Considerations For Remote Work Agreements
When the pandemic subsided, many businesses opted to allow workers to continue to work from home. Many employers allowed this and carried on their normal business activities, without giving any thought to whether or not they may need remote work agreements.
What is a Remote Work Agreement?
A remote work agreement isn’t a new concept, but it is certainly more prevalent, and more necessary, now that so many more workers are working from home. Making these agreements even more necessary is that the current employee agreements that your employees may have signed, such as employee manuals, policies and procedures, confidentiality agreements, or noncompete agreements, say nothing about remote work.
All this is made even more complex by the fact that many workers aren’t just working remotely, but they are working remotely from out of state.
Privacy and Devices
One thing that your remote work agreements should cover is data privacy. If you are able to, your employees should be given a laptop or a computer (or a phone, tablet or other device), that comes from your company, and instructed that they are only to use their company-given device to do work. The assumption, of course, is that you have the proper hacker-proof IT protocols to protect data, as you should normally have, but you should absolutely have them with workers working remotely.
This is because our home devices aren’t often equipped with the security that’s needed to avoid data breaches or hackers. The last thing your company wants is to be the subject of liability for a leak of customers or clients’ personal information, because an employee used their home computer.
Out of State Workers
The problem with noncompete agreements can be a problem with any agreement that your employee signs with you, whether it’s a non solicitation agreement, a trade secrets agreement or confidentiality provision: If the remote worker is located in another state, which state’s law applies?
This is important because many states don’t recognize the things that Florida does. For example, your noncompete agreement may be legal here in Florida, but another state, where your worker lives and works remotely from, may not recognize noncompete agreements.
There may also be payment considerations. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that certain employees be paid additional for hours worked more than 40 hours a week. But working from home, it may be hard for you to track when a worker is and is not working. You can’t just tell a worker “it’s been 40 hours this week, go home” when they are remote.
Online logins can to some extent alleviate the problem or at least minimize the possibility of lawsuits. Also be aware that a remote worker isn’t always working, and you should limit demands made on remote workers that are outside of working hours.
Call the West Palm Beach employment law attorneys at Pike & Lustig to help you in managing your employees and current labor and employment laws.