GAO Addresses Home Office Concerns

In the United States, there are approximately 16.5 million employees who telecommute from home at least once per month. Approximately 9.3 million employees telecommute at least once per week.

With the growing number of American employees working from home offices, at least part time, issues of home office safety will require attention, the General Accounting Office (GAO) said in a recently released report.

The GAO report, "Overview of Potential Barriers Facing Employers," was issued as a result of a request by U.S. House Majority Leader Richard Armey, who raised concerns about the potential tax, regulatory, and liability barriers associated with telecommuting.

The report disclosed that both employers and employees could be exposed to additional taxes, costs for overtime, and record-keeping requirements. Also noted was the possibility that employers of employees who perform work from home may have a responsibility to pay for modifications to homes and other off-premise offices to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Under current Occupational, Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, employers are not liable for the safety of a home office.

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