As you may have heard, the Senate and the House have passed budget resolutions that instruct Congressional committees to begin working on legislation to repeal parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Additionally, President Trump has signed an executive order calling upon federal administrative agencies to minimize the economic burden of the ACA, pending repeal of the law. While we do not have a crystal ball so we can’t predict what changes are coming, it is a new year and a good time to review your company’s compliance with current federal, state and local labor law requirements. The following includes a few highlighted items that HR professionals should be reviewing and updating annually, but can get put aside until another day. Well, “someday” is not one of the days of the week, so let’s make an action plan to address these items today. And since we all know that every year brings a new list of New Year’s resolutions which are often made and quickly abandoned, I thought providing a workable to-do checklist would help make sure that these New Year’s resolutions are completed. I’d like to thank our partners at HR360 who have provided the following 5 HR Compliance Resolutions for 2017 that can be worked on now and throughout the year,
# 1 – Give your poster wall a thorough check-up. It is very important that all of your workplace posters are current and the correct size.
The Federal posters include but are not limited to:
- EEOC – Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law
- FLSA – Fair Labor Standards Act (new version issued July 2016 and must be used as of August 1, 2016)
- FMLA – Family and Medical Leave Act
- OSHA – Job Safety and Health Protection
- USERRA – Uniformed Services and Reemployment Rights Act
Reminder, please check with your state labor department for any industry-specific poster requirements that apply to your business.
#2 – Stay on top of notice requirements. Under various laws, employers are required to provide employees with certain information about the benefits and responsibilities, including SPDs, Exchange Notices, Privacy Notices, COBRA, CHIP and more. Confirm that you have policies in place to consistently distribute as required, along with making sure the communications are accurate, consistent and in compliance with the applicable laws. Please note that CHIP and COBRA General Notice and Election Notice templates have been re-issued with a new expiration date.
#3 – Keep up recordkeeping. Now is the time to make sure that your recordkeeping procedures address any requirements related to confidentiality. Also, it is a perfect time to review the requirements regarding how long to keep the records and in what manner they are required to be stored for HIPAA compliance.
#4 – Review policies and procedures. This is a perfect time to review your company’s policies and procedures and make sure they comply with applicable labor laws relating to employee leave, equal employment opportunity, sexual harassment, worker safety as well as any other laws your firm is subjected to. Any updates need to be communicated to staff and should result in an updated Employee Handbook.
#5 – Confirm that your workers are classified properly. When we were all working to implement the FSLA legislation regarding exempt and non-exempt employee classification, it was discovered that many employers had misclassified employees. This could apply to independent contractors, which can result in costly legal consequences, as well as exempt status based on an individual’s compensation and specific job duties. It is also a good idea to review job descriptions at least annually, to update if tasks or requirements have changed.
Just a reminder that there have been no changes to PPACA at this time, so employers need to stay the course and continue to file and report according to all current laws.
I find that in times of change, it is helpful to focus on the known realities, such as the items listed above. Keeping these resolutions can help start your company off right in 2017. I wish you the best of luck and continued success in the New Year!
If you would like to learn more about the subject please contact Suzy Cline at 301.315.6779 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Suzy has been in the employee benefits industry for over thirty years and brings a wealth of knowledge to Insurance Associates. She has enjoyed success at all distribution levels of insurance, including roles at an independent agency, a carrier, an administrator and a national wholesaler. Her responsibilities have included positions in Customer Service, Sales and Marketing, Training, and Regional Management where she has been highly involved in consulting with employers on group health plans that would meet their company goals.
Suzy recently joined the Insurance Associates benefits team as the in-house Compliance Officer. She will use her knowledge and experience in the industry to educate and advise groups on the constantly evolving legislative requirements that are a central part of healthcare reform. Suzy will be responsible for conducting and overseeing research and development of “simple to understand” educational materials, as well as presenting and advising on the various aspects of health plan compliance to our clients. She will be keeping abreast of the changes in regulatory requirements and interpreting their meaning and effect on our client community.
Suzy obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland.