David in People Management – should we have a bill of rights to protect homeworkers?

Some countries are considering introducing legislation to protect the rights of homeworkers.

With the widespread increase of homeworking due to Covid-19 many employers are introducing or updating homeworking policies to deal with the challenges created by homeworking.

Some employers may already have homeworking policies.  However they were probably not drafted with mass homeworking over extended periods (or even permanently) in mind.

Having an updated home working policy is a way of a businesses showing employees that it has considered the challenges that come with homeworking (for example around maintaining good mental health) and that it is committed to overcoming those issues.

Points to cover in a homeworking policy or an update to an existing policy would be:-

  • data protection
  • expectations on availability and hours
  • guidance on maintaining good mental health – obligation on employees to have breaks and not to sit at computer all day
  • an obligation to report any issues
  • health and safety obligations
  • situations where home working may be required by the employer or may be requested by the employee
  • individual needs impacts like childcare, disability and long term heath
  • health and safety – making employer and employee obligations clear
  • duty on employee to tell employer if having any issues with stress or other aspects of home working – access to wellbeing helpline if available
  • equipment and technology – who provides and who is responsible
  • insurance/mortgage/rental agreements  – do they cover home working?
  • IT and security
  • how the employer will retain contact and help employees have contact with their work colleagues and teams
  • what technology/platforms/social events approached
  • link to expenses policy

Post Covid-19 many employers may be happy to have employees working from home and in doing so avoid paying expensive city centre rents.  They may decide to take smaller office spaces and have their employees in the office 2 or 3 days a week instead of 5.  This will result in homeworking becoming a permanent feature and hence a detailed homeworking policy will be needed.

Guidance could be issued now on best practice by the Government perhaps in conjunction with a mental health charity like MIND.  ACAS has recently updated its working from home guidance which you can read here.

Click here to read the People Management Article.

If you would like help in drafting a homeworking policy or updating your existing policy please contact David Greenhalgh on 020 3603 2177.

For immediate assistance with employment law issues, please call David now on 0203 603 2177 or Click To Make A Free Online Enquiry.

Posted on Thursday 8th October 2020

This article/blog is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.