Working from home or offering a flexible work plan can be an attractive arrangement for both employee and employer. Oftentimes during interviews, when a candidate is asked what they need or want in a new employer, candidates will reply with “a good work-life balance.” Allowing an employee to do work from home or to work a flexible schedule can offer that.
Examples of flexible work arrangements can include: working from home or having varying hours for when work is done (working four 10-hour days, for example, as opposed to five 8-hour days); different start and end times; job sharing; or compressed work-week schedules. Please keep in mind that all federal and state laws still apply in these flexible work situations.
Things to consider when creating a flexible work environment:
- A flexible work arrangement or work-from-home scenario can make timekeeping much more difficult. Wage and hour laws still apply and non-exempt employees still must be paid overtime for working more than 40 hours per week.
- Some timekeeping systems allow mobile or computer-based punch systems. If you are considering a flexible work arrangement, BCN Services has a timekeeping system that offers this capability.
- Workers’ compensation:
- A worker’s injury at home may be compensable.
- Travel that occurs during the commuter’s work day may be compensable
- Travel to-and-from work and home usually is not compensable but may be in a flexible work arrangement.
- Employer’s must comply with a hazard-free work zone
- Will you want to provide company owned equipment or allow employees to use their home computer? You may want to provide equipment to ensure privacy and security of company information.
- Liability Insurance:
- Make sure liability insurance covers the employee’s home.
- Make sure the employee has homeowner’s insurance.
- Be sure to obtain any home office permit or license required by local zoning laws.
- Payroll taxes:
- Taxes are based on an employee’s home address and work address and are different from state-to-state. If the company office is in one state and employee lives and works from home in another state, there could be different tax implications.
- There could also be different city taxes depending on where the employee lives and works.
Working from home may prove to be a great option for some employers as a way to boost morale and commitment to the job, reduce tardiness, help with employee retention and reduce turnover of staff.
BCN Services recommends creating a specific, detailed policy on the expectations for flexible work arrangements that includes a place for the employee to sign and acknowledge the arrangement. Please talk to your HR expert at BCN Services to help create a policy and discuss compliance concerns.
Kari Stanley, HRCCC Supervisor