Remote Work Regulations: How Remote Work is Impacting HR Policies

This article was submitted by our friends at Wagner, Falconer and Judd & The Compliance Center

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred an unprecedented work-from-home environment that has yet to return to the familiar pre-pandemic workplace environment. Employees continue to insist on remote work arrangements that are far more flexible than conventional workplace arrangements allow.

This shift has changed the workplace landscape in numerous ways. One difference is that employees now work from states in which companies hadn’t previously operated. This raises concerns about rules and regulations surrounding remote work and how it impacts HR policies.

If circumstances surrounding remote workers aren’t properly managed, significant burdens for HR departments and administrators could be created. When remote work crosses state lines, it can be trouble for employers, starting with tax implications, wage and hour law violations, and more.

How Is Remote Work Impacting HR Policies?

HR policies at many companies that have remained unchanged for decades are suddenly being challenged, disrupted, and altered at a record pace. Companies must be aware of numerous laws that guide every state in which they have employees working from home, including:

  • Paid sick leave laws
  • Wage and hour laws
  • Medical leave laws
  • Rest break and meal laws
  • Overtime pay laws

Remote work significantly impacts HR in many ways. Companies are responsible for knowing when to register their business with the local unemployment division, when to withhold the new state’s payroll taxes, and when to register for the state’s workers’ compensation program.

What Impact Has Remote Work Had on Payroll?

One of the biggest questions employers have about how remote work impacts payroll has to do with what kinds of fines companies can face if their employees are remotely working from a state that they failed to disclose to the employer.

The short answer is that the employer can still be held liable for expensive wage and hour claims for failing to pay proper wages. This is especially the case with overtime work.

For example, employees are paid overtime wages in California if they work more than eight hours a day. They also get paid double time if they work more than 12 hours in a day.

If an employer isn’t aware that the employee is working remotely from California, they will likely miss paying overtime that is lawfully due to the employee. This is where the expensive claims can come in for failure to pay wages properly.

How Can Companies Ensure They Have Accurate Employee Data When Workers Are Remote?

There are several ways employers can ensure their records are kept up to date. One of the best ways is to adopt and enforce a policy that requires employees to notify the HR department of any changes that take place concerning the employee’s work location.

In addition, employers must always monitor the paperwork that comes in completed by employees and look for insight into where the employee is located. This paperwork can include tax withholding documents, business expense reimbursement forms, and direct deposit forms.

Will the U.S. Mimic European Legislation Regarding Remote Workers on a Federal or State Level?

It’s unlikely that the U.S. will mimic the legislation some European countries enact regarding remote workers. Some EU countries have adopted laws carving out the right for employees to request the ability to work from home. However, it’s unlikely that similar legislation will follow in the U.S.

Even though many state legislatures have enacted employee-friendly policies on a litany of topics, there just isn’t an appetite at the federal level for laws that dictate when employers are required to allow remote work. Those decisions are typically left to individual company preferences.

It’s possible that some states, like California and New York, could enact this type of legislation despite the federal government not doing so. However, because many industries are incompatible with remote work, this kind of legislation is difficult. Three years into the pandemic, no legislation has been forthcoming thus far.

Remote Work Regulations and Other Laws

Employers must remember that the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws consider remote work a reasonable accommodation in some situations, even though states don’t require that employers allow employees to work remotely.

Therefore, before categorically denying an employee’s remote work request, employers should consider that other laws may be at play.

If you’re working to stay compliant with remote work regulations, our team at The Compliance Center could be an excellent resource for you. Please connect with Chris Kelly to learn more.


Top 5 Mistakes Your HR Department Is Making

Your HR department has a lot on its plate. Aside from playing a critical role in your company’s hiring processes, they also must consider local, state, and federal regulations that can negatively impact your organization if not correctly followed. With all they must manage, it’s important to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Here are five top errors typical in HR departments and how to overcome them.

Outdated Employee Handbooks

While you may not think much has changed in your organization’s structure or hiring processes, you might be surprised just how far you may have deviated from what used to be the standard. You’ve likely incorporated dozens of changes, like updating your available benefits, offering flexible working arrangements, or changing your pay frequency.

