Why You Should Rely on Your HR Partner for Critical Legislative Updates

Jun 19, 2024

If you run an HR department for a thriving business, you no doubt keep up with legislative updates that affect your operations. But have you considered the implications of remote workers who have moved to other cities or even states?

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of remote workers skyrocketed from 9 million 27.6 million people, according to a 2022 report from the U.S. Census Bureau. While the COVID-19 pandemic spurred this massive change, employers are struggling to bring workers back to the office. In 2024, with the effects of the pandemic long gone, the Pew Research Center reports that 22 million U.S. adults (14% of all employed adults) work 100% remotely.

While remote work allows employees more flexibility, it can cause major issues for employers. As the workforce expands to all 50 states, companies are falling behind on tracking the different rules that vary from place to place.

Legislation Changes Constantly

If there’s one constant in the American legal landscape, it’s that things are always changing. It can seem that once you’ve finally locked in on what needs to be done, the legislation evolves once again! Employment Enterprises’ clients say these changes can be overwhelming and need consistent monitoring that they may not be equipped for.

For example, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime, and other workforce-related policies at the national level. Over the next year, the salary threshold for exempt employees is rising dramatically. However, states—like New York—can choose to set even higher limits than the federal mandates. It isn’t as simple as watching only federal legal changes.

Sick leave policies are another area that varies wildly from place to place, sometimes even from locality to locality in the same state. Places like San Francisco, Chicago, and Minnesota have much more rigorous paid sick leave standards than other areas. And don’t forget about mandatory meal breaks: In some places, the employer will end up paying a penalty on top of the paid mealtime if the worker doesn’t actually take their break on time!

“Even if there’s only one remote worker a law applies to, it’s imperative to act on it,” says Colleen Clokus, chief operating officer at Employment Enterprises. “One of our clients—a family-owned company headquartered in Virginia—now has one employee in California. They’re beholden to not only Virginia laws, but also those in the specific city in California where the remote employee works.”

Not only can companies be fined by officials for not adhering to these laws, they can also find themselves in court. Even employees who are fired for cause can be litigious in hindsight, looking for loopholes or ways to benefit from being let go.

 

Rely on Your HR Partner

At Employment Enterprises, staying abreast of legal changes is a top priority. The company’s investment of both time and resources allows for its clients to receive expert advice. Participation in groups like the American Staffing Association and Staffing Industry Analysts provides Employment Enterprises with regular legal updates affecting the industry and its clients. Similarly, company representatives involved in the Society for Human Resource Management and the American Payroll Association receive their own legislative reports.

But association membership by itself isn’t enough. Employment Enterprises participates in legal webinars, receives updates from insurance and other vendors, and subscribes to a service solely dedicated to providing updates on policy changes. Through all this, the company remains compliant and is able to train clients on their own compliance, from notifying workers and updating employee handbooks to implementing changes to their back-end processes. Best practices and constant updates keep everyone on the same—legal—wavelength.

“By partnering with Employment Enterprises, our clients can capitalize on our investment in workforce law compliance,” says Clokus. “One of the best resources we can provide is timely knowledge, and our clients benefit in spades.”

Written by: Employment Enterprises

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