Remote work is becoming an increasingly prevalent way for employees to gain valuable experience and earn money from home. But the rules of engagement for remote work can vary widely from company to company, which makes it tricky for remote workers to know what’s legal and what they can do. Fortunately, there are laws that govern remote employment in the U.S., which means you don’t have to break any labor laws in order to access this growing field. Here’s a brief overview of what you need to know if you’re considering working from home or remotely also employment laws for remote employees.
What is remote work?
Remote work is any form of employment in which employees work away from the office and aren’t under the direct supervision of a superior. Remote work can entail a number of different responsibilities and is sometimes referred to as telecommuting, working from home, or independent contracting. Remote workers often work through an online platform and are able to set their own hours. Remote work is particularly common in the tech sector, where employees can work from wherever they choose, but it’s also used in other industries, like health care, education, sales, and marketing.
When is working from home legal?
The first thing to understand about remote work is that you’re dealing with two different employment statuses: employee status and independent contractor status. Working from home as an employee is conditioned on your company following a few basic rules: – Your company must have a legitimate reason for allowing remote work. This can include the fact that your job isn’t particularly location-dependent or that you have a disability that makes commuting difficult or impossible. – You must have a contract that lays out the terms of your employment and specifies the work you’re expected to accomplish. – You must have some sort of supervision or periodic evaluation — this can be in the form of an annual review or a check-in with a manager every couple of months.
What are the obligations of employees who work from home?
As an employee who works from home, you’ll have a contract that outlines your obligations to the company. On the other hand, your company has obligations to you as well — obligations that might not apply to independent contractors (see below). For example, if you work in sales, you may have a base salary with commissions on top of that. How much you’re paid and what benefits you get are all covered by your contract. You may also have work hours and other obligations, such as expected travel time, that are outlined in your contract. If your company has to lay you off, they’ll do it according to the terms of your contract.
Who is an employee and who is a contractor?
There are two main sets of laws that determine if you are an employee or a contractor: state laws and federal laws. States often have their own minimum wage and other labor laws, so you should check the rules in your state. However, if you work remotely for a company located outside your state, you’re subject to federal laws as an employee — no matter what your state says you are. Remote workers who are considered contractors are employees in name only. They may earn less than they would as employees and may not get any benefits, but contractors are self-employed and aren’t bound by the same rules. You can usually tell whether you’re an employee or contractor by looking at how your employer treats you. If you get a W-2 at the end of the year and your employer deducts taxes from your paycheck, you’re probably an employee. If your employer issues you a 1099 form and reports how much you’ve earned from them, you’re probably a contractor.
Can my employer fire me for remote work?
Yes — but there are some restrictions. Legally, employers can fire you for any reason or no reason at all. However, if you work remotely, you have some extra protection against wrongful termination. One important thing to remember is that while you’re an employee, your company is obligated to have a legitimate reason for firing you — and that reason doesn’t have to make sense to you or anyone else. You can be fired for any reason that’s not discriminatory or part of a larger pattern of discrimination. However, your employer can’t fire you for reasons related to remote work — and they can’t fire you for working from home.
What are the risks of remotely working?
Remote work has a lot of great benefits, but it’s not for everyone. If you choose to work remotely, you’ll have to be self-motivated and disciplined, and you’ll have to be able to regulate your time and productivity without the oversight of a boss or co-workers. If you choose to work remotely, you’ll have to have a reliable internet connection and a good work ethic. You’ll also have to be flexible, because many employers will ask you to change your hours or the way you work from time to time. Remote work can be a good fit for people who are self-motivated, have good work ethics and want to work from their own time and space. Working remotely can allow you to maintain a better work-life balance and be more productive, but you still have to be able to meet the same standards as if you were working in a traditional setting.
Remote work is a growing employment trend, and companies are increasingly using remote work as a recruitment and retention tool. If you’re looking for a new job, it’s a good idea to ask about remote work as an option. And if you work remotely, make sure you know the rules and your rights as an employee.