Your employee handbook* should act as a comprehensive set of guidelines that explains each of your policies when it comes to the workplace. In the manual, your workers should find the information they need when requesting vacations, choosing a retirement plan, or deciding to apply for an open position they qualify for.

*Our clients have access to HR experts who can help create updated and compliant employee handbooks through our partnership with The Compliance Center. Please connect with Chris Kelly for more information.

Overlooking Ongoing Training

If your organization has been around for any length of time, chances are you’ve seen a lot of technological innovation and have allowed it to change the way you work. You may have adopted smartphone technology, digital file storage, and cloud email providers. As more technology influences your workflow, it’s important to ensure your entire workforce receives the training they need to succeed in your organization.

Especially for those who are seasoned in their work and rely on more traditional methods, consider implementing courses for your employees so they learn what they need to know to perform well in today’s environment.

Not Documenting Performance Issues or Reviews

While they can be an administrative burden, performance reviews are often one of the only sources of feedback your employees have. These reviews are also a common basis for salary increases and an opportunity to notify your workers about areas they can improve in.

If you’re experiencing any issues with your workers, it’s critical to sit down and have an open discussion. Let them know your concerns and how you’d like them to boost their performance. After your meeting, it’s essential to note important aspects of the conversation and provide them with a written summary.

If your employee doesn’t make the changes necessary to enhance their performance, you may need to let them go. You can protect yourself if they attempt legal action against you by keeping thorough records of their lacking performance.

Noncompliant HR Practices

There are hundreds of rules that HR teams are responsible for implementing and following, such as keeping complete employee records, including payroll details, and verifying worker eligibility through I-9 forms.

If you’re concerned about your HR team not complying with regulations, sit down with them and discuss your concerns. They may not realize they’re falling short of your expectations. Set your objectives and follow up with your team a few weeks later. That gives them time to get their documents to ensure your organization is fully compliant.

Only Hiring for Immediate Openings

One of the worst mistakes a company can make is only hiring based on immediate need. While you’ll likely see a surge of job applications when you post an available position, that doesn’t mean you can’t seek top candidates at other times of the year.

Check whether your careers page actively accepts resumes, even if you don’t have an open role. If someone indicates their interest and has an attractive set of skills, it may be worth scheduling an interview with them.

You don’t want to pass up a top-tier candidate just because you don’t have an open role. If you like them, bring them on board and create a position that fits their skill set. That way, you don’t pass up a great worker who would otherwise move on to your competition.

Ensure You Have an HR Team that Delivers

While you can’t micromanage every department in your organization, it’s critical to check their activities to ensure they’re not missing something important. Reach out to our team for support: from outsourced HR teams to compliance support, we have solutions for you.

Offboarding Employees: What You Need to Know

It can be tough when an employee resigns. After all, they may have been with your company for a long time. You’ll need to find someone new to take over their role and train them to perform the job to the same high standard.

Before focusing on your recruiting efforts, you must offboard your employee properly. Many companies don’t put much effort into their offboarding procedures. After all, once the employee leaves, they may not return. However, failing to have a complete offboarding plan is a mistake. 

Here are a few essentials you’ll want to include during the offboarding process.

Take Care of the Logistics

It’s best to handle the logistics of the offboarding before doing anything else. For example, you’ll need to notify the payroll and the IT department of your worker’s impending departure. You’ll also want to ensure that the employee signs critical paperwork, such as a resignation letter or a nondisclosure agreement. 

All of these actions are important for different reasons. Notifying payroll is vital so that the company doesn’t continue to issue paychecks after the employee leaves. They’ll also need to determine whether the employee is entitled to extra benefits on their last pay period, such as accrued vacation or severance pay.

Similarly, it’s important to alert IT to the departure so they can remove the employee from the company email list and disconnect their access to computers and software. That way, your organization has less risk of data loss or privacy breaches. 

Obtaining a resignation letter gives you a written record of the employee’s decision to leave. If the employee was involved in any business processes you’d like to keep private, you can ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement. 

Make sure every employee that resigns undergoes the same procedures to promote consistency in your process.

Schedule an Exit Interview

Next, you’ll want to schedule a time to speak with the employee before they leave. Try to learn why they’re leaving and give them a chance to answer specific questions about their experience with your company.

If you suspect that internal dynamics might have led to their departure, be candid in your questioning. Being direct and transparent can help you determine whether further action is necessary.

