The landscape for small and medium size businesses is constantly evolving. Every year brings new HR requirements for business owners to navigate. Here are HR topics and trends that are likely to be top priorities for businesses in 2019, as well as some tips to help employers prepare for the year ahead.
Several states and municipalities are increasing their minimum wage rates for non-exempt employees as of July 1, 2018. While it may seem like a no-brainer that some of your employees’ wages will need to be increased to meet these new requirements, there are other considerations that your company will want to address.
Here are some of the most notable topics and issues we think your business should know about and our guidance on preparing for the effects they’ll have on your business.
One of the biggest HR trends that is sure to continue in 2018 is equal pay. Equal pay—particularly related to gender—has been a stubborn issue for many industries. Many states and municipalities are taking it upon themselves to enact laws aimed at further addressing pay equity. We recommend employers make implementing equitable compensation practices a priority in 2018.
H-1B visas are the primary way U.S. employers recruit and hire foreign national professionals and students. With the new regulations and proposed modifications, the H-1B process has become increasingly difficult.
Mental health parity describes the equal treatment of mental health conditions and substance use disorders in insurance plans. It is important for business owners to be aware of laws around mental health parity to avoid contracting with an insurance carrier whose plan design does not meet the standard. True mental health parity may be a work in progress but as an employer, you can take steps to minimize the impact of mental health issues in the work environment.
A flurry of new laws will sweep California starting on January 1, 2018, impacting California businesses of all sizes. These laws run the gamut, affecting parental leave, hiring, minimum wage and expanded harassment training. Let’s dive in to a few of these changes in more detail and what you need to know to prepare.
The issue of sexual harassment has received a lot of public attention recently as news stories have thrust it into the forefront of our social narrative. However, sexual harassment is still not clearly understood by many people, including some business owners and managers. This article is intended as a general guide to help businesses better understand sexual harassment in the workplace, take steps to prevent it and properly respond to allegations of sexual harassment.
We expect that ICE will be conducting record numbers of worksite enforcement investigations, criminal prosecutions and audits for inspections and administrative fees. These ICE audits and investigations can result in employers having to settle technical violations for administrative shortcomings, even if they do not have an undocumented worker on payroll.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lays the foundation for the responsibilities of employers with 15 or more employees with respect to disabled applicants and employees. Failure to comply with the ADA can result in the loss of valuable employees and damaged morale, and may come with a hefty price tag.
On September 5, 2017, U.S. Secretary General Jeff Sessions announced an end to the DACA program. Under this directive, Acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine C. Duke has rescinded the 2012 memorandum. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has initiated a phase out of the DACA program by providing a limited six-month window to adjudicate certain pending and renewal DACA cases. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is no longer accepting initial (first time) DACA applications. TriNet will be monitoring changes to the DACA program and how they affect small and midsize businesses (SMBs). In the meantime, here are answers to common questions about how the DACA rescission announcement will affect SMBs and their current employees.
Terminating employees is often difficult and always fraught with considerable legal risk. But there are several key best practices you can follow that can ease the transition and help protect your business.
We previously talked about the unemployment benefits appeals process. Here we’ll turn our focus to helping you prepare for the unemployment hearing process.
In our last installment of The Unemployment Road Map, we discussed the importance of timely, sufficient and adequate responses to state requests for claim information. Once you, as the employer, have submitted the claim response and all the relevant documentation, it can take up to 30 days for your state to determine the claimant’s eligibility for benefits.. If either party is dissatisfied with the decision, they have the right to appeal. If either party chooses to file an appeal, the state must be notified. Upon receipt of the appeal request, the state will schedule an unemployment benefits claim hearing.
Here are three things that you, as an employer, should be thinking about doing (even if not legally required) to ensure a successful return to work when an employee is ready to return from maternity or paternity leave.
If employers aren’t compensating employees for off-the-clock work, they could be guilty of violating the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and subject to costly liabilities. However, the challenge is accurately accounting for and determining if certain activities are off-the-clock.
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance, purchased by an employer, to cover a portion of lost wages and related medical expenses arising from work-related accidents. This insurance also provides some security for employers by providing benefits regardless of who is at fault.
Addressing a claim of sexual harassment is a difficult and sensitive situation. Here is more information on how to identify and prevent sexual harrassment, as well as what to do if you suspect sexual harrassment has occurred.
Separation issues represent the largest cause of overpayments that employers can control. Inaction on the part of employers, including either the failure to respond to state requests for information or responding with inadequate information, can contribute significantly to benefit overpayments.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released their Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for fiscal years 2017-2021, and it raises some interesting questions for employers. One of the changes that the EEOC has made to the most recent SEP is a focus on complex employment issues related to the “on-demand economy,” also known as the “gig economy.”
Unlike voluntary terminations, there are different types of involuntary terminations.They include layoffs and terminations for misconduct or terminations for performance issues. Involuntary termination can be quite complex, but proper documentation of employment issues is invaluable to effectively protesting claims and keeping unemployment insurance rates low.
Legalization of marijuana has been one of the fastest moving trends in the country. Moving through the haze of state and federal laws on the legal status of marijuana can be difficult. However, if employers take a step back, they will see that it should mostly be “business as usual” at their workplace. To effectively deal with this issue, employers should consider these three steps.
As you probably already know, President Trump issued an executive order on Friday Jan. 27, 2017 titled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” This order can potentially have far reaching impact on your employees if they are citizens of the seven countries identified in it. As your trusted business partner, TriNet stands ready to assist you and your employees interpret and understand the consequences of this order.
In the world of unemployment benefits claims, “termination” simply the end of an employment relationship. There are generally two types of terminations – voluntary and involuntary. In this post, we’ll focus on unemployment benefits claims based on voluntary terminations.
