Ever-changing employment regulations make HR compliance quite complex. You may have to revise your processes and employee handbook or complete documents – all of which takes time away from running your business. But no matter how busy you are, HR compliance should remain a priority or you run the risk of penalties and lawsuits.
Our HR experts team helps you to
Develop and document company policies to keep everyone on the same page and make workforce management easier.
- Prepare a detailed cognitive and comprehensive checklist to aid in the completion of HR procedures. It essentially serves as a guide to make sure that everything is running smoothly and as per applicable HR regulations.
- Ensure the company meets all legalities concerning employee treatment while making sure employees understand workplace handbooks, codes of contact, and similar issues.
- Provide adequate communication to managers and employees about compliance requirements and HR performance.
What is employee compliance?
Employee compliance is achieved when workers are familiar with all of the laws that govern their industry or job and know how to conduct business in a professional and ethical manner. It often requires procedural training and encouragement to learn from mistakes. Simply punishing compliance failures causes fear and anxiety and may lead to workers covering up errors instead of reporting them.
What is the role of HR in compliance?
HR’s role is to create a culture of integrity. Businesses that do this well often have:
- Consistent employee communication and education
- Executive leaders who are champions of ethics and compliance
- Ways for employees to report unethical activity
- Policies that are applied fairly at every organizational level
HR Compliance Issues
From hiring to termination or retirement, HR compliance issues tend to arise throughout the course of the employee lifecycle. Some examples include:
Discriminatory Job Listings
Recruitment ads shouldn’t use any language that shows a preference for a candidate based on protected information or characteristics. This includes, but is not limited to, race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, or disability. Even asking for “recent college graduates” may be considered discriminatory.
Inappropriate Interview Questions
During an interview, avoid asking questions that reveal protected characteristics, pry into a candidate’s personal life or disclose affiliations unrelated to the role. Inquiring about any of these topics may not only offend a potential employee but also can also expose you to employment discrimination lawsuits. Instead, ask questions that let candidates demonstrate their skills. And if a candidate does reveal a disability and makes a reasonable request for accommodations, you can’t refuse to hire him or her on this basis.
Illegal Criminal Background Checks
Background checks should be conducted by someone other than the hiring manager and only after a conditional offer of employment has been made to a candidate. Some cities and states also have “Ban the Box” laws that prohibit employers from asking a candidate about their criminal history before a certain point in the hiring process.
Employees and job candidates alike expect their personal information to be kept confidential. Save completed applications, resumes, and other paperwork in a secure location and never leave them lying around the office for others to see. All documentation should be stored appropriately and accessible only by authorized individuals within your organization.
Because it affects overtime wages and tax payments, misclassifying a worker can sometimes result in steep penalties. To handle classifications properly, you must first distinguish employees from independent contractors. IRS Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding can help if you’re unsure. Next, determine which employees are non-exempt as they will be entitled to minimum wage and overtime.
Improper Training or Orientation
Orientation helps new hires get acquainted with your business operations and learn your policies and code of conduct. Employees who understand appropriate behaviors and how to report harassment and other incidents can help limit your risk of lawsuits. It’s also sometimes beneficial to have new employees shadow their coworkers for the first few days so they know how to work safely and productively.
Inaccurate Payroll and Tax Payments
Paying employees correctly and on time is essential to maintaining workforce morale and avoiding wage claims. You also need to calculate payroll taxes and file them with government agencies or risk being audited or fined. Using a payroll service to automate the calculations, tax deductions, and payments can help improve accuracy and compliance and may save you time.
Employee leave is challenging because you must balance complying with federal, state, and local leave laws and maintaining productivity. To reduce your liability, ensure your policies and leave administration processes abide by all applicable regulations.
Unfair Pay Practices
In addition to the Equal Pay Act, a national law that mandates equal pay for equal work, several states have legislation addressing gender pay inequality. And while you may fully intend to abide by these laws, gender pay gaps can develop inadvertently over time due to recruitment, transfers, and promotions. Running regular pay audits under the advice of your counsel can help prevent this scenario.
Inadequate Health Coverage
Health insurance is a benefit that many employers offer to their employees, but it may also be a requirement depending on the size of your business. If you have 50 or more full-time or full-time-equivalent employees, you are bound by the Affordable Care Act to provide coverage or face penalties. Additionally, the health plan must be affordable and offer minimum value by ACA standards.
Mismanaged Workers’ Compensation
When job-site accidents happen, workers' compensation claims must be filed as soon as possible. Insist that your employees report accidents immediately and instruct managers on the proper way to submit claims. You can further minimize your risk by knowing the accident trends in your industry and implementing safety programs to prevent avoidable injuries.
Employees may be disgruntled for any number of reasons, but cooler heads must prevail. Firing someone on the spot or in a moment of anger can put you in jeopardy of wrongful termination lawsuits. Mishandled exits also hurt the morale of the remaining employees. By regularly requesting and acting on feedback from your staff, you can address workplace issues before they result in a conflict or resignation.
Unpaid Final Wages
Most states have laws addressing when and how final wages must be paid. Some require you to issue a paycheck on the employee’s last day of work, so it’s important to check the regulations in your local area. You should also promptly update your records to prevent overpayment. An automated payroll system properly integrated with other HR tools can help ensure that employees only receive the wages and benefits they’re entitled to.