Working from home can be a godsend when you’re a mum. You can flex around nap times and school hours, plus you save time and money on travel. But it’s important to know how to work from home and understand your rights beforehand.
How to work from home
If you work from home only, you’re termed a ‘homeworker’, but your employment rights depend on your legal status. There are three main types of worker here: Workers, employees, and people who are self-employed. If you’re not sure which one you come under, have a read of the government’s website that explains the categories.
Health and Safety at home
If you’re an employee that works from home, your employer still has responsibility for your safety in relation to the work they’re asking you to carry out. So if you’re working on a computer, lifting heavy loads, or using work equipment, your employer has to make sure this isn’t harmful to you.
Transferring from the office
If you normally work in the office but would like a change change and are wondering how to work from home, start by having a chat with your employer. Any employee has the right to ask for flexibility at work – and it definitely has lots of appeal to us mums after maternity leave!
If you’re wondering how go about it, we have plenty of tips on how to ask for flexible working to point you in the right direction.
If you don’t want to work from home – or take work home to do – your employer can’t make you! Unless you’ve signed a contract that says you work from home, you’re perfectly entitled to say no.
Regardless of your employment status, you’re entitled to the National Minimum Wage, which is the least amount per hour you can legally be paid to work.
Quite often homeworkers are paid for a piece of work, called a ‘fair piece’ rate. If this is how you’re paid, your employer has to find out how many pieces of work an average worker can produce per hour. The ‘fair piece’ rate is then 1.2 times the rate an average worker would earn on the National Minimum Wage.
Your employer has to confirm how they’ve worked out the payment based on this ‘fair piece’ rate. Make sure everything is agreed in writing, and then keep a record of the hours you’ve worked and payments you’re expecting.
If you’ve got no choice but to work from home and you’re employed to work at home, it’s possible you’ll be able to claim some tax relief on your expenses.
These are things like phone calls, gas and electricity to heat/light your work area, and internet access if you didn’t have it already for personal use. It needs to be something that’s clearly used for work that you wouldn’t otherwise be spending out on if you weren’t working at home.
For anything under £4 per week you don’t need to prove it! Anything over this and you’ll need bills as receipts. If you think this may apply, find which expenses you can deduct for your home business.
Finding home-based jobs
If you’re looking for jobs that are home-based, a good place to start is online. So get Googling targeted websites like the Work From Home Guide and Remote Employment, for a good idea of what kind of work might suit you and the hours you’re after.
If you find something that suits you and understand how to work from home, it can be one of the best ways to juggle work with childcare and find a happy balance for everyone!