Written by John Baldino | Humareso
The way the world of work has shifted in the last two years accelerated even the best of plans regarding remote work and flexible staffing. Just over two years ago, thought leaders in the workplace and human resources space were anticipating that work would become more mobile. The ability to get work done from any place seemed to be on the horizon, about ten years away. And in the blink of an eye, it was here. Companies had to pivot to the change, ready or not.
Challenges of Remote Work
Organizations have largely made this change work, but there have been a few areas of strain. Firstly, the fact that not all jobs can be done remotely is just that–a fact. Not all employees are able to perform their work from any location. We are learning that this is okay and does not make any job worth less than another. All work has value and is necessary to the health of an organization.
Secondly, our candidate pool for open roles has widened. Companies have been able to interview qualified individuals in cities and states that were never available previously. The quality of candidates, especially in this exceedingly difficult recruiting season, has increased due to the geographic expansion of consideration. If someone can be provided with a strong internet connection and a reliable workstation, then that person can contribute right away.
Thirdly, it can be complicated to comply with employment laws in various jurisdictions. Although many companies may be excited about the opportunity to hire from anywhere, they need to be ready for the juggernaut of legislation and employee rights in these various locations. Start by understanding that the state where your employee is primarily located is the state whose law applies. Your organization may be headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, for instance, but if you have an employee working from New York City, your company now has a new work location in New York City. That employee is entitled to all of the rights afforded in this new work location. Your organization is required to comply at minimum to the rules and laws of employment in each remote work location.
Compliance with a Remote Workforce
Examining these areas of compliance will likely require visiting existing policies such as sick days or sick leave, payroll cadence and processing, role exemption status regulations, benefit offerings and eligibility, and new hire documentation, to name a few. It will also require the organization to file tax jurisdiction within that state and municipality to comply with taxation, unemployment and disability insurances, and any paid family leave deductions. This is a large undertaking! There is no room for, “Well, we will just get started and then ask for forgiveness.” That’s not a strategy that most governmental agencies will allow.
It is essential for companies to create and maintain a current, compliant, and enforceable employee handbook. Every employee should have access to a written reference. The employee handbook tends to be the most ideal repository of information regarding workplace policies, employee expectations, and lawful rights. The handbook might be the same for all employees regardless of where they work if the entire handbook is based upon the most geographically beneficial rule. In this way, everyone gets the minimum or better than the minimum that a law requires. Alternatively, an organization may opt to have multiple versions of the employee handbook based upon employment location. Either way, a robust employee handbook is going to require research. The handbook affirms your awareness and enforcement of regulations to all staff everywhere.
The Future of the Workplace
Workforces everywhere did an incredible job with the quick pivot to remote work two years ago. Companies have been creative with their adjustments, and workforces are thriving. At this point in our workplace reality, returning to onsite-only work is no longer an ideal goal. Many companies will continue to hire the best candidates across the country, and human resource departments will work closely with their legal teams to ensure compliance with compassion.
While the process may seem daunting, you are not alone. Humareso and SixFifty can help.
Humareso provides outsourced human resource services, including its flagship HRO plan, which helps businesses save money, increase productivity and reduce legal risks by providing dedicated HR consulting for compliance, training, performance management, employee relations, workplace management, discipline, and other important HR best practices.
SixFifty’s Employee Handbook and Employment Agreements toolsets enable you to create policies, contracts, and documents that meet the current and future needs of your business. By continuously monitoring this dynamic area of the law and updating changes in real time, working with SixFifty is like having the best employment lawyer in the world by your side.