Homeworkers/ Telecommuting laws & HR compliance analysis

Homeworkers/ Telecommuting: What you need to know

Telecommuting allows employees to work part or all of their standard workweek from a remote location, seamlessly "commuting" electronically. The concept of a "mobile workforce" tasking off-site has evolved from being a convenience to a business strategy to a business necessity.
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Proven advantages of telecommuting for employers are reduced costs for work space, utilities, and other overhead; lower absenteeism; increased productivity, morale, and retention; a competitive edge in hiring in larger geographic recruiting areas; possible accommodation for certain workers; and helping employees balance work/family issues.
Schedules. Telecommuting can be informal, such as during special, short-term projects; on a regular basis, such as 1 or 2 days a week; a formal arrangement for 100 percent of work time; or as part of emergency planning for storms, natural disasters, power outages, quarantines, etc.
Locations. While most telecommuters work from a home office, there are other options, including satellite offices, "hoteling" in leased space on an as-needed basis, or mobile offices.
There are no direct federal laws that regulate private-sector telecommuting. However, there are certain ancillary laws employers should consider.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers covered by FLSA must monitor hours of work by nonexempt employees and maintain records recording total hours worked each day and workweek (29 CFR 516.2(a)(7)). Nonexempt employees are covered by the FLSA's restrictions on minimum wage and overtime regardless of where they perform their jobs, including home offices. Therefore, a telecommuting agreement should require the telecommuter to report hours ...

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