Q. Is it possible to adopt a deemed working hour system when introducing a remote-work or work from home? ?

A. I think that many workplaces are carrying out remote-work in order to prevent the risk of infection during commuting and the crowding of offices due to the declaration of a state of emergency in relation to the novel coronavirus disease.

Even when performing remote-work, the employer is obliged to properly assess the working hours of all workers. As for the working hours system, it is possible to apply all working hours systems such as normal working hours management, deemed working hours system outside the workplace, and flextime system etc.

Introducing the deemed working hours system outside the workplace makes it possible to regard working hours as constant hours regardless of actual working hours.

However, when implementing telecommuting using information communication devices such as personal computers, if it is possible to calculate the working hours of remote-workers, normal working hours (based on the principle of legal working hours).

For this reason, the following conditions must be met when introducing the deemed working hours system outside the workplace when working from home.

1. The work must be done at home where you live, sleep and eat, and have a private life.

2. The information communication device is not supposed to be in a state where it can always communicate according to the instruction of the employer.

  • “Always at the instruction of the employer” refers to a state in which remote-workers are not allowed to disconnect from the state in which they can communicate by themselves.
  • “Communicable status” means the case where both of the following two conditions are met.

(1) A state in which the employer can give specific instructions to remote-workers at any time by e-mail, electronic bulletin board, etc. using an information communication device such as a personal computer.

(2) The worker must respond immediately when there is a specific instruction from the employer, that is, the worker is waiting in a waiting state waiting for a specific instruction, or, the state of stand-by.

In other states, such as when the communication line is simply connected, however the employee is free to leave the computer, it does not apply to the ” Communicable status “.

3. The work is not always performed based on the specific instructions of the employer.

As an exception, it does not include instructing basic matters such as the purpose of business, goals, deadlines, etc. or instructing changes.

Even when engaged in work outside the business site, if it is possible to calculate the working hours when there is specific command and supervision of the employer as below, such as in satellite offices. The deemed working hours system does not apply.

  •  When working in a group, and some of the members manage working hours
  • When employee receive specific instructions for the work on the day such as where they visited, and when employee returns to workplace afterwards.

In addition, it is necessary for the work-rules to have provisions regarding the deemed working hours system outside the workplace. If the “deemed working hours” exceeds the legal working hours, it is necessary to notify the director of the Labor Standards Inspection Office of the “Notification of Agreement on Off-site Work”. If you have introduced the deemed working hours system outside the workplace, employer must pay the prescribed premium wages for hours worked at midnight or on a holiday.

For detail, please see the guidelines (in Japanese) for the proper introduction and implementation of off-site work using information and communication technology.