By Jennifer Jacobus, PHRca, SDEA Director of HR Services
Just when we thought we had the whole “remote work” thing down, making sure employees are engaged, helping the management team be okay with not physically seeing the employees on a regular basis and making sure that employee expenses are paid, employers are thrown a new curve ball.
Remote work or telecommuting has become much more of the “norm” since Covid. Remote work means, in many cases, that employees can work literally anywhere whether it be another city, another state or even another country.
When employers have employees working remotely in another state or another country, there are several legal and practical considerations to keep in mind:
Probably first and foremost, employers need to ensure they are in compliance with the employment laws of the state where the remote employee is located. This includes state-specific labor laws, minimum wage and overtime laws, workers’ compensation laws, and tax laws.
When an employer has employees working in another state or country, it may trigger state tax obligations, such as income tax, sales tax, and state unemployment taxes. Employers need to be aware of their tax obligations and ensure they are withholding and remitting the correct taxes.
Additional tax implications now surround a new term, “workcations”; employees who are on holiday and working from another country. How long can an employee work abroad before falling into another country’s tax net? What about social security and pensions?
Even something that may seem simple on the onset, employees working in another time zone may cause customer service and communication challenges. Employers need to be aware of the time difference and ensure that they are communicating effectively with their remote employees.
Employers should provide their remote employees with the necessary technology and equipment to perform their job duties. This includes providing a computer, internet access, and any necessary software. Additionally, employers should ensure that confidential information and data are protected when employees are working remotely. This includes implementing appropriate security measures and ensuring that remote employees are following company policies regarding data protection.
SDEA encourages employers that have workers in different states and different countries to explore the above potential issues before agreeing to remote work agreements; be prepared the best you can with unforeseen challenges. Employers need to be aware of the legal and practical implications of having employees working remotely. It is important to take proactive steps to address these issues and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your remote workers, please call us at 858-505-0024. We are not just here for you, we are HeRe with you.