Tim Mailhag.

AuthorDelogu, Nancy

More of our employees want to move to other states; how do we handle that?

Q We are having quite a few employees inquiring about moving out of state. We have a telecommuting agreement but not an eligibility/procedure policy for assessing an employee and their out-of-state request. Do you have anything like this for reference? --Adreanna, California

  1. You're not alone. A lot of employers are seeing employees ask if they can move and work for the foreseeable future from locales other than those in which they had a presence before the pandemic. Deciding whether to honor these requests is complicated, and not only because at some point you may wish to require them to physically report to the workplace.

    For example, when an employee moves to a new state, you will need to register your presence with the state, and make arrangements to pay taxes and other assessments on behalf of your employee to the new state taxing entity. Short-term arrangements during the early days of the pandemic may not have triggered these obligations, but localities are unlikely to hold off on compliance with local laws for long.

    Unexpected laws relating to unemployment, wage payment requirements and benefits laws may exist in that state. For example, what does the state law say about reimbursing workers for the cost of business expenses? Will you adjust salaries downward if the employee's cost of living decreases? How will changes to your compensation policies affect your equal pay obligations? Will you expect workers to return to the office when the pandemic ends?

    For that matter, employees who move from one jurisdiction to another also may be surprised to learn that local laws--especially those involving compensation and leaves--differ from what they are accustomed to in California.

    There is no one correct answer to your question, and certainly no model policy that would suit every employer. The important thing is to ensure you investigate carefully what hiring a worker in a remote jurisdiction would require of your business, and...

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