Do you Need a Defined Policy for Employees Working from Home?

Employment Law | August 31, 2021

Working from home has become the new normal for many employees in a variety of industries. Though many individuals have demonstrated the ability to perform their role to the same standards regardless of their location, their new working conditions often require new policies. While some companies may already have established a work from home (WFH) policy, others may still need to create one to prevent potential HR or legal issues. Regardless of your industry or team size, you do need a defined policy for employees working from home. As experts in employment law, the lawyers at Linley Welwood understand the importance of having defined policies in place wherever possible. That is why we have provided some information to outline what should be included in a WFH policy to protect your company and your employees.

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What Should be Included in a Work from Home Policy?

A defined WFH (Work from Home) policy should include the following information:

Management Rights

It is important to immediately establish that you have the right to impose working from home whenever it is necessary. In addition, you can reserve the right to recall employees to the workplace at any time provided there are no governmental restrictions in place.

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Intellectual Property Privacy and Security

With employees accessing confidential information from multiple locations, you will need to have a policy in place to determine procedures for accessing and sharing this information while also ensuring confidentiality. If they do not adhere to it, then the applicable consequences have to be considered as well.

Expenses and Reimbursements

Employees may require additional equipment to work from home. You will need to create a policy outlining whether your company will provide this equipment, reimburse the employee for the costs, or if the employee must provide it themselves.

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Compliance with Compensation and Rest Requirements

Every jurisdiction across Canada has legislation outlining the minimum compensation and rest standards that employees must comply with. Employers must create a policy outlining how many hours an employee is expected to work, their rate of pay, and when they must be available for work. For example, some employers may allow for total flexibility so long as an employee works 40 hours between Monday to Friday. Other employers may require employees to work a set 8:00 – 4:30 schedule Monday to Friday. In addition to standard compensation information, this policy should outline the standards around overtime and rest periods to ensure that nothing is left up to interpretation.

Health and Safety Concerns

Employers should have a defined policy outlining their procedures and precautions to keep their employees safe. For example, a policy can contain a rule stating that all meetings must be conducted online or in a setting that the employee is comfortable with. This policy should also include a procedure for reporting any “work-related” injuries that occur while they are working from home for liability purposes.

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To learn more about WFH policies and other areas of employment law, get in touch with the team at Linley Welwood. We can be reached at 604-850-6640 and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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