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Employers must carefully navigate the legal maze of remote working during the Covid pandemic

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Source: Pareen Rogers and Naa’ilah Abader, Business Maverick, 30 September 2021, photo credit: Don’t waste your money

Remote working is not specifically regulated in terms of any legislation in South Africa. However, employers must bear in mind that it is not as simple as merely continuing to deal with remote working in the same ad hoc manner as necessitated by Covid-19. There are key issues that must be carefully considered.

While remote working has been the usual practice for a number of employers worldwide, Covid-19 and the resultant lockdowns have forced other employers to adapt quickly and to embrace the concept of remote working in order for their business to operate and remain viable.

Concepts such as the “office” and “normal working hours” have had to evolve and take on new meanings in order for businesses to continue to remain operational during the pandemic. Although most employees have indicated they have saved time and costs by no longer having to travel to and from work, the lines between home and work have become blurred and our homes have now become offices, and in some cases schools, too.

Many South African businesses were required to, almost overnight, have the majority of their employees work from home. Remote working is not specifically regulated in terms of any legislation in South Africa. However, employers must bear in mind that it is not as simple as merely continuing to deal with remote working in the same ad hoc manner as necessitated by Covid-19. There are key issues that must be taken into account and carefully considered.
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