Telework has touched so many things in our world, and now the Department of Labor is reacting with some common sense guidance. When so many workers are at their homes, how does an employer comply with the many (many) governmental requirements to post notices about employee rights? Prior to COVID, the employer would post them in the break room. But now, the “break room” is in each employee’s own home.
On December 29, 2020, the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL issued some guidance addressing the laws under its control. Its general principles are as follows:
Laws that require a poster to be posted continuously (e.g., the wage and hour or FMLA poster): The DOL will consider electronic posting an “acceptable substitute” if: (1) all of the employer’s employees exclusively work remotely, (2) all employees customarily receive information from the employer via electronic means, and (3) all employees have readily available access to the electronic posting at all times. If an employer has both in-person workers and teleworkers, the DOL recommends both traditional hard copy posting and electronic posting such as on a company intranet.
Laws that require individual notices (such as the Service Contract Act): The DOL will accept electronic delivery “only if the employee customarily receives information from the employer electronically.”
Generally, the DOL requires that the employer provide access to anything electronically posted and that it communicate to the employees about this access. Employees know they can walk to the break room and see the posters. In a new world of telework, employees need to receive communications about the location of, and how to access, this information electronically. If the information is on the intranet, but no one knows of it, it is of no use and the DOL will not consider it properly posted or available to the employees. The guidance has additionally law-specific information if you want to read more.