Many state and native orders proceed to require sure workers to work remotely or telecommute throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. And even the place workers are starting to return to the office, employers could face a rise in requests from workers to work remotely on an prolonged foundation. With a probable uptick in its distant workforce, employers ought to contemplate whether or not to permit its workers to work remotely, and if that’s the case, easy methods to finest accomplish the duty, together with whether or not to implement a distant work coverage and/or enter into particular person distant work agreements with its distant workers throughout this pandemic and, maybe, past.
The next FAQs focus on among the questions that employers could encounter.
Query: What are among the components to contemplate when deciding whether or not to just accept an worker’s request to work remotely?
Reply: A lot relies on the job duties of the worker, however an employer ought to typically contemplate the next in figuring out whether or not to grant an worker’s distant work request:
- The suitability of the worker’s job for distant work, together with the frequency of in-person interplay within the office and dependency on assets obtainable solely within the office.
- The worker’s previous efficiency, together with the flexibility to work independently, talk successfully, set up priorities, handle distractions and meet deadlines.
- The worker’s working information of use and upkeep of acceptable expertise.
- The supply of apparatus and acceptable telecommuting work atmosphere.
- The worker’s capacity to enter the office for conferences or different enterprise wants as required.
Query: Does an employer have to reimburse a distant working worker for tools and provides utilized in reference to distant working?
Reply: Sure work-related bills have to be reimbursed by the employer in sure states. For instance, in California, an employer should reimburse workers “for all obligatory expenditures or losses incurred by the worker in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the instructions of the employer, despite the fact that illegal, until the worker, on the time of obeying the instructions, believed them to be illegal.” (Calif. Lab. Code § 2802(a)). California case regulation additional specifies that employers should pay an affordable share of an worker’s private cellphone and residential web payments when utilization of such telephone and web are, partly, for enterprise functions.
Except expense reimbursement is remitted by state regulation, an employer could resolve whether or not to reimburse a distant working worker for tools and provides, however such selections needs to be constant for all such workers.
Query: Should an employer enable distant working primarily based on an worker’s medical want?
Reply: An employer topic to state and/or federal incapacity legal guidelines (e.g., People with Disabilities Act) could have an obligation to have interaction in an interactive course of with a disabled worker to find out whether or not a distant work association is an affordable lodging that might enable the worker to successfully carry out important job duties, and whether or not there are any different types of lodging that might be as efficient.
Query: How ought to an employer adjust to wage and hour legal guidelines for non-exempt distant workers?
Reply: An employer ought to require non-exempt workers to precisely report and report all hours labored remotely in the identical method as hours labored on-site. As well as, meal and relaxation break legal guidelines apply equally to distant work preparations. To strengthen compliance with these legal guidelines, employers ought to contemplate stating in a distant work coverage and/or settlement that each one firm guidelines, insurance policies, practices, and procedures and advantages pointers stay relevant to workers whereas working remotely, together with however not restricted to insurance policies requiring correct recording of time and adherence to meal and relaxation breaks.
Query: What are the necessities for a distant worker’s residence work area?
Reply: Distant workers ought to have a delegated residence work area that’s maintained and saved freed from security hazards and appropriately furnished. When the distant work association is voluntary (e.g., when working from residence will not be necessary throughout a pandemic), employers could contemplate reserving the proper to examine an worker’s residence work area. Employers needs to be conscious that work-related accidents that happen within the designated residence work area throughout working hours could also be coated by employees’ compensation insurance coverage, so correct security have to be emphasised.
Query: What restrictions can an employer set on use of firm property (e.g. laptops) in a distant setting?
Reply: An employer ought to specify that firm property should not be utilized by anybody who will not be employed by the corporate and that each one firm property and knowledge needs to be saved safe. If firm property is misplaced or broken, an employer ought to make workers conscious of the method for reporting such points. An employer must also talk to distant workers that there needs to be no expectation of privateness relating to using the corporate’s laptop or different digital methods.
Query: What are some methods wherein an employer can consider whether or not a distant employee is finishing required work?
Reply: An employer ought to present clear communication to a distant employee of the required work duties and tasks and efficiency expectations in place throughout a distant work association however could wish to contemplate whether or not to require a distant worker to submit extra work task standing studies or submit survey varieties. An extra consideration is whether or not to watch a distant employee’s work time by way of software program on laptops. Greatest follow can be to supply workers with advance discover of such software program, particularly given some states (e.g., Connecticut and Delaware) require employers to supply advance written discover to all workers who could also be monitored.
Query: How can an employer make sure that a distant employee’s private tasks don’t intervene with fulfilling job tasks?
Reply: An employer ought to make clear that distant working will not be an alternative choice to dependent care or meant to accommodate private or different enterprise tasks. Nevertheless, employers could wish to embody an exception to this part to use throughout the COVID-19 pandemic given many working dad and mom are required to juggle baby care resulting from college and baby care closures.
Query: Ought to an employer undertake a distant work coverage or enter into particular person distant work agreements with its distant workers?
Reply: Whether or not an employer anticipates all or a few of its workers will work remotely on a brief or extra everlasting foundation, a distant work coverage or settlement offers clear steerage to workers on the method, expectations and obligations of a distant work association. A distant work coverage or settlement additionally offers extra consistency with dealing with workers’ requests for a distant work association. Offering distant work preparations can profit each employers and workers by permitting for higher flexibility that may result in increased productiveness and total job satisfaction.
Query: How does an employer resolve whether or not to undertake a coverage, an settlement or each?
Reply: A distant work coverage communicates the rules and processes for distant working to all workers. A distant work settlement could enable for personalization for a person worker together with extra normal pointers. As a normal rule, as a result of a coverage will not be a contract, an employer could unilaterally modify a coverage, however modifying an settlement requires the consent of each the employer and the worker. If an employer desires flexibility to unilaterally modify the association at any time, it may challenge a coverage, whereas if the employer desires an individualized association for every worker, it may enter into an settlement. Greatest follow is to both have a coverage with an acknowledgement signed by the worker, or an settlement containing normal pointers and the worker’s particular particulars of the distant work association together with the worker signature.
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