He is co-founder of the European Review of Contract Law and has also served on the editorial committee of the Industrial Law Journal. Employers should consider consulting with counsel about how these laws may apply when employees work from home. It also offers greater flexibility to those employees who may have family or carer responsibilities. Employers should consider consulting with counsel about how these laws may apply when employees work from home. According to the National Employment Standards (NES) introduced in 2010 by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), parents and caregivers of children under school age have the right to request flexible working arrangements, such as working from home. Here's what you should know. Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel. “Different legal issues surrounding labor laws, taxes, contracts, payment requirements or limitations, etc. Astrid was awarded her doctorate from the University of Oxford in 2009. Employers should ensure their paid sick leave policies are up to date. Companies these days are increasingly allowing employees to work from home in order to save on time and costs of actual office space and other overhead. Legal guidelines for work from home arrangements. In this electronically connected workforce, telecommuting or working from home is easier than ever. Time worked includes responding to phone calls and emails, no matter the time of day. LEGAL ISSUES Shifting Paradigm Recently, there has been an increase in popularity of alternative work schedules, working from home, telecommuting and flexible work hours. Another legal issue with telecommuting is that letting employees work from home makes it much more difficult to monitor employees’ work hours, making companies potentially more susceptible to violations of wage & hour laws. Employers should inquire about state and local laws that may require employers to provide paid or unpaid leave to employees with children in the event of an unexpected school closure. We use cookies to enhance your website experience. If your workers are salaried and exempt from overtime, this isn’t a big deal: they’ll get paid the same regar… Many employers are now questioning business costs associated with traditional offices altogether, exploring the idea of WFH as a new way to work. From 1998 to 2010 she held a Chair in Criminal Law and Legal Theory at LSE; she returned to LSE in 2013 after spending three years as Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, and Professor of Criminal Law and Legal Theory at the University of Oxford. In summer 2020 Alice appeared (as junior counsel) for the successful Respondent in the Court of Appeal in Walker v Co-operative Bank leading a case on the material factor defence in equal pay claims. Working from home is often a great solution for employees who are looking for a more flexible style of working. Ensure that any work-from-home, remote work, and onsite work policies, are administered in a nondiscriminatory manner. Where that is not possible, employers should evaluate the personal tools and equipment the employee is required to use on the employer’s behalf and determine whether and to what extent reimbursement for associated expenses may be necessary. As with most areas of the employment law universe, the legal backdrop should be a policy that sets out employer expectations around issues such as hours of work per day or week, preserving confidential information, home office insurance and liability issues, ownership of equipment and content, reporting structures, how to monitor work product and deadlines, any obligations to attend on-site … Not only will sound work-from-home policies keep employees on track while working offsite, but they’ll help avoid potential legal problems that can arise from remote work. Employers have an obligation to provide accommodations for disabilities to employees who work from home. Prior to that, she studied at the University of Cambridge (LLM), Sciences Po (Erasmus year), and LSE (LLB). If employees are allowed or required to work from home because of the unique challenges posed by COVID-19, where remote work otherwise would not be allowed or required, then employers should make clear that the telework is being allowed or required due to the extraordinary circumstances posed by current public health circumstances. Employer monitoring of work email systems is generally permitted, provided there is a valid business purpose for doing so and employees do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in using the employer’s system. Many states and localities have laws requiring employers to provide paid … Update existing policies to include Covid-19 specific language. A podcast of this event is available to download from Working From Home: legal issues arising from the 'new normal'. Prior to joining LSE, she was a Lecturer at Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham for four years from 2009 to 2013. Taxation laws, protection for employees and insurance are just a portion of the many legal issues surrounding work as well as business. I work with an amazing remote team, but it means I have an 8:30am or 9am meeting every day. Astrid Sanders is an Associate Professor of Labour Law and joined LSE in September 2013. Specific advice should be sought on what the assessment should cover. Maintaining Nondiscriminatory Work-From-Home Polices Compile a list of legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons that would preclude an employee from working-from-home. Issues that will be considered include health and safety, working time, discrimination law, and the effectiveness of employment regulation. Employers should attempt to provide the resources employees need to work from home effectively using company-provided equipment, like computers and telephones. A video of this event is available to watch at Working From Home: legal issues arising from the 'new normal'. Whatever the precise arrangement, there are a number of issues for an employer to consider. Continue to adhere to and enforce applicable meal and rest break requirements for nonexempt employees when they are working from home, including the recording of unpaid meal breaks. Nonexempt employees are required to be paid only for time worked. For live webcasts and archive video of lectures, follow us on YouTube. Employers can require employees—both exempt and nonexempt—to report their working time. If an employer requires employees to work from home in response to a health crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak, then it may choose to prohibit employees from working at other remote locations other than home (i.e., locations where they may be at greater risk of being exposed). Subscribe to receive the latest insights and news from Akin Gump. California) who are required to work from home may be entitled to reimbursement for a pro rata portion of their cell phone and internet service bills that is attributable to work use. Hugh Collins has published research in contract law, employment law, European law, legal theory, and human rights law. Being away from managers and colleagues could make it difficult to get proper support. Employers should encourage employees to review their work area and ensure that it is free from tripping, electrical or other hazards that might pose a danger to employees. Before monitoring employees’ communication (e.g., for productivity), ensure that doing so is consistent with the company’s established policies. 