Invasion of employee privacy, Covid paid time off, marijuana in the workplace…
The past few years have been full of phenomenal events that continue to impact and further reshape the structure of our businesses.
Rapid technological advancements, social movements, and a pandemic have created uncertainty in companies – especially surrounding compliance.
What’s more – keeping track of ever-changing laws, regulations, and requirements impacting your business is extremely challenging.
To help get you up to speed, our MCDA CCG HR experts have explored the latest initiatives pointing to compliance trends for you to anticipate this year.
Read below for more…
If you run your business out of a physical establishment involving people, you should understand the importance of maintaining a safe environment. While enforcing safety and preventative measures has always been priority, increasing litigation and some state OSHA and Labor departments have created complex challenges for businesses beyond the requirements for workplace safety.
The federal OSHA COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), in effect as of Dec. 17, 2021 following a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that lifted the stay issued by the Fifth Circuit, requires specific actions and deadlines for compliance by businesses with 100 or more employees. Enforcement of the rule could change based on a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Companies and their employees will continue to see lasting impacts due to the legal developments regarding paid leave during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many state and local mandates that cover paid sick time, family leave and vaccination leaves are expected to continue into this year.
We are seeing interest at the federal level for legislation creating more permanent paid family leave, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act with a provision that would guarantee U.S. workers four weeks of paid leave for the following qualified reasons:
- New parents
- Their own serious medical condition
- Need to care for a loved one with a serious medical condition
- Note: For the provision to take effect, the bill needs to be passed, as written in the U.S. House of Representatives version, by the U.S. Senate and then signed by the president before becoming law.
Keeping track of requirements under applicable laws and how such laws overlap can be complex. Employers should prioritize developing and implementing workplace paid time off policies that comply with applicable leave laws and fit their business needs.
The Biden administration issued its National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality calling for continued accountability and engagement on issues such as pay equity. In 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, women earned only 82.3% annually of the earnings made by men.
Additional legislative action and potential judicial review at the federal and state level is expected, so businesses should stay on top of any developments. Employers should also consult with their legal counsel to ensure that their compensation packages, hiring practices and retention efforts support pay equity.
The COVID-19 pandemic created unique employee privacy issues that employers had to quickly address.
For example, businesses in California must be aware of the CA Consumer Privacy (CCPA) Act which grants individuals greater control over their personal information collected by employers. This includes providing opt-out from the selling of information, the right to delete certain information collected and a right to be notified at the point of data collection.
Technology solutions developed to help employers with COVID-19 screening measures also come with privacy concerns businesses must address.
There is much businesses must consider when developing and/or updating their privacy policies, so consult with legal counsel to ensure all applicable laws of your state have been taken into account.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 53% of private-industry workers from businesses with 100 or fewer employees had access to a workplace retirement plan in 2020.
However, the government passing of the Setting Up Every Community for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act – effective January 2021 – has expanded the availability of retirement plans to participants through pooled employer plans (PEP). With many small private sector businesses taking advantage of the opportunity, this group saw an increase to 56% in 2021, with almost 40% of employees participating.
Looking ahead in 2022, states continue to push retirement plans in the workplace, with 14 states currently having enacted legislation for certain private-sector businesses to offer a state-administered retirement program or implement their own company-sponsored plan.
Most of these plans are established as individual retirement accounts (IRA) with contributions made through payroll deduction. Employers benefit because there is no cost to the businesses while the fees for participating employees, who have the ability to opt out, are low.
By 2023, as many as 25 state-sponsored workplace retirement plans could be active in the U.S.
Cannabis in the Workplace
While cannabis remains an illegal drug under federal law, states and local jurisdictions continue tro propose and pass legislation seeking to decriminalize marijuana, recognize medical marijuana use and legalization of recreational marijuana.
Today, recreational marijuana use is legal in 19 states after New York, Virginia, Connecticut and New Mexico passed laws in 2021.
Businesses should consider how this will impact risk mitigation strategies, including adaptations to accommodate use of medical marijuana, and changes to existing parameters of drug testing programs.
While this post is intended for educational purposes only, the items listed above emphasize the importance of seeking ongoing regulatory support. The many questions that you have concerning business compliance demands educated feedback from an expert – not a Google search.
Our MCDA CCG HR experts can inform you of the latest laws and regulations impacting your business and help you adhere to them.
Whether it’s helping to create written policies, educate your team members of key changes, perform a compliance audit, we can ensure that your business is in good standing and prepared to take on any new changes or events.
Giving you peace of mind in a time of extreme uncertainty.
Reach out to one of our team members today by phone or online and we will be more than happy to answer any questions.
Below you will find some of our other resources of key challenges commonly found in Human Resource activities: