Remote work across the United States, including in California, has become more commonplace in recent years. While working from home offers many benefits, it also raises several legal considerations for both employers and employees.
Understanding some of these considerations may help remote workers to better ensure that their rights are being protected. It may also help employers to better ensure they’re doing their part to keep remote workers safe.
One of the most important legal considerations for remote workers is their classification as either employees or independent contractors. In California, there are strict guidelines for determining worker classification, and misclassifying workers can result in significant legal and financial consequences for employers. Remote workers who are classified as employees are generally entitled to certain benefits and protections, such as minimum wage, overtime pay and workers’ compensation coverage. Independent contractors, on the other hand, are not entitled to these benefits and protections.
Wage and hour laws
Remote workers in California who are classified as employees are subject to state and federal wage and hour laws. This includes laws related to minimum wage, overtime pay, meal and rest breaks and record-keeping requirements. Employers must ensure that remote workers are paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked and that they receive overtime pay for any hours worked over 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week (unless they are exempt). Remote workers must also be provided with meal and rest breaks in accordance with state law.
Employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe workplace for their employees, whether they are working on-site or remotely. This includes providing appropriate equipment and training to ensure that remote workers can perform their job duties safely. Employers must also ensure that remote workers have access to appropriate resources, such as IT support and ergonomic equipment, to prevent injuries and promote productivity.
Workers may take legal action if they aren’t provided with an appropriately safe remote working environment. As a result, it can be helpful for both employers and employees alike to seek legal guidance in order to better understand their rights and responsibilities under the law.