The advent of Covid19 has brought the world economy to its knees as countries have had to stop or seriously restrict economic activity in order to inhibit the spread of the disease. Almost every country had been impacted with even those not experiencing high levels of Covid19 being impacted by the global slowdown and restrictions on trade and the movement of people.
Many countries are contemplating unparalleled amounts of money spent during the crisis, money they did not have and which they will need to replenish through taxes and a strengthened economy. But too many, whilst there are opportunities, there are also many risks.
These are the major areas where disruption has occurred, and which therefore provides, opportunities for both growth and risk:
In this second part, we will focus on:
2.1 As you know, lately most of the employees voted working from home at least few days per week. The question is how much we are prepared for this as it may be that equipment is needed if working from Home. This can be a difficult issue. If the employee is requested to or told they can work from home, what responsibilities do you as an employer have? In some cases, it has been held that the conditions that apply are the same as those in the office in terms of ergonomic chairs and desks, and it is the employer’s responsibility to supply these. Moreover, one must consider the secrecy of the information provided by the employer as at home it may be accessed by the people cohabiting or visiting.
2.2 Additional costs incurred
By working from home, the employee is usually incurring costs that they would normally incur such as heating and lighting costs for the period during which they work. It would be unusual for these additional costs to be itemised separately in a domestic situation and therefore what is the approach that an employer should take?
2.3 Savings made
In much the same way that the employee can claim increased costs that would be normally bourn by the employer, if the employee is working from home, they will not have any associated travel and meal costs. Is it then the position that the employer should be able to adjust the individual’s salary to take account of this?
2.4 Normal mode of work
In many jurisdictions employees are resisting attempts to return them to the office environment using the argument that they are more efficient working from home as they do not have to travel. In some instances, courts have held that by allowing home working, this has established home as a usual place of work. In Romania, for instance the courts pointed out that home must be specifically described. It is therefore extremely important that contracts of employment are reviewed to correctly signify what an employer means when the place of work is specified. Along to the contracts the Internal Regulations must be amended.