Ask HR: Do We Have to Provide Workstations for Remote Employees?
Ask HR: Do We Have to Provide Workstations for Remote Employees?

Ask HR: Do We Have to Provide Workstations for Remote Employees?

Companies of all types are hiring increasing numbers of remote workers, or starting to hire them for the first time. When you hire a remote worker, are you obligated to provide them with a desk and chair for their home office? This seems like a question with many variables. Let's let the expert HR professionals at HR Support Center take it from here.

Question:

Our employees are mostly remote workers. Do we have to provide their workstation desk and chair or are the employees responsible for this equipment?

Answer from Eric, HR Pro:

You can provide this equipment for your remote employees, but you usually do not have to do so.

In some states (such as California), an employer is required either to provide employees with the tools and items necessary to complete the job or to reimburse employees for these expenses. However, workstation equipment like desks and chairs is usually not included in this category of necessary items.

The advantage of providing such equipment is that employees may be happier with their work situation and might use company equipment in a safer manner than they would their own. The disadvantage is shipping costs and the potential for waste. Some employees may not want this equipment in their homes, already having their own preferred workstation.

In nearly every telework arrangement I have been involved in or analyzed, the employee provided their own workstation. The bottom line is that employees can often work wherever they prefer: a home office, their kitchen, the local coffee shop. The place an employee does their work is really up to them. In addition, OHSA has stated that they have no intention to inspect employees’ homes for workplace safety. The safety of an employee’s home workstation is their own personal responsibility.

There is one exception, however. An employee might request a device or some form of furniture as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) so they can perform the essential functions of their job. In such cases, you would consider it like any other ADA request. Providing a back support cushion or computer stand, for example, would probably not be an undue hardship, and therefore something you should do.


Eric, HR ProEric has extensive experience in HR, management, and training. He has held several senior HR positions, including as the HR & Operations Manager for an award-winning interactive marketing agency and as HR Director for a national law firm. Eric graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics from the University of Oregon with a minor in Business Administration. Eric is also active in the community, volunteering with the regional Human Resources Management Association Advocacy Team and with youth training programs.


This content came from a team of HR professionals at HR Support Center. Businesses like yours can pay a yearly fee for HR Support Center and receive awesome subscription perks like these:

* Legal advice
* Employee handbook help (creating a new one or updating an existing one)
* Custom HR forms, letters, tools, and other documents
* Tons of Q&A
* News on government activity that could affect you
* Training on common HR activities like hiring
* Thought leadership articles

The list goes on. HR Support Center is not only feature rich, it's inexpensive: one entire year of HR Support Center is cheaper than one hour of a typical attorney's time. Contact us today to sign up.


Subscribe to Our Resource Center Digest

Enter your email below to receive a weekly recap of the latest articles from Paycor's Resource Center.

Check your inbox for an email confirming your subscription. Enjoy!

More to Discover

Employee Safety During COVID-19: Compliance Toolkit

Employee Safety During COVID-19: Compliance Toolkit

Vaccines are coming to the rescue, but we’re not out of the woods yet. HR leaders can’t afford to take their eye off the ball when it comes to employee safety and compliance. Now’s the time to think about creating a vaccine policy that works for your organization, and it’s not too late to implement workplace testing. If an employee does test positive for COVID-19, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready to offer the right information and support to your whole team. Paycor is offering this free compliance toolkit, including customizable letter templates to use when you: Create a mandatory vaccine policy Implement workplace testing Inform your team that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19

Demotion Letter Template

Demotion Letter Template

There’s nothing better than seeing employees thrive, but setbacks and slips in performance do happen. One way to address performance problems is a demotion. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back before you can take two steps forward. Download Demotion Letter Template When is a Demotion Necessary? In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be demotions. They are a sign something’s wrong: it could be that an employee has failed to respond to a performance improvement plan or they could just be disengaged. A demotion is the last stop before termination. If you believe the person has potential and is worth investing in, then a demotion might be the best way forward. Demotions are risky, though. You could end up with an employee who is even...

Maximum PTO Accrual Letter

Maximum PTO Accrual Letter

Encouraging employees to use their vacation days can feel strange. After all, nobody wants to leave themselves under-staffed and the rest of their team over-worked. On the other hand, what if employees rarely ever, or even never, take time off? That’s been a question facing business owners this year, as vacation plans were delayed, then cancelled, and PTO built up like never before.One problem is, PTO payout laws can turn unused PTO into an unwanted financial liability. There’s also a risk of schedule chaos down the line as everyone tries to use their days up at once. Most worrying of all is that employees who go too long without a break, even by choice, risk ending up disengaged and burned out. Download Sample Maximum PTO Accrual Letter...

How Long to Keep Payroll Records

How Long to Keep Payroll Records

Running a business, you know that compliance isn’t just about being compliant—you also need to prove it. You never know when the IRS, the DOL or the EEOC will demand to see your paperwork, which is why it’s so important to retain payroll records. To make things more complicated, each agency has its own rules for which documents you have to keep and for how long. The good news is, you don’t have to buy more filing cabinets. HR software can automatically store everything you need, with the added benefit of simplifying the whole payroll process. Why You Need to Retain Payroll Records At a federal level, you’re keeping payroll records primarily for three agencies: The IRS The Department of Labor (Wage and Hour Division) The EEOC These...