Change employment contracts to reflect homeworking
A standard employment contract will not cover homeworking arrangements. To protect your staff and your business, you need to outline:
- Place of work
- Hours of work
- Confidentiality & data protection
- Rights to enter
- Trial periods & review
Place of work
If the employee will be working from home, the normal place of work will be the employee’s home. However, include a provision that the employee can be required to attend the office. This gives you the flexibility to call them in when you need them.
You should also include a provision that homeworking is subject to change if the employee moves house. As an employer, you are responsible for your staff, so changes in the place of work must be given due consideration.
Hours of work
As well as how many hours they should work, specify when the employee will need to be available for work. Many homeworking employees work flexible hours, so outline their “core hours” and never assume they are doing a normal 9-5.
Working from home means that employees will be using their internet, electricity and phone for work purposes. So be explicit with expenses.
Will you cover…?
- Home upkeep costs (Lighting, internet etc.)
- Courier/postal costs
Outline the things your employee can and cannot claim for in their contract. In certain circumstances, payments by employers to reimburse employees for reasonable costs incurred as a result of homeworking can be tax-exempt.
Tax exemptions for employee expenses
To be eligible, the employee must be working under homeworking arrangements.
Employers can pay £4/week and the employee doesn’t have to record expenses.
Alternatively, employees can choose to seek tax relief.
Confidentiality and data protection
To protect your business, your staff and your intellectual property, make sure your employee contracts set clear provisions for data security.
These should cover:
- Use of devices
- Means of access
- Your commitments to security
If the employee is using their own computer/phone, ensure you have a right to monitor work communications on those devices.
Make sure they have a password in place to limit access. Also, include in the contract terms that allow you to provide them with any security equipment you deem necessary (shredders, CCTV, filing cabinets etc.)
Rights to enter
Consider whether you need to include a licence to enter the employee’s home. You may need to install, maintain or service company equipment, or retrieve it on termination. A right to enter will also allow you to carry out risk assessments for health and safety purposes.
Homeworking might not be a good fit for you or your employee. A set trial period and review baked into the contract will give both parties an opportunity to be flexible about homeworking.