Other reasons for leaving include better pay or benefits or obtaining a role with greater responsibilities. If your employee is leaving to take advantage of another opportunity, you might want to examine your compensation and benefits package to determine whether you’re still competitive within the market.

Meet with the Employee’s Manager

At this point, you must talk with the employee’s manager to figure out whether there’s an acceptable internal fit for their role. Another worker may have the skills to handle the job and relish the opportunity to take it.

Internal promotions are good morale boosters for other employees. They’ll see someone else rotating to a different position in the department and infer that they can do the same. Hiring internally is also cheaper and more efficient than finding external candidates.

If you don’t have anyone who can assume the open role, work with the manager to specify the skills and experience applicants should have. That way, you can post a job advertisement that attracts qualified workers.

Other matters to discuss with the manager include a timeline for hiring a new employee and potential team reorganization. It may be possible to avoid hiring someone new simply by redistributing everyone’s responsibilities. 

Be Professional and Friendly

It can be hard to maintain your normal composure when an employee leaves. After all, if they’ve been part of your organization for a while, it may feel like they’re deserting you. 

Regardless, you should keep your attitude toward the employee friendly and professional. Focus on keeping things amiable to ensure a smooth transition and end things on good terms. Keep in mind that they may decide to return at some point, or questions might arise that only they can answer.

Many companies host an offsite luncheon, dinner, or happy hour to wish the employee well in their new endeavors. Holding a small event allows other team members to say goodbye and provides a sense of closure for the team.

Get Help Managing Your Employee Offboarding Experience

Companies often need help managing the employee lifecycle, including onboarding, current records, and offboarding. AssetHR provides a system that simplifies every part of the employee lifecycle. Connect with us today to learn about our end-to-end employee management solutions.

Complicated HR Systems Can Lead to Workplace Confusion — How Does Your Company Rank?

Complicated HR Systems Can Lead to Workplace Confusion — How Does Your Company Rank?

Among the most common employee complaints about HR is the number of systems a company uses to manage critical functions like scheduling, hiring, and benefits. It’s not unheard of for organizations to use four or more methods to handle essential tasks.

Each of these systems usually requires a login and a password for the employee to remember, making it challenging to stay on track with all their HR tasks, such as organizing vacation time, applying for a new position, or setting up benefits.

It may be time for a cleanup if your organization is using multiple systems to handle critical HR responsibilities. Consider finding an all-in-one solution that combines all HR tasks into one system.

The isolved HCM System to the Rescue

At AssetHR, we use the isolved HCM system for all our client’s HR needs. This system is an easy-to-use platform that combines critical HR tasks, including all of the following:

Talent Acquisition

A robust talent acquisition platform, isolved makes applicant evaluation a breeze. Using the module, HR and hiring managers can review specific information about a candidate, including their resumes, feedback from interviews, and application status.

Once you’ve hired a candidate, you can move them through the onboarding phase, introducing them to your company and answering potential questions they may have.

HR and Payroll

There are many administrative activities HR must handle, including obtaining necessary hiring forms and tax details of new employees. Usually, employees must update their forms yearly or whenever a significant change occurs, like a marriage or a new child.

Payroll is another complex activity that can take up lots of time, especially when handled manually or through ineffective systems. With isolved, you can reduce the time your HR professionals spend on bureaucratic matters, allowing them to concentrate on more critical, value-added activities.

The HR & Payroll module also allows employees to select from your organization’s available benefits, including health and dental insurance, retirement plan options, and flexible spending accounts.

Once your HR team sets up the available options, you won’t need to spend time explaining benefits to every new hire. Instead, they’ll be able to review them and ask specific questions if they arise.

Workforce Management

Activities involving workforce management can be substantial time sucks, especially if you don’t have the right tools to handle them. Using the workforce management module in isolved, your HR manager can ensure quick team scheduling for the upcoming pay periods, taking into account requested vacation time.

Scheduling can take hours when done manually, especially if you have numerous employees and factors to consider, such as busy periods and customer needs. Once you implement specific parameters, the isolved HCM system can create an appropriate schedule within minutes.

The platform also offers a built-in chat app, allowing you to communicate directly with workers through the system when you need to. There’s no need to write a lengthy email or make a phone call; a quick, direct message can resolve your questions efficiently.

