Galia Aharoni Schmidt, Esq.
Hopefully, every business owner with employees already knows about their obligation to post the many required federal, state, and local employment posters in a common area and update them regularly. If you fail to provide the required posters, you can be fined thousands of dollars for each poster missing! Skipping your posters, or not taking the time to update them when due, isn’t worth a hefty fee. But what are your obligations if your employee works remotely?
Prior to the pandemic, the rule required that every employer send a physical copy of all required posters to any employees who permanently work remotely.
When the pandemic hit and many employees switched to remote work, there was a big question mark about what the posting obligations were. The good news is, California and the federal Department of Labor have finally offered some clarity. The bad news is, the rules are still fuzzy and inconsistent (and a little mind-boggling, in this lawyer’s opinion).
Here are the current requirements for 100% remote employees:
The DOL allows federal posters to be provided in an all-digital format as long as the employee has readily available access to the electronic postings in a location in which the employees customarily receive information from the employer. This means having them available in a commonly-used shared cloud drive or intranet is acceptable. (Probably not acceptable: emailing them once, or posting to a drive that isn’t normally used for anything else.) You must inform the employees where and how to access them.
California’s new law, SB657, finally allows digital posters but is more strict than the federal law. Employers can now email the posters to remote employees. However, employers are then required to direct the employee to print out the notices and post them in their homes! Any related expenses incurred must be paid by the employer.
So what’s a responsible employer to do among all the gray area and ever-changing rules?
Here are our recommended best practices:
- If you have a physical office that employees ever come to, you are required to post physical posters in an easy-to-access community space on site.
- If you have any workers who work remotely, even part of the time, email them all of the required posters, and direct them to print them out and post them in their office space. (The old-school alternative to this is to just mail physical copies to them.)
- Also keep digital copies of all required posters in a commonly-used online location that all employees have easy and constant access to, such as an internal website, intranet, or cloud drive.
- And don’t forget to update the posters in all locations whenever they change, which can happen multiple times a year!
While the penalties for failing to post can be steep, we’ll have to wait and see if any well-meaning employers actually get penalized or sued for not making their employees print out the posters and put them up on their home office wall. But in the meantime, make sure to at least do your due diligence. It’s a lot easier — and less painful — to prevent penalties than to pay them later!
You can find the entire Monthly CEO Advisory for February by Clicking Here. If you have any questions about labor law posters, new employment laws, or remote employees, ABL can help. Book an appointment with us by Clicking Here.