Employer-related regulations can be complex. By tackling these common HR-compliance challenges now, you’ll avoid headaches later.
If you wait to think about how employment laws affect your business until after you’re confronted with a citation or complaint, it may be too late.
Employer-related regulations can be complex. Underestimating their importance could be costly to your bottom line, your time, and even your reputation.
Let’s take a look at some common HR-related compliance challenges that businesses face—and how to manage them before problems arise.
1. Properly Completing Hiring Paperwork
Just getting an employee in the door and ready to work has potential pitfalls.
Do you have a process for the paperwork that new hires fill out? Is it automated and easy for them (and you)?
Within the first three days of employment, make sure you have an I-9 form on file with supporting eligibility-to-work documentation. Failure to do so can result in fines.
To help avoid this mistake, let your new hires know there will be paperwork to fill out in a timely manner. Give them a list of the items that will be needed to verify their employment eligibility, such as a passport or a driver’s license and social security card.
2. Determining Employee Classifications
The Department of Labor and the Fair Labor Standards Act have specific guidelines about how to classify an employee: full-time, part-time, contractor, exempt, nonexempt, etc.
There is sometimes confusion among businesses as to whether they get to determine an employee’s classification as exempt or nonexempt; however, multiple factors come into play to determine an employee’s status, such as job duties, responsibilities, and pay rate. An exempt employee is not paid overtime while a nonexempt employee is eligible for overtime pay.
According to the Department of Labor: “Misclassified employees often are denied access to critical benefits and protections they are entitled to by law, such as minimum wage, overtime compensation, family and medical leave, unemployment insurance, and safe workplaces.”
Misclassifying employees can result in fees, which increase if was an intentional act on the part of the employer. But even unintentional misclassification can cost you money and time spent addressing the charge.
[Editor’s Note: Go here for the listing of Standard Occupational Classifications.]
3. Implementing Safety Policies
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is tasked with overseeing safe work environments and the standards that businesses must follow to be in compliance with the OSH Act. Don’t let complacency be the reason you’re the target of an OSHA complaint.
Some tips to keep workplace safety top of mind:
- Develop a management safety policy statement and outline responsibilities
- Establish an accident investigation program
- Communicate safety rules verbally and in writing
- Provide training on industry safety protocols and standards
- Post a copy of safety regulations in a common area
- Record lost-time injuries and post it annually
[Editor’s Note: NSCA members must comply with job site requirements for appointing a safety officer, attending safety meetings, lock out/tag out, and/or OSHA 10 training.]
4. Complying with Multiple Regulatory Agencies
The number of regulatory agencies and their associated employment laws seems to continue growing—and not just on the federal level. Regulations can vary by state, leading to confusion and misalignment.
As an employer, it can be daunting to keep up, especially if you don’t have someone to lean on for experience and guidance in areas such as:
- Family and medical leave policies
- Hiring regulations
- Employee privacy laws
- The Affordable Care Act
- Anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies
- Wage and hour laws
- Workplace safety and health
- Recordkeeping and payroll
Having a dedicated team that’s up to date on state and federal employment laws can help your business stay compliant with HR-related regulations.
[Editor’s Note: Other considerations include compliance to certified payroll and prevailing wage requirements of the project if specified.]
5. Establishing a Solid Foundation
An easy—and often overlooked—way to help defend your business when faced with an audit or complaint from a regulatory agency is through an employee handbook.
Here are some items you might include:
- A code of conduct: This will discuss expectations of conduct in regard to ethics, dress code, workplace safety, attendance requirements, etc.
- Device-use policy: How and when employees can use company-owned devices, such as computers and phones.
- Anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies: Explain the anti-discrimination protections provided for all employees. Make a statement that harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated. You can go a step further and provide training for all employees.
- Compensation: This will be a review of employee benefits, time-off policies, payroll deductions, overtime pay, workers’ compensation, and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Transfer and separation policies: This goes over transfers and relocation, discipline, and termination policies.
- Acknowledgment: Have employees acknowledge in writing that they have received the handbook and either have a copy or know where to find it digitally.
Get More Help
It’s always been Insperity’s mission to help businesses succeed so communities prosper. At the heart of a successful business is its people. And when your people policy supports your business plan, you can do great things.
Don’t let HR-related compliance mistakes and missteps interrupt your path to success. With professional HR help, you can focus on business goals and anticipate the challenges your business may face.
Dannie Diego is a strategic alliances manager for Insperity, an NSCA Business Accelerator.
To learn more about preferred pricing on Insperity HR solutions for NSCA members, visit insperity.com/nsca.