In these challenging times . . . How often have we heard that one lately?! But the fact remains true – Now more than ever, the rapid-fire implementation of new state laws and regulations creates unprecedented challenges for multi-state employers trying to keep up and do the right thing by their employees.
Multi-State Employment Regulations
The equal employment opportunity laws alone can make an employer’s head spin. Protected characteristics can vary widely from state-to-state, even down to the age of the individual – protected at 18-years old or 40? Additional protected characteristics like social media privacy, wage disclosure and lawful use of products during non-working hours can make an employer’s activities acceptable in one state and illegal in another.
Leaves of absence are another major point of contention for the multi-state employer. The federal FMLA aside, each state mandates time off for a variety of purposes, from family or health-related matters to voting leave and jury duty. With this November’s upcoming election, do you know the voting time off rights for your states?
The 'New' Multi-State Conundrum
Generally, the laws of the state where the work is being performed governs the employee-employer relationship. But due to the surge in remote working arrangements, that work is now frequently being performed in a state different than the employer’s physical location.
In response, states are upping their jurisdictional claims over their residents. Many employers who once had the luxury of focusing only on their one state now find themselves knee-deep in multi-state implications, from tax withholdings to employee rights.
State-Specific Handbook Addendums
With these concerns in mind, employers can no longer afford a one-size-fits-all approach to handbooks. Maintaining a separate core handbook for policies applicable to all employees along with separate, state-specific addendums are the best way to ensure successful long-term compliance with state laws and regulations. When the law changes, this approach allows the employer to change and reissue only that state’s addendum for those employees without having to update and redistribute an entire handbook to all employees.
MRA offers a full-range of handbook and state addendum services for multi-state employers of all sizes. We follow daily alerts on state laws and maintain an up-to-date library for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.