The New Year brings with it a host of resolutions, from getting in shape to becoming more organized. While we typically think of setting personal goals around the first of the year, it's a great idea for businesses to make these resolutions, too! Here are 5 ways to help your company "shape up" and get better organized in 2013:
- Give your poster wall a thorough check-up. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and other federal and state agencies require that certain notices be provided to employees and/or posted in the workplace. Depending on the specific requirement and the circumstances, employers can be fined for noncompliance.
- The DOL's online Poster Advisor is a great resource to help you determine which of the agency's posters are required to be displayed at your place of business and also allows you to download and print required posters free-of-charge.
- Check with your state labor department for state-specific poster requirements as well as any industry-specific requirements that may apply to your business.
Make sure all of your posters are up-to-date and the correct size. Remember that poster requirements can change throughout the year, so be sure to perform a regular check-up to stay in compliance.
- Review your employee benefit plan documents. Employee benefit plans that you offer must comply with federal laws and regulations, including ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act), the Affordable Care Act (Health Care Reform), COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), and HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
- Check that all of your plan documents--including enrollment forms and employee communications--are accurate, consistent, and in compliance with applicable law. State laws (such as mini-COBRA requirements for companies with fewer than 20 employees) may also apply depending on your plan.
- Confirm your plan has adopted any changes that may be required under Health Care Reform, such as coverage of additional women's preventive services by non-grandfathered plans for plan years beginning on or after August 1, 2012.
- If you have a "grandfathered plan," you should evaluate whether any changes made to your group health plan in the past year with respect to benefits, costs or other changes result in a loss of grandfather status, which means the plan may no longer be exempt from certain requirements under Health Care Reform.
- Stay on top of notice requirements. Those same federal laws require employers and group health plans to provide employees with various notices on certain dates or upon the occurrence of certain events. With so many requirements, it's easy to get confused or forget to provide a notice, but the consequences can be very damaging to your business.
- Review and update, as needed, your job descriptions. A well-written job description ensures that your applicants and employees understand their roles and what they need to do to be accountable. It's a good idea to review job descriptions on a regular basis as tasks and requirements may change. In addition, you want to make sure you have realistic expectations about the jobs being performed.
- While you're at it, confirm that your workers are classified properly. Misclassifying employees can result in costly legal consequences.
- Classifying your workers as independent contractors versus employees will affect whether the worker is entitled to benefits, how much you pay in taxes, whether you need to withhold from your workers' paychecks, and what tax documents you need to file.
- And, remember that neither job titles nor job descriptions determine the exempt or non-exempt status of an employee. Rather, whether any particular employee is exempt (that is, not entitled to the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA) is based on whether the employee's compensation and specific job duties meet all the requirements for the exemption claimed. The DOL's FLSA Overtime Security Advisor can help you identify certain executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees who may be exempt.
The New Year is a great time to take stock of your company's compliance with important federal and state labor law requirements. Keep these resolutions in mind throughout 2013 so your company can stay in great shape!
Related: 2013 Health Care Reform Checklist
Image Credit: katerha