The era of remote work as a perk could be over and now, but don’t expect the U.S. to jump aboard as quickly as the over 20 countries around the world who have passed flexible work legislation.
For instance, the Netherlands’ Flexible Working Act allows workers at companies with 10 or more employees the ability to request hybrid work options, with remote workers receiving a €2 per day stipend for work-from-home costs.
While countries with single governmental entities are likely to continue moving towards enacting laws that help manage remote work arrangements, the U.S. is unlikely to follow suit.
According to a Gallup poll, over 70 million U.S. workers can work remotely. However, any flexible work-related legislation in the country would likely begin at company level, and if lucky, move up to the state level.
“[Labor decisions] end up being based largely on the preference of the particular company or manager,” said Bradford Bell, professor of strategic HR at Cornell. “We [in the US] don’t tend to legislate work issues as much as some of these other countries, particularly countries in Europe.”
The closest the country has gotten to passing remote work policy was when President Obama signed The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, mandating remote work guidelines for federal employees.
Historically, the U.S. has lagged in workers’ rights laws, such as standardized paid parental leave. Because much of the country prides itself on the idea of empowering privatized businesses, giving governments the ability to control may not bode well in the eyes of voters.
“The courts declared that they are not a super HR agency,” said Ronald Miller, senior legal analyst at Wolters Kluwer. “You’re more likely to see some progressive cities try to pass some such legislation, or maybe in some more progressive states like California.”