Talent Management

The isolved platform offers a comprehensive talent management module that allows business managers to provide employees with the training they need to perform well in their roles. There are dozens of preprogrammed courses workers can choose from, or you can create your own tailored classes specific to your organization.

Another benefit of isolved is its ability to manage employee engagement and performance. You can set clear goals for your workers to reach each quarter and monitor their achievements. There’s also space for managers and employees to provide feedback to one another.

AssetHR Recommends isolved HCM

At AssetHR, we regularly recommend that our clients implement isolved HCM for their HR technology needs. Combined with our white-glove approach to ensuring clients receive the best-customized customer assistance, we’ve found isolved to be paramount to achieving results.

While many companies balk at installing a new HR system, especially if they already have a few they’re using, implementation of isolved HR is a snap. With our process and skilled team, implementation is typically a relatively seamless experience for you and your team. During the implementation, you’ll have a team of HR and technology experts available to answer any questions you have.

To learn more about AssetHR, isolved HCM, and how both can assist you in running your business, contact us today!

HR Law Change and Potential Ramifications in 2023

This article was submitted by Janell Stanton, attorney with Wagner, Falconer and Judd, Ltd. and The Compliance Center

In 2023, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) will go into effect. Under the new law, human resource professionals must take specific actions to protect the data of applicants for new positions and current employees. Let’s touch on the new requirements under the law and what you should know.

New CPRA Requirements

Under the CPRA legislation, businesses must minimize using and retaining personal information to that which is absolutely necessary. For instance, your employee’s name, address, contact details, and Social Security number are all reasonable details to possess. However, their prior addresses or pet names probably are not.

Businesses must provide individuals with notice if they plan to collect or use sensitive information for specific purposes. Information can include any of the following:

  • A passport or driver’s license number
  • Financial details, such as a credit or debit card
  • Geolocation of the individual
  • Details about the person’s religion or ethnic origin
  • Genetic information
  • Biometric data
  • Details about the person’s health or sexual orientation

Individuals will also receive the right to request a correction of incorrect information. For instance, if an applicant learns that an employer hasn’t properly saved their education information, they can request the employer to make an update.

Employees and candidates will also be able to opt out of data sharing with third parties. This particular point is central for organizations that use cloud-based HR services to store important employee information. The organization must have an appropriate workaround if employees request that the company not save their personal details in such services.

The CPRA expands the right of employees and candidates to request all personal information collected about them over the prior 12-month period. Employers must devise a way to easily retrieve personal data concerning employees and candidates if they request the information.

Under the CPRA, individuals can now sue businesses that expose their personal information, such as a username and password. Companies will need to be extremely careful with their employee’s data to ensure that a potential data breach doesn’t adversely impact workers and applicants.

California is the first state to adopt such a thorough and enhanced privacy law. However, we note that California tends to be one of the forerunners when it comes to employer-related legislation.

We can expect that other states will likely adopt similar legislation as data privacy becomes even more critical, given the ever-increasing rise of technology in all aspects of our lives.

HR and Data Privacy

Data privacy has become an increasingly hot topic as several massive data breaches have impacted consumer data over the past few years. Since HR departments commonly hold vital personal information, they’re at risk of a breach if they’re not careful about protecting employee details.

It’s critical to keep things as simple as possible when requesting employee and applicant information to minimize the impact of a possible breach. Only ask for what’s absolutely necessary for HR purposes.

Take a holistic look at the data you’re assembling, and cut out any frivolous information that isn’t mandatory from a governmental or benefits perspective.

January 1, 2023, employers must be ready for the CRPA to go into effect. They should be actively working with legal counsel to determine how to respond if an employee requests their stored data history or makes other inquiries in line with the CRPA legislation.

Legal counsel can help employers develop an HR privacy policy in line with the new regulations. They can also assist companies with creating appropriate data retention policies, especially concerning sensitive materials like FMLA requests, drug test results, and accommodation requests.

Get Help from The Compliance Center

If you’re concerned about adhering to the new CRPA legislation, The Compliance Center can assist you. Our partnership with The Compliance Center connects our clients directly with experts who can answer questions and offer HR expertise for your HR team. Connect with Chris Kelly to learn more.