I usually distill longer questions from readers down to a single sentence and address the nuances and details from the original in my answer. However, with this one I am compelled to add the entire question because it floored me.
Q: “I attended a webinar by [REDACTED – but it was a popular job board that also lists remote work] that I can’t be hired for remote work outside of my state for tax reasons. Is this true? I didn’t apply to several good jobs recently because they weren’t in my state.”
First, if you also attended one of these webinars please contact me. I am interested to know how far this damaging information has spread. When I received this question I was angry that it caused people to miss out on opportunities. So before we go further here is the definitive answer:
You can apply to remote jobs in any state no matter where you live in the United States.
Furthermore, if you have a US work visa or are a US citizen, you can apply to jobs inside the United States while living abroad (as digital nomads know very well). You can also apply to remote jobs based in other countries, depending on their labor laws.
All of this is fundamental to remote work. You are no longer limited to living in a town with a big employer nearby and companies no longer need to base themselves near large cities with a compatible workforce. But how could this person have come up with this idea? They didn’t just make it up, right?
I have not spoken with the individual who presented the webinar, but I suspect that they heard or read several different pieces of employment law analysis and came to an incorrect conclusion. They may have heard that hiring employees in multiple states increases the amount of paperwork that companies need to handle and there are some laws about vacation time and other benefits that can result in one employee being allowed to roll over their unused vacation time but others losing it at the end of the year. For most companies, the benefits of hiring a remote workforce vastly outweigh the additional paperwork. Besides, much of this is handled by outsourcing HR duties, so there is hardly an additional burden.
It’s also possible that they meant to say that SOME remote positions come with geographic limitations for a variety of reasons. They simply flubbed the explanation and left the impression that this was true for all remote jobs. Unless a company declares up front that they are only looking for candidates “near Chicago” or “in the Eastern time zone”, the position is theoretically open to all legal applicants no matter where they live.
If you heard the same incorrect information and also missed out on opportunities for remote work, I am sorry. If you have questions about remote work click the ASK button at the top of the page. If you are having trouble finding remote work and want some guidance, email me with details. I can help.