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Regulatory Compliance–A Black Cat Crossing the Path of Your Business

It seems as though every year the Federal and State governments are adding more acts, mandates, and laws to the business of employment. As a small to mid-sized business, you probably don’t have the time to keep up with the names of all of the new ones, let alone how they can impact you as an employer. Large corporations have complete in-house HR departments and legal departments that work at not only keeping up with the new regulations, but also keeping their corporations in compliance. Are you that lucky? Often times an employer can feel overwhelmed by the addition of regulations, and a bit apprehensive as if a black cat keeps crossing their path and they are just waiting for the bad luck of fines and work interruption from non-compliance to present itself.

HR Strategies focuses on keeping you compliant by working as your off-site HR department, with the back-up of legal counsel from one of our strategic partners, Jackson Lewis, which is one of the largest law firms specializing in workplace law. HR Strategies team can help you reduce the fear of the black cat of regulatory compliance and your risk and vulnerabilities to Federal, State, Local and Professional Regulatory changes. We keep pace with changing governmental requirements that affect your business and help you stay compliant. By relieving your stress of whether or not the black cat (of regulatory compliance) crossing your path on Halloween, or any time of year, and worrying if you are in compliance, we give you the ability to focus on the aspects of your company for which you went into business, while we handle the behind the scenes issues. Click HERE or on the picture above to learn more about how HR Strategies can help you stay complaint.

How Well Do You Know Georgia’s Child Labor Laws?

The Georgia DOL has many resources for employers doing business in the state of Georgia. As an HR Outsourcing firm, it’s our business to keep our clients in compliance with all of these state regulations (as well as on both the local and federal levels). Are you a Georgia employer? When was the last time you looked over the Georgia Laws and Rules Regulating the Employment of Children? Follow this link to read more before hiring high schoolers this summer.

Georgia DOL Laws and Rules Regulating the Employment of Children

teens-working-in-fast-food

Call HR Strategies today with more questions! 770.339.0000

OSHA Basics

osha picWe thought it was important to recap our post on one of the governing agencies that oversee labor and employment in our country. The agency which ensures employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace is the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. OSHA’s mission is to assure safe and healthful workplaces by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

“In 1970, the United States Congress and President Richard Nixon created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a national public health agency dedicated to the basic proposition that no worker should have to choose between their life and their job. The OSHA law makes it clear that the right to a safe workplace is a basic human right.

Since OSHA’s first day on the job, the agency has delivered remarkable progress for our nation. Workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths have fallen dramatically. Together with our state partners, OSHA has tackled deadly safety hazards and health risks. We have established common sense standards and enforced the law against those who put workers at risk. Our standards, enforcement actions, compliance assistance and cooperative programs have saved thousands of lives and prevented countless injuries and illnesses.

Looking to the future, OSHA is committed to protecting workers from toxic chemicals and deadly safety hazards at work, ensuring that vulnerable workers in high-risk jobs have access to critical information and education about job hazards, and providing employers with vigorous compliance assistance to promote best practices that can save lives.

Although our task is far from complete, our progress gives us hope and confidence that OSHA will continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of our nation’s 130 million workers, their families and their communities.” http://www.osha.gov/Publications/3302-06N-2006-English.html

Rights and Responsibilities under OSHA Law

Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Employers MUST provide their workers with a workplace that does not have serious hazards and must follow all OSHA safety and health standards. Employers must find and correct safety and health problems. OSHA further requires that employers must first try to eliminate or reduce hazards by making feasible changes in working conditions rather than relying on personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, or earplugs. Switching to safer chemicals, enclosing processes to trap harmful fumes, or using ventilation systems to clean the air are examples of effective ways to eliminate or reduce risks.

Employers MUST also:

  • Inform workers about chemical hazards through training, labels, alarms, color-coded systems, chemical information sheets and other methods.
  • Provide safety training to workers in a language and vocabulary they can understand.
  • Keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • Perform tests in the workplace, such as air sampling, required by some OSHA standards.
  • Provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.*
  • Provide hearing exams or other medical tests required by OSHA standards.
  • Post OSHA citations and injury and illness data where workers can see them.
  • Notify OSHA within eight hours of a workplace fatality or when three or more workers are hospitalized (1-800-321-OSHA [6742]).
  • Prominently display the official OSHA “Job Safety and Health – It’s the Law” poster that describes rights and responsibilities under the law
  • Not retaliate or discriminate against workers for using their rights under the law, including their right to report a work-related injury or illness.

* Employers must pay for most types of required personal protective equipment.

Workers have the right to:

  • Work in conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
  • File a confidential complaint with OSHA to have their workplace inspected.
  • Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. The training must be done in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.
  • Receive copies of records of work-related injuries and illnesses that occur in their workplace.
  • Receive copies of the results from tests and monitoring done to find and measure hazards in their workplace.
  • Receive copies of their workplace medical records.
  • Participate in an OSHA inspection and speak in private with the inspector.
  • File a complaint with OSHA if they have been retaliated or discriminated against by their employer as the result of requesting an inspection or using any of their other rights under the OSH Act.
  • File a complaint if punished or discriminated against for acting as a “whistleblower” under the 20 additional federal laws for which OSHA has jurisdiction.

The above is just a quick snapshot into the intensive Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  Please visit OSHA’s website, www.OSHA.gov, to find out more. The website also provides information on standards, enforcement, reporting and record keeping, complaint procedures, and additional assistance. In addition to having a great website full of important information, OSHA has recently introduced a mobile app for employees/employers:

•Heat Index for Outdoor Workers: Find out your local heat index and what precautions you should take to stay safe.

