Working Coast to Coast: Why Employee Location Matters
Person in front of a computer on a zoom call.

Remote work continues to be a hot topic as employers are wrestling with the decision to bring employees back to the office or when an employee requests remote work as an ADA accommodation.  As more employees are looking for exclusively remote positions, it is time to make sure you know where your employees are actually working.

What do you do if an employee you hired in Ohio who usually lives in Ohio wants to enjoy an extended stay in Colorado over the winter to enjoy some skiing on the weekends? How about an employee who asks to work from Michigan for an undetermined amount of time at a family-owned cabin in the UP? Initially, you may think this won’t be a problem as long as the employee continues to be productive and gets their work done. However, there are several legal implications that could come into play when employees relocate and work for extended periods of time in different states.

An employee moving to a different state could trigger a whole new set of administrative considerations. Depending on where an employee moves, employers may also need to comply with local laws imposed beyond the state-level by cities and municipalities. Employers need to review where their workforce is working as a whole to make sure they are complaint with all applicable laws including those related to:

  • Minimum wage and overtime requirements
  • Payroll tax withholdings
  • State-required paid or unpaid sick leave
  • Paid or unpaid family and medical leave
  • Changes to health and welfare benefits

Pay and benefits are not the end of the analysis. Employers need to consider a host of state-specific questions that may not immediately come to mind.

  • Do I need to register my business in this state?
  • Will my workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance requirements change?
  • Are there local labor laws I need to comply?

It is best practice for employers to require employees provide advance notice and get prior approval before the employee unilaterally decides to change their work location. Depending on the location, some compliance requirements are immediate. Employees may not appreciate what their desired move will require from their employer.

Employers can decide employees may only work from the location where they were hired. On the other hand, employers can also decide to expand the reach of their workforce and allow employees to move after being hired. No matter which path, Bricker Graydon’s Labor and Employment team is here to help. Our team can ensure your business is aware of all applicable considerations wherever your employees are located.

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