Q&A: Remote Hiring Headaches to Plan For

Lora Patterson, HR Advisor at Zenefits
Jan 13, 2022

Hiring remote employees could be your greatest advantage, but it could also be your greatest challenge. If you want to have remote employees, you need to stay on top of regulations and logistics to set yourself and your employees up for success. Lora Patterson, Senior People Ops Advisor at Zenefits, guides us through the process […]

Hiring remote employees could be your greatest advantage, but it could also be your greatest challenge.

If you want to have remote employees, you need to stay on top of regulations and logistics to set yourself and your employees up for success.

Lora Patterson, Senior People Ops Advisor at Zenefits, guides us through the process and helps us get ahead of potential remote hiring headaches.

After you listen:

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On this episode, you’ll hear: 

  • [01:00 – 02:00] When to update work locations
  • [02:00 – 04:00] PTO and FMLA policy variations to look out for
  • [04:00 – 05:45] How to handle termination, breaks, required documents, and office equipment
  • [05:45 – 07:45] Tips for keeping remote employees connected to your company

POPS Star Bio

Lora Patterson is a Senior POPS Advisor at Zenefits, where she advises clients on a broad range of human resources issues including employment laws and regulations, management practices, policies and procedures, and best practices regarding people management, development, and engagement. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.


Remote hiring headaches to plan for

Didi: Welcome to POPS, the show that shows you how to shift from QE resources, paperwork to people, operations for the new world of work. By answering one question at a time.

To help us answer your question. Here’s Lora Patterson, Senior People Ops Advisor at Zenefits. 

Lora: In the last two years, the way companies do business has changed in a variety of ways. But one major shift is the shift to remote work. Not only are companies allowing current employees to stay home, but they’re more open to finding and hiring remote employees in different states.

If you’re one of those employers who wants to have remote employees, then there are a couple of things I would suggest looking at. The first one is setting up correct work locations. A lot of employers will think that since they’re headquartered in one location, they can just assign remote workers to that location.

When in reality, they need to be assigning these workers to the location where they actually perform their work. This is most often going to be their home. The reason why this is so important is to ensure that taxes are handled correctly for them. So with that in mind, the first step to hiring a remote worker would be to register your company in their state for state taxes and your payroll companies should be able to direct you in this process.

I would also suggest having a company policy that lets employees know they need to inform HR if they relocate so you can update that work location. Now, the next thing I would look into is understanding the employment laws that apply to your employees. Most employers assume that the state laws apply to employees at their headquarters also apply to the remote employees.

But for the most part, if you’re remote employees will be subject to the laws and benefits in the state where they perform work. Now, we do want to touch on some of these laws that I see vary quite a bit state to state. Just to give you an idea of what to look out for. The first thing I want to look at is PTL leaf.

Now, when it comes to PT, There are a lot of city and state and look Fireman’s around sick leave and you want to make sure you stay on top of those. So if you don’t already have a sick leave policy and you hire an employee in another state, then you’re going to want to check on that state and see if they have requirements around what employers need to provide regarding stickers.

Yeah. If you already have a sick leave policy for all employees, I would still review your policy and see if it meets the state requirements for your little workers. A lot of times companies will have, you know, their one sick leave policy and they’ll just make sure it covers all employees. But another option to consider is creating state-specific sick leave policies.

I mean, ultimately it comes down to your company and what works best for you. The second part of PTO is. So many states have laws that state whether or not vacation should be treated as wages. And this is going to affect how companies treat that type of leaf. So this is going to affect whether or not you need to roll over unused vacation balances year to year for payout accrued, but unused balances.

When an employee leaves the county. The next thing to look at is family and medical leave programs. Similar to PTO laws. A lot of states have laws around leave benefits and even wage replacement benefits. So it’s important to look at those states that your employees are in and see if they have any leave benefit available to them.

Or if you even need to set up an insurance program like in New York employers need to set up insurance programs for paid family leave with their existing insurance provider. Another thing to look at is termination requirements. So different states are going to have different requirements when it comes to with final pay is due.

And if there are any required documents, you need to get your employee. So there are things to keep your eyes on would be laws around overtime and meal and rest breaks. Those can vary in different states. So just look those up before hiring another big one to keep an eye out for is posters and new hire forms.

So some states have required new hire forms that you need to give all of your new employees. And you just want to know which forms. Those are. The next part of this is poster requirements. What typically happens is a company will be based in one office and they will put up their kind of city, state, and federal posters in one location within the office.

When you have remote employees, you need to make sure you’re sending them those same posters so they can access them at any time. Another thing to keep an eye out for would be sexual harassment tree. So a lot of states either have this law, or they’re going to put in place this lot where companies have to provide sexual harassment training and may even need to have a sexual harassment policy in their handbook.

The final thing I want to talk about is any sort of requirements for pay for office equipment. You’re going to want to verify your employee expense reimbursement regulations for work-related expenses. And all that really means is check state laws to see what you as an employer are required to do. When it comes to your employees, you know, cell phone bill or their cell phone itself, or even internet use, you may be required to pay for those things since your employee needs that in order form work at their post office.

Now, the last thing I want to touch on is how to make sure your remote workers still feel connected to the office and to the company. The first thing I recommend is having managers schedule regular check-ins to see how their employees are doing like any other one-on-one. This is a good time to review how they’re handling their workload, and if they need any help, especially regarding their work from home situation.

I generally recommend having managers meet at least twice a month. The next thing to think about is team meetings. I know with our team, we like to meet twice a month to review ongoing projects in any sort of company updates. What we also do that I happen to love is once a month, we meet up and we don’t discuss work, put for an hour.

We just play a game and we talk and we connect and it’s been a really great way to still feel, not so isolated and more connected to my coworker. Another thing to consider is continuing the same traditions you had while in the office. So if you guys celebrated birthdays and anniversaries in the office, or you want to, I would include remote workers in that, maybe schedule a meeting where you guys celebrate someone’s birthday, or have everyone in the office, you know, chip in for a birthday gift and send it to their house.

It’s really important to still keep up with these traditions. The next thing that I want to talk about is holiday office parties. And they know that we’ve kind of passed the holidays, but I still wanted to at least touch on the importance of including remote workers in this. So what I would recommend is still having a holiday party, but maybe doing it over zoom, you could even have people, you know, dress up for the party, if you could send them all gift cards so they could order a special meal that they eat during your.

You could even do a gift exchange and have employees send each other something. And they’re just little ways to make people still feel like they’re part of the team. Overall. This is just a couple of ideas for your company to consider. Of course, what you do will come down to what works best for your teams and your company.

I know it can feel overwhelming when preparing for remote worker. We’re having remote workers, especially in new states, but there are tools and resources out there, like our HR library that can help you prepare and stand on top of these potential remote work headaches.

Do you have a question for our experts? Click the link in the show notes, or if you’ve got other ideas and feedback about our show, send them to podcast. Dot com.


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