Do WFH employees have to get new contracts?

Q During the lockdown, our employees all worked from home. We later found that this was a satisfactory way of working for both us and her. Since the lease in our office space is about to expire, we have therefore decided not to extend it. Do we need to change our employment contracts?

A standard employment contract does not cover home working arrangements. If you intend to maintain home working arrangements for your employees, the employment contracts should reflect this and contain details of the place of work, working hours, expenses, tax exemptions, confidentiality and data protection, access rights. Trial periods and review times may also need to be changed.

Regarding the workplace, you could add a provision that says there may be compulsory attendance as the situation and your attitude towards home work could change. It should also be provided that the workplace can change as ‘home’ if the employee moves. As many home workers adopt flexible hours, you should include the core hours they expect to be working.

Expenses are an area in which situations and costs for the employee are likely to differ significantly from office work, i.e. again very specific. as there may be tax exemptions / implications for the employee depending on the expense processing. To protect your company, your employees and your intellectual property, ensure that there are clear rules on data security in your employment contract. Providing a right to participate clause is essential so that you can conduct risk assessments and install, service or retrieve company equipment. Eventually, you may need to change your trial and review regime because what worked for office staff may no longer be feasible. It would make sense to have your employment contracts reviewed by an employment lawyer who can handle your specific business needs.

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