If so, who will provide and pay for this equipment and who is permitted to access it?Will the equipment need to be insured and, if so, whose responsibility will it be to arrange and pay for this?Expenses – consider whether or not employees will be entitled to expenses for travel to the office or a contribution towards telephone, broadband, heating and lighting costs.
This month on 19 May it is “National work from home day”.
So what should employers be aware of if they want to facilitate homeworking?
Cutting out the commute by allowing people to work from home can be a win-win; offering opportunities for the employer to reduce/reallocate office space and, for the worker, the benefit of valuable time-savings.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 13.9% of the UK’s workforce were homeworkers in January to March 2014, up from 11.1% in 1998, and the proportion of the UK workforce working from home is likely to rise as employers increasingly recognise that flexible working, including homeworking, can bring benefits to their organisation.
Right to enter – do you want include a licence to enter the employee’s home (on reasonable notice) in order to install, maintain or service any company equipment, or retrieve it on termination?
A right to enter may also help enable you to carry out risk assessments for health and safety purposes, although legal advice in terms of enforcing this right would be needed if the employee (or another person) was refusing entry.Trial period – consider allowing the homeworking for a trial period, and include this in the contract, so you can assess whether or not the arrangement will work in the longer term.It is also worth including the right to require the employee to revert to office-based working.There are also practical considerations to consider when agreeing to a homeworking arrangement.An employer is responsible for an employee’s health, safety and welfare so far as is reasonably practicable.It will normally be appropriate to tailor a standard employment contract in order to reflect any homeworking arrangements.In some instances, it may also be sensible to put in place specific policies to cover off some of the more practical arrangements.A lot of work carried out at home is going to be low-risk, office-type work.Of the work equipment used at home, you are only responsible for the equipment you supply.If certain conditions are met, payments by employers to reimburse employees for reasonable additional costs incurred as a result of homeworking can be tax exempt.Confidentiality and data protection – this can be difficult to supervise remotely so include an express term to address what is considered confidential information and the necessary protections required (such as passwords, encryption, a secure filing cabinet, a shredder etc) and make sure data protection obligations are maintained.