FWA Myths and Realities

Dear colleagues,


FWA implementation is about to begin, and already we’re hearing worried reactions from our colleagues, reporting controversial decisions by their managers that would make this new policy worse than the previous one.

That’s why your Union, which played an active part in negotiating these texts, is here to demystify some of the myths.

Myth 1: 50% of staff must be in the office at all times.

Reality 1: The wording in the text and in the spirit of the text is quite different: regular teleworking agreements must not represent an absence of more than 50% of office staff. This means that in this 50% calculation, department managers must list ONLY those who are doing regular telework, and that this list must not represent more than 50% of physical absence from the office at the departmental level. 


Any employee absent for other reasons, such as ad-hoc teleworking, sick leave, mission, home leave or annual leave, is not counted in this list. As a result, on any given day, more than half the staff could be absent from the department without breaking this rule.



Myth 2: You need to ask your manager for informal approval before requesting ad-hoc teleworking.

Reality 2: No. The system implemented in IRIS replaces any prior informal request be it oral or written. The employee will enter his or her request directly into IRIS. The manager is notified, and can respond and, if necessary, justify his or her answer if it is a refusal. If the employee considers the manager’s refusal to be abusive, he or she can ask HRPOL by e-mail to arbitrate.


Now imagine that you ask your manager verbally and he refuses, how would you justify this new formal request in IRIS? You couldn’t! The arbitration request that could have saved your request is also gone.

Myth 3: You can’t request more than 2 days of regular teleworking per week.

Reality 3: IGDS 640 § 40 stipulates a maximum of 3 regular teleworking days per week or 10 consecutive days per calendar month. However, due to the demographics of certain departments and the number of requests for regular teleworking, it may be necessary for only two days of regular teleworking to be granted to everyone, so that the 50% absenteeism limit for regular teleworking is not exceeded in that department.

Myth 4: Managers can impose a compulsory day of presence in the office and each manager can decide on a different day, which would make it impossible to apply the rule.

Reality 4: It is accepted that department or unit managers can impose a compulsory attendance day (except for justified absence) so that units can organize face-to-face meetings. It is therefore up to the units to coordinate so that all meetings take place on the same day during fixed working hours. Organizing 5 compulsory days would be bad faith and should be reported to HRPOL if management refuses to adapt. It’s also important to point out that not all meetings need to be face-to-face… just as not all meetings can be hybrid – let’s learn from the COVID era and put our better meeting and virtual management into practice!

Myth 5: It’s forbidden or discouraged to telework on Mondays and Fridays.

Reality 5: No official directive stipulates this, but a department that imposes a day of presence on Monday or Friday solves this problem de facto, on the other hand, preventing telecommuting on both days – in addition to possibly another day, is at odds with the policy!

Myth 6: Administrative staff can’t telework, or must limit their telework requests in relation to other colleagues.

Reality 6: All staff have the right to telework if the nature of their work permits. During the confinement period, the administrative staff (like all others) demonstrated that their work could be carried out remotely without affecting the quality and speed of their work. Consequently, there is no special limitation for administrative staff, and the mere request for their presence by a manager for their own convenience is not a valid justification for prohibiting them from teleworking. Managers can also print their own documents 😊. We need to think about the types of tasks, their requirements, and finally not to forget that other forms of flexible working also exist.

We hope that this non-exhaustive list will enable you to talk to your management, if necessary, and put things right.