HR Support for Telecommuting Employees (Teleworkers)

Editor's Note: Meet management challenges by offering telecommuting options.

Marta MoakleyOverview: Telecommuting (also called flexiplace, telework, working from home and flexible working) aids in retaining employees and engenders positive employee relations. Employers may offer telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities. In addition, telecommuting can be a valuable tool in retaining workers with caregiving responsibilities.

Telecommuting options allow employers to ensure business continuity when faced with a natural disaster or other business interruptions. In addition, telecommuting can be viewed as a valuable recruitment tool for hard-to-fill positions.

However, telecommuting can pose management challenges for supervisors seeking to comply with health and safety regulations in remote locations. In addition, fines and penalties await an employer that misclassifies a telecommuter or that fails to accurately record and pay any hours worked.

Trends: Telecommuting agreements continue to evolve. Employers should ensure their internal telecommuting policies and procedures offer optimal protections against regulatory hurdles, while promoting compliance with work rules regarding time theft and other abuses.

Author: Marta Moakley, JD, Legal Editor

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