For small business owners charged with keeping up with employment law, the past 18 months have been something of a whirlwind.
Strict government compliance rules as they relate to the pandemic have begun to loosen. More and more individuals are being vaccinated. The President signed an executive order that individuals need not wear masks once fully vaccinated. Simultaneously, various state governors have decided to fully reopen and normalize life as we knew it pre-Covid.
The economy will be reopened. Along with this reopening, many small businesses will have some new rules to comply with.
Employment law changes constantly, and your HR people work hard to make sure that they stay abreast with these changes. Employment law compliance is paramount for running any successful small business.
Business and labor laws work hand in hand to ensure fairness and equity. Due to the pandemic, it’s been much more difficult to maintain compliance with certain labor laws. Regardless, small business employers must find a way to institute such compliances. In this article, we’ll touch briefly on the following five topics.
- Difficulties Business Owners Face to Remain Compliant in 2021
- Ways in Which Compliance Efforts by Business Owners Can Improve in 2021
- Coronavirus-Related Leave Laws
- Labor Law Alterations in 2021
- A Few Ways in Which A Business May Remain Compliant
Difficulties Business Owners Face to Remain Compliant in 2021
It’s evident that, due to the pandemic, businesses overall have found it quite difficult to comply with what’s known as the workplace poster requirement. This requirement requires a business owner to display posters or notices in the workplace.
This requirement is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD). What makes the requirement so difficult to comply with is the fact that most employees currently work from home. The main use of these posters is, obviously, for employees to have access.
It is worth reiterating that employment law compliance is of paramount importance.
However, it should also be noted that the Department of Labor stipulated that not all employers are required to post a specific notice as not all employers are covered by the statutes and regulations administered by the WHD.
To find out whether your small business requires a specific posting requirement, contact your State Department of Labor. Make sure you also keep up with new laws as regards the Family First Coronavirus Response Act and OHSA guidelines.
Ways in Which Compliance Efforts by Business Owners Can Improve in 2021
In an effort to achieve effective employment law compliance by employers, a few steps can be taken. These steps are as follows:
- Human Resources should keep abreast of the changing laws in terms of compliance. New employment laws are issued frequently in response to changes in the employment world. Your HR people should subscribe to various federal employment sites such as the Department of Labor for legislative updates.
- Efficacious remote communications must be implemented as a means of updating employees on various workplace changes. The best way to create effective remote communications might be through video calls, emails, or telephone calls. In any case, you should not prohibit the use of the phone, even if you can do it. Any means for effective remote communication must be enabled.
- Ensure that you keep records of message receipts from employees. This may be done whenever you issue a new notice. You should then obtain a signature from each employee to show proof that they received said notice.
- Invest in HR information systems. These systems ease the burden on HR management and are used to organize and simplify daily activities.
Coronavirus-Related Leave Laws
The U.S. has enacted new employment laws in its effort to combat the coronavirus. These laws are also used to aid employees seeking leave from their employers when symptoms arise. Just to name a few, employers must be familiar with:
- The Family First Coronavirus Response Act
- The Family and Medical Leave Act
- The Fair Labor Standards Act
- The Occupational Safety and Health Act
It’s also worth noting that the relevant sections of these acts must be posted for your employees to review.
Labor Law Alterations in 2021
As stipulated above, labor laws change constantly. Small business owners across the U.S should remain cognizant of all such changes. A few changes came about in 2021 which may or may not affect your small business. These changes include:
- an increase in minimum wages of federal contract employees to $10.95/hour;
- in order to combat identity theft, employers may display only the last four digits of an individual’s social security number; and
- 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 surveys must be submitted by private sector business owners who have more than 50 workers and at least 1 federal subcontractor contract worth a minimum of $50,000.00.
- This also applies to private sector business owners who have 100 or more workers.
A Few Ways in Which a Business May Remain Compliant
Here are a few simple tips to help your small business remain compliant during the pandemic and its aftermath:
- To comply with the workplace-specific notice posters, share them virtually with your employees.
- Keep proper records of receipts from issuing specific notices to employees.
- Update the employee handbook regularly.
- Stay current with regulations regarding workers’ compensation for remote employees.
Small business owners should remain cognizant of various labor law changes, the rights of business owners, and how to remain compliant.
Failure to remain compliant may result in penalties and fines.
Compliance can be difficult in certain instances. However, a good law firm can definitely help.
Business owners should also make sure they update their systems to ensure that their HR team may easily receive legislative updates. Doing so will inevitably keep a business up-to-date with labor compliance laws to ensure that your business can operate without hindrances.