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Employment rules mean you might not be able to work from anywhere

A woman works at her laptop from home during a four-week semi-lockdown during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic on Nov. 9, 2020, in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Employers across the country are retooling their policies to allow more people to work from home, but you should read the fine print before you pack up and move to work remotely from somewhere new.

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Burnham Benefits‘ Doug Ramsthel, a benefits specialist, told KIRO Radio the retooling and updated policies means there are plenty of new questions to ask in job interviews.

Ramsthel says some employers restrict where you can live, and many health plans only provide savings in certain geographic areas.

“Like an HMO, let’s say it’s Kaiser health plan, that’s not going to work well in Boise,” Ramsthel said. “They may have very little or no providers, and it could expose you to high out-of-pocket expenses.”

“Look before you leap,” he warned.

Ramsthel also cautions that employees could be subject to income tax laws, or health savings account, disability, family, and sick leave rules where they live, not where their employer is based.

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He says it is all right to ask a lot of questions and get important points down in writing.

“In addition to just how would you handle injuries at home, it’s the whole litany of things that you’d want to know,” Ramsthel said. “How do you reimburse expenses? Will you pay for a work office set-up that is ergonomically designed?”

KIRO Radio’s Diane Duthweiler contributed to this report.

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