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The expression “hindsight is 20/20” means that it’s easy to know the right thing to do after something bad has happened. As a Human Resources professional, I recommend that business owners make proactive decisions about employment policies and practices, rather than waiting to “close the barn door after the horse is gone.”
The beginning of a new year is a good time to review your business practices and plan for the future. Do you have someone “doing HR” or an HR professional who knows how to help you stay legally compliant? Most small business owners are handling HR themselves or have an administrative person who is doing the best that they can along with all of their other duties. Having a trained and experienced HR professional “on call” can help you with the following HR issues:
- Is your Employee Handbook current? Employment laws change frequently and your policies need to be updated. If you don’t have an Employee Handbook, you need one to document your policies and procedures so that employees know what is expected of them and so that you are consistent in how you handle situations.
• Do you have an “at-will” employment statement? Are you penalizing employees for not giving adequate notice when submitting resignation from employment?
• Do you have policies preventing discrimination, harassment and retaliation? Without written policies, complaint procedures and training, you may not have an “affirmative defense” if a claim is filed against your company.
• Do you have policies on code of conduct, social media and workplace violence?
- Is your Employment Application legally compliant? Are you asking for protected information that could result in discrimination claims? What questions can you legally ask in order to make good hiring decisions?
- Are you conducting background checks and/or drug screening once you make a job offer? Are you complying with legal requirements in these areas? What about medical marijuana (now legal in 47 states)?
- Do you have a correctly completed Form I-9 for every employee? The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is conducting more I-9 audits and worksite raids. Civil penalties for knowingly employing unauthorized immigrants can range from $539 to $21,563. Form I-9 paperwork violations carry a penalty of $216 to $2,156 per worker.
- Do you have written job descriptions that can be used to manage job performance? Do they include “essential job functions” that meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act?
- Are you paying employees correctly? Are jobs classified correctly as exempt or non-exempt from overtime? The salary test for overtime exemption is $35,568 effective January 1, 2020. Do you have employees or independent contractors?
- Are you making illegal payroll deductions for company equipment, etc.? What kind of payroll deductions can you legally make?
- Do you provide your employees with paid time off? If so, are you paying earned but unused leave upon termination of employment? Are you complying with State law on paid time off for jury duty?
- If you have more than 50 employees are you complying with the Affordable Care Act? Do employees who decline coverage sign a waiver?
- If you have more than 50 employees in a 75-mile radius are you complying with the Family Medical Leave Act? If you have less than 50 employees are you complying with leave requirements of the Louisiana Fair Employment Act?
An HR professional can help you with all of your human resources needs. From hiring the right employees, running background checks, creating employee handbooks that include anti-harassment policies and procedures, and so much more, Next Level Solutions can work with you to provide the services that you need to run your business.
Don’t risk being out of compliance or letting your employee handbook become obsolete; give us a call today to see how we can become your human resources partner.