Know Your Rights When Working From Home

More people are working from home than ever before. This has been a reality for years for some of us, but plenty of people are still adjusting to their new lives. It’s essential that you know your rights when working from home, whether you’ve been working at home for days, months, or years.

Taxes

The HMRC allows home workers to write off some of their expenses during tax time, such as the cost of business calls and electricity for the work area. Keep in mind that you can’t claim expenses used for both personal and private use.

Starting Out

Computer retailers reported a sudden surge in computer and laptop sales at the start of lockdown. However, not every employer will cover the cost of a laptop for employees. Some people will have to cover everything themselves or use the equipment they already have. Both sides should agree as to how the equipment will be used – and who will pay for it.

Employers should go through proper risk assessments to avoid being liable for personal injury claims. The potential for claims against things like Repetitive Strain Injury increase with more people working from home.

Employee Rights are Unchanged

Employees have the same rights, whether they are working from home or at the office. Employers need to keep up communications with employees, especially in moments of high stress. If an employee is pregnant, for example, then employers would need to handle that the same way they always would and could have to carry out a risk assessment.

Childcare Costs

It’s not just working adults that are stuck at home as schools have closed around the country. This means that parents have to deal with all kinds of unintended interruptions and distractions. The cost of covering childcare is always a significant source of stress, even more now that it has become such a big issue. Legally, workers can take time off to care for their dependents, but that time off is generally unpaid and designed to cover small emergencies.

Employers should be careful to avoid discriminating against working parents and particular groups of people when they could have been more lenient and understanding of their situation.

Insurance

Insurers say employees will still be insured under their home policies for now, but that could change in the future. For now, however, your home insurance shouldn’t be affected because you are working from home due to the pandemic. You don’t have to contact the insurance provider to update your cover or documents.

Insurers will assess this policy on the 1st of September. If people can work in an office but choose to work at home by that date, then they could have to talk to their insurer about it. Some policies allow you to make claims for legal expenses, such as getting into a dispute with an employer.

What if People Want to Stay at Home?

Nobody knows if working from home is the new norm or the temporary short-term future of work, but many will eventually return to the office. Some people won’t be all that happy about it, though, and will want to stay at home. The Law Society, the professional body for solicitors, says that employees have the right to ask about the safeguards in place to protect them when they return. Businesses have a duty to perform risk assessments and make sure things are safe.

Etty Middleton

With four kids under 10yrs old and a hubby who commutes monthly between the UK and US it was a God send when during the Corona lock down my boss told me that I would remain a remote worker even after the lock down had finished.

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