The new year brings a new administration in the White House starting Jan. 20. Many in the HR community predict that the new administration will also bring a host of regulatory changes that could impact you and your business. In the second part of our two-part series, we highlight more issues that you should keep an eye on as you plan for 2017.
As you may have heard, a federal court issued an order blocking the new Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rule from taking effect on December 1, 2016. Many businesses had already made plans to implement changes based on the anticipated effective date, but now that the rule has been delayed, perhaps indefinitely, they are wondering what to do next.
2017 brings many changes, including a new administration in the White House starting Jan. 20. Many in the HR community predict that the new administration will also bring a host of regulatory changes that could impact you and your business. In this two-part series, we have compiled a list of key issues that you should keep an eye on as you plan for 2017.
While the states set unemployment insurance (UI) rates, employers can control costs by implementing best practices when it comes to hiring. Correct hiring and onboarding procedures can improve your UI rates and help you keep more of your firm’s revenue.
With the new overtime rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) going into effect on December 1, 2016, employers should be making their final decisions and preparing to comply with the new requirements.
If you have at least one paid employee, then your business is required by law to display compliant versions of state and federal workplace posters in a conspicuous area visible and frequented by all employees. It is also important to remember to monitor the labor and employment laws due to the ongoing changes that occur. Failure to do so can result in substantial fines.
Even the best employment relationships eventually come to an end and sometimes, when they do, they result in the former employee filing for unemployment benefits. If you’ve received an unemployment claim and are not experienced with the process, you will likely have some questions. This blog series, The Unemployment Road Map, is a resource that TriNet offers to provide you with guidance on this journey.
If an employee cries foul, employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) can be a company’s best friend. This unsettling situation, which immediately draws a company into a potentially nightmarish legal, HR and financial maze, is one that few business leaders foresee.
Recently, we have seen a large increase in the number of conversations we are having with our customers about implementing paid maternity leave polices. We’d like to help you think about what you should consider if you are contemplating offering a paid leave benefit.
In the past, the use of independent contractors was a logical way for small and midsize businesses to reduce labor-related costs and risks in an effort to grow their business. However, the line between who is truly an independent contractor and who is an employee, as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), has been somewhat murky.
One of your employees has just come to you telling you that she is pregnant. You know this is good news. You are trying to act like you are thrilled. But at that moment, you can really only think about one thing - what this means for the company. What you should do now is take a deep breath and accept the fact that you need to dive head-first into the deep end of HR. It’s going to be okay.
California-based employers with five or more employees must now comply with amended anti-discrimination regulations regarding the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) that went into effect on April 1, 2016.
If you don’t currently offer your employees a retirement plan, you may want to pay attention. At both the state and federal level, the government is continuing to push legislation to make mandatory retirement plans a reality. More than 25 states have proposed legislation to create a mandatory retirement plan for private-sector companies that don’t currently offer their employees a plan.
Employers in New York City have undergone a lot of mandatory changes to employment laws already this year. The most recent one, which NYC employers will need to implement by July 1, 2016, is the New York City Commuter Benefits Law. Under this new law, NYC employers with 20 or more full-time, non-union employees must offer their full-time employees the opportunity to use pre-tax income to purchase qualified transportation fringe benefits.
All too often, small business managers think, “my business is in an at-will state, which means we can terminate someone’s employment for any reason or for no reason at all, right?” Wrong. There are a number of exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine.
My colleague Jon Sider recently wrote about California becoming the first state to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour. These historic changes to minimum wage laws are also continuing in New York City, where new paid family leave laws have also been implemented.
With increasing frequency, states are adopting "wage theft” bills. Because of this, TriNet has made the move to protect our clients by having worksite employees (WSEs) authorize their payroll deductions with us directly. l
Effective May 4, 2016, “caregiver” has been added to the list of protected classifications under the New York City Human Rights Law. This amendment is designed to protect employees and applicants for employment from discrimination because of their actual or perceived status as a caregiver.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is in the process of amending the overtime exemption rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Currently, the FLSA provides an exemption from overtime pay for employees who meet certain tests regarding their job duties and who are paid on a salary basis at no less than $455 a week.
This new rule would dramatically increase the number of employees eligible for overtime pay by the end of 2016. Under the proposed new regulations, the threshold for exempt status would go from $23,600 per year ($455 per week) to $50,440 per year ($970 per week) – an amount in the 40th percentile of earnings for full-time salaried workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The DOL estimates that this increase in salary threshold for exempt status would affect approximately five million workers, making them eligible for overtime pay. In California alone, 420,000 workers would be affected.
Why the increase in exempt status salary?
President Obama directed the DOL to change their minimum pay for exempt status because more and more employees worked in excess of 40 hours per week for pay that would put them below the federal poverty threshold. The wage threshold hasn’t changed since 2004, which is the only time it has been updated since the 1970s. Importantly, the new regulation would also include changes to the salary threshold every year, based on wage growth and inflation.
Compliance is a hot topic right now, with news stories coming out every day about companies in trouble for everything from regulatory missteps to downright illegal business activity. In fact, TriNet recently commissioned a survey of 1,000 small business owners and discovered that a whopping 73 percent of them find it easier to raise their revenue by five percent than to keep their business fully compliant with government regulations.
On the other hand, the result of non-compliance – from cutting corners, negligence or simple ignorance of the laws governing your business – can result in hefty fines or even the loss of your company.
Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, compliance can be a confusing and daunting topic. Unfortunately, it is also a topic that touches on almost every aspect of your business. As lawyers and lawmakers are busy piling regulations on your business, it can seem that there may be no light in this fog of laws and requirements. How are you supposed to focus on your business when your days are spent constantly maintaining compliance?