The new year is rapidly approaching, which means it’s the perfect time to review your policies and make the necessary adjustments.
There were a lot of new employment trends in 2019, and 2020 will bring even more compliance changes.
Whether it’s legally mandated changes or just suggested ones, experts at the law firm Cozen O’Connor have a few areas they recommend employers pay attention to.
1. Timekeeping and compensation practices
Heads up! A major compensation change is coming in the new year.
The DOL announced a new overtime threshold for exempt employees this year, and it goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020. So, starting on New Year’s Day, employers must either bump up their exempt workers’ pay to $35,568 a year, or be prepared to pay them overtime.
Employers are permitted to satisfy up to 10% of employees’ annual salary through non-discretionary bonuses and incentive pay — including commissions.
As for timekeeping practices that may need adjustments, several lawsuits in the past year brought to light the dangers of employers building unpaid breaks into workers’ schedules.
In Small v. University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, the company ended up shelling out $4.2 million in unpaid wages. Employees claimed they often worked off the clock because a 30-minute break would be deducted from their pay regardless if they took it or not.
This practice isn’t always illegal, but as you can see, it can have costly consequences if not handled properly.
2. Hiring and recruiting
In the coming year, HR pros will need to pay more attention to their job postings and recruiting tactics.
PricewaterhouseCoopers ended up in court for age discrimination after allegedly turning most of its recruiting efforts to college campuses, specifically targeting young prospective hires.
The EEOC also drew attention to age discrimination and gender bias in Facebook job ads, which allowed companies to specifically target men and people under the age of 30.
If company execs are asking for young hires, it’s up to HR to explain the potential pitfalls.
Another thing to be aware of when it comes to hiring: salary history bans. So many cities and states have forbid companies from inquiring about candidates’ past pay, HR pros may want to remove that question from the interview regardless.
Paid sick leave, FMLA and parental leave
Now might be the ideal time to check your leave policies.
Not too long ago, the DOL clarified that FMLA-eligible employees can’t delay the use of FMLA leave. So if your policies allow workers to do that, it’s time to revise them.
Several states have also enacted some unique paid leave laws, such as safe leave — protected leave for those experiencing domestic violence — or paid leave for any reason an employee may choose.
Check your state laws for specifics, but it’s a good idea to consider implementing these paid leaves even if you’re not legally required to, as more states are following this trend.
Another important type of leave to pay attention to? Family leave.
It’s critical to ensure your family leave policies are equal for both mothers and fathers. JPMorgan Chase had to pay $5 million to settle a sex discrimination suit because it offered women more parental leave than men.
To clarify, bonding leave has to be equal for both parents. However, more leave can be offered to women recovering from birth or other pregnancy complications.
The distinction is the amount of leave must be based off a medical event, and not gender.