As always, HR Strategies is here to help our clients with regulatory compliance in respect to the many aspects of OSHA.

HR Strategies Regulatory Compliance

What:

It seems as though every year the Federal and State governments are adding more acts, mandates, and laws to the business of employment. As a small to mid-sized business, you probably don’t have the time to keep up with the names of all of the new ones, let alone how they can impact you as an employer. Large corporations have complete in-house HR departments and legal departments that work at not only keeping up with the new regulations, but also keeping their corporations in compliance. Are you that lucky? Or are you risking the chance of fines and work interruption?

How:

HR Strategies focuses on keeping you compliant by working as your off-site HR department, with the back-up of legal counsel from one of our strategic partners, Jackson Lewis, which is one of the largest law firms specializing in workplace law. HR Strategies team can help you reduce your risk and vulnerabilities to Federal, State, Local and Professional Regulatory changes. We maintain all of your employment related records in safe, professional, and government regulated ways.

Benefit:

We keep pace with changing governmental requirements that affect your business and help you stay compliant. By relieving your stress of whether or not you are in compliance, we give you the ability to focus on the aspects of your company for which you went into business, while we handle the behind the scenes issue of compliance.

See All HR Solutions Here

HR Strategies Regulatory Compliance Case Study

HR Strategies Assists in OSHA Compliance and Reduction of Penalties

Challenges:

HR Strategies provides aid and counsel on a variety of government regulatory compliance issues. One of the biggest issues which HR Strategies aids client owners in is OSHA compliance. Recently, a client owner received an “on site” visit from two OSHA inspectors regarding a complaint reported to their office.  Upon completion of the “on site” inspection, which included one-on-one interviews with selected personnel, a meeting was conducted to review the findings and closing remarks with the client. It became apparent the client was in violation of a number of serious OSHA standards; and that a citation and penalties would be forth coming.

Solution:

HR Strategies was notified immediately by the client at the time of the “on site” visit, and was able to meet with the inspectors and client, and was also able to attend the review meeting on the findings and closing remarks. Upon receipt of the citation letter, HR Strategies took a pro-active approach to address the citations and provide the necessary training and documentation in a timely manner in order to potentially reduce the penalties that were identified. HR Strategies was able to present the “corrective action” items in an informal conference with the OSHA area director.

Results:

The client was very appreciative of the timely and thorough action taken by HR Strategies, including the back-up of having a professional HR team present at meetings with them, and the training provided to allow them to be in compliance going forward. The meeting was favorable, resulting in the reduction of the penalties by half the original amount.

See All HR Strategies Case Studies Here

HR Strategies HR Consulting Case Study

HR Strategies Aids in DOL Audit

Challenges:

HR Strategies supplies a variety of human resource solutions to many different client companies, including HR consulting and regulatory compliance. For many companies, the thought of a DOL audit can be stressful and overwhelming. HR Strategies recently had a client, a 20 employee commercial cleaning company, who was subject to a US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Audit. HR Strategies’ client was investigated on hours worked, overtime, salaried vs. hourly status, work permits, and time cards; during which current and former employees were interviewed. The client needed to supply information and handle all requests made by the US DOL, in a timely and professional manner, while still focusing on running their business.

Solution:

The client notified HR Strategies of the investigation and HR Strategies was able to work closely with the client. HR Strategies provided consultation and helped manage the investigation. With the aide of HR Strategies the client was able to provide all necessary documentation on payroll data and at the same time shored up the clients current pay practices. In addition, HR Strategies staff was able to join the client to meet with the investigator in person multiple times, for a total of nearly 5 hours, thus providing the client with the reassurance of having a professional HR team on their side.

Results:

At the end of this vast investigation, no violations were found and no fines levied on HR Strategies’ client. The client was very appreciative of the extensive efforts made in aiding them, and stated that without HR Strategies he could not have managed this exhaustive investigation.

See All HR Strategies Case Studies Here

Is it time to “Spring Clean” your HR/business functions?

Each spring many of us spend time purging and sprucing up our homes, cars, and even offices.  We rid our spaces of cobwebs and items that we no longer have a use for; we even update outdated items.  Doing so can give us a feeling of revival of energy after a long winter. This concept of Spring Cleaning through purging and updating may be just what some of your business functions need to revive your employees and your company itself.

When was the last time you reviewed your policies and procedures?  This may be a great first step in “Spring Cleaning” for your business.  As we enter recovery from the great recession, you may find your business in the position to acquire new talent.  As you review your policies and procedures, take the time to do a comparison against other companies to ensure that you are competitive in the hiring process.  Are your handbooks up to date? Or do they need to be updated with new policies and procedures from when they were first created?

To remain competitive in hiring new employees, maybe it’s time you looked at your benefits package?  Are you offering the best package you can? When attracting new employees, a good benefits package can be just as important as salary.  HR Strategies can help you offer a premium benefits package to your employees, while keeping you in compliance with benefit regulations.  Speaking of being in compliance, when was the last time you looked to make sure that all of your Notice of Employee Rights and other postings, required by law, were up to date? “Spring Cleaning” is a great time to do so!

The recession brought about many changes in job duties for many of us. Some employees took on additional roles, some moved up in the ranks, and some have moved down in rank.  “Spring Cleaning” is a good time to review your written job descriptions, to make sure that they are accurate.  While taking the time to do so, why not also review compensation policies. With new job descriptions written out, do you see where an employee/job may not be compensated properly? Does an increase need to be in the works? Or have the job duties decreased, and a decrease in salary needs to be implemented?

HR Strategies provides all the solutions and consulting you need to be able to “Spring Clean” your business HR functions. Give us a call today; so that we can start ridding your company of HR cobwebs!

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