As COVID-19 continues to disrupt traditional ways of doing business, telecommuting has grown in popularity. Yet having employees working at home can definitely change things from a commercial insurance perspective.
It’s a great time to touch base with your commercial clients to talk about their insurance coverages. You’ll want to make sure their insurance program effectively addresses the unique risks of having some of their employees working remotely. Studies show that many companies will continue to have some of their employees working at home through the end of the year and likely, beyond.
Here are some things that all businesses with telecommuting employees should do:
Re-evaluate workers comp. When employees switch to working from home, some workers compensation insurers may want to change classification codes. Employers with remote workers potentially can be held liable if an employee is hurt on the job and employees may be eligible for workers’ compensation if they are hurt while working at home.
Create a telecommuting policy. Setting clear work-at-home guidelines and communicating them to employees can help prevent misunderstandings. Make it clear that you have the right to rescind their work-from-home privileges at any time and for any reason. Have all employees review and acknowledge your company’s telecommuting policy. Not sure where to start? Employers Council members have access to dedicated HR and legal professionals who can help guide them through today’s ever-changing legal landscape.
Make sure employees are using secure wi-fi. All of your employees should be using private and secured Wi-Fi networks while working remotely. Using an unsecured network — public wi-fi — can put your company’s private information at risk. Require anyone who uses public wi-fi to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which keeps their web browsing secure.
Make sure employees are using devices that are secure with up-to-date firewalls and anti-virus software. This applies to laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It’s your responsibility to keep your customer and client information safe.
Use secure virtual meeting rooms. Make sure that private conversations and presentations cannot be monitored by unauthorized third parties.
Pay close attention to federal wage and hour rules. To avoid violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers should require non-exempt employees working from home to record the time they work each day and stick to the hours they should be working each day. Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay whether they are working at your company’s facility or home, so it’s important that employees know they must adhere to their normal working hours and that they are prohibited from working additional hours without your approval.