A new year brings new changes to our organizations, employment relationships, laws, regulations, handbooks and policies. As more states continue to pass state specific legislation, we need to ensure that our handbooks and labor posters are updated accordingly.
Below are 5 areas to watch related to employee handbooks:
- Workplace Conduct and Social Media: Under the new administration, we could see more flexibility in social media policies (pro-employer). Social media is a concern in many organizations, ensure that your policy is legal, up-to-date and not overreaching.
- Arbitration Agreements: There are multiple lawsuits in federal courts related to employer arbitration agreements. These decisions can impact our organizations. I have not implemented arbitration agreements. However, they are growing in popularity.
- Sexual Harassment/Harassment Policies: This speaks for itself. California and Maine have modified their current laws related to sexual harassment, we could see significant changes in New York State, as stated by the Governor recently. Ensure that there is a zero-tolerance and retaliation policies in place, and all employees are trained on current policies and procedures. Organizations need to be proactive and not reactive to issues.
- Parental Leave: Paid Family Leave was effective January 1, 2018. Ensure that you have updated policies and handbook language to reflect this significant legislative change. The state has a website full of information to utilize as we move forward in 2018.
PFL Resource Page
Model Language for Employer Material
- Disability and Other Accommodations: Review language related to the ADA, FMLA and medical marijuana. Medical marijuana law(s) continues to evolve. “In 2017, several courts ruled that registered medical marijuana users who were fired or passed over for jobs because of their medicinal use could bring claims under state disability laws.”[i]
As laws continue to evolve, now is the time to review handbooks, policies and procedures. If you are unclear on a path-forward or what to look for, seek guidance. Do not assume a Google search will provide legal and accurate information, draft handbook language or valid training material.
2018 IRS Mileage Rate:
“Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also a van, pickup or panel truck) will be:
- 5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
- 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
- 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations, unchanged from 2017.”[ii]
Mandatory State Labor Law Poster Changes Effective January 2018:
- Alaska— Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- Arizona— Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- California— Transgender Rights, effective Jan. 1, 2018, Discrimination, Jan. 1, 2018
- Colorado— Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- Florida — Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- Hawaii — Wage and Hour Laws, effective July 10, 2017, OSHA, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- Maine — Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- Minnesota–– Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- Missouri— Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- Montana— Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- Nevada — Rules to Observed by Employers, effective July 1, 2017
- New Jersey— Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- New York— Minimum Wage, effective Dec. 31, 2017
- North Carolina — Wage and Hour Notice to Employees, effective Dec. 31, 2017
- Ohio— Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- Rhode Island — Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- South Dakota — Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- Vermont— Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy, effective Jan. 1, 2018
- Washington— Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2018, Your Rights as a Worker, Jan. 1,2018
As always-if you feel uncertain or want an extra set of eyes, finding a consultant or strategic legal partner is a good idea. For more information about these subjects, click on the links here or reach out to schedule a meeting and consultation.
-Matthew W. Burr
Recently, I conducted a webinar on HRIS and Payroll Management Systems. As leaders, we need to have a clear understanding of organizational needs for these systems. Is the organization prepared to implement a new system or upgrade to a different system? Are either of the systems necessary for the success of the organization? Will it make the organization more efficient? Are we prepared to pay for the new system? Can we internally manage the new system? There are many questions to consider prior to purchasing a system or buying software.
Below are 8 thoughts on selecting an HRIS or Payroll management system:
- Organizational assessment: Do you have the resources inhouse to select a system or should an external consultant (neutral) guide the organization through the process?
- Organizational needs: How would a new system work within the strategic plan of the organization? Who is responsible for processing payroll? Which reports do we need? Turnover, terminations, new hires, Affirmative Action and other compliance reports. Do we want an employee-self service module? What about cellphone aps? Will employees enroll in benefits on the new system? Is it just for payroll processing? What about all these modules?
- Project planning: What is the budget for the new system? Do we have IT support to manage the new system? Do we have server space for the new system? Do we have the time to invest in project planning and project implementation? As we approach the fall months, open enrollment, holidays and performance reviews will take priority. Time is important for the success of a major implementation.
- Evaluating available systems: Develop a spreadsheet that ranks and rates the available system, based on the needs assessment. What does the organization need and how will we measure available systems?
- Project team: “Critical stakeholders may differ from organization to organization, but the considerations and evaluation committee should at least include members from the following departments: IT, payroll/finance/accounting, HR, compensation, performance management, training, recruiting, operations.”[i] Operations is a major stakeholder in the selection process. Supervisors, managers and employees will be inputting and approving timesheets. They need to be included in the selection process. Slow and inefficient systems take away from operations.
- Requesting the proposals: Utilize the RFP process within your organization and seek four to seven bids from vendors. Include information about the organization, project specifications (organizational needs), high-level budget information and project schedule/implementation dates. Ensure you leave enough time to evaluate systems, 3-6-month commitments on current pricing schedule.
- Trial the systems: The project team should meet with three to four potential vendors. A demonstration of the systems should be included in the evaluation. Utilize the evaluation spreadsheet that was developed and be prepared to ask questions. The entire team should be present during the demonstrations and evaluation discussions.
- Make your choice: Upon selecting one or two final systems, a request should be made to each vendor for references and potential onsite visits. The vendors should provide current or past clients. If they avoid providing references, this might a red flag during the selection process.
Once the finalist has been selected, the organization should negotiate a service contract. Other negotiation considerations; training, IT support, cloud support, compliance updates, software updates, warranties, self-service, cellphone aps and modules. Does the organization need a system with all the bells and whistles? Ensure that you are not upsold on modules and system add-ons you do not need or will not use. Hold the vendor accountable to the agreed upon service contract. If you are unclear on the process seek guidance and welcome advice.
– Matthew Burr, HR Consultant
Burr Consulting, LLC