Our Firm’s Partner, Paul Scrom, was recently quoted in an LA Times article, on October 31, 2023, regarding the implications remote employees face when moving to a different state than their employers. The trend of remote employees working from a state different than their employers has surged since the onset of the pandemic. Driven by increased accessibility and ease of remote work, many employees moved to a different state for affordable housing and for cheaper costs of living. However, as Paul noted, employees may want to be cautious of what losses they might face when making such a move.
Since most state employment laws have been written without consideration of remote work, remote employee benefits and rights will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the language of the applicable state law. With that in mind, when contemplating the decision to move to another state, benefits and protections should be significantly considered factors, as they might be sacrificed in the process.
State Laws Regarding Time Off
For instance, states with high costs of living, like California and New York, also tend to have more pro-employee laws. Such laws provide paid time off for sick leave, bereavement leave, and family leave, among others. Since such paid time off laws are state specific, employees who work remotely outside of their employer’s state might not receive the employers’ state coverage. Further, as Paul mentions, remote employees may in turn engage in “forum shopping,” selectively choosing states that offer more favorable benefits for them.
From an employer point of view, it is important to note that states also have different restrictions on workers compensation laws, disability laws, and wage and hour rules regarding overtime. For instance, California, New York, and Illinois have the most robust workers compensation laws and remote employees may be more prone to moving to such states. Employers should recognize the legal distinctions that come with their remote employee’s residence, as it directly impacts the amount of benefits and protections they receive.