Working from home

 

A chara, – On the face of it, remote working sounds like a good idea, and in the present Covid-19 circumstances, it is, but to establish it on a permanent basis leaves many questions to be answered.

Where is the place of work? Is it the company head office or the employee’s house or flat? Will a safety audit be carried out on the employee’s home to establish suitability, including ergonomic suitability? In the event of an incident causing an injury to the employee or others on the premises, who will be held liable – the employer, the owner of the house or flat (ie parents), and, if rented, the landlord or local authorities? Working conditions, including allowances and expenses, as established through trade union agreements, must apply, and as a minimum, where trade union membership has not been established, the conditions as laid down in the Payment of Wages Act 1991 and the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 will apply. In addition, the equipment and tools required to do the work must be supplied and serviced by the employer, including computers, printers, phones, stationary, heating, and lighting.

Remote working may sound attractive but it has drawbacks too. The loss of social contacts may have serious effects, such as loneliness, on workers who live alone.

Jobs may be lost by canteen, cleaning, and security staff. Cafés and small shops and transport operators, public and private, may suffer a loss of incomes and jobs too. – Is mise,

DESMOND HUGHES,

Donaghmede.

Dublin 13.