New York now requires all employers to provide an electronic version of all mandatory labor law posters to their employees. Assembly Bill A7595 was signed by Governor Hochul of New York on December 16, 2022, and became effective immediately. While New York is the first state to require digital versions for all employees, it most likely will not be the last. Many states are likely to follow this trend. In fact, some states including New Jersey already allow certain of their required posters to be delivered electronically.
Labor laws play an important role in protecting employees. Both Federal and State laws mandate employer responsibilities to their employees. They are intended to protect both individuals and companies. The primary way employee rights and protections are communicated is through labor law posters which are required to be displayed in a clearly visible area within the workplace. These posters summarize important details of the laws intended to protect both employees and employers. The electronic versions of these posters do not replace the physical posters in the workplace, they are just one more way for employers to keep their employees informed of their rights.
Due to the recent shift to remote work for many employees, the typical workplace has seen significant changes. Many of those changes are here to stay. One seemingly permanent change includes the demand for offsite employees. With this increase of remote workers, the need for providing electronic versions of the required labor law posters must be addressed. Many businesses have already began providing electronic versions of required labor law posters to their remote employees and the next logical step is to provide digital copies to all employees.
Many companies realized the need for digital posters a couple of years ago and began asking questions about how best to meet the requirements for remote employees. The US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division created a Field Assistance Bulletin to provide guidance regarding the posting of required notices electronically. Many of the regulations for labor law posters require the posting of a notice “at all times,” or require employers to “post and keep posted, ” such notices. In order for digital posters to meet this standard, employers must insure that employees have easy access to the electronic posting at all times. Employers can accomplish this through an electronic database and regular notifications. The DOL bulletin makes it clear that the employer must take steps to inform employees of where and how to access the notices electronically. The standard being that the electronic notice must be as effective as a hard copy posting.
The guidance further explained, where an employer has both on-site and remote employees, the employer may supplement the hard copy posting requirement with an electronic posting. Employers should establish an easy-to-access location for these notices and inform workers where to find them. As physical labor law posters are updated for onsite workers, employers should also communicate any mandatory updates of notices on their electronic posting site.
The main way employee rights and protections are communicated is through labor law posters and now that so much of the workforce does their work remotely, it makes sense for posters to be readily available in a digital format to all employees. While New York is the first state to require employers to provide this to their employees it likely will not be the only state to do so, doubtlessly many others will see the benefits and follow suit.