Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at Poster Guard® Compliance Protection, a division of HRdirect and the leading labor law poster service that gets your business up to date with all required federal, state and local labor law postings, and then keeps it that way — for an entire year. Enjoy the article!)
First introduced in the 1960’s on the London Underground, “Mind the Gap” is a warning phrase used to advise passengers to take caution when crossing the spatial gap between a train door and station platform. Its purpose is to remind us to maintain safety in an area where we probably already feel very comfortable.
We can use this “Mind the Gap” message when it comes to compliance. It’s very easy to dismiss warnings about compliance matters, like labor law posters, with “Oh, we have all the right ones.” or “There will be headlines everywhere when posters need to be updated.”. Not true. I’m not saying that the government is out to catch organizations that aren’t in compliance. But in today’s “signal and noise” world, it’s important to realize that there’s no guarantee that labor law poster updates are going to magically appear in the trending topics section of your favorite social media platform.
So, let’s talk about how labor law posters have some unique requirements for certain employee groups and what HR can do to stay in compliance (aka “Mind the Gap”).
Mind the Gap #1: Labor law postings are required for onsite and remote work environments.
According to Gallup, 45% of full-time U.S. employees worked from home either all or part of the time in the last quarter of 2021. While that’s probably going to change over the course of this year, it’s probably not going back to pre-pandemic percentages.
Remote work is popular for several reasons. It reduces the costs for commercial office space, decreases the carbon footprint, and makes employees more productive. A study from independent research firm Omdia reported that 68% of organizations believe employee productivity has improved with remote work.
Organizations with remote employees should audit their processes to ensure everyone has access to labor law postings. Some recent U.S. Department of Labor publications and court cases have confirmed that postings are mandatory for remote workers and electronic delivery is an acceptable alternative for meeting posting requirements for these offsite workers.
Mind the Gap #2: Labor law postings are required for applicants and employees.
We tend to think of labor law postings as being just for our employees. Truth is, four of the six mandatory federal postings apply to applicants as well. There are also state and local requirements. Physical postings must be displayed for applicants who come into your office for pre-employment interviews, testing, or any part of the application process. By law, most employers have to provide applicants access to these four federal postings:
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (also known as USERRA and recommended as a best practice because the law applies to applicants)
In addition, if your organization accepts online applications, there needs to be a way for applicants to view them there too. Over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) and with the continued focus on recruitment, it only makes business sense to automate the hiring process. As organizations continue to focus on recruitment, they will look to technology to help them automate their processes. This will mean thinking about compliance.
Mind the Gap #3: Spanish language labor law postings may be required regardless of the composition of the workforce.
The 2020 U.S. Census reports that the Hispanic population of the United States was 62.1 million, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Twenty (20) states and territories are required by law to have certain labor law postings in English and Spanish, regardless of the composition of the workforce. Additional federal, state, and local laws apply if you have locations with a certain number of employees who are not proficient in English. Some laws require foreign language translations of workplace posters for an individual employee, and others apply only if there’s a significant number of employees impacted.
Organizations can’t make the assumption that, if they do not have Spanish-speaking workers, they don’t need Spanish language posters. They also can’t assume if they have bilingual employees that they don’t need Spanish language labor law postings just because those employees also speak English.
Mind Your Labor Law Posting Compliance Gap
Most employers know they need to have labor law postings. That being said, I can also see organizations forgetting to “mind the labor law posting gap” and not taking the extra caution necessary with applicants, Spanish language postings, and remote workers.
The good news is that organizations don’t have to spend hours researching this information. Our friends at Poster Guard have a Labor Law Poster Service that will do it for you. Yes, that’s right. Poster Guard monitors labor law requirements (at the federal, state, and local level) and lets you know when things change. They also provide you with replacement posters every time there’s a change – FREE of charge!
Frankly, this type of service is a no brainer for me. As a HR professional, I have so many other things I need to spend my time on than researching labor law posters. Personally, I would much rather have a professional service do what they do best, which frees up my time to recruit, engage, and retain the best employees.
If you want to learn more about “Labor Law Compliance Requirements Employers Often Overlook”, check out Poster Guard’s latest on-demand webinar on the subject. It’s filled with reminders that all organizations need to stay compliant.17