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Notary Bulletin

Notarizing On The Job: What You And Your Boss Need To Know

Employer and Notary resizedMany Notaries have full-time jobs and obtain their commissions as part of their work. Many employers have policies determining the circumstances under which such Notaries may perform notarizations in the workplace. If you are one of these Notaries, here are some important facts you need to know.

Notarizing During Business Hours


Employers generally are allowed to control the work of their employees. Rules directing Notary-employees and the notarizations they perform fall under state law. Some states have clarified this in various ways.

In California, state law allows a Notary and the Notary’s employer to enter into an agreement limiting the performance of notarial services to transactions that affect the business purposes of the employer during working hours. In exchange, the employer pays the costs associated with the commission of the employee-Notary.

In Oklahoma and Texas, attorney general opinions clarify that an employer may limit the notarizations employee-Notaries perform at work. The Executive Office of the Governor of Florida states that employers have this right in its Governor’s Reference Manual for Notaries.

The following states explicitly prohibit Notaries or employers of Notaries from limiting notarial services to customers or clients in their Notary laws:

  • Arizona
  • Hawaii (except for Notaries in government service)
  • Iowa
  • Massachusetts
  • New Mexico

Notarizing Outside Business Hours
 

Some employers have tried to prohibit Notaries from performing notarizations when the Notary is off the clock. While many states may allow an employer to dictate when an employee-Notary may perform notarizations while on the job, a Notary may perform a notarization for any member of the public on their own time — including lunch breaks.

Control Of A Notary’s Tools
 

While most states allow employers a say in what employees notarize while at work, the Notary’s commission, seal and journal are the property of the Notary — even if the employer paid for them.

There are two exceptions: Arizona allows Notaries working under limited circumstances to keep two journals — one for public records and one for nonpublic records protected by the attorney-client privilege or that are confidential pursuant to state or federal law. The journal containing nonpublic records is the property of the employer and, if the Notary leaves that job, the employer may keep the journal containing only nonpublic entries.

Oregon Notaries may sign an agreement with an employer allowing the employer to keep the Notary’s journal if the Notary leaves the employer’s service. The Notary must keep a copy of the agreement. Apart from these exceptions, an employer may not take possession of a Notary’s seal and journal or give them to another employee, even if the employer paid for the tools or the Notary quits or is fired.

Helpful Resources For NNA Members
 

NNA Members can access information on state laws regarding employee-Notaries online in the NNA’s U.S. Notary Reference Manual or contact our Hotline with any questions regarding employer-Notary restrictions.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

Comments

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Janine

12 Aug 2014

I'd like to know about the fees. If you're notarizing documents during work hours, do any states have regulations as to who receives the fees? Where can I go to find this info?

National Notary Association

12 Aug 2014

Hello Janine. NNA members can access Notary laws for each U.S. state and territory through our U.S. Notary Reference Manual pdf (member login required): https://www.nationalnotary.org/my-account?returnurl=/knowledge-center/reference-library/us-notary-reference-manual

Sharon

12 Aug 2014

If the employee is paid for their services by the employer, how is it paid i.e. through payroll or separatley?

Jacque

12 Aug 2014

Policy where I work (State Hospital in Texas): 2. A Texas Notary has the authority to charge or not to charge fees for each official service. Fees allowed to be charged for official services must be displayed in a conspicuous place. 2.1 If the hospital pays for the notary’s fees, any funds received for services shall be deposited to the General Revenue Fund through the Business Office. Services provided in a manner consistent with item #1 above shall be free of charge if the hospital has paid the notary’s fee.

Jacque

12 Aug 2014

Policy where I work (State Hospital in Texas): 2. A Texas Notary has the authority to charge or not to charge fees for each official service. Fees allowed to be charged for official services must be displayed in a conspicuous place. 2.1 If the hospital pays for the notary’s fees, any funds received for services shall be deposited to the General Revenue Fund through the Business Office. Services provided in a manner consistent with item #1 above shall be free of charge if the hospital has paid the notary’s fee.

Toshiharu Hira

11 Aug 2014

I'm Public Notary authorized by the State of Arkansas. Recently I got moved to Birmingham, Alabama. Can I use that state's seal & stamp on any documents requested residents in Alabama?

National Notary Association

12 Aug 2014

Hello Toshiharu, Thank you for your question. An Arkansas Notary commission can only be used within the borders of Arkansas. If you have moved to Alabama and wish to serve as a Notary Public, you'll need to send a signed letter of resignation to the Arkansas Secretary of State's office, return your commission and destroy your Arkansas seal. You will then need to apply for a new Notary commission in Alabama. If you need assistance, our Customer Care team can help you at 1-800-876-6827.

Saralee Watkins

11 Aug 2014

Although no one specifically has ever given me a hard & fast rule on this, I have always separated work hours from personal time. Any fees collected while at a job, went to the employer. That always seemed the fairest approach, unless an employer specifically says they don't want the fees. That would be a different matter.

Judi Mosso

11 Aug 2014

it would be interesting to know which states, if any, require that the notary turn their collected fee over to the employer; especially if the employer pays for the commission & supplies. for example, if a municipality pays for the commission & supplies, and a notarization is done during working hours, is the fee collected required to go to the town's general fund? any thoughtful comment is appreciated!

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