01/24/15 By Jennifer Brown

ID-100259612State, Federal and Local regulations — this topic may not elicit feelings of excitement for you; however, staying current with these laws as they pertain to the workplace can save you from time-consuming, stressful and profit-draining problems. Changes to some of the regulations that have been in the news recently include:

Minimum Wage Increase
Effective January 1, 2015, many states across the country increased their state’s required minimum wage (the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour). Most hourly employees are guaranteed to be paid at least the federal minimum wage or their state’s minimum wage if it is higher than the federal amount. For example, Washington DC’s minimum wage is $9.50 per hour, New York is $8.75 per hour, and New Jersey is $8.38 per hour. Visit your State’s Wage and Hour website or visit http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/wages/ to learn more about wage and hour guidelines.

Paid Sick Leave
In his State of the Union address, President Obama reinforced his proposal for the Healthy Families Act, which would allow employees to earn up to 7 days per year of paid sick time. Even though some states have either adopted or are considering state regulations on paid sick leave, presently there are no federal legal requirements for employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees.

Thus far, paid sick leave laws are in effect in just a few cities/states around the country including the city of San Francisco and the state of Connecticut. Recently, New York City became the largest city to implement mandatory sick leave. Similarly, the state of California’s paid sick leave mandate goes into effect July 2015 where workers there will benefit from at least 3 paid sick days per year. In addition, Washington DC’s Sick and Safe Leave Act requires employers to provide eligible employees with a minimum amount of paid sick leave. To ensure your company is complying with your city and state regulations regarding paid sick leave, be sure to visit your State’s Wage and Hour website for more details.

Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now in effect for companies with 50 or more employees. Depending on the size of your organization (small is considered those with fewer than 50 employees, large is considered those with 50 or more employees), you are required to follow certain provisions of the law and may be eligible for certain benefits. In addition, those companies with 50 – 99 employees may qualify for transitional relief — meaning they may not have to comply with the Employer Shared Premium payment until 2016 if they meet certain conditions.

Be sure to consult with your Benefits Broker to ensure you are in compliance and bookmark these online resources to stay on top of the ACA:

• http://business.usa.gov/healthcare#
• http://www.irs.gov/Affordable-Care-Act/Employers
• https://www.healthcare.gov/

Complying with workplace regulations will not only help you to avoid time-draining liability issues that can result in expensive penalties, fines, and lawsuits; but more importantly, it will allow you to focus on growing your business versus cleaning up problems!

 

Photo credit Stuart Miles via FreeDigitalPhotos.net