1. Almost all employees with at least 26 weeks' service have the right to ask for flexible working which can include working from home. LSE is a private company limited by guarantee, registration number 70527. Freedom to cook lunch. FLSA violations. Working from home opportunities, also referred to as telecommuting or teleworking, defines a work structure in which a worker can complete job tasks, either on a full-time or part-time basis, from a location outside of the company's office. Employers should also consider setting up an internal website and team- and/or company-wide distribution lists for information sharing. Our new COVID-19 reality means that many employees are working from home (“WFH”). Respite from … Time to do laundry between tasks. Research shows that employees who work from home tend to be more productive then when in the office, but setting up a telecommuting policy may not be as easy as it sounds. As well as her D.Phil, she earlier obtained two other postgraduate degrees at Corpus Christi College. From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check back on this listing on the day of the event. Follow LSE public events on Twitter for notification on the availability of an event podcast, the posting of transcripts and videos, the announcement of new events and other important event updates. She completed all her postgraduate and undergraduate studies at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford. She has held a number of visiting appointments, most recently at Harvard Law School. This event will be streamed live on Facebook, Join us for a lecture by @PEspinosaC, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Cha… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…, Reply LSE in Pictures is a selection of images taken by the school photographer. Clearly communicate to employees how to track their time and ensure that the time is entered into the company’s timekeeping system on a regular basis. Find out more about homeworking expenses on GOV.UK. Whether you're thinking of working from your home office or from your lake cabin getaway, there could be tax implications. State and local laws for reporting time pay and split shift pay may remain in effect for nonexempt employees working from home. However, employers need to ensure the home workers are properly managed and protected to avoid any employment law issues for their businesses. Issues that will be considered include health and safety, working time, discrimination law, and the effectiveness of employment regulation. Some employers may also choose for employee relations reasons to reimburse cell phone and internet costs attributable to work use when employees are required to work from home. Ensure that flexible workplace policies are administered in a nondiscriminatory manner. Professor Hugh Collins A panel discussion of legal issues that arise from many people increasingly working from home, a pattern that seems likely to persist even after the Covid 19 pandemic has finished. Employees should check there are no … One of the major issues that has come up recently when people work from home relates to privacy. While employers generally cannot control what people do off-duty, they can prohibit employees from coming to the workplace, and can recommend that certain employees self-quarantine in their homes (such asemployees who are sick or who have traveled to a high risk area). Sick Pay. Other legal issues. Employers should ensure their paid sick leave policies are up to date. He is currently Cassel Professor of Commercial Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, having previously been the Vinerian Professor of English Law at All Souls College, Oxford 2014-2019, Professor of English Law at LSE 1991-2014, and a Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. Our community is one of the largest in the School, and has played a major role in policy debates, policy-making and the education of lawyers and law teachers globally. Such accommodations may include, for example, providing ergonomic computer equipment and accessories, to employees who would otherwise be provided such accommodations in an office setting. She also achieved outstanding marks as an undergraduate in her law examinations. If you are an employee who works from home regularly, it is important to know what your rights are. Home working opens up a new range of possibilities for the way businesses can work and structure themselves.With the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, home working has given some employers the flexibility they need to continue their business operations while prioritising staff and customer health and wellbeing as part of their public health responsibility. In 2011 she was awarded the Hans Sigrist Prize by the University of Bern for outstanding scholarship on the function of the rule of law in late modern societies and in 2017 she was awarded a CBE for services to Law, Justice and Gender Politics. If hardware or software that is normally used to track time is unavailable to an employee working from home, then any method that allows the employee to self-report his or her working time (e.g., an Excel spreadsheet) is acceptable. You can only refuse a request for one of the eight business reasons allowed by the legislation. Here are five legal pitfalls you’ll want to look out for when drafting a remote work policy. Sarah Trotter joined the Law Department as an Assistant Professor in September 2018. Share. If you have any questions concerning this alert, please contact: Nathan J. OlesonEmailWashington, D.C.+1 202.887.4425, Brian Glenn PattersonEmailHouston+1 713.250.2214, Richard J. RabinEmailNew York+1 212.872.1086, Allison S. PapadopoulosEmailWashington, D.C.+1 202.887.4588. He studied law at Oxford and Harvard. Check with workers’ compensation and general liability coverage brokers or carriers to ensure that all applicable coverages will apply when employees work from home. Employers should talk to their employees and any representatives about who will cover any extra costs employees might have when working from home. Consider reminding employees of their right to take off-duty meal and rest breaks when working from home. Our COVID-19 Employer FAQs provide some helpful guidance in these situations. "So [for example] when an employee falls down the steps answering the front door or slips over in the home office," he said. Employers should remind employees to update their home address and contact information in the company’s human resources system. She has particular experience of strikes and industrial action and has advised on some of the most high profile industrial disputes of recent years, for example acting (as junior counsel) for Royal Mail in successfully obtaining an injunction to prevent strike action over Christmas 2017. Good communication with your workers is especially important when they are working from home. She wrote her PhD thesis (‘On coming to terms: How European human rights law imagines the human condition’) at LSE. As with most areas of the employment law universe, the legal backdrop should be a policy that sets out employer expectations around issues such as hours of work per day or week, preserving confidential information, home office insurance and liability issues, ownership of equipment and content, reporting structures, how to monitor work product and deadlines, any obligations to attend on-site meetings, and reserving a general right to pull the employee back into the office … That said, some employers may specifically not allow telecommuting or opt to change their telecommuting policy with little noice. State and local laws for reporting time pay and split shift pay may remain in effect for nonexempt employees working from home. Alice is a contributing editor of Harvey on Industrial Relations and Employment Law. When working from home, there may be a new concern for workers other than going without pants. This article looks at each of these issues below before explaining what practical steps employers can take to minimise the risks. Alice Carse practices in employment and industrial relations law at Devereux Chambers. A panel discussion of legal issues that arise from many people increasingly working from home, a pattern that seems likely to persist even after the Covid 19 pandemic has finished. Many states and localities have laws requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, and this landscape is rapidly evolving. California) may require that employees be relieved of all duty during meal and rest breaks when working from home, including responding to emails and taking calls. Employers should also carry out a data privacy impact assessment of the data protection implications of employees working from home. He is a Fellow of the British Academy. Nicola Lacey is School Professor of Law, Gender and Social Policy. You must also review how you’re managing the risks to check your policies and processes are effective. Favorite, RT @RMilibandLSE: Vital 'key workers' have been widely lauded during the pandemic - but after all the applause will they be given better p…, London School of Economics and Political Science. For example, employees may work overtime hours without their manager knowing, but then later sue for back pay. Nonexempt employees must be paid for all time worked when working from home, including overtime, the same as if they were working at the office. Working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic may sound like a luxury. © 2021 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. By continuing to use our website without electing an option below, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Paul Harpur, from the University of Queensland Law School, said the most common issue to arise was when the employee was injured at home in the course of their employment. Checking insurance cover. Disadvantages of employees working from issue Though there are some disadvantages to employees legal at home, most of these relate to those working from home for all, as opposed to part, of their working week: Difficulty work performance - there could be work managing from workers and monitoring their performance. One of the most obvious problems with remote employees is it’s hard to know how many hours they’re actually working out of the office. There are three particular areas to consider from a legal perspective: 1. But a right to request is not the same as a right to. sometimes apply.” (source) “For me right now it’s time zone. There are certain legal implications that employers should consider when allowing employees to work from home. Because schools may be closed and employees may face challenges with childcare due to COVID-19, employers likely will need to remain flexible in their expectations. Home working can cause work-related stress and affect people’s mental health. Employees may not have dedicated work areas in their homes and may face distractions in terms of timeliness of execution of regular tasks and other disruptions of ordinary work functions (e.g., children interrupting parents during telephone calls). Event updates and other information about what’s happening at LSE can be found on the LSE's Facebook page and for live photos from events and around campus, follow us on Instagram. Employers have a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of their workers, regardless of whether they work in a factory, office or home BY Amber Chandler 12 May 2017. She is an Honorary Fellow of New College Oxford and of University College Oxford; a Fellow of the British Academy; and a member of the Board of Trustees of the British Museum. For those situations where an employer is able to continue operations with employees working from home or other remote locations, below is a list of issues for employers to consider in implementing such arrangements on short notice. The legal employment status of home workers is defined by the following tests of whether they are a ‘worker’ or ‘employee’: ... you work from home. The Department of Law (@LSELaw) is one of the world's top law schools with an international reputation for the quality of its teaching and legal research. Put procedures in place so you can keep in direct contact with home workers so you can recognise signs of stress as early as possible. LSE’s Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative, Working From Home: legal issues arising from the 'new normal', LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel. As outlined below, employers must require that nonexempt employees accurately record their working time. WFH is no longer treated as a flexible work option offered by some employers, but a measure to physically distance. Workers often know what the issues are and have ideas about how to manage them. Ensure that all nonexempt employees accurately record all of their remote work time to ensure payment for all time worked. You must consider requests in a reasonable manner. This, plus a heightened awareness of the benefits of flexible working arrangements, means that many more employees are choosing to spend some (or all) of their week working from home. Keep in touch. If a homeworking expenses policy has been previously agreed with a trade union, the employer must agree any changes with the union. The University of Oxford notably awarded her two prizes for Best Performance.