HR Compliance Checklist: Everything You Need to Know
An HR compliance checklist is used by human resource specialists to prepare for an HR audit.7 min read
An HR compliance checklist is used by human resource specialists to prepare for an HR audit. Government agencies are required to have formal HR audits, but businesses can also benefit from yearly audits. These benefits include:
- Ensuring the company implements best practices for their policies.
- Helping to create manuals for hiring and retaining employees and assisting them in achieving superior performance.
- Enhancing the business's reputation.
- Ensuring the business systems are creating results.
- Keeping the business within the legalities of employment.
Recruiting and Interviewing
The HR checklist should include information about recruiting and interviewing new employees and a review of the current application form and any internal job descriptions. The company should place special emphasis on complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
This checklist should also place emphasis on defining at-will employment. It should also outline interview procedures with regard to the specific questions and who conducts the interviews. Finally, the recruiting and interviewing section should review how the company checks references in compliance with employment law.
Under hiring procedures, the checklist should include reviewing offer letters, contracts, and new-hire orientations. It should include a review of documents that are provided upon hiring with special emphasis on Title VII, which refers to discrimination against employees for religion, sex, race, national origin, or color, as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
Policies and Procedures
The checklist should involve checking the personnel handbook and the company's policies and procedures. A reassessment analysis helps to make sure that the company is following all state and federal employment laws. These statutes include:
- Family and medical leave
- Health benefits
- Pregnancy disability benefits and leave
- COBRA and unemployment benefits
When reviewing these policies, the HR checklist should also consider:
- Drug and alcohol-free workplace specifications
- Rehabilitation services
- Equal pay
- Ergonomics issues
Employers must verify that Occupational Safety and Health Act standards are being followed and identify any other safety issues in the workplace. For companies that use chemicals, for example, the safety checklist should include approaches to chemical safety and hazard communications that are federally approved. It should also include a requirement to tour the physical environment to make sure there is an emphasis on the safety of employees and customers.
A business's employee handbook should offer work-related guidelines for all employees. It is the fundamental document for employees concerning their employment and HR issues. The following policies should all be comprehensively addressed in the employee handbook.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity policy should follow all federal, state, and local regulations and should be reviewed often.
- The dress code should address:
- Extreme hair color
- Distracting body piercings
- Scents and aromas that could bother employees or customers
- Cellphone use policies may include:
- Talking or texting during work hours
- Phones set to vibrate
- Safety issues involving cell phones including talking or texting while driving
- Taking pictures during work hours
- Similarly, an internet policy should be in place that addresses:
- Guidelines for composing emails
- Internet sites that employees should avoid
- Information about email policies and whether work emails are subject to review
The employee handbook should also define proper and inappropriate relationships at work. Finally, there should be a policy that prohibits discussing salaries or benefits with other employees.
Along with an employee handbook, you should also have employee posters displayed prominently throughout the workplace. You should have at least six copies of all required posters according to federal law.
Employers should create a social networking policy at work that includes the following:
- Social networking sites should be prohibited during working hours.
- Employees' posts are safeguarded — even when they are judgmental of management.
- Supervisors and managers should not check their employees' personal social media pages.
- Managers should be discouraged from "friending" or "following" employees on social media sites.
- NLRB regulations urge employers not to tell employees what they can or cannot post on social media.
Sexual Harassment, Bullying, and Drugs
Your company should have annual sexual harassment training for all managers and employees. Your company should also take a hard stance against bullying. Bullying may happen in the workplace or in cyberspace and might be emotional or physical. The company should have a way for employees to anonymously report any type of bullying.
Furthermore, you should implement a Drug-Free Workplace Program, helping to lower workers' compensation premiums and prevent or resolve drug issues in the workplace.
Implementing a DiSC personality assessment program enables you to hire the best employees by measuring whether applicants are:
- Detail oriented
- "Type A"
The company should also send new hire reports to the state employment agency database.
Affirmative Action, EEO, and Veterans Checklist
If you have more than 50 employees and federal government contracts of at least $50,000, you are covered by Affirmative Action and must update your Affirmative Action plan annually.
As of 2017, you must file reports about EEO-1 and VETS 4212. EEO-1 reports are due March 31, 2018, and focus on the need to include pay data in payroll information from W-2 forms. The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act requires VETS 4212 reports by September 30th every year. Companies are required to send this report if they fall into one the following categories:
- The company has at least 100 employees
- The company has 50 employees and an Affirmative Action Plan
The company should offer management training focusing on the following concerns:
- Counseling and dismissing employees
- Performance appraisals
- Managing difficult employees
- Training in diversity and harassment
Your business should have a completed I-9 on file for every employee, separate from their standard employee file. This document, which is filled out when hiring a new employee, requires you to analyze and record their verification documents. You must make copies of these documents and attach them to the new version of the I-9 through August 31, 2019.
Each employee file should include his or her application form, recognition or disciplinary notices, and performance reviews. However, it should not include private or personal documents, polygraph results, background test results, or drug screening results. Avoid including documents of a medical nature or that involve EEO information. These should be kept in a separate, confidential employee file.
Employees who are dismissed during the probationary period, usually 90 days, are not eligible for benefits. Those who are dismissed for conduct reasons or leave without cause are also not eligible for unemployment pay. However, those dismissed for performance reasons will typically receive benefits.
The Department of Labor defines working time as any hours in which an employee is working. Employers must pay workers for this time even if it was unauthorized. This can include meals, travel time, overtime, working from home, and any other time spent performing duties of employment.
Establish a policy for smartphone use for work purposes at home and when work is not scheduled. Have a procedure through which employees can accurately record the time they spend working and be aware of when employees are on the clock.
Some employees are considered exempt and must receive a salary each week if they perform any work. You must be sure to correctly classify employees as exempt or non-exempt.
Laws to Know About
If you own a business, you must be aware of the following employment laws:
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes a minimum wage, overtime, and child labor laws. It also defines employee exemption and non-exemption.
- The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) requires