Solidarity Center
Solidarity Center


Only a worker rights-based approach can ensure that Europe’s growing numbers of teleworkers can fully exercise their fundamental labor rights—including to decent work, which includes safe working conditions—said International Lawyers Assisting Workers Network (ILAW) members Mihail Cebotari, Inna Kudinska, George Sandul and ILAW Europe and Central Asia Regional Coordinator Tamar Gabisonia during the launch of three new ILAW telework reports last week.

The webinar, centered on three new ILAW reports, surveyed the regulatory environment impacting teleworkers in MoldovaPoland and Ukraine.  Poorly regulated telework tends to shifts financial and labor rights risks onto workers, who can experience longer work hours and burnout, unsafe working conditions, and constant employer surveillance. Isolation, meanwhile, can increase workers’ vulnerability to exploitation, discrimination, harassment and other abuse, including domestic violence. And, say unions, without proactive measures teleworkers will likely have fewer opportunities to participate in union activities and develop the sense of solidarity that builds and supports collective power. 

“ILAW’s research findings allow all of us the opportunity to pursue better protection of teleworkers in our own countries and, through our participation in the network, to work on similar issues collectively,” says Georgian Trade Unions Confederation (GTUC) Deputy Chairman and founding ILAW Board member Raisa Liparteliani.

“Telework is not a separate form of employment relations and, therefore, all workers should enjoy all labor rights equally.”

Due to the COVID-19  pandemic—and, in Europe, the war in Ukraine—the share of the employed population working from home has increased exponentially. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that approximately one in six jobs at the global level, and just over one in four jobs in advanced countries, could be done at home, including telework. By the end of 2022, an estimated 31 percent of all workers worldwide were to be fully remote or hybrid.

Report recommendations include:

  • In Moldova, to bring national regulations on remote work into line with the European Union Framework Agreement on Telework, ensure that telework is voluntary and reversible, and that teleworkers be adequately protected by effectively enforced health and safety regulations.
  • In Poland, to prevent the misuse of civil law contracts to deny teleworkers their rights under law, adopt clearer health and safety protections that balance the employer obligation to ensure worker safety with the privacy rights of workers, adopt provisions to address overtime work and ensure the right to disconnect, and institute mechanisms to tackle the systemic discrimination, violence and harassment often directed at remote workers.
  • In Ukraine, to implement and enforce regulations in conformity with the best European and world legislative practices on telework and remote work—including fully incorporating the principle of voluntariness in remote and home-based work, adequately addressing discrimination and health and safety risks, and protecting workers’ right to privacy.

The new reports are part of an ongoing ILAW research series on telework and worker rights, which includes a regional report on telework in the Americas, along with ten national reports on Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay, released in 2022. Research on telework in Mauritius and South Africa is forthcoming this year. The ILAW Network’s Future of Labor Law Wiki also contains model legislative language and analysis of how to regulate telework.

The Solidarity Center’s ILAW Network is a forum for labor and employment law practitioners who grapple with the legal and practical issues that directly affect workers and their organizations.

Solidarity Center, IUF Open Moldovan Migrant Worker Center

The Solidarity Center and the International Union of Food, Farm, and Hotel Workers (IUF) have launched the Information Center for Migrant Workers (ICMW), in Chisinau, Moldova. This new resource center will advocate on behalf of Moldovan migrant workers, those considering migrating for work and their families. The center opened September 28.

Many of the continent’s migrant workers are Moldovans who seek employment in agriculture and construction across Western Europe, Ukraine and Russia. More than 15 percent of Moldovans worked abroad last year because of the serious economic challenges they face at home. These workers are highly vulnerable to exploitation, and tragically, a major regional target for labor and sex trafficking. The information center will assist in the prevention of human trafficking and identify trafficking victims.

The Information Center staff of three includes a labor attorney who will provide free consultations to Moldovans concerned about their rights at work. The ICMW also cooperates with trade unions in destination countries to offer resources, emergency contacts and support for Moldovan workers abroad. In addition, ICMW coordinates with Moldovan national trade unions and human rights activists to provide training and public awareness outreach to workers across the country.

“People are used to getting information from family, friends and the Internet, but these are not always the most reliable sources,” says ICMW Communication Specialist Tatiana Corai. “After Moldovan workers arrive abroad, they are faced with different challenges. We want our citizens going abroad to work to have all the necessary information.”

As part of the ICMW’s launch, the Solidarity Center conducted a workshop for Moldovan journalists who cover social issues. The workshop provided members of the media with new insights into the struggles of migrant workers and gave journalists the tools and information needed to raise the profile of this important issue in local media.

The Solidarity Center also unveiled a worker rights resource website for Moldovans: muncitorimigranti.md (in Romanian).

The ICMW is supported by the Solidarity Center, the IUF and the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Pin It on Pinterest