Working arrangements across many workplaces have been transformed beyond all recognition by the Coronavirus pandemic, with vastly more employees working from home than ever before.
Samantha Randall, a Solicitor with Palmers who specialises in employment law, said: “Some employers have found home working and other flexible arrangements to be surprisingly successful, with employees either maintaining their productivity levels or even increasing their productivity.
“A proportion of these employers may now be looking to offer home working and similar flexible arrangements on a permanent basis.
“Where such a significant change is made, it is a good idea for employers to review the terms of existing employment contracts.
“Most employment contracts will specify a usual place of work and working hours, where these have changed or increased in flexibility, the contract of employment should be amended in order to minimise the chances of disputes arising in future.”
Where an employee is working from home, at least some of the time on a permanent basis, there are a number of points that will also need to be addressed in a contract of employment in order to minimise the chances of a dispute.
- The equipment that the employer will provide to the employee and the employee’s duty to take reasonable care of this equipment;
- Details of who is responsible in relation to certain health and safety matters;
- Any expenses the employer will cover, such as gas, electricity, water and broadband and the arrangements for claiming these costs;
- Whether the employee will work fixed hours or whether there is any flexibility;
- Whether or not the employee will be entitled to any overtime payments or whether they will be entitled to time off in lieu of additional hours worked;
- Any requirements for the employee to travel for meetings or to attend another place of work.
Samantha added: “Ensuring that contracts of employment reflect current arrangements and are as specific as possible, reduces the chances of differences of opinion about the obligations of either the employer or employee and, therefore, the chances of a dispute.”
For help and advice with all aspects of employment law including contract renegotiation, please contact us.