Multistate employers face the daunting task of keeping up with a growing patchwork of employment laws on the federal, state, and local levels. According to Ogletree Deakins' second annual benchmarking survey report, Strategies and Benchmarks for the Workplace: Ogletree's Survey of Key Decision-Makers, multistate compliance ranks as one of the most challenging issues for employers. Survey respondents report that leaves of absence—including paid sick leave mandates, Family and Medical Leave Act requirements, and other state leave laws—present the most difficult multi-jurisdictional compliance issues, with wage and hour law compliance and handbook/policy concerns following close behind.
Moreover, 72 percent of respondents say their employees' desire for remote work is much stronger now than it was before the pandemic. Many employers have experienced the trend of employees moving to different states to work remotely or have hired workers in jurisdictions where they previously had not conducted business. Remote work may be an attractive recruiting, retention, and/or cost-saving tool for some employers, but it has numerous multistate compliance implications.
Significant legal issues for employers and their workforces to manage include employee onboarding, business expense reimbursement, state tax compliance, state unemployment/workers' compensation benefits, privacy and data security, and employment termination issues.
When expanding to new jurisdictions, employers may need to update their employee handbooks in light of jurisdictional issues and consider whether state addenda are necessary. Employers might also want to add remote-work policies to their handbooks and implement separate agreements for employees who work remotely on an extended or permanent basis.
In response to increasing client demand for assistance with complex multistate compliance issues, Ogletree Deakins has formed the Multistate Advice and Counseling Practice Group, a team composed of more than forty attorneys with extensive experience helping multistate employers comply with current and emerging employment laws in all U.S. jurisdictions. In addition to developing and updating employment handbooks, policies, procedures, agreements, and applications to address issues arising under federal, state, and local laws, the firm's Multistate Advice and Counseling Practice Group attorneys counsel employers on best practices related to the full range of workplace decisions affecting multistate compliance.
The Multistate Advice and Counseling Practice Group will host a three-part webinar series, beginning on September 13, 2022, focused on employers' top multistate compliance issues. Stay tuned for further information here.