Homeworking and employer obligations
In this guide on homeworking I explain employers’ obligations when employees are working at home and some key issues to be aware of.
Pay and homeworking
Employees should receive their normal pay when homeworking unless their hours are reduced. Any changes to terms and conditions though, such as reduction of hours, would usually have to be agreed between the employer and the employee.
Health and safety
Under health and safety law, employers have a general duty to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all of their employees. This duty applies to homeworking too.
It may not always be possible for employers to carry out full work assessments for employees working at home. However, according to Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service’s) guidelines, employers should check:
- the work that employees is being requested to do can be done safely.
- employees have the correct equipment to work safely.
- reasonable adjustments are made for any employee with a disability.
- managers ensure that they keep in regular contact with their employees so that employees do not feel isolated.
It is important to remember that the health and safety duty applies to mental as well as physical health.
Equipment and information technology
Employers are responsible for equipment and information technology to ensure that employees are able to work from home.
It may be necessary for employers to set up remote working technology and ensure that it functions properly. Ongoing support should be provided too and testing should be carried out.
Expectations and keeping in touch
Managers should make it clear what is expected of employees working from home. Many employees will not be used to homeworking and may find it difficult to motivate themselves. Managers should offer as much support as possible.
Things to consider could include:
- agreeing with the employee when they are available to work.
- setting up regular one-to-one and team meetings.
- ensuring that there are more informal one-to-one discussions going on and that employees know who to contact should they have any issues or concerns.
- setting clear work objectives and targets, and making sure that employees understand how their performance is being managed and assessed.
- reminding employees about issues such as data protection, confidentiality and any appropriate policies that employees should be following.
This guide is intended for guidance only and should not be relied upon for specific advice.
Do check mattgingell.com regularly for updated information.