Remote Work Policy

Remote Work Policy

Many companies have pivoted to work-from-home models during the course of the pandemic; some have opted to keep remote work as an option for their employees.

Prior to recent years, working remotely was, at times, viewed as a privilege, and was something that was determined on a case-by-case basis, or, dependent on an employee’s specific role within a company.

Although allowing your employees to work from home has become a common, familiar reality for many, it is still crucial that you craft a Remote Work Policy for your employees to access, and comply with.

Why should you implement a Remote Work Policy?

Your company’s Remote Work Policy will serve as a useful document to ensure there is a mutual understanding of expectations and practices your employees should strive to uphold while they are working remotely.

Ideally, your employees should already have an understanding of your vacation policies, company rules, practices, and procedures specific to their role, breaks and time off, etc.

Your Remote Work Policy should work to remind employees to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects how they would act in the workplace; while they indeed may choose to work in their Pajamas (as long as they aren’t on a Zoom call…why not?), their performance, attendance, and attentiveness to company tasks should not decline! It is important to detail that working from home is unfamiliar ground for many, but should not be treated as an excuse to slack.

Your Remote Work Policy will also provide your employees with details about several other procedures and points that are vital to your operational efficiency and company success.

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Key information to include in your Remote Work Policy

Many companies (like Castle HR) implemented their Remote Work Policy during the pandemic for all employees, and have not looked back! We put our employee’s safety at the forefront of our decisions, utilized our Remote Work Policy, and have been successfully operating remotely for an extended period of time now.

The key to operating a successful company remotely is providing employees with concise information that leads to a smooth transition from in-office work to working remotely. This information can easily be communicated in your Remote Work Policy.

Some companies have moved past this pivot point that began in 2020 (or, you may have remained in-office)! Regardless of where you and your company stands currently, having a Remote Work Policy in place is beneficial in the case that any employees request to work remotely. 

Requests to work remotely could be made for a number of reasons: perhaps your employee has fallen ill, is relocating, or is restricted from coming into the office for a period of time.

In any case, including a section detailing permissions at the beginning of your Remote Work Policy can be helpful in outlining the steps an employee must take to be granted permission to work from home.

This may be a request that is made through your HRIS system, or, you may wish to encourage your employees to bring their request to management directly; ensure that you clearly outline the steps an employee must take!

If you grant your employees permission to work remotely, they will likely be given equipment to use while they work from home: a laptop, microphone, cell phone, etc. Because of this, your policy should note that these items are company property.

Your Remote Work Policy can also detail that company property should only be used for work-related tasks, and you could even consider including the appropriate IT information/contact information and process an employee should follow if they experience technical difficulties with company property. Let your employees know that abuse or misuse of company property will not be tolerated.

Even though your employees will (likely) be given the appropriate equipment to complete their workday tasks, keep in mind that they’ll be the ones responsible for creating a comfortable office or workspace at home. Your Remote Work Policy should also provide details regarding company-related expenses an employee can claim—such as an ergonomic desk and chair, or perhaps a portion of a hydro bill—while they are working remotely. Providing them with details on how they can claim these things is recommended as well.

An additional component, depending on the nature of your company (and your employee’s work) is having a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or another legal document available for your employee to sign if they opt to work remotely. Because your employee will not be in your line of sight on a 9-5 basis any longer, it is important that you take the appropriate steps to ensure any sensitive or private information is protected; failing to comply with an NDA could, in most cases, result in an employee’s termination.

A final piece in your Remote Work Policy should be information outlining communication and preferences you have for remote employees. As an example, the employee may be asked to track their work/progress on projects or attend zoom meetings throughout the day.

While communication expectations may vary by role and department, providing employees with basic information regarding the minimum expectations for communications and performance is a good place to start!

It is beneficial to have a Remote Work Policy in the event that any employees request to work remotely, or if working remotely is the best option for the majority of your company.  While many of your employees will likely understand your company expectations, policies, and rules in-office, some may have trouble adjusting—or staying on-task—while working from home.

Implementing your Remote Work Policy will be a great way of gently reminding employees of what your expectations of them are—although they can refer to their employment contract for further details on this—along with outlining other key points related to procedures, the use of company property, communications and performance expectations while they are working remotely.


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attract superstar talent, increase productivity,
and score a ridiculous retention rate.

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59 Percentage

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turnover

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Vacation Policy

Vacation Policy

Every one of your employee’s compensation will include paid vacation, and that is usually referenced in terms of “weeks” per year. Though vacation times given will differ amongst your team, what needs to be detailed in your vacation policy is some universal practices, as well as any details that are specific to your company.

