Research helps companies and labor market adapt to flexible reality

Remote work, labor rights amid crisis and unemployment are some aspects addressed in the Graduate Program of PUCRS’ Law School

09/10/2020 - 16h09

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New Year’s Eve is usually a time to make resolutions, both for personal and professional life. However, the world was taken by surprise by the pandemic of Covid-19 in the first months of 2020. And this has totally changed the global scenario. Many people who dreamed of developing their careers faced unemployment, shortage of opportunities, financial problems and questions concerning job regulation.

Do you know how to change this scenario? By elucidating the impacts of coronavirus and technology for companies, the job market, professionals and society.

This is one of the roles of researchers who are dedicated to studying teleworking, labor rights, innovation at work, social security in a situation of calamity, among other issues. From the perspective of Law, you can understand its relevance in beating moments of crisis in PUCRS’ Graduate Program in Law (PPGD). Application for the program is open until Oct 30.

Making your house and the street into an office

Teleworking is a trend in Brazil and all over the world. And so is work on digital platforms and jobs without a formal employment contract. And who regulates all of that? Denise Pires Fincato, Professor of Law School and Coordinator of the Research Group in New Technologies, Labor Process and Relationships of PUCRS, claims it depends on a number of factors. “Companies must prepare their jobs and organization charts bearing in mind that remote work may be something effective and permanent. In addition, teleworking should be included in business strategies and documents. Strategies in the Program for Prevention of Environmental Risks (PPRA) and in the Medical Control Program for Occupational Health (PCMSO), are examples of that”.

However, if someone who works delivering meals through delivery platforms feels sick or has an accident, who will provide assistance? The “uberization of work”, as it is now popularly known, despite bringing benefits to those people who need to work can also leave them alone.

Some apps offer insurance for couriers, but informality remains a reality. According to the Government of São Paulo government, the number of delivery couriers that died during work has doubled from 2019 to 2020. And data from Análise Econômica, a consultancy company, show that the number of people working informally in the delivery of meals grew by 158% in the same period.

The role of research and the University

In terms of technological impact, the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation, as it introduced many companies to resources that had not been previously explored, such as cloud and communication systems. Even those who had reservations with innovation found themselves without a choice. “There are indicators pointing to reductions in the structures of large offices in the post-pandemic period”, Denise highlights.

Similarly, the State, society and even the University must be very watchful, according to Denise. “It is important to provide social support and opportunities for activities that are accessible to the general population, in order to promote employability. Work provides much more than subsistence: it is a factor of identity, social aggregation, and personal fulfillment. This must be taken into consideration by managers, opinion makers and researchers”.

To do research is to fight for collective rights

Labor law essentially regulates the relationship between employers and employees. On the one hand, we have the economic activity, and on the other, the provision of work in dignified conditions. In times of crisis, there is often an imbalance in this relationship. It is in this context that the research proves to be important, as it provides a great variety of methods of comparison, historical investigation and interpretation to propose to the constituted powers a path to thread.

A great many of the Provisional Measures issued by the Executive during the pandemic and the norms issued by the Legislative were influenced by these studies. These decisions also assisted the Judiciary in mediating conflicts.

What is it like to be a researcher?

“The ‘fire’ of the research was sparked in me, not by coincidence, in a Law School course, at PUCRS”, says Amália de Campos. She is enrolled as a Master’s students in PPGD. Inspired by Prof. Fincato, she has become a researcher. “I felt challenged to produce my first scientific article and it was such an exciting and rewarding experience that I ultimately had an article selected for publication, an advisor and the certainty that research would be a constant reality in my academic life”.

For Amália, those who work in research are not happy with dogmas, realities and the way in which certain things are handled. “I see this as an absolute quality, because it is what propels us to investigate. Research, regardless of the area, will produce scholarship and allow society to evolve”