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Does Employer Have the Right to Disallow a Remote Worker to be Absent during Working Hours?

One should not confuse remote work which was recommended by authorities for the coronavirus disease epidemic period with outworking, unless your have made with the employee an employment contract as provided for by Chapter 49.1 of the RF LC. Practically, when an employee works form home, nothing is changed for the employee except for the place of performance of work, i.e. his/her place of residence instead of the company’s office. Therefore, unless the parties have agreed otherwise, all terms and conditions of the employment contract, including the work schedule, the time of the beginning and the end of the business day, remain unchanged.

Additional terms and duties may be agreed upon in an agreement. The company may require that the employee should have a lunch break at a prescribed time. This is necessary from the perspective of workplace safety and work and rest schedule when employee works remotely. The requirement to not leave the place of residence during working hours is also reasonable.

If employees leave home, we will not achieve the principal goal of transferring employees to remote working, i.e. minimizing of social contacts. Besides that, during the working day an employee shall stay at his/her work place, which is located at his/her home under the circumstances at hand. The same rules apply in case of working from the company’s office. When an employee needs to leave the office for some time, for instance to visit a doctor or attend a teacher-parent conference, an approval of employee’s superior should be sought. The same rules remain in force in case of remote work.