Telework: The employer’s obligations

Posted on April 29 2022

Reading time: 3 minutes

Government measures that were put in place to limit the spread of covid-19 forced employers to change the working conditions of employees. The most common measure was the requirement to work remotely whenever possible.

Employer's obligations for telecommuting

With the relaxation of health measures, some employers have decided to reinstate the working conditions that previously existed. Others, on the other hand, have opted for the flex office to continue to offer employees the opportunity to work from home. Since telecommuting is likely to become a part of our daily lives, it is important to be aware of the employer’s obligations to employees.

Privilege or right?

It is important to understand that, given the exceptional situation, an employer may impose telework without the consent of employees in order to protect the health and safety of employees. Also, the employer can prohibit access to the office to employees who show symptoms.

Remote working was more and more present in companies even before the arrival of the pandemic. This is why in some countries, specific telework laws have been introduced.

Material management in teleworking

The aspect that raises the most questions from both the employer and the employees is the management of the equipment. Is the employer obligated to provide the equipment for teleworking or are the employees responsible for the costs?

The employer has the obligation to provide its employees with the equipment essential to the performance of their duties, such as a computer, keyboard and mouse. The employer cannot require an employee to pay for expenses that are related to the operations of the business.

However, the company is not required to pay for other equipment such as a chair, desk, printer or other office equipment, but it is advisable to provide an allowance for a “home office kit“. The employer is not required to reimburse telework-related expenses such as internet, printer ink cartridges or paper.

However, in some countries, the employee can deduct his or her expenses related to working from home, if he or she opts for a tax return with actual expenses.

Keep an eye on your telework equipment

To keep control of company-owned equipment, it’s important to identify your equipment and keep track of who and where it is assigned. To facilitate the tracking of equipment assigned to your remote employees, it is best to opt for a simple and intuitive asset inventory management software.

Remote equipment management

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Internal policy implementation

Internal policy for telecommuting

The best way to avoid misinterpretations of teleworking employees’ rights is to have an internal policy in place. The policy will allow the employer to properly supervise the employees in order to understand their rights and responsibilities.

Here are some examples of content your policy may cover:

  • Options (100% remote work, flex office, office)
  • Conditions and obligations
    • Work schedule
    • How the company will monitor work hours
    • Confidentiality of data
    • Equipment
      • List of equipment provided
      • Allocated expense account, if a telework allowance is provided
    • Framing and support

Employers have the obligation to take the necessary measures to ensure that your working conditions respect your health, safety and physical integrity.

Implementing teleworking in your organization may seem complicated. However, implementing an internal policy and using inventory management software will reduce the risk of ambiguity and reduce the time you spend managing equipment and employees.

Try Hector now!