Being an employer means following labor laws to a T. And when you’re required to follow said laws, you need to display state and federal labor law posters in your workplace so employees know their rights. But, what do you do if you have remote employees and nowhere to physically hang posters? Cue electronic labor law posters for remote employees.
Labor law posters: Overview
Before we get into the ins and outs of electronic labor law posters, let’s quickly dive into what labor law posters are and what they typically cover.
Labor law posters are notices that employers with at least one employee must post in a frequently visited area of the workplace. The posters cover both federal and state labor requirements. If you fail to display employment law notices in your workplace, you may face penalties, fines, and lawsuits.
Here are some examples of posters employers need to display in the workplace:
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act)
- Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
- Service Contract Agreement (SGA)
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- State-specific posters
So employers, hang up those posters in your workplace. Or follow the requirements for sharing them with your team if they’re remote (which we’ll get into next).
Electronic labor law posters: Requirements
Thanks to COVID-19 and the spike of remote workers in 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued new guidance on posting notices for remote workers and hybrid workplaces.
The guidance can be a lot to sift through (especially when you don’t always have a few extra minutes to spare as a busy employer). To make things easy, we’ve broken down the main points of the legislation for you.
So, when can labor laws be posted electronically? To start things off, there are some general guidelines you need to follow when it comes to digital postings:
- Employees must have easy access to the digital posting (e.g., online portal)
- Employers must regularly communicate with employees electronically
- Employees must be able to readily determine which postings apply to them
- Employers must put notices in a conspicuous place electronically
The DOL nitty-gritty details
There are a few other points from the DOL’s guidance that you should be aware of:
- Rules can vary depending on if your team is partially or fully remote.
- Employers can use electronic means to post FLSA, FMLA, and EPPA notices as a substitute to the hard copy poster only if all employees 1. Exclusively work remotely, 2. Customarily receive information from the employer electronically, and 3. Have “readily available access” to the postings at all times (emailing doesn’t count).
- If you have a hybrid workplace (mixture of in-person and remote workers), post the hard copy of the FLSA, FMLA (if applicable), and EPPA notices in the workplace. And, the DOL encourages you to post them electronically for remote employees, too.
- If you hire remotely and communicate with applicants electronically, you can satisfy the FMLA and EPPA posting requirements for applicants by posting the notices on an internal or external website that’s accessible at all times to applicants.
- Electronic notices must be just as effective as hard copies.
- Employers must inform employees on where and how to access electronic labor law postings.
- You can deliver an SCA (Service Contract Act) notice to each employee or post it in an accessible location. If you choose to deliver the notice, you can only send the notice electronically if that’s how the employee customarily receives information.
The gist is this: Although remote employees don’t have access to a physical common area (e.g., break room) to view posters, you still have to ensure employees who work from home have access to them someway, somehow.
For more information on the DOL’s guidance on electronic labor law posters for remote workers, check out this memo from the Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
State and local requirements for digital labor law posters
Keep in mind that the DOL guidance only applies to federal notices. Therefore, your state or locality may have separate posting requirements.
To ensure your remote and hybrid workers have access to state and local posters, consult your state and locality to find out:
- Electronic labor law poster requirements
- Which posters you’re required to give remote workers
You can contact your state labor office for more information and guidance on digital labor law posters for remote employees.
Workplace posters for remote employees: Tips to follow
Making sure you provide the employment posters for remote employees you need can be overwhelming, especially when there are so many to keep track of.
To ensure you don’t miss a beat and your remote or hybrid team has access to the posters they need, take advantage of the following tips:
- Do your research ahead of time to ensure you retrieve all of the electronic poster your business needs
- Have an easy-to-access space for employees to view digital federal and state posters (e.g., employee portal)
- Use your employee handbook to inform employees of where to find notices
- Make labor law posters visible to applicants applying to remote positions
- When hiring a new remote employee, give them steps on how to access posters
- Consult your state and locality on labor law posters for remote workers
- If you have a hybrid work environment, post notices both in-person and digitally to cover your bases
- Take advantage of the DOL’s FirstStep Poster Advisor
The more you do in advance to make sure you follow requirements for labor law posters for remote workers, the better off your business will be. And, the more likely you are to steer clear of pesky fines and penalties (phew!).This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.