2020 has changed the workplace – possibly forever. Which makes it even more important to look at the 2021 HR landscape now.
Over the last year, HR professionals have been challenged with the responsibilities of managing a remote workforce. Soon, if they aren’t already, they’ll be tasked with creating “back to work” policies, while keeping safety top-of-mind. With this new normal, it may have been tempting to put your compliance responsibilities on the back burner.
Our advice? Don’t.
So you’re ready for whatever comes your way in 2021, here are just a few compliance topics that require your attention now.
Have You Updated Your Employee Handbook?
The Employee Handbook: That all-important compilation of company policies.
It may not be the first thing on your mind these days. But chances are you have not updated that handbook since before COVID. So, give it another look. For instance, does your handbook cover updated telework and remote work policies? If your employees are back in the office, do you address updated policies regarding sick leave, temperature checks and social distancing?
Through a new lens, conduct a thorough review of your handbook – and avoid confusion and potential lawsuits.
Make Sure You Have the Most Up-to-Date Labor Laws Posted
Do you have a spare $35,000 on hand? Probably not.
Did you know failing to post just one state or federal labor law update prominently in your workplace can mean fines of $35,000? So far in 2020, we have seen 55 labor law changes, and we are aware of at least 20 more changes that will go into effect on January 1, 2021. Don’t risk an expensive penalty; make sure your labor law postings are up to date.
Better yet: Take advantage of services that put this responsibility on autopilot.
Stay Informed: The FMLA is Facing New Challenges
The FMLA has always been difficult to navigate. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it another set of challenges.
Several new state and local leave requirements have emerged as a result of the pandemic. So, it is more important than ever for HR professionals to monitor and manage their employees’ FMLA leave accurately and efficiently. There are a myriad of comprehensive policies, procedures and forms to organize.
Failing to comply with these regulations could easily result in costly fines.
Have Employees Completed 2020 Harassment Training?
With employees working remotely—or not at all—harassment training may have fallen to the bottom of the priority this this year.
Perhaps you were waiting to get back in your office routine to complete the mandated requirements. Truth is, harassment can happen at any time, and at any place. In addition, some states—like Illinois and California—still require harassment training be completed before the New Year. It’s best not to wait.
To stay compliant, consider looking into digital and streaming options. That way, regardless of where they get the work done, employees can complete required training before the end of the year.
Are Your Job Descriptions Accurate?
We bet you weren’t expecting job descriptions to be mentioned in a compliance article. But hear us out.
Did you know a poorly written job description can cause all kinds of issues? From low employee morale to legal troubles? Particularly now that so many positions are remote, it is so important to make sure your job descriptions are accurate. After all, employees must have a clear – and current – understanding of their role and responsibilities. Further, even if you aren’t hiring, job descriptions can play a big role in cross-training and employee development.
While employees are expected to do more from farther away, current job descriptions can help HR develop training and development plans. Quality job descriptions also help ensure employees are operating to their strengths.
Employees Returning? Make Sure Your Workplace is REALLY Safe
For those of you who have returned to the workplace, welcome back!
You are likely to be wearing masks and distancing employee workspaces already. But you still must ensure you’re also following all the updated hazard assessment protocols. Check that your workers and workplace are complying with any necessary temperature checks, hygiene protocols and training requirements related to COVID-19. Additionally, if your workplace implemented additional policies around telework, sick leave and anti-retaliation guidelines, make sure to communicate that information with the rest of your staff.
You really can’t over communicate in times like this. So, keep your people in the know with posted signs and checklists. Also, provide physical supports like masks and hand sanitizer stations to make the return to work feel just that much safer for all.
The 2021 HR Landscape Need Not Be Overwhelming
You have limited time as an HR professional. Resources seem constantly strained. Feeling overwhelmed? Let us help.
We have joined forces with industry leading partners to take the brunt of compliance-based work off your plate and keep you up-to-date on all state and federal policies. Whatever stumbling block gets between you and your 2021 HR goals, we at SHRM can help.
Want to learn more? To discover solutions designed for you, sign up! We’ll immediately start sending regular updates about compliance requirements and solutions.
This post is sponsored by SHRM.