With the holiday season well underway, here are six items we think should be on every HR department’s to-do list for the new year.
1. Update Your Workplace Policies and Employee Handbooks
There have been a lot of developments at the federal, state and local levels this past year that may require new or updated workplace policies and employee handbooks. From EEO to reasonable accommodations to leave and more, there have been plenty of changes.
Ideally, you’ve been keeping up with them as they come out. If you have, the start of a new year is a great time to double-check that you haven’t missed anything important. And if not … well, better late than never! XpertHR’s Employee Handbooks resource is constantly updated to help ensure policy statements and guidance reflect all of these changes.
2015 was the Year of the Local Minimum Wage Hikes, with new ordinances passed in the following places, just to name a few:
- Birmingham, Alabama;
- Los Angeles;
- Los Angeles County;
- Lexington-Fayette County, Kentucky;
- Louisville, Kentucky;
- Portland, Maine;
- New York City (for fast food employees); and
- Tacoma, Washington.
(Ordinances also were passed in St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, although they were later voided and superseded by state law.)
These locales join more than a dozen other municipalities, including Chicago and Seattle, that already have minimum wage ordinances. Even if your company is not physically located in one of these municipalities, you should still pay attention. These ordinances typically apply to nonexempt employees who perform at least two hours of work within the geographical limits of the city or county – meaning they may apply to employees who work from home, attend conferences or otherwise do business there.
3. Deck the Halls With the Latest Workplace Posters
Many states and municipalities require that you put up posters informing employees about wages and hours, paid sick leave, workplace safety and other rights. Many posters have been added or updated for 2016. You can find them in our Update Workplace Posters for New Year 2016.
4. Get Ready for New FLSA Overtime Rules
The minimum salary for employees exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act is expected to double from about $24,000 per year to $50,000 per year under new regulations coming soon from the US Department of Labor. Final regulations are scheduled to be published July 2016 and then take effect 60 days later, but the US Solicitor of Labor has said they may not be released until later in the year.
Regardless of when the regulations take effect, you should take steps to prepare now. The main thing to do is to weigh the cost of giving raises to employees who are currently exempt but make less than $50,000 per year against the cost of reclassifying those employees as nonexempt and paying them overtime.
5. Report ACA Information to Employees and the IRS
The deadlines for new Affordable Care Act information-reporting requirements are approaching fast. Reports must be sent to individual employees by January 31, and filed with the IRS by February 29 (on paper) or March 31 (electronically). XpertHR’s Prepare for ACA Reporting Requirements will help you fulfill this crucial task with How To’s, FAQs, sample forms and many other resources.
6. Meet Accelerated W-2 Deadlines
The deadline for filing Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, will arrive on January 31 for employers in Alabama, Connecticut, Indiana, North Carolina and Utah – a month or two earlier than in years past. Deadlines, filing thresholds and acceptable media for these and other states can be found in the Form W-2 Electronic-Filing Requirements by State Quick Reference chart. Several other helpful resources can be found in Plan a Successful Payroll Year-End.