Is Remote Work Illegal
Almost 65% of businesses are utilizing a virtual workforce in some way. Businesses not meant to be virtual are working on a virtual platform unintentionally. Have you ever dialed into a conference during a commute to work? Have you ever worked from home when you were sick? Then your part of the growing remote technology industry.
Most companies have now become remote-friendly as demand for offsite client meetings, email communications, video calls and cloud based project management have become a norm in modern business. Organic transmission may have been convenient for your client management team, but it could mean that your legal department is going to be doing some overtime since over 50% of businesses previously referred to don’t have a formal Remote Work Policy.
When you engage a remote team member who sometimes works remotely, you must have the correct documentation. Determine laws that you need to be complying with and ensure employment contract and policy documentation. Think of them equivalent to architects who draws house plans. They must be right so that way the house does not fall down.
No outlining expectations may not sound like legit liability to you, but no documents of offsite guidelines, there are six ways they don’t comply with as employees go remote including:
- Work Contract – any agreement of services, whether it be for employment or contract work, is void if the scope of work outlined does not match what is listed in the document. If you do not update each team member’s contract to outline participation expectations or list a pre-approved mobile office location before they clock in from coffee shop, that contract does not protect you properly.
- Occupational Health and Safety Standards – from room temperature to tripping hazards to schedule breaks, office environments are carefully regulated by local health and safety policies for the protection of professionals. In home and mobile offices, workers are rarely aware of these hazards without regular training and reminders, which increases the risk of a “workplace” accident and puts your business at risk for workers compensation claim. Make sure you know your local restrictions because you could be liable.
- Information Security – if not compliant with information security laws you are making your company susceptible to a breach of contract.
- Employment and Labor Laws – non-compliance with local regulations may send a lawsuit your way over a law that you didn’t even know existed.
- Tax Regulations – important to know the threshold for when working remotely. This may create an additional tax burden for the employee or employer. This may vary based on jurisdiction, tax treaties, local laws, length of time spent working remotely from a given place, and many other factors.
- Immigration Laws – they do not address remote workers directly. Some allow remote work activities on a tourist visa, some require work authorization for any type of work (remote or local), and others just haven’t taken a stand on the issue. This isn’t currently an issue for most remote workers due to lack of enforcement, but when governments get savvy, your team members may be turned away at the border or liable for retroactive consequences. An infraction could endanger your business.
How To Ensure Business Legally
The key to protect your business is accurate documentation. Your company should depend on the following files to protect your company.
- Remote Work Policy – consists of HR agreement that protects your company from breach of employment and equal opportunity legislation.
- Regularly Update Contracts – a new contract does not need to be done every time. A variation of new regulations can be drawn up and signed then added to the contract.
- Hire Compliance Expert – track the labor, tax, and immigration laws of every state that your remote worker travels or lives in. Instead if you hire an internal compliance specialist, or contract with a Professional Employment Organization (PEO).
- Seek Coaching From Experts – most updated templates that we have are the strategies that have been tested by existing remote-friendly employers.
Now you have this information available to you, you should begin making sure that your business is covered with help from any hired expert or organization specializing in this type of work. It’s best to keep your business protected in any way possible this way you know you have a foolproof way to ensure your not walking into any lawsuits by employees.