In 2019, compliance has evolved to affect so much more than just payroll tax. Employers today must be cognizant of employment eligibility and the demographics of their workforce, while also ensuring they are compliant with an ever-growing list of state and local laws. Furthermore, failing to meet these standards can mean audits, penalties, and lawsuits.
In the year to come, we’re expecting some new–and some continued–compliance trends. To help you stay up-to-date on what’s in store, here’s what to expect in 2019:
Sexual Harassment Prevention
We’re expecting the momentum of the #MeToo movement to continue in the form of increased sexual harassment training requirements and stricter pay gap laws. For example, New York already mandated sexual harassment training. Similarly, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Vermont recently passed bills banning the use of salary information in the hiring process, which eliminates any potential discrimination that could have occurred in earlier salary setting. In your workplace, practice documenting acceptable behavior and outlining proper reporting and investigation procedures.
Minimum Wage Increases
Last year, 20 states and countless local jurisdictions increased their minimum wages, which became effective on December 31, 2018 or January 1, 2019. States like California, New York, and Washington experienced state-wide increases, and a slew of municipalities in those states also raised their local minimum wages. As an employer, consider reviewing pay policies to ensure you’re compliant in all states and cities.
Paid Family and Paid Sick Leave Laws
In recent years, a number of states have enacted paid family leave and paid sick leave laws. Employers must comply with these new laws – and other various leave laws – in the New Year. To help maintain compliance, put together a comprehensive strategy if you have employees at multiple locations with different regulations.
New Overtime Rules
In 2019, employers will likely see changes to the rules governing who is exempt from overtime under federal law and under some state laws. A new DOL-proposed rule could come as early as March 2019. Under the proposed rule, the salary required for exemption from overtime would likely increase. Once the rule has been issued, employers should consider reviewing worker classifications and salaries to determine whether reclassification or salary adjustments are necessary to maintain compliance with the FLSA.
Increased Interactive Compliance Training
The New Year is not only a great time to take a proactive approach to compliance by reviewing requirements that apply to your workforce, but also the perfect time to implement new strategies that go beyond asking your employees to acknowledge a policy. Providing training opportunities that assess their understanding on topics such as sexual harassment, anti-violence, and cyber security is a critical part of maintaining a safe and secure workplace.