What emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic is quickly becoming the new normal in workplaces. Remote work is here to stay, and it’s creating unique compliance challenges for employers – including how to share labor law posters with remote employees.
As you adjust your practices to accommodate hybrid and/or remote work, learn about the latest guidance from government agencies – and how to comply with key legal issues.
Is Your Labor Law Posting Coverage Adequate?
By law, U.S. businesses must communicate mandatory labor law postings to all employees – not just on-site workers. Fortunately, federal agencies like the Department of Labor (DOL) have indicated that digital postings are an acceptable supplement to hard-copy postings if you employ both on-site and remote workers. In fact, the DOL clarifies that employers should provide electronic postings to any employee who doesn’t visit a posting-compliant work location at least 3-4 times a month.
To be clear: If you have a hybrid workplace, you’ll need to display physical postings, as well as distribute electronic postings. Federal agencies allow a completely digital approach only if all employees work remotely, typically receive employer information electronically and can readily access postings.
Federal agencies have specified that electronic notices are an acceptable way to share mandatory labor law postings with off-site, remote workers.
Complying with posting requirements is particularly tricky if your remote employees work in different states, as it’s not always obvious 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 remote employees may be covered by the laws at your primary location and the laws of the state where they work. Because of these various employment relationships, your safest option is to provide multiple sets of state-specific postings to remote workers.
Make Sure Non-exempt Remote Employees Don’t Work Off-the-Clock
In another compliance matter, the DOL stresses the importance of accurately tracking and paying for all hours worked by non-exempt (“hourly”) remote employees. If you manage non-exempt workers, you should:
- Clarify expected work hours
- Use an electronic system for clocking in/out, if possible (Otherwise, utilize weekly time sheets)
- Prohibit “off the clock” work, such as responding to work emails or phone calls or working through breaks when clocked out
- Require overtime approval for eligible situations
Clarification of FMLA Coverage for Remote Employees
Uncertain whether Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) coverage applies to your remote workers? The current criteria for FMLA eligibility are:
- Employee has been with the company for 12 months
- Employee has worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months
- Employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius
But what if a remote employee no longer works within a 75-mile radius of the office? A bulletin from the FMLA specifies that a home office may not be considered a work location; rather, the physical setting that remote employees report to and receive work from is the work location.
This means a remote worker remains eligible for FMLA leave if the reporting office employs 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius – and the worker meets the 12-month and 1,250-hour requirement. In this case, the distance of the remote employee to the primary work location is irrelevant.
Satisfy Posting Requirements for Remote Workers
Our innovative electronic services make it easy to deliver the latest mandatory federal, state and local postings to temporary and/or permanent remote workers, per DOL guidelines. Poster Guard® E-Service for Remote Workers allows remote workers to view required postings online and receive automatic email updates whenever a mandatory change occurs. Plus, all receipt acknowledgements are tracked for easy verification.
Another option is Intranet Licensing Service for access to electronic postings via a hosted corporate intranet or employee web portal. Employees simply click a secure link and select their location to view applicable postings. (Also available as a 6-Month Intranet Licensing Service for temporary situations.)
Both digital solutions provide complete posting coverage, including year-round monitoring and automatic updates by an expert, in-house legal team.