The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in employers allowing employees to work from home. In fact, from 2019 to 2021, the at-home workforce more than tripled. Before the pandemic, 5.7% of American workers worked remotely. By 2021, that percentage had increased to 17.9%. Remote work has steadily risen since.
Estimates vary, but as of early this year, about 27% of the workforce is now working from home. If you are one of them, there are some labor laws affecting your remote work that you should know about.
5 Labor Laws Applicable to Employees Working Remotely You Should Know About
There are many California labor laws applicable to those who perform remote work. Here are just 5 of them.
1) Be sure you have an employment contract or written agreement. This is not exactly mandated by law, but more a matter of policy. The contract should include:
- The job description and outline of responsibilities.
- Expected working hours.
- Compensation including wages and benefits.
- Confidentiality obligations.
- Termination provisions.
It is a good idea to have a California employment law attorney look over the contract to be sure it includes all the terms and conditions to be enforceable.
2) You are entitled to reimbursement for remote work expenses. California Labor Code section 2802 requires employers to reimburse workers for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred because of remote work.
For remote workers, this may include:
- Extra Wi-Fi expenses and internet access fees not incurred before.
- Reimbursement for computers and printer purchases.
- Cell phone purchase and monthly bills.
3) You are entitled to the same rest and lunch breaks as in-office employees. California Labor Law requires employers to provide paid 10-minute rest breaks for every four hours worked. Employees, including remote workers, are entitled to an unpaid 30-minute food and drink break approximately for every five hours of work.
4) You may be entitled to overtime pay. The same laws concerning overtime pay that apply to employees who work in the traditional brick-and-mortar workplace apply to those who work remotely. If you are a non-exempt worker, you are entitled to overtime pay for your remote work.
5) You are entitled to supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19-related issues. Senate Bill 114 provides for paid sick leave for up to 40 hours when:
- You take time off to get vaccinated and for time you need to recover from the side effects of the vaccination.
- You are ordered by a doctor to isolate or quarantine.
- You have to care for a family member who has been ordered to isolate or quarantine.
- You have to care for your child who cannot attend school or a childcare center when the school or childcare center has closed during COVID-19.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you can claim up to 40 hours of paid sick leave. You can claim an additional 40 hours when necessary to comply with quarantine orders or for caring for a family member who tests positive.
Paid sick leave for COVID-19 issues is in addition to regular sick leave provided to employees by other labor laws or company policy.
Contact D.Law If You’re Experiencing Employment Issues
If you think your employer is violating any labor laws relevant to your remote work agreement, contact one of our D.Law today at (818) 275-5799 or online. An employment attorney will provide a consultation to determine if you have a legal case that can be pursued in court.