It is important to note that in Canada it is a legal requirement for Employers to allow a minimum amount of 2 weeks each year. Period.

Forward-thinking companies highlight the benefits of vacation in their policies (and culture) and encourage their teams to take time for themselves! Your vacation policy will also allow you to articulate important information to your staff, in terms of limitations, procedures (i.e. ‘how to book time off’), or benefits offered– these can be tedious to communicate in conversation, and could easily be misinterpreted without clear guidelines set out in writing.

What decisions do I need to make when crafting my Vacation Policy?

When employees book their vacation days, they will likely have several options and will benefit from being able to review your vacation policy so that they are aware of any fine details and understand the procedures and limitations involved.

The choice of when and how much time off is granted by the employer depends on what’s best for your company, and, your company culture.

When crafting your vacation policy, decide which specific details are important to your company, then, ensure that you outline them accordingly. Your policy should provide:

  • Instructions on how they can book time off; you’ll likely utilize your HRIS system for this, and this can also be detailed thoroughly in your Employee Handbook.
  • Details on when they should book time off (i.e. 4 weeks in advance) – this helps avoid employees booking trips, then not being approved.
  • Information regarding the length of time an employee can take off. While they are entitled to a minimum of two weeks of vacation, they should know whether or not they can take this time off in chunks, or an extended duration (such as two weeks back to back).
  • An overview of any limitations, such as not allowing two employees of the same department to book the same days off, or, ‘black out’ periods during busy seasons where vacation requests will be denied; be clear on this so that your employees aren’t disappointed, and make these decisions with your company operations and efficiency in mind.
  • Details on whether or not you allow new hires to book paid time off once they’ve completed their probationary period; this is entirely your call, some employers find offering this option boosts morale!
  • A clear statement of how much vacation time you offer your employees; for example, some employers, like Castle HR, opt for a flexible vacation policy, and many offer additional vacation time that exceeds the minimum legal requirements…and, exceeds employees’ expectations.
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Other Important Considerations

While it is imperative that you allow your employees to take the minimum amount of time off, it is just as crucial that employees actually take their paid vacation within 12 months of earning it.

Some employees may not be aware of this; it is essential that you use space in your vacation policy to highlight that this is a legal requirement, and you, as the employer, are at risk of being penalized if employees are not using the time they are allotted.

Most employees are excited to take vacations, so, they may just need a gentle reminder that they must use them before the end of the year and that they are entitled to 2 weeks (or, 4% of their gross earnings) toward a vacation. Encouraging vacations–and providing a clear vacation policy that outlines the steps to booking them–should help avoid this situation!

If the employee decides against taking their required vacation time, you, as the employer, can only offer these three options:

  • Force use; discuss potential dates/weeks with your employee if you are able to, or simply tell them when they are to take a vacation; often, employers will assign dates between Christmas and New Years Day to be allocated as vacation time for employees who need to use their vacation days before the end of the year.
  • A payout; takes the accrued vacation time an employee has earned and pays it out to them directly, usually during the final pay period of the year.
  • A rollover; allows the employee’s vacation time to accumulate and ‘roll over’ into the next calendar year, however, there is still a deadline involved with a rollover–often the first quarter– and this should be detailed in your policy (if you choose to offer this as an option).

The bottom line is, employees must take the vacation time they are entitled to, and you, as their employer, must ensure that they understand this…this is when a concise vacation policy comes in handy!

It’s also important to note that sometimes, life happens, and employees may need to request time off with limited notice, or, they may be faced with extenuating circumstances. You may find it beneficial to include a few notes regarding such circumstances in your vacation policy, and let your employees know that they can approach you, or the appropriate members of your management team, if they should ever have a unique request.

And, remember, personal days, sick days, and leaves of absence are not covered under vacation policies, these should be outlined in your Employee Handbook. 
A vacation policy ensures that your employees understand their rights and entitlement to use their paid vacation days, and makes them aware of your company-specific procedures regarding taking time off.

Companies operating without a concise vacation policy are at risk of experiencing mishaps and miscommunication, which could lead to staffing shortages, missed payments, disgruntled employees, and a lot of confusion throughout the HR department. A working vacation policy) allows for smooth operations and communication between employers and employees!


Book a call with us to learn how we’re helping companies
attract superstar talent, increase productivity,
and score a ridiculous retention rate.

70 Percentage

increase in new
hire quality

59 Percentage

less
turnover

21% - Castle HR

more
profitable