The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Navigating Compliance With a Multi-State Workforce

Over the last year and a half, the rapid implementation and general success of remote work has brought about both new opportunities and new challenges. In particular, the challenges of navigating multi-state compliance issues can be tricky. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, here are three key points to get you started on the right path:

Find your people

As critical as it is obvious, the first step is to determine where everyone is. Remote work has allowed employees the opportunity to relocate with little to no interruption to their jobs, making it entirely possible for a department that once sat shoulder to shoulder to now be scattered across the country. You’ll also want to confirm how long relocated employees have been at their new location, as some state-by-state regulations may need to be retroactively applied.

Spot the difference

After you determine where your people are, you’ll want to evaluate the different requirements related to:

  • Taxation and pay
  • Paid and unpaid leaves
  • Benefits and coverage
  • Breaks and rest periods
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Some states have reciprocal agreements with others, making issues of taxation a little easier for the employer. Unfortunately, this is the step where most of the complexity and resulting challenges in multi-state remote work arise. It can be helpful to consult your institution’s general counsel, local law experts or tax professionals who can help in initial navigation.

Look to the future

Decide now how you’ll keep track of employee locations and related regulatory updates. What will the process be if a remote employee moves from one out-of-state location to another? Are there some states or locations where regulations will preclude your institution from allowing remote work? Since remote work is likely here to stay, addressing these questions now can help alleviate future challenges.

Check out the Flexible Work toolkit and Future of Work resource page for more multi-state compliance and remote work resources.