Telecommuting Policy Checklist
In response to COVID-19, a majority of states have issued stay-at-home orders, shutting down non-essential businesses, and even for essential businesses, requesting that all non-essential employees work remotely. Naturally, these stay-at-home orders have impacted the way organizations do business. Many workers who were not used to telecommuting are now doing it on a daily basis. Given the spike in telecommuting, now is a great time for organizations to review and/or develop a telecommuting policy. Every organization should have a telecommuting policy in place to protect the organization and promote best practices with its employees. Below is a checklist to assist your organization in developing a telecommuting policy. Depending on the size and scope of the business, not all these provisions may be necessary. Be aware that if a business will not normally allow telecommuting, once the current emergency is over, it is not required to continue offer telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation.
Policy Statement for Telecommuting
- Require agreed-upon time of day that employee will be available to work. This can be flexible, and may need to be depending on childcare needs, but should cover essential needs of the business.
- Language regarding company equipment being used in the home and equipment liability. (Be aware that cybersecurity and insurance liability issues may require that the business provide the equipment.)
- Request employees make arrangements for childcare while telecommuting, or arrange flexible hours. (Be aware that some paid leave may be required if workers are caring for children whose schools are closed due to COVID-19.)
- Require a dedicated workspace.
- State that all residential utility costs or cleaning services are the responsibility of the employee.
- Require notification for emergency situations at tele-workplace.
- Require employee to allow representatives of organization to inspect the tele-workplace.
- State whether workers’ compensation will cover job-related injuries at the tele-workplace.
- State whose intellectual property is developed while telecommuting.
- State whether leave policy changes when telecommuting.
- State who will provide office supplies.
- State how performances and evaluations will be different, if at all, because of telecommuting.
- State any restrictions on personal business during specific hours while telecommuting.
- State requirement to follow firm policies, rules, and procedures in the Employee Handbook.
- State employee must track and record time in same manner as when at office (if applicable), or provide a different system if necessary.
- State employee is responsible for data security and will take reasonable steps to preserve including password protection on all devices that access work material, password protection on home wifi, encryption (if necessary), and privacy screen (if necessary).
- State expectations of work product.
- State expectations of record retention at tele-workplace.
- State that a home office is not an automatic tax deduction and employees should confer with a tax expert.
- State expectations about how reimbursement will work for tele-workplace.
- State expectations about employees being paid to travel between primary workplace and tele-workplace.
- Include an “I acknowledge, understand, and agree to comply with” statement at bottom of policy.
- Include signature block.
Authorization Form for Remote Work and Access
- State a duration of time for the remote work.
- State reason or reasons for working remotely.
- Employee must get express, written permission from organization to work remotely.
- Form will be placed in the employee’s personnel file.
- Include signature block for employee and manager.
Featured Image by Rebecca Sidebotham.
Because of the generality of the information on this site, it may not apply to a given place, time, or set of facts. It is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations