In the digital age, remote work has become common for many businesses. This shift in the traditional working environment has brought new challenges for small business owners, especially in navigating the intricate world of employment law. While telecommuting has numerous benefits, it is crucial to be aware of the legal implications and responsibilities of employing remote workers.
Understanding the Employment Laws
Employing remotely does not absolve an employer from adhering to employment laws. Both federal and state laws apply, regardless of where your employee is. For businesses in Pennsylvania hiring out-of-state employees, you must comply with Pennsylvania’s employment laws and those of the employee’s home state.
Consider this scenario: A small business in Pennsylvania, Keystone Consultancy, employs four remote workers—two in Pennsylvania, one in New York, and one in California. How does Keystone Consultancy navigate the labyrinth of employment laws?
Keystone Consultancy must comply with federal and state employment laws for the two employees based in Pennsylvania. These include but are not limited to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for wage and hour regulations, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for leave entitlements, and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act for minimum wage standards.
For the employee in New York, Keystone Consultancy must adhere to New York’s labor and federal laws. New York has some unique requirements, such as the New York State Paid Family Leave, which provides paid leave for employees to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition, or assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military duty.
The employee in California is protected by California’s progressive labor laws, including its minimum wage law, which currently stands at $16 per hour for all employers. Be aware that many cities and municipalities in California have higher minimum wage requirements so, depending on where your employees live, you may need to pay even more. Also note that for exempt employees, the salary threshold in California is now $66,560.
In essence, Keystone Consultancy must customize its employment policies for each out-of-state employee, ensuring they adhere to both federal laws and the specific state laws where each employee resides. An alternative, which is often more costly but can significantly reduce administrative burdens, is to align company policies with the most progressive state and give everyone those benefits and protections.
This is why businesses with remote workers need clear policies, regardless of your chosen path. To reduce administrative burdens and potential legal pitfalls, it is advisable to establish clear internal policies for remote work. These should include clearly defined work hours to prevent overtime disputes, a robust system for tracking work hours, and explicit guidelines for time-off requests.
Our Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Will Help You Navigate Remote Work Legalities
As a small business owner, keeping up with the legal aspects of telecommuting can be daunting. However, understanding your responsibilities and setting up clear internal policies can help you navigate this new terrain successfully. If you need assistance, our experienced legal team is here to help. At Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C., we are committed to helping businesses like yours navigate the complexities of remote work. Speak with our Philadelphia business lawyers today. Contact us online or call us at 215-574-0600 to schedule a consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.