Considering Taking a “Hush Trip”? You May Want to Reconsider. — Careers Done Write

The biggest learning from the pandemic has been that being present in one physical workplace is not essential for every job. In other words, work from home works just fine. As offices have reopened, many workers continue to work remotely. Enter the phenomenon of the “hush trip.” 

I learned about the term from this article, which appeared this week in Inc. Basically, a “hush trip” is when employees work remotely from a location different from their norm—without informing their employers. The title of the Inc. article is rather clickbaity, so of course I had to read it! The author, a supposed HR expert, posits that these so-called hush trips are posing a serious liability to employers and that taking such a trip should be a fireable offense. I’m left wondering why.

There are a few obvious things wrong with her argument. First, she claims that employers may face tax liability if employees work from a location other than home. While this is something that lawyers and accountants do need to worry about, it is not even on the radar of the average front-line manager or executive. The real concern is if an employee MOVES without telling the employer. Quietly moving can be a huge issue whether an employee is full-time, remote, hybrid, etc… During the pandemic, many people moved to states with different labor laws than the ones in which they had previously worked. When employers were made aware of these moves, they were on the hook for back payroll taxes. 

Another concern the author raises is workers’ compensation issues. This is almost laughable. Most workers’ compensation claims go down like this: something explodes at a job site, and workers are injured. Office dwellers rarely file workers’ compensation claims; the top 10 professions with the highest incidence of workers’ compensation claims are construction workers, farm workers, loggers, vehicle operators, law enforcement, miners, and manufacturing workers. None of these jobs can be performed remotely. 

The author, who also goes by the apt moniker “Evil HR Lady,” acknowledges that no employer ever complains when an employee works on vacation. That’s somehow different than what she’s talking about. Regarding “fireable” offenses, in the United States, an employer may terminate an employee for any reason or no reason at any time they choose to do so. 

My take on this is that this is a manufactured concern. If a remote employee wants to work from a different location for a few weeks or months, most managers will not bat an eye as long as the work is getting done. 

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