Do we have to pay the local minimum wage rate to employees now working remotely, due to COVID-19, in a city or county with a local minimum wage?

Local minimum wage requirements may apply depending on the ordinance issued by each city or county where the employee works — or in this case, from where the employee is working remotely. Each ordinance defines the coverage and eligibility, and the rules vary.

In the case of an employee who is working remotely from home in a city or county with a local minimum wage rate, if the employee is eligible (for example, they have worked more than two hours in that city/county for the week), then the employee should be paid at the applicable local minimum wage rate for all hours worked within the geographic boundaries of that location.

The fact that the employer’s location/worksite, or the employee’s typical worksite (absent COVID-19 circumstances), is located where no local minimum wage rate applies makes no difference.

Keep in mind, the same analysis should be made for any other local ordinances (aside from minimum wage) that might apply, such as local paid sick leave.

In response to COVID-19, some localities have made modifications or expansions to the instances in which employees may use their paid sick leave.

Remember, the applicability of local ordinances is largely based on where the employee is working, so be careful not to assume that a local ordinance doesn’t apply, just because you, the employer, are located somewhere else.

Also remember that employers subject to state and local laws must follow the stricter standard or the law that’s most beneficial to the employee when there are conflicting requirements.

Read Local Ordinances for more information.