When did you last carry out an HR compliance check for your business? If it was a long time ago then you would want to move it up to the top of your to-do list.
Compliance with HR regulations has always been an area of great concern for any business.
If you intend to create an HR compliance checklist for your company, you are at the right place. This article will take you through a comprehensive list and will give you a starting point to work it out in your organization.
However, before you draw up a checklist, it will be a good idea to understand the nature of compliance and how you can structure it in your business.
What is HR Compliance?
HR compliance is a process of developing policies and procedures that ensure your work practices and employment are in line with the laws and regulations.
Along with employment laws, it is important to comply with federal, state, and local regulations.
The government agencies have increased their scope and frequency of audits clearly signaling businesses to comply or face the consequences.
4 Important Points to Remember
In order to avoid any hiccups and ensure the smooth running of your business, you would want to form policies and procedures that do not harm your business in any way. However, for that, you have to keep the following points in mind:
- A business must abide by employment laws and regulations imposed by federal, state, and local authorities.
- An enforcing agency can carry out business audits and has the authority to impose fines and penalties in case your company lacks compliance.
- No excuse such as not knowing the laws and regulations will prevent your company from getting penalized or defend your business from facing adverse consequences.
- In case of non-compliance, a lawsuit will be filed against your business which may result in your business losing its good standing and going bankrupt.
Every business faces compliance issues. The idea is to revolve them before they turn into lawsuits. This article also suggests ways in which you can handle compliance issues efficiently which you will explore towards the end.
HR Plays an Important Role in Compliance
HR’s role is not just about hiring, training, or retention. In order to carry out these administrative tasks seamlessly, HR has to bridge the gap between a company’s objectives and compliance practices. This is because compliance impacts activities like recruitment, employee retention, and development.
Therefore it is recommended that HR understands the company’s objectives and designs goals that support the company’s strategy and at the same time considers compliance implications.
HR Compliance Checklist
Recruiting, Interviewing, and On-Boarding Employees
Make sure your company has the following documents ready when hiring and interviewing:
- Create a template for offer letters, interview scripts, job descriptions, and candidate scorecards. Make sure that hiring is diverse and inclusive?
- 1-9 forms signed by new hires. Make sure HR verifies this document and stores it in a safe place.
- Documented policies in the employee handbook for:
- Make sure to keep application forms and interview evaluations safe to provide reasons to accept or reject a candidate.
- Carry out employee background checks but first, check with your state’s department of labor for guidelines.
- Avoid asking age-related questions in interviews
- Articulate interview questions based on a candidate’s eligibility for a certain position. You can also use any behavior assessment tool for that matter.
- Internal policies on how to conduct interviews
- Conduct frequent reviews on job descriptions of entry as well a managerial level.
Important on-Boarding Documents to Have
- Job descriptions for all positions
- Offer letter templates
- Rejection letter templates
- Employee files for new hires
- Orientation information for new hires
- Paperwork required after hiring such as wage deduction forms or tax withholding forms.
- Hiring applications
4 important Points To Remember when Structuring an Employee Application Form
HR must review job application forms to ensure that they fulfill the following requirements:
- Demonstrating the applicants that you provide equal opportunity to all employees
- Certify the applicant’s information as accurate
- Establish an employee-at-will relationship
- Limit the time period to take legal action against an employee be it civil or criminal
It is important that during onboarding new hires sign all forms including employee acknowledgment forms and employment law papers. Then, it is HR’s responsibility to maintain their confidentiality and keep them safe.
You also have to ensure that these documents are updated all the time in case you are asked to present them in case of any illegal activity in your company. Therefore, it is advisable to not lose or shred a single document without legal authorization.
Make sure to collect and review the following records:
- An employee file
- A sample medical file of employee
- Policies based on reviewing employee files
- Employment agreements
- Freelancer agreements
Some record-keeping techniques that you can follow are:
- Before making an employment offer, confirm whether the applicants are in any way bound to their previous employers.
- In the case of hiring freelancers, make sure they come under the category of classified employees.
- Ensure there i no confusion between employment contracts and offer letters.
- Keep employee medical records and employee personnel files separate from each other and maintain complete confidentiality.
It is necessary that you provide every employee with a copy of the employee handbook. Some of the guidelines to follow are:
- The handbook contains all the relevant information pertaining to employment laws and regulations.
- It also informs employees about the consequences of indulging in any criminal activity too.
- Keep updating the employee handbook to ensure all the information is correct and not misleading.
- All business policies, whether changed or corrected, should be given to the employees for their acknowledgment.
Timekeeping and Leave Management
Timekeeping and leave management are important processes that impact an employee’s payroll. Hence, it is necessary that HR maintains a complete record of them.
On the Clock Hours and Overtime
Employees must keep track of the number of hours worked along with the hours worked over and above regular working hours. This applies even when the employer did not authorize overtime.
However, according to the law, exempt employees cannot receive overtime payments.
