Shelter-In-(Work)Place

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April 21, 2020

Know the right way to manage work-from-home situations.

Given the COVID-19 outbreak that is spreading across the U.S., many companies are either required to institute work-from-home arrangements or opting to do so to facilitate the social distancing best practices that health professionals have recommended.

With today’s technology, working remotely is already a well-established practice, but has become the new norm for many new businesses. The following important considerations are relevant to all employers who employ this practice:

  • Review and review current policies to ensure that policies reflect work-from-home expectations. Make sure to include: expected work-day schedule, the importance of recording all time worked, overtime restrictions, reporting non-work time (illness/personal time), confidentiality and security of equipment and information, and other company expectations. It is also very important to indicate the agreement tow work remotely can be modified or eliminated at the company’s discretion.
  • Along these lines, employers must still adhere to prevailing wage and hour laws by having proper recordkeeping mechanisms in place for tracking daily and week-ending hours for all non-exempt (i.e. hourly) employees. Working from home often brings forth potential working time that goes beyond normal work schedules with employees being able to conduct official business using by sitting at their computer. Therefore, it is important that employers establish clear lines of when such work is to be performed, and when such work is to cease. A well-written policy and good time and attendance tracking system will work to keep payroll cost well contained and employee productivity well-monitored.
  • Review your insurance policies, i.e. workers’ compensation and other employee benefits, to ensure remote work arrangements are covered during this time.
  • Ensure management lines of communication are open and employees know who, how, and when to reach out to key management officials. There should be a consistent and well-communicated policy regarding reporting and work-product expectations.
  • Ensure data is secure and employees are advised of safety and privacy rules, i.e. caution in opening questionable files or communication, not sending sensitive corporate data to personal emails or cloud accounts, etc.
  • Consider employee tax issues, i.e. employees working from home in out-of-state locations, and any reimbursement due to service-related costs, i.e. internet service, cellular data charges, etc., to perform work duties.

CHR can help

  • Create a customized Telecommuting Policy.
  • Adress all other HR compliance issues.
  • Offer web and mobile-based timeclock solutions.
  • Assess client insurance needs.

Contact us for more information.