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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 August, 2003, 23:34 GMT 00:34 UK
New guidelines for teleworkers
Stressed worker
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.

Code cover

It sets out legal requirements and examples of best practice, on a variety of employment issues:

Teleworking boom
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."

Further information:

The new code will be published on the DTI website on Tuesday, under "hot topics", within the employment relations section.

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