Remember back to mid-March when we were informed of the new shelter-in-place restrictions? Many employers found themselves coordinating technology, phone systems, and other infrastructure in brand new ways. A remote work policy may not have been at the top of your list. As this pandemic shows no signs of going away anytime soon, now is a great time to implement a policy.
Regardless of the remote arrangement being long term or short term, there are items that should be covered in all remote work policies. Set clear, defined expectations for communication and response times.
While your employees may be allowed to work away from the office, employers are able to set designated work locations such as restricting the work location to the employee’s home address. This is important for employees who must visit the office periodically on short notice or to ensure employees are always using safe, secure internet.
Non-exempt employees are still held to the same wage and hour requirements as if they were in the office. Meal and rest breaks need to be taken at the proper time and all overtime should be recorded. There are many items to consider when non-exempt employees are working from home, including meal and rest breaks and proper payment of overtime.
Per the California Labor Code, all employees are entitled to be reimbursed “for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee…” This is true especially when working away from the office. Employees may be entitled to reimbursement for Wi-Fi, electricity, cell phone usage, or other necessities. To avoid the administrative burden of tracking these items and usage individually, a best practice is to assign a flat monthly amount that you believe reasonably covers an employee’s expenses.
Having a remote work policy in place is important. A policy can help your employees understand what is expected of them and communication requirements. Your consulting team is available to assist you with a tailored policy for your organization.