Notary Bulletin Notarizing On The Job: What You And Your Boss Need To Know By David Thun on August 06, 2014 in Best Practices Many 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. Email Share 17 Comments Add your commentJudi Mosso11 Aug 2014it 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!Saralee Watkins11 Aug 2014Although 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.Toshiharu Hira11 Aug 2014I'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 Association12 Aug 2014Hello 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. Jacque12 Aug 2014Policy 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.Jacque12 Aug 2014Policy 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.Sharon12 Aug 2014If the employee is paid for their services by the employer, how is it paid i.e. through payroll or separatley?Janine12 Aug 2014I'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 Association12 Aug 2014Hello 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-manualHinzman30@hotmail.com14 Jan 2015We do notaries on billings and other documents and I wanted to charge a fee. My boss is telling me I can not charge people to do notaries in the office and that it is against the law. She is not a notary so she wouldn't know this. Is this true? Can I not charge a fee for my services?National Notary Association20 Jan 2015Hello, The answer depends on the state you are commissioned in. Some states permit employers to limit an employee's Notary services during business hours, but others do not. Bianca20 Feb 2015My employer paid for my notary class and supplies. I have done notaries at work and all the fees went to the employer. However, my question is after the fees of my notaries have exceeded the reimbursed payment am I entitled to any of the fees as a commission or do all notary fees go to the employer?National Notary Association21 Feb 2015Hello Bianca, The answer may depend on the state you are commissioned in. Can you please let us know what state issued your commission? More information on employer-Notary relationships can be found in this article: http://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2012/01/clarifying-notary-commission-ownership Kim17 Mar 2015I am a notary in the State of Georgia. My notary fee and the seal was paid for by my employer. I have been told today (after 10 years) that the expectation is that my seal is always available for use at work. I feel like I am being coerced. Can my employer require me to have my notary seal with me at work?National Notary Association17 Mar 2015Hello. Georgia does not specify guidelines for the storage of a seal when not in use. However, it is not permitted for other people--including employers or co-workers--to use your seal. From the Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority website: "It is unlawful for any person to hold himself or herself out as a notary or exercise the powers of a notary without an effective notary commission." (https://www.gsccca.org/notary-and-apostilles/notaries/georgia-notary-law) If state law does not specify otherwise, the NNA recommends storing your seal in a secured, locked storage area accessible only to you when not in use. Brandon16 Jun 2015Can an employer charge an associate or demand repayment for becoming a notary? If I quit or get fired can they withhold money from my check to pay for it? Is there any information on the rules/laws regarding this sort of situation?National Notary Association17 Jun 2015Hi Brandon. Different states have different guidelines regarding Notary-employer relationships. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in? If you're an NNA member and you need a response quickly, you can also email your question directly to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. 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