you alert that these affected professionals receive adequate support?
Beginning in December, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Economy and Finance announced that they were reactivating support mechanisms for these sectors. We will be very careful to see this happen. The psychological dimension should also not be neglected. A lot of business leaders are in low spirits, it’s a Scottish shower for them. For example, in the performing arts, many people tell themselves that they are going to discontinue the profession because it is no longer possible. So let’s be very attentive to these professionals to help them physically and psychologically.
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