Workforce compliance: five things you need to know

Ensure compliance and protect your organization.

Articles

With increased government scrutiny and potential for fines and penalties, it is more important than ever to ensure workforce compliance.

To keep you compliant, and to keep you protected, here are five things every employer should know:

Leave benefits

While certain types of paid leaves are required by law, other types are voluntarily provided by employers. Although some benefits are regulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you might be surprised to discover those that are not. Sick pay and vacations, for example, are not regulated by the FLSA. However, certain employees may be entitled to reasonable amounts of unpaid, job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for reasons such as the birth of a child or to care for a seriously ill family member. Here's where it gets tricky: not everyone is eligible for coverage and employees do not need to mention the FMLA by name when requesting time off for family or medical-related reasons, leaving you stuck with the burden of obtaining and verifying medical information related to their leave request.

Health benefits

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or "Obamacare" as it's commonly called, does not require businesses to provide health benefits to their employees – but don't be fooled thinking you're off the hook completely. If you employ 50 or more workers, you may face penalties for failing to make affordable coverage available. In order for coverage to be considered affordable, at least 60 percent of covered health care expenses must be paid by the insurance company and employees must not pay more than 9.5 percent of family income for coverage.

Labor

If you do not employ unionized workers, you might be surprised to discover that your organization is still subject to the requirements of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). With only a few exceptions, the NLRA applies to all private employers who are engaged in interstate commerce. Under the act, employees are guaranteed the right to join a union and bargain with their employers if they wish to do so. However, the NLRA also provides protection for employers, including the prohibition of employees going on strike for reasons unrelated to employment terms and conditions.

Additionally, as laws related to the Affordable Care Act begin to develop or fall in place, it's important to be knowledgeable on the dangers of misclassifying workers. Be sure to read up on the specifics to avoid a violation.

Safety

Nearly all employers are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to establish action plans for preventing and responding to emergencies in the workplace. Employers must have a medical first aid kit on site, and they also must let employees know about any hazardous materials in the workplace.

Diversity

Equal Employment Opportunity laws protect employees from being discriminated against based on a number of reasons: race, gender, religion, disability, age, and even political affiliation. There are certain exceptions, however. If age is a “bona fide occupational qualification” (BFOQ), you may take it into account when hiring or promoting an employee. BFOQs are rare and typically arise because of safety concerns. For example, it is not against the law to place a limit on the age of airline pilots.

Interested in learning more about how we can help your workforce stay compliant? Contact us today.

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