Navigating the Complexities of HR Compliance: Tips and Best Practices
Compliance is one of the most complex elements of a successful HR strategy. The wide variety of ever-changing laws and regulations requires constant attention. Meanwhile, even the slightest mistake could lead to fines and lawsuits.
Learning how to deal with complex HR compliance issues can be difficult. Companies must work to ensure they seamlessly navigate regulations without incurring significant expenses or wasting effort.
Let's take a closer look at navigating HR complexities in the most efficient way possible.
Stay Up to Date on the Latest Laws and Regulations
Many labor laws have been around for decades. However, they are constantly changing and receiving updates. Missing an update could lead to a serious problem, where what begins with a fine could end in a lawsuit that affects your company's reputation.
To stay on top of their game, HR specialists must monitor the following:
- Workplace discrimination laws - Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Equal Pay Act (EPA), Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
- Wage and hour laws - Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Employee benefits laws - Affordable Care Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
- Workplace safety laws - workers' compensation laws and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
Many of these laws can change unexpectedly. To make sure you don't miss them, you could:
- Monitor government websites for updates and sign up for newsletters
- Arrange regular training sessions for your HR team
- Attend industry events, conferences, webinars
- Hire and consult legal professionals
- Create and update the employee handbook
When something changes, you need to act fast to implement the update. That's why learning about them in advance is imperative.
Develop and Implement HR Policies and Procedures
Your ability to manage HR compliance depends on how well your staff knows and applies relevant laws. That's why you must develop clear and comprehensive HR policies and procedures according to the latest laws, regulations, and requirements to ensure everyone is on the same page.
One of the essential elements of HR compliance is an employee handbook that contains all the relevant laws and regulations and serves as a foundation for your entire team.
The key to making the most of this handbook is regularly updating it. You should review your employee handbook at least once a year. However, you may want to change the handbook earlier if something major changes before the year ends. For example, when COVID-19 hit, many laws changed suddenly, either permanently or temporarily. Such situations call for immediate updates and additional educational sessions for your staff regarding changes to OSHA compliance or sick days.
Train Employees on HR Compliance
HR compliance training involves educating your employees on the laws, regulations, and policies that apply to daily work activities. This type of training can help prevent your company from violating HR laws, even by accident.
Since many elements of HR compliance change regularly, you need to arrange consistent compliance training sessions. These sessions can include:
- Harassment prevention
- Workplace safety
- Anti-discrimination policies
- Industry-specific laws
The main benefits of this type of training include improving workplace culture, avoiding significant fines, preventing lawsuits, and minimizing workers' compensation claims.
The more employees know about HR-related laws, the easier it will be for them to stay compliant. While all teams can access the employee handbook, hardly everyone remembers all the policies. Regular training can reinforce this knowledge and help employees remain on the right track. These don't need to be massive, in-depth trainings either. Companies can share quick tips at the start of regular meetings or by sending weekly emails highlighting something.
Gain Guidance with a PEO
Since navigating HR compliance can be time-consuming and complicated, many companies prefer delegating this to a third party. You can receive much-needed guidance and support on HR and legal issues by partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO).
This outsourcing partner oversees your research and notifies your team about important legislation changes. They can also arrange regular compliance training and update your employee handbook. For instance, if your PEO alerts you to regulation changes, you can share that with your team or ask follow-up questions for additional clarification.
Other ways a PEO can help with compliance include:
- New hire reporting
- FMLA navigation
- COBRA compliance
- I-9 compliance assistance
- Unemployment compensation management
- EE0-1 reporting
- Workers' compensation program
Delegating HR compliance to a team of professionals can help you avoid fines and lawsuits. Meanwhile, this partnership can save you time and money on HR research, training, and implementation.
How to Deal with Complex HR Compliance
With time, HR compliance becomes more and more complex. Navigating it takes a significant amount of time and requires niche knowledge. Without excellent navigation, it's easy to make costly errors.
To stay on top of these vital requirements, you must take proactive steps, arrange regular training, adjust your workplace culture, and much more.
A comprehensive approach to HR compliance is only possible if you have sufficient time and resources. Companies that can't handle all compliance aspects often delegate it to HR outsourcing partners. They can be a crucial partner, helping save your company time in implementing changes and lower costs in maintaining compliance.