The HR Strategist: March 2019
In this issue:
- 5 Unknown Compliance Mistakes
- How We can Help
In our monthly HRi Spotlights, we have been stressing the importance of remaining compliant with policies and laws. Regardless of business size, new policies should not be ignored, as it is still a requirement to follow and comply to the same laws and regulations whether big or small. Within this newsletter, we suggest businesses review the following points and update their policies based on current internal structure and process.
- Incorrectly Classifying Employees
Determining whether an employee should be classified as exempt (not paid overtime), or non-exempt (paid overtime), is not a choice for companies to make. Therefore, a handful of factors need to be taken into consideration, and the Department of Labor (DOL) has very specific rules that must be followed. Factors such as job responsibilities, job duties and pay rate all determine if an employee is, or is not, exempt from being paid overtime. Most individuals believe “white-collar” jobs, such as positions based in an office, are automatically classified as “exempt”. However, if the employee has no authority in decision-making or input on how they may perform their work, they likely should receive overtime and be considered “non-exempt”. It is important to confirm the company’s employee classifications are correct during the new hire process, as there are specific requirements for the record keeping of attendance and time-sheet entry for exempt vs. non-exempt.
- Handling New Hire Paperwork Improperly
Although hiring a new employee sounds easy enough, there are a handful of pieces that tend to be skipped or overlooked. For example, it has been shown the biggest item overlooked during the new hire process is the I-9 Form. Within the new hire paperwork, the I-9 is one of the most important pages, and many businesses fail to check the key elements. These key elements include accurate and current eligible-to-work documents, full completion of the form by the employer, and keeping the form on record. To assure all sections are completed and proper identification is provided, copied, and kept on file, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide the employee with a list of acceptable documents. By providing onboarding employees with a list and description of what documents are acceptable, employers can complete the I-9 within the required 3-days from the employee’s hire date. If the deadline is not met within these 3-days, the employer is subject to multiple fines. Employers must keep all active employee files on record, and all I-9’s must be kept current. However, for purposes of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), an employer is only required to keep a former employee’s paperwork on record for 3 years from the term date; while all other former employee benefit information must be retained for only 1 year.
- Disregarding Regulations of Safety
By ignoring state and federal policies, employers are putting their business and employees at risk. Regardless of company size, a business cannot ignore the regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). To assure one’s company is following OSHA’s General Duty Clause, it is important to provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards. Employers must maintain knowledge and must communicate information to their employee’s about specific safety rules to follow. The best practices include mandatory training sessions, informative staff meetings, and Labor Law posters within the workplace. In the case there is an accident, one must act immediately. The government requires businesses to record any and all injuries that involve lost time using the OSHA-300 form. If an employer fails to file or track an incident, their in-compliance can jeopardize their business.
- Failure to Keep Current
The number of employment laws has tremendously grown within the last few years and failing to keep up is one of the top HR mistakes business owners can make. By keeping up with the agencies that govern areas like,
- Sick Leave Policies
- Overtime Pay Laws
- Local, State and Federal Family Leave Laws
- Workplace Safety and Health Laws
businesses can assure they are maintaining compliance and are remaining current with any changes to the policies or laws. If a business fails to stay up-to-date, there are many penalties and fines associated.
- Compliance during Rapid Growth
As companies grow bigger, and employees become more involved, employers begin to expose themselves to greater compliance issues. Therefore, as a company expands, the probability of overseeing the capturing of key data increases. When rapid growth occurs, there becomes a higher demand of paperwork, customer service, updated benefit packages and handbooks, and the list continues. Laws and regulations are near impossible to keep up with, and a business owner’s focus is typically on confirming employees are well-trained, working efficiently, and are happy. However, to keep up with the changes it is suggested to find other resources to help, such as outsourced companies like Human Resources inc. (HRi). As rapid growth arises, business owners need to focus on the Operations of their company and put the “dirty work” in someone else’s hands. By partnering with HRi, we can confirm our clients are following the ever-changing policies and will be there to answer any questions along the way.
Human Resources inc. wants to assist every business in making sure they are not at risk. We believe all companies, big or small, deserve the same amount of attention and focus. As policies continuously update and change, we stay informed and promise to provide our clients with a peace of mind. Thank you for reading, and be sure to keep following along, as HRi will be frequently posting informative pieces!