As the new year approaches, so does a new set of HR rules. Employment laws and regulations change every year, and in order to keep up with the ever-changing legal landscape we all have to make comprehensive updates to our HR policies periodically. Many of these new HR policies will benefit your company by making your workplace much more attractive to new employees, too. Workers are increasingly looking for jobs that offer excellent benefits and fair treatment along with a good salary.
Your employees, supervisors, and even corporate leadership will all have questions once we get into January, so it is best to get working on the policy updates now. Here are the changes you can expect to be dealing with in the new year.
Family-friendly policies are increasingly necessary for an employer to stand out in the market. People are placing more and more importance in the idea of the work-life balance, and it will become harder to attract the best workers without good family friendly policies.
Younger workers, especially, are much more interested in working for companies with generous family policies. Over the next few years you can expect to find it much harder to attract new employees if you do not have updated family policies, even if the law does not begin to mandate such policies.
On top of that, the law and the interpretation of the law is changing and forcing employers to adapt. In order to remain compliant and competitive, here is what you need to do:
- Mother’s rooms- The Fair Labor Standards act requires that, during the first year of an infant’s life, the mother be given unlimited breaks to express milk. In the case of hourly employees, these breaks can be unpaid. The room provided must be a private space, and cannot be a bathroom. All employers with more than fifty employees must comply, and employers with fewer than fifty employees must comply unless they can prove undue hardship.
- Paid leave- Cities and states are beginning to mandate paid sick, family, and vacation leave. These laws can vary from state to state and city to city, so you will want to check the local city and state laws to be sure that you are compliant. As with other updates we have listed, a good paid leave policy can be an excellent way for your company to make itself stand out in the marketplace.
- Pregnancy and childbirth leave- Paternity and maternity leave is not necessarily the same thing as paid leave. The FMLA provides for 12 weeks of unpaid childbirth and bonding leave, but most paid childbirth leave laws do not provide for that extra bonding time. Check your local state and city laws, as these may be changing to require paid leave. It is best to combine FMLA and paid leave into one policy, and be sure to include fathers in that policy. Men have begun suing for equal rights to paid parental leave, and winning. It is best to simply offer the same amount of leave to the fathers as you do for the mothers. While many employers are hesitant to expand paid leave policies, remember that companies with generous paid family leave are very attractive to younger employees.
Pay equity is a policy that prohibits an employer from asking about past or current salaries in the hiring process. Often an employer will make an offer based on a person’s previous salary, even if they were being underpaid. Since many people are underpaid for discriminatory reasons, this has become a major issue.
For example, a woman might be underpaid at her current job simply because she is a woman. If she is looking for a new job, and the salary offered to her is based on what she is currently earning, she will continue to be underpaid for discriminatory reasons. Pay equity, in theory, breaks the cycle of pay discrimination by requiring you to make an offer based on the potential employee’s merit, not their current pay rate.
Many states have begun passing laws that prohibit employers from asking about current or past salary, which forces an employer to make an offer based purely on merit. Check your local law to make sure you are compliant, and consider adopting the policy even if your state does not yet require it. It is one more way for your company to stand out in the market, and there is a good chance that your state will be adopting such a law at some point anyway. By updating your policy now, you will remain well ahead of the curve.
Reach Out To An Employment Law Attorney
If you believe your HR policies may be outdated and no longer compliant, contact the employment law experts at the Brown Firm. They can help you to determine if your policies are not compliant, and help you to adopt new, compliant policies.