HR’s Top Five to Watch for in 2016 And What to Do Now

 

Sandra Hoyle-Smith, SPHR

Sandra Hoyle-Smith, SPHR


#5 LGBTQ
Review your policies to ensure that they do not discriminate against the LGBT community. If you have an EEOC policy (which you should) ensure that it expands the anti-discrimination protections to include transgender individuals or sexual orientation. Also, you must provide same-sex married couples the same health and retirement benefits that you would offer to others. Meaning the definition of the word “spouse” needs to include same-sex partners.
 

#4 Ban the Box
Many states, counties and cities, including the City of Austin, have banned the box, which means they took the question about criminal history off of their employment application and they are not running a background check on the majority of new hires.
 

Luckily we live in Texas which has not yet joined the other 19 states that have banned the box. You should however, follow best practices and only have those candidates who come in for a personal interview complete an employment application and only those that you’ve made an offer of employment to complete the background check authorization form.
 

#3 Independent Contractor Status
The “common law control test” was the prevalent test for determining whether an employment relationship existed at the time that the FLSA was enacted. However, now the courts use the multi-factorial “economic realities” test, which focuses on whether the worker is “economically dependent” on the employer or in business for him or herself.1
 

Audit any independent contractor you have working for you and use the DOL’s “economic realities test” which you can find by going to http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs13.htm
 

#2 Class Action Lawsuits
In the last 12 months, 37% of companies have faced a class-action lawsuit.2 According to Seyfarth Shaw, the top 10 settlements in employment related categories totaled $2.48 billion in 2015, compared with $1.87 billion in 2014. The DOL and the EEOC obtained a total of $82.8 million in settlements during 2015, rebounding from an 8-year low of $39.45 million obtained in 2014.
 

Know which employment laws your business falls under and ensure you are in compliance. You will also want to audit your employee’s FLSA status and those of any Independent Contractor’s you may have and make the necessary changes.
 

#1 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
With the pending proposed FLSA rule – which is set to go into effect later this year – now is the time to prepare for the changes. The proposed change with the biggest impact is the change from $23,660 to $50,440 as the minimum salary for exempt level positions.

 

Start communicating now with your employees about the proposed changes and what it may mean to them. This is especially important if you have exempt employees who will be reclassified as nonexempt. You should also look at what the proposed rule will do your business and the bottom line. Now would be the time to create models showing what the impact may be to your workforce, as well as the financial impact. Continue to monitor the developments of the proposed rule, as there could be changes between now and when it is effective.

 

 

 

 

1 DOL Wage and Hour Division: Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1
2 Norton Rose Fulbright


Williamson County Clients!
Please Join Us for Our Inaugural Breakfast Bites for Business

Expert Panel will Discuss Hot Topics Affecting Small Businesses in 2016
Including Sandra Hoyle-Smith Who Will be Speaking on the Above Issues
Panel also Includes Trey Axe from KindHealth and Frank Leffingwell of Leffingwell Law

7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Friday, February 19th at R Bank in Round Rock (next to the Dell Diamond on Hwy. 79)
Please RSVP to Holly Coe at hcoe@b2-mgmt.com


As a full-service management consulting firm, B2 partners with our clients to deliver solutions that help solve their most complicated needs. Utilizing decades of industry experience and functional expertise, we can assist you in growing your business in a strategic way and help prepare you for the future.

We recognize that not all companies can support a full-time CFO, COO, or Office Manager and small to mid-size companies may only need minimal assistance with bookkeeping, billing, tax and human resources. Our management experience can allow even the smallest of companies to have an administrative partner. B2 Management & Consulting can provide efficient solutions for the day-to-day management of your office.
B2 Management & Consulting
1601 Rio Grande Street, Suite 348
Austin, TX 78701
512-381-1500
www.b2-mgmt.com

B2 Management & Consulting is not a CPA firm

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