Q: Our entire company is working remotely during the pandemic; do we still have to post notices on site?
A: Employers must still comply with notice posting requirements, but also "have to take into account all the changes that have occurred," said Kevin Troutman, a partner at Fisher Phillips.
Often, that’s going to mean posting notices at worksites and following up with electronic versions, explained Troutman, also a member of the firm’s COVID-19 taskforce and co-chair of its national healthcare industry group. "These new circumstances may make it important to communicate electronically — not as a substitute to physical posting on site but as an enhancement to [employers’] duties," he said.
Generally speaking, Troutman said, employers may want to look to the U.S. Department of Labor’s notice requirements for the new federal paid leave mandate, enacted after many employers went remote, for an idea of how agencies may be thinking about compliance. "Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises," the agency said in a guidance. "An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website."
Still, it’s important to look at each specific statute, Troutman said, and to ensure compliance. "I would recommend that employers are still posting in a conspicuous place on their premises," he said. And then as a practical matter, because many employees have been remote for months, post the notices somewhere they’ll see them (an intranet, for example) and send periodic reminders to make sure employees know the notices are posted, he recommended.
Most posting requirements were written not only before the pandemic but before electronic communication was as prevalent as it is today, Troutman noted. Physical, on-site postings are important, he said, "but as a practical matter it’s important now to recognize that since many employees are not going to be in the physical workplace, employers should make an extra effort to provide those postings on an intranet site or their internet site and remind employees that those postings are there."