Should I Tell My Employer I Am Working Remotely from Another Province?team
The initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic forced employers to explore alternative work arrangements, such as remote work. Despite the recent push towards reopening physical offices, many employers allow their employees to continue working remotely.
Remote work refers to a flexible arrangement allowing employees to work from a location other than the employer’s physical premises. Remote work can help ensure better work-life balance, fewer expenses, location independence and reduced commutation costs for the employees.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work arrangements allowed employees to continue working from home despite the restrictive lockdowns. With the prevalence of remote work, experts predict such alternate work arrangements to continue after the pandemic has run its course.
What if you moved outside of the province but continued to work remotely? Do you have to tell my employer where you are physically located for a remote position? If you find yourself asking these questions, you’re not alone.
This article will answer those questions, explain what obligations an employee has to disclose where they are physically located for remote work, and the possible consequences of non-disclosure if an employee works from another province. You will also learn how an employment lawyer can help.
Why A Remote Employee’s Physical Location Matters
Generally, the employment relationship between an employer and employee is governed by the law of the province where the employee performs work and is physically located. In Ontario, the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) governs the employment relationship where:
- The employee’s job is to be performed in Ontario; or
- The worker’s work is to be performed in Ontario and outside Ontario, but the work they perform outside Ontario is a continuation of the work they performed in Ontario.
If an employee generally works in Ontario but travels outside of the province during the course of their employment, they may be subject to the ESA. However, a remote worker who physically lives and works exclusively in another province may be governed by that province’s employment standards code, irrespective of their employer’s location in Ontario.
The applicable employment standards legislation can have huge implications on the employer- employee relationship. There may be significant differences in employment standards between different provinces and territories, such as rules around minimum wage, hours of work, overtime, vacation pay, public holidays and termination requirements.
In addition to the applicability of employment standards legislation, an employee’s physical location may also have certain tax implications for both the employer and the employee. An employer may have to bear an additional tax burden depending on the employee’s location.
In most cases, it might make sense for an employee to inform the employer if they work from another province. Failing to do so might lead to negative consequences for the employee.
Can Your Employer Fire You For Failure to Disclose Physical Work Location?
Unless the employment contract allows employees to work remotely in different provinces, they should get written permission from their employer to work remotely from another province.
Given the significant employment and tax implications of an employee’s physical location, an employee should inform their employer if they work remotely from another province. An employer may have grounds to discipline an employee for refusing to disclose their work location in another province.
In Ontario, an employer can terminate a worker’s employment with or without cause. An employer may fire an employee for any reason so long as they provide enough working notice or pay-in-lieu of notice to their employee. Where an employer does not pay an employee enough notice or notice pay, the employee may be able to sue for wrongful dismissal.
Termination with cause allows the employer to terminate an employee without having to pay an employee’s full severance package. Further, an employee terminated for just cause may be denied employment insurance benefits.
After realizing the employee is working from another province, an employer may require them to return to their approved work location. If the employee refuses, the employer can fire them for just cause alleging insubordination. The employer may also terminate an employee with cause for dishonestly omitting or lying about their physical work location.
However, not every employee’s situation is the same – the devil is in the details. Whether you are wondering what to do because you are working remotely from another province or your employer wants to terminate you as a result, you should speak with an employment lawyer as soon as possible.
How An Employment Lawyer Can Help
An employment lawyer has the expertise and skills to help you determine your rights and obligations. They can use their knowledge of the employment law to review your employment contract and help ascertain if it allows you to work remotely from another province.
Further, an employment lawyer may help negotiate a remote working arrangement with your employer if you need accommodations under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”). They may also persuade your employer to allow you to work remotely from another province based on your unique circumstances.
If your employer terminated your employment for working remotely from another province, an employment lawyer could help you determine and pursue your severance entitlements.
While an employment lawyer may not get your job back, they can help you pursue your entitlements for wrongful dismissal. This could include receiving weeks or months of severance for the employer’s failure to give reasonable notice for terminating you.
An employee working remotely from another province might have to inform their employer. Remote work from another province can have significant legal and tax implications for both the employer and the employee.
An employer may take action against the employee for failure to divulge their accurate work location, such as terminating their employment.
An employment lawyer has the knowledge, experience, and expertise to help you navigate an employment dispute with your employer. They can assess your case, review your employment contract, and advise on your legal options if your employer dismisses you for working remotely from another province.
If you are working remotely from another province and want to know more about your rights and entitlements, our team of experienced employment and human rights lawyers at Achkar Law can help.
If you are a small or medium-sized company looking for full-service support, check out our Chief Legal Officer (CLO) program page for our strategic solutions.
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