If an employer suspects that a homeworker is not doing their full day’s work, is it permissible to make unannounced home visits to check that they are working when they should be?

It’s not illegal to visit an employee unannounced at their home address. However, even though they work there permanently it is their private residence, not an extension of the workplace. Thus, the employee is entitled expect that their privacy is respected at all times.

Therefore, you should only visit an employee at their home address by prior arrangement and with their express permission. If you don’t have their permission, don’t pay a visit.

The one exception to this is where you have legitimate concerns about an employee’s personal welfare. For example, if you’ve not been able to get in touch with an employee despite repeated attempts, and you are aware that they live alone, an unannounced home visit may be acceptable.

A solution could be to ask all homeworkers to complete a weekly timesheet so that keep track of hours worked. The should be advised that submitting false information is a disciplinary offence and ask them to confirm that the information they have provided is accurate and true. Completed timesheets can be used as evidence in any subsequent disciplinary proceedings.