The past two years have shown the world the many benefits of remote working, to the point where many organisations are now offering their new hires the option to work remotely permanently.
However, employers hiring remotely must ensure that the employment contracts of their remote workers provide additional protection for issues which might arise due to the nature of remote working.
Here are 3 key clauses to include in an employment contract when hiring remote workers.
One of the key clauses to include in a contract of employment for a remote worker is an equipment provision, especially if the employee’s role requires technical or specialist equipment (e.g. laptops or cameras).
The equipment clause can list the specifications of the equipment which the remote worker will need for their role, as well as who will be responsible for the cost and provision of the equipment.
Additionally, the equipment provision can include specified or prohibited uses of the equipment and whether the equipment will be monitored by the employer or now.
Finally, the equipment clause can also specify whether the employee or employer will be responsible for taking out an insurance policy for the equipment.
Another key clause to include in an employment contract for a remote worker is an expenses clause. Employees are likely to incur additional expenses while working from home such as broadband, energy, and travel expenses, which might not have been incurred had the employee been working from the employer’s premises.
The employment contract can specify which expenses will be covered by the employer, the conditions for an expense to be qualified as a reasonable work expense, and the procedure for recovering such expenses.
Finally, whilst employment contracts usually have confidentiality clauses, remote workers are at a greater risk of breaching their confidentiality obligations. This is especially the case for employees working remotely from a public space, such as a café or a shared working space, or if they keep hard copies with confidential information at home.
Accordingly, a company can include a confidentiality clause that clearly defines confidential information and prescribes how to keep the information confidential at all times, whether at home or in a public place. The provision may require the employee to follow additional steps to protect the confidential information when remote working, such as protocols for safely disposing confidential information or securing storage cabinets at home.
In conclusion, employers should make sure that their employment contracts are suitable for remote workers and should consider additional equipment, expenses and confidentiality clauses. Some other clauses employers might consider for their remote working contracts are provisions around:
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