Can I Allow Employees To Work Remotely In My Florida Business?
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, working remotely has become a more viable option for many companies and their employees. Statistics estimate that between 12 and 15 percent of U.S. workers operate fully remotely, while around 30 percent work a hybrid schedule that sees them in the office a few days a week. That said, whether or not to allow remote work is at the discretion of the employer, with a few significant exceptions. If you do allow remote work at your company, it is important that you be aware of the laws surrounding it, so that your remote workers are treated appropriately.
Up To The Employer
The decision as to whether to allow some employees to work from home is complex and depends on a business’ position and industry. Working from home can help some employees, both in terms of productivity and morale, but it can also be difficult for some, who prefer the more structured office environment. The only time that it may be legally required to allow someone to work from home is if a disabled person requests it as a reasonable accommodation for their disability (and it would in fact be reasonable to allow them to do so).
If you do elect to allow employees to work from home, it is imperative that both they and you are aware of how Florida employment laws affect that relationship. Florida passed a law in 2021 that removed some restrictions on home-based businesses, but an individual working for a larger corporation is not covered under that law – rather, their work environment will still generally be governed by their employer, as long as they are an employee. (An independent contractor is a different animal, so to speak, with much more freedom about the time, location, and manner in which they conduct their work.)
Keep Track Of Paid Time
If you permit your employees to work from home, the first thing to be aware of is that much of general employment law will still apply to them – for example, they are still entitled to receive employee handbooks and bulletins, the right to a lunch break, and to be protected from discrimination. In addition, remote workers must be paid their standard salary – if someone is classified as salaried and exempt from overtime, they are legally entitled to their full salary for every hour they work.
One thing for an employer to expressly avoid is to treat an employee working from home as being always on call. A shift employee must work their shift, and no more; they are not required to be available at all hours unless stipulated in their contract, and even then, they are entitled to breaks. If you expect someone to be available, you must compensate them at fair rates, which is usually time-and-a-half at late hours.
Contact A Seminole, FL Business Law Attorney
Sometimes, allowing employees to work remotely can help your business, but it must be done legally and appropriately. If you have questions or concerns about remote work and employment law, calling a Florida business law attorney from the Hunt Law Group can help to get them managed. Call our office today at (727) 471-0444 to schedule a consultation.