The past few months have brought a slew of legislative changes as well as an ongoing news cycle focusing on several HR related topics. I wanted to highlight some of the more critical issues and changes that are impacting our clients today and will continue to affect businesses throughout 2018.
1. The New Tax Law MAY Have Your Employees Now Under-Withholding
The recently enacted changes to the structure of Federal Taxes has sparked the real fear that if employees use the same exemptions and deductions that they have used in prior years, the employee MAY wind up having too LITTLE taken out of their paycheck to cover their year-end tax burden. The IRS is so concerned about this issue that they published a calculator this week that will allow tax filers to determine what deductions and exemptions should be in place. You can access the calculator by clicking here.
Send the link to all employees along with the recommendation that they complete the questionnaire and make any recommended adjustments. The employee can then submit updated W-4 forms as needed.
2. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and I-9 Forms
In the past several months there has been a significant increase in DHS representative visits to US businesses to determine immigration law compliance. These visits usually lead to the review and audit of I-9 recordkeeping practices within the targeted businesses. Fines are being levied for those who cannot demonstrate that all members of their workforce are in fact eligible to work in the US, and many businesses are also finding themselves fined heavily due to incomplete and improperly administered I-9 forms.
Audit all I-9 forms you have in place to ensure they are complete and that one is present for all active employees, including ensuring that those on visas have ones that have not expired. Also, be sure you are using the latest version of the form for your newest hires.
3. #MeToo and Some Proposed Law Changes in NYC and Elsewhere
The continued wave of activity and activism in the area of Workplace Harassment has now resulted in some proposed changes to state and local laws around the country. The focus in part is to force businesses to train their employees on what harassment looks like, resulting in greater awareness, sensitivity to the issues, and prevention. If the proposed legislative changes are enacted, more employers may find themselves being required to provide training to members of both their management teams and general staff. Here are two links to stories on the initiatives afoot in NYC and the state of Connecticut:
• New York City May Require Businesses to Conduct Sexual Harassment Training – The New York Times
• Senate Democrats Propose Strengthened Legislation Against Sexual Harassment – The Connecticut Post
It is also important to note that a multitude of other states, counties, and regions in the US are in the process of considering similar measures for their regions; an indication this “movement” is not easing up and is likely to result in lasting change in the workplace when it comes to training requirements, perceived best practices, and overall tolerance for harassing behavior.
Stay aware of the news surrounding any of these measures becoming law. Overall, given the likelihood many will pass, start thinking about how you are going to address newly required training for your teams, if they are implemented.
As always, please feel free to reach out to your OperationsInc consultant for additional guidance.
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