Best Practices for Maintaining HR Compliance in a Rapidly Changing Workforce
HR compliance is a complicated part of running any company. Streamline these processes with modern methods and WorkForce Software technology.
Companies across the globe are still struggling to keep up with the new challenges and regulations triggered by the pandemic. Additional administrative burdens and substantial legal risks imposed by these new laws and regulations mean ensuring workplace policies are in-line with new local, state, and federal laws. This is where modern workforce management software can help to reinforce HR compliance throughout an organization’s workforce.
HR departments are responsible for a massive amount of paperwork, sensitive information, and legal liability. Some of these responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- New and amended COVID-19 legislation, such as California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
- Medical certifications under FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) and other leave laws
- Reasonable accommodation and undue hardship under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
- Crime victim leave laws
- Compliance with federal, state, provincial, and local laws
Policies regarding unions, workplace safety, and industry standards also fall within the responsibility of HR departments. With so many regulations in so many areas to keep track of, effective compliance checks are critically important to prevent financial, civil, and even criminal penalties from being lobbed at organizations and their decision makers.
From proper training to corporate policy, there are many layers of a business that can be improved through a simple HR compliance check. These rules are for the protection of not just the company, but the employees as well. With WorkForce Software’s digital platform, keeping the workplace in compliance with all legal obligations is more achievable.
Document Policies and Procedures for HR Compliance
All rules and regulations of an organization must be internally and externally aligned. In other words, company policy must reflect the laws of the country that work is being conducted in. At the same time, internal policies must reflect the mission statement of the company.
To maintain compliance with all laws and regulations, documenting these rules in clear, concise language is necessary to ensure transparency. Corporate policy should be available in both physical and online sources, making it convenient for all employees.
Even when policy is defined, it can’t sit static in company manuals; it must be maintained with regular review. Federal and state laws change often, so HR compliance checks can help keep internal regulations up to date. Legal counsel can assist with these assessments to ensure no laws are being violated, while other experts can help confirm verbiage within company policy is clear and aligned with the organization’s values.
All rules put into the workplace must be fair. If any regulations are not implemented fairly and consistently throughout all areas of the workforce, employees may be reluctant to comply and employers may face discrimination charges.
Simply announcing and enforcing a rule isn’t enough. Training and compliance checks must be conducted regularly, from front-line to executive level staff. If there are any inconsistencies in enforcement, employees may have difficulty adjusting and adhering to new protocols.
There are many possible strategies that managers and executives can use to be thorough with compliance enforcement. It could be as simple as highlighting written company policy with employees during meetings. Recurring meetings give Human Resource professionals an opportunity to notify employees about new programs and laws. Consistency should be the goal of any responsible HR department.
Reinforce HR Compliance Whenever Possible
Whether following internal policies and procedures or complying with external regulations, compliance should be ingrained in the conscience of the entire organization.
To ensure organizations remain compliant with the applicable laws and regulations, it’s best practice to constantly review and tweak policies and procedures that may no longer be relevant as a whole or to certain employee types. In some cases, even managers who have been with a company for decades may not be fully aware of every policy. Thus, it’s most important to provide as much training and resources as possible to drive compliance.
One of the best strategies to incentivize employees to know their own workplace’s policy is to prioritize ease of access. Having workplace rules spread across platforms makes it easy for workers to find company information. Devote a section of the company’s online platform to all internal and external policies and provide handbooks to employees during the onboarding process.
You may also reinforce policies by integrating checklists into certain procedures to further emphasize the importance of staying compliant. The more familiar employees are with what’s expected of them, the more ingrained a culture of compliance will be, and the less likely they are to stray away from corporate and regulatory guidelines.
Stay on Top of Law and Regulation Updates
An added difficulty for organizations is how quickly laws seem to expand in the United States and Canada each year. From new amendments to California’s Family Rights Act to British Columbia’s new Paid Illness and Injury Leave law. These legal guidelines can suddenly be thrust on companies without notice.
And it’s not just federal laws. Most legislation enacted in 2021 affecting employers stemmed from state and local authorities. Any legal misstep could pave the way for costly litigation.
For a practical solution to the perpetual expansion of labor laws, let’s look at a specific example. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a complicated piece of legislation that allows employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical purposes. How then does an HR department enforce compliance with an ever-changing raft of government regulations?
Fortunately, there are ways employers can improve their methods of FMLA administration, guard against leave abuse, and ensure covered employees can take advantage of leave if necessary:
- Mandate written leave requests for all absences
- Closely monitor employee use of FMLA leave
- Require medical certification for leave requests
- Request second and third opinion as necessary
- Keep detailed records of FMLA leave
- Investigate possible abuses of policy
- Substitute paid leave for unpaid FMLA leave
HR departments, meanwhile, should keep up with new laws in general by subscribing to legal update services. Regular audits can also help expose any weaknesses in company policy or detect any out-of-date regulations.
Practice Effective Communication
Getting complete compliance from the entire workforce is the hardest part during any policy change. The best remedy is clear, coherent, and consistent communication between management and employees.
Include HR when presenting new regulatory or policy changes to employees. They can help explain and clarify the purpose and logic behind each rule change. This will further help in getting policy changes to permeate all layers of the organization.
Pandemic-related policy, labor law updates, and any amendments should be quickly disseminated. If employees don’t have the correct information at hand and in time, then it can become difficult for them to stay compliant.
Effective communication thrives on employee feedback. After all, nobody knows the workplace better than the people that work there. The most useful suggestions can come from employee input. Employee engagement and in-the-moment feedback surveys are effective ways of gauging employee sentiment.
Employee compliance begins with effective communication, especially for deskless shift workers. Clear communication not only helps these office-less workers and management exchange information fast, but it further builds trust, a key ingredient in securing compliance.
Open communication creates community, motivates employees to work together toward a common goal, and creates a cohesive and compliant company culture. With a greater sense of purpose, employees automatically become more productive, more engaged, more loyal, and overall more compliant.
WorkForce Software’s smart communication solution provides a secure place to reach and engage employees in the form of their favorite app. It enables real-time communication and two-way conversations with direct messaging. Sharing important announcements and keeping everyone in the loop on policy and regulatory changes is fast and easy.
Simplify HR Compliance with WorkForce Software
When it comes to workforce management, an organization’s compliance concerns extend beyond regulatory compliance. It encompasses union and collective bargaining agreements, industry standards, corporate policies, health and safety rules, and security concerns. With each new layer comes new compliance concerns. Keeping pace with the raft of increasingly complicated legislation playing out in the North America landscape can be a challenge.
But as Paul Kramer, Director of Compliance at WorkForce Software, notes: “Employers must be mindful to keep pace with these changes or risk liability.”
A rigorous compliance check is a vital first step in building a strong company culture and creating happy employees. With established best practices and a future-ready approach, the WorkForce Suite has companies covered for every labor law or agreement — whether global or local, legislative or contractual — to ensure organizations are compliant now and into the future.
WorkForce Software delivers full-spectrum compliance solutions with multiple labor regulations, including
- Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Learn more about how WorkForce Software helps support compliance efforts for organizations.
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