The FLSA doesn’t mandate employers to provide lunch or rest breaks but some states do. If your company doesn’t provide breaks then the employer is obligated by FLSA to pay employees for breaks that last 20 minutes or less. This time must also be recorded as hours worked for calculating overtime pay for non-exempt workers.
Traveling to work from home and back doesn’t come under paid travel. However, if an employee is required to travel to another site or location for the purpose of work, then it will be considered compensable and as time worked only for non-exempt employees.
For employees who usually work from home, traveling to the office will be covered by underpaid travel.
Payroll, Compensation, and Benefits
An important step in the checklist is to review the employee payroll and benefits policies. It is advisable to go through Equal Pay Act in order to avoid any sort of discrimination.
Important Payroll Documents to Collect and Review
- Policies for leave request
- Record of all employees’ leave requests
- Up to date information on the number of hours worked for all employees
- Policies on overtime pay and compensation
- FMLA leave forms
- Policies on how to classify employees
Follow Best Employee Benefits Practice
- Pay employees based on their qualifications
- Keep reviewing all the benefits that your company offers such as unemployment benefits, compensation for workplace injuries, and a health plan in case you have more than 50 employees.
- Add voluntary benefits such as dental, life insurance, or rehabilitation services.
- Ensure that employees follow guidelines for leave policy, personal time off vacation, and sick leaves appropriately.
Employment Policies to Ensure Transparency and Efficiency
- Set a proper employee evaluation system to carry out fair performance reviews.
- Review your business’s drug testing policies to ensure they are in line with federal state and local authorities’ requirements.
- Set in place a policy that guides employees on how to use social media sites and social networking sites.
- Make sure you follow all safety and health laws.
It is important that employers classify employees according to the FLSA. They are either classified as exempt or non-exempt.
Exempt employees are those who are exempted from receiving overtime pay. They are usually categorized as professionals or executives. They are entitled to a salary instead of hourly pay.
Non-exempt employees, on the other hand, get overtime pay and receive minimum wage. They are usually blue-collar workers who receive pay according to the number of hours worked.
Equal Employment Opportunity
It is recommended that employers go through EEOC requirements to prevent any workplace discrimination. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prevents discrimination of employees based on color, race, origin, sex, and religion.
- Employers are prohibited to discriminate against employees on the basis of any disability according to the Title 1 of the Americans Disabilities Act.
- Discrimination of employees above the age of 40 is also illegal
- According to the Equal Pay Act, employees doing equal work should be paid uniformly regardless of gender.
Family and Medical Leave
According to FMLA, employers are required to give 12 weeks of unpaid leave to new parents, to look after a sick family member, and for other various reasons.
Affirmative Action Plan
In order to have HR compliance, the EEOC requires employers to formulate an Affirmative Action Plan when hiring employees. It is a diversity and inclusion plan that includes women, minorities, and the disabled for hiring and training in the organization.
Employers who have more than 50 employees have to create this plan. In case of not doing so, they can lose government funding.
Health and Safety
Under the Affordable Care Act, an employer with 50 or more employees has to provide healthcare to its employees. It is also important to include all the healthcare information in the employee handbook.
As part of HR compliance, some states require employers to provide sexual harassment training to their employees. For instance, it is mandatory for employers in New York and California to train their employees.
How to Maintain an Effective Check on HR Compliance in Your Business?
Ensuring HR compliance can be a tiresome job but there are 3 ways in which you can do it effectively:
Human Resource Audit
Carry out an internal human resource audit by analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of existing compliance situations. If you need a starting point, you can consult a subject matter expert or an enforcing government agency.
Train your HR department, managers, and supervisors on compliance matters because they play a vital role in everyday employment decisions.
Install a Monitoring Mechanism
Lastly to ensure that all compliance policies and procedures are being followed and up to date, install a monitoring mechanism. A thorough understanding of internal and external compliance matters will guide you in the right direction. You can set a plan to identify gaps and strengthen the overall compliance process.
AttendanceBot Simplifies Time Tracking and Leave Management for You
Do you want to make HR compliance easier for your business? Do you want to manage time tracking and leave swiftly and smoothly?
The solution lies in a tool called AttendanceBot.
It is a tool specifically designed for HR operations. Integrated with Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat, this tool will help you track your employees’ attendance with just a click.
You can easily pull out a report that will give you detailed information about:
- Number of hours an employee worked
- Number of extra hours an employee worked
- The exact time when they start and finish their work
- Number and duration of each break in a day
Additionally, AttendanceBot also makes employee scheduling easy. How?
Thi software comes with a feature that gives you an aerial view of how many employees are on leave on a particular day. Knowing this you can easily schedule employee shifts.
Apart from time tracking, AttendanceBot simplifies leave management for you. It speeds up the process for an employee who is planning to seek leave or vacation and for an employer who can give instant approval.
Have multiple offices spread across the country or globe? Don’t worry. AttendanceBot has got you covered again. You can get to know the employee strength of every office with just a click. Moreover, you can also narrow it down and find out which employees are deployed on ongoing projects.
You can explore more about AttendanceBot and its features by downloading it.