Over the last few years, New York businesses have encountered significant challenges and changes to their daily operations. Pandemic-related concerns drove many companies to shift to a remote work model, something that was ultimately preferable to many workers and their companies. If your company has decided to permanently change to a remote or hybrid work model, it is important that your employment contracts reflect that change. If you have not reworked your agreements since before the pandemic, there is no time to lose in taking that step.
Your employment contracts offer you protection as an employer, and they provide clarity in your relationship with your employees. They offer benefits to each party, but they do not offer as much protection or benefit if they are out of date. It is worthwhile to carefully review the terms of your contracts and determine if you would benefit from updating your agreements.
Why are changes necessary?
Changes in circumstances, legal requirements, health concerns and many other factors could necessitate an update to your employment contracts. Recent statistics indicate that almost half of the workforce now works a hybrid or completely remote schedule. Because of the large number of people now working outside the traditional office setting, the following matters have become more pressing areas of concern:
- Data security in remote workplaces
- Workers’ compensation for hybrid or remote employees
- Location of remote or hybrid workers
- Hourly wages and payroll taxes
- Compliance with FMLA laws
These are only a few issues that could make working remotely a financially and legally complex area of concern for employers. This is why it is critical for current employment contracts to reflect the current objectives and operational requirements of your business. Failure to update your contracts exposes you to the risk of complications in your relationships with employees, and it increases the possibility that you could face a civil claim due to an invalid, unreasonable or unenforceable employment contract.
Where should you start?
If you believe your current employee contracts require an update, it may be helpful to start with an assessment of your agreements and your legal needs. Strong, carefully crafted employment contracts are a useful tool for every type of business, and you would be wise to ensure your company has the necessary protections in place for its long-term success and the well-being of your employee-employer relationships.