A voluntary code, but it may raise standards
A new code to safeguard the rights of people who work from home is to be launched this week.
The government says the last four years have seen a 65% rise in the number of employees working outside the traditional office.
The Department of Trade and Industry estimates more than 2 million people in the UK now work away from the office because of the use of modern technology.
The new code, being launched on Tuesday to coincide with work-life balance week, has been produced with the TUC and the employers' organisation, the CBI.
It sets out legal requirements and examples of best practice, on a variety of employment issues:
Spring 2001: 2.2m teleworkers in the UK (7.4% of all in employment)
Spring 1997 to Spring 2001: 65% rise in teleworkers
In Spring 2001: Two-thirds of teleworkers were men
- Health and safety, including ensuring all electrical equipment complies with safety regulations and a risk assessment of work is carried out
- Allowances, taxation and expenses. For example, to allow claims to attend team meetings or travel to the office
- Human resources, such as recruitment, training and career progression
- Personal support, to ensure employees do not become isolated
- Information security
Gerry Sutcliffe, employment relations minister, said: "Modern information and communication technologies are changing the way UK business works.
"Telework, using technology to work away from the traditional office environment, has the potential to bring a wide range of benefits to both employers and employees and it is important that these benefits are realised and exploited fully."
The new code will be published on the DTI website on Tuesday, under "hot topics", within the employment relations section.