November 13 Tip of the Week

“It’s a Remote World”

The recent change in the workforce and the increased reliance on remote workers raises a number of questions for employers, both in recruiting and employing remote workers.  A recent development in New York State highlights the complexity of remote working relationships. 

On March 30, 2023, Governor Kathy Hochul signed an amendment to New York State’s pay transparency law.  The purpose of this amendment was to clarify some portions of the law, which was signed into law on December 21, 2022 and takes effect on September 17, 2023.  In the original version of the law, there were questions regarding who the law applied to – both employers and employees.  The law applies to all New York employers with four or more employees, but the law was unclear as to who should be counted as employees.  The law excluded independent contractors, but left open the question as to whether the law applied to employers with four or more employees both inside and outside of New York State or if the four employee threshold was measured only by those employees in New York State. 

Another question that arose under the original version of the law was to which positions the pay transparency requirements applied.  Because of the vagueness of the statute, the requirement was thought to apply to all positions that could be performed in New York, which was essentially all positions advertised.  However, the new law clarified that the pay transparency requirements for job advertisements apply only to jobs, promotions or transfers that will be physically (at least in part) performed in New York or to opportunities that will be performed outside of New York but will report to a supervisor, office or other worksite in located in New York State. 

There were two other clarifications contained in the new version of the pay transparency law.  The newly amended law eliminated the recordkeeping requirements contained in the initial version of the statute.  While this may seem like a reduction in the burden imposed by the statute, best practices dictate that employers maintain these types of records in the event that a claim is filed against them under the law or they are audited.  The amendment to the pay transparency law also provided greater clarity on the definition of what constitutes a job advertisement.  Under the new version, a job advertisement is defined more broadly and includes internal job postings. 

While this law is a New York State law, it has a wide range of applicability given the nature of the remote workforce and the number of remote workers that can found in New York State.  This law, and the need to clarify its requirements through an amendment prior to the law taking effect, also illustrates the complications of having multiple employees working in multiple states.  Each state has their own system of laws relating the employment relationship and an employer with a remote workforce needs to know those laws in order to be in compliance.  myHRcounsel can assist you with this.  Our team of attorneys is well versed in labor and employment law in all fifty states and guide you through the compliance requirements of each state.