Does Your Business Need a Remote Work Agreement?
The COVID-19 shutdowns are long behind us, and the world has seemingly moved on from most of the COVID-based restrictions. But some of the ways we adapted to the pandemic shutdowns are still with us today. One of those adaptations is working from home.
Many employers and businesses found that allowing employees to work from home actually ended up being a benefit. Businesses saved on office space and commercial rents, and other costs of having a full workforce working from a traditional office.
But there are considerations when a business has a workforce that is working remotely. If you haven’t done so already, it may be time to consider a written, work from home policy, sometimes called a remote work agreement.
But what should be in a remote work agreement?
Data Privacy and Device Usage – One big concern should be the privacy of customer or client data. In the office, you have IT professionals, and presumably, a network designed to protect the customer data that your employees may be accessing. But you don’t know what controls or safeguards your employees have on computers or devices when they work from home.
You may have to work with your IT professionals, to develop ways that employees can work from home, and ensure that there is no data loss or leaks or hacks, that could compromise the sensitive information that your employees may need to access to do their jobs.
You can provide your own devices to employees to use from home. If that is the case, you will also need a policy as to how those devices are used. If those devices are used for anything illegal, illicit, or which just would create bad PR for your business, you will want to make sure that there is a policy that states these behaviors are against your company’s wishes.
Contract Enforceability – You may have numerous contracts signed with your employees. These may be noncompete agreements, non solicitation agreements, contractor agreements, or policy and procedure manuals.
But if a worker is remote in a different state, what law applies? Things that may be legal in Florida to enforce, may not be legal in other states. Your remote work agreement should either specifically state that Florida law will apply, or should have some other workaround, to prevent your employee contracts from being invalidated by the laws of another state.
Tracking of Hours Worked – Your remote work agreement should have a requirement that employees log in when they are working. Tracking hours is vital—not for fear that someone won’t work, but the opposite—for fear that they will be working, and you could accidentally not pay them for those hours, leading to a Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit.
Without a required log in/log out policy, you have no way of actually tracking hours an employee works. That means you don’t know what the correct amount to pay that employee may be. Avoid that problem with required log in and log out procedures.
Call the West Palm Beach business lawyers at The Law Offices of Larry E. Bray today for help drafting or reviewing your corporate or business agreements.