One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an employer is underestimating the importance of compliance with employment laws. The cost of being audited and found in non-compliance may be more than your business can bear.
And if you think that you’re not affected by most laws and regulations because of the number of employees you have, think again. Often, small businesses are subject to many of the same laws and regulations that govern large corporations.
Let’s look at three of the most common compliance mistakes.
1. Failure to keep valid I-9 forms on file
Though it sounds simple, missing or incomplete I-9 forms can get you into legal hot water quickly. Before you file any paperwork, you should be sure all forms are completely filled out, including dates and signatures. And everything needs to be completed within three days of your new employees’ hire date. Miss the deadline, and you’ll be facing non-compliance fines.
Likewise, if you don’t confirm that there is proper and valid supporting documentation with the I-9 form, you’re out of compliance. Often, employees fail to provide the correct supporting documentation, such as driver’s license and social security card, because their employer doesn’t properly inform them of what’s acceptable. To avoid this confusion, provide new hires with an I-9 form, allow them to review the list of acceptable documents and make their own selection.
I-9 forms must be kept current. This means when you renew employees’ time sensitive employment documentation, such as temporary work visas, you must also be sure to update their I-9 form.
Ironically, however, the best practice is to destroy all I-9 forms for former employees one year after the former employee’s termination or three years from the former employee’s date of hire, whichever is later. If you don’t, you’ll face a greater risk of being fined.
2. Ignoring Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations
If you haven’t reviewed OSHA’s compliance rules, you could be putting your business and employees at great risk. In addition to many specific and detailed safety regulations, OSHA’s General Duty Clause requires every employer, regardless of size, to provide every employee with a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards.
Do you have written safety and health rules in place? You should. You also need to communicate those rules to your employees. After you’ve met with your employees, be sure to post a copy of the rules where they can see them, such as a popular break or lunch room.
While creating and posting safety guidelines is helpful, nothing can replace a comprehensive safety training program. Typically, these programs provide hands-on instruction so that your employees know exactly what to look out for and what to do if an incident occurs.
If there’s an accident at your business, be sure to take action immediately. Failure to track and implement corrective measures in response to any incident can jeopardize compliance.
3. Not keeping up with regulatory agencies and laws that govern your business
The number of regulatory agencies and their associated regulations has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decades, and the growth shows no signs of slowing down. You need to be aware of the agencies that govern areas such as:
- Workplace safety and health laws
- Payday laws such as final pay rules and payroll deduction rules
- Recordkeeping requirements
- Overtime pay laws
- Anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws
- State and federal leave laws
- Employee privacy laws
And that is just to name a few.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? There is help available. With Insperity, you have a team of knowledgeable professionals who stay current with government compliance laws and regulations so you can rest assured your business is compliant at all times.