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  • Jody McLeod

As Companies Make a Dramatic Shift to a Remote Workforce, are you Still Compliant??

The 2020 pandemic and its various shutdowns saw businesses make dramatic changes in order to conduct and continue doing business. The biggest shift for companies during this time was to make the quick adjustment and operate with a primarily or total remote workforce. Many companies had remote work in some capacity prior to the pandemic however, no company was prepared for such a dramatic change. The sudden adjustment could impact your business's compliance status.

Shifting to work from home isn't just a 'have laptop will travel' shift. Many workers took advantage of the length of the shutdowns, troubling social and political concerns, and the prediction that remote work was here to stay and decided to relocate to a different locality, different state or even a different country. Such a unpredictable and varied shift along with potentially involving several employees could impact your company's compliance program in areas such as wage and hour, harassment training, paid sick leave and even whether your company is appropriately licensed to conduct business in the employee's new location. Why is this compliance concern important?

Change in an employee's location is important to a business's compliance because legally, the applicable law(s) impacting that employee are those 'where' the employee is conducting his/her work. Many states and even local areas have passed their own variations of laws impacting employment laws for its residents. Your relocated employee could have moved from a less regulated area to one that is more regulated or more intensely regulated requiring you to make adjustments to remain compliant. Common areas where many states and/or localities like to implement tailored legislation include basic wage and hour, minimum wage, paid sick leave, workers compensation, harassment training and independent counsel status. However, there are many other employment law areas where differences should be reviewed and adjusted if necessary.

A great primer for businesses hoping to understand if they remain compliant is Seyfarth's recent Podcast: The Risks of Remote Worker Relocation given by Brian A. Wadsworth. The brief podcast gives its listeners a high-level understanding of the compliance concerns and what companies should look for. It also supplies a handy checklist that businesses can use as they review their existing compliance status. Disbursement of your workforce, great or small, may have created unintentional compliance issues for your business.

Noncompliance always hits your bottom line.

If you need any help, contact us.

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