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Offsite Work on the Rise: How to Comply with Labor Laws for Remote Employees

New decade, new workplace dynamics. It’s been picking up in recent years, but the days of every employee working onsite are over. Today, more than 4 million employees work from home at least half the time, according to Global Workplace Analytics. Further still, 40% more U.S. employers now offer flexible working arrangements than they did five years ago.

As more employers allow remote/telecommuting work, they must modify their practices to support these arrangements, which includes compliance with labor laws for remote employees. Every U.S. employer must provide mandatory labor law posters to ALL employees, including those who work off-site or at home.

But how do you accomplish this? Because the required format for communicating these notices isn’t clear-cut, you must evaluate your circumstances and use your best judgment. Here is some guidance on remote worker posting compliance, including determining when electronic labor law posters are appropriate.

Do Your Remote Workers Visit the Office Often?

How frequently your remote workers visit the office plays a big part in how you share labor law postings with them. If they report to your physical location at least three to four times a month — and you prominently display up-to-date labor law postings — you’re most likely in compliance with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recommendations.

If your remote workers visit the office less frequently or not at all, however, traditional postings at the office won’t be sufficient. In this case, you should consider providing the postings electronically through email or the company intranet in an easily accessible format.

Complying with posting requirements can be particularly tricky if your remote employees work in different states, as it’s not always clear which state laws apply. The laws where an employee works, not lives, typically govern basic employment rights, such as minimum wage, overtime, and safety issues.

The structure of your company can further complicate the situation. Your out-of-state employees may be covered by the laws at the location of your headquarters AND the laws of the state where they work. Because of the many factors with different business relationships, your safest option is to provide both sets of state-specific postings to remote staffers.

Ensuring Compliance with Paper or Electronic Postings

While the law is clear about your responsibility to share labor law posting information with all employees, regardless of where they work, it isn’t so precise on the delivery method for remote workers. Recent court cases and government publications, however, suggest that transmitting the information electronically is a sensible, convenient and compliant method.

This alternative gives workers the opportunity to download, view and acknowledge receipt of required postings. It also fulfills your obligation as an employer to communicate necessary labor law information to all employees, as covered in mandatory federal and state notices.

Remember, too, that if your company has consultants at multiple client sites, you’re still legally responsible for communicating their employment rights to them. If your clients properly display the most current posters, this compliance extends to your consultants. But if the posters aren’t up-to-date or correctly displayed, it’s in your best interest to work with your clients to fix the problem. You also have the option of providing the appropriate postings to your consultants electronically.

Guidance from government sources suggests that physical postings at the office are acceptable only if an employee stops by three or four times a month.

Year-Round Compliance Without the Hassle

Staying up-to-date with labor law posting requirements is a challenging task, but expert assistance is available through Poster Guard®  Electronic Service for Remote Workers. Employees who don’t visit facilities with physical postings can, instead, receive an email link to download, view and acknowledge receipt of all required postings.

Another option is Intranet Licensing Service, where you add a custom link to your corporate intranet or employee web portal. From there, employees simply click on the link and select their county/city from a drop-down menu to view applicable postings.

With both services, you can be assured of careful monitoring by our expert legal team. Postings are always current with the latest updates and fully accessible to employees.

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