The pandemic has transformed the entire ecosystem of workplace culture. Remote work is becoming the new normal. COVID-19 brings about a whole set of new challenges that accelerate the adaptability in the sudden shift of entire workplaces to remote work.
Although employers and employees have shown incredible adaptability to cope with the evolving situation, this may leave a mark that will last longer than expected. Even though the industry is seeking revisions in the country’s taxation and labor laws to redefine the new normal, few labor laws are still applicable while you are working from home.
Discrimination related to employment is illegal. The labor law against discrimination in employment will remain in full effect for remote workers — be it local, state, or federal. It’s prohibited to discriminate against the workers based on their gender, age, nationality, ethnicity, religion, etc. Employees who are doing work from home aren’t subject to discrimination. Businesses should adhere to the law and ensure that there is equality in all the workers’ treatment.
According to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers need to keep records of the hours an employee works, their wages, and other employment conditions. This is all the more important for people whose payment depends on the hours they work. Companies use modern technologies to keep track of their working hours. To run a business, employers can install tracking software on employees’ devices. It will track the amount of work that an employee has done and the hours they clock in even while working from home.
Overtime work laws remain relevant for employees who work from home. Working from home does not mean working all day long. You will have to get a payment for the overtime you do for the sake of business requirements. Once the working time exceeds 40 hours per week, employees must be paid an overtime rate at least 1.5x their regular rate if you are a nonexempt employee. Employers can use the time-recording software that enables them to track and pay for any overtime hours worked.
Meal and Rest Breaks
An employer should ensure that remote employees get adequate breaks. Uninterrupted breaks for rest and meal is a basic fundamental right of employees, including the one who is working remotely. Although remote employees aren’t supervised in the same way that an on-site employee is, break policy remains the same for both. Upon failing to provide a minimum of 30 minutes of uninterrupted break, employers must provide compensation.
Now that many companies have their employees working remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic monitoring, confidential information usage has become hard. To protect trade secrets and sensitive business information, employers may need to reevaluate their current policies and practices and implement new ones. Adjustments to new work arrangements should not come at the cost of information security.
Business Expenses Reimbursements
If the FLSA covers an employee, employers must reimburse employees for business expenses. When do employees become entitled to reimbursement? In case the expenses reduce the employee’s earnings below the required minimum wage or compensation.
A Work-at-Home Policy
A complete WFH policy is necessary. It will have to clearly define the expectations, responsibilities, and eligibility for employees who work remotely. Besides that, the policy should cover all the main aspects, such as working hour regulations, overtime work, compensations, timekeeping, information security, and many more. You can tailor the policies to suit the company’s requirements and values. In short, it ensures that all employees must adhere to the guidelines while working from home.
Coronavirus has sparked a revolution in the work-from-home scenarios. Employees can easily plug-in and work from just anywhere they are. But it becomes now equally important for businesses to establish a permanent remote work policy. However, the policy should not just set out the employees’ expectations. Instead, it should also ensure the organization follows the best practices.
Organizations need to arrange better teleconferencing tools to make work from home more comfortable than ever. Besides that, as an employer, you should also provide your people with safe working conditions. Remember, the employer’s job is to ensure timekeeping and equality and protect the rights of their personnel. With all these practices in place, working from home will ensure the productivity remains as high as when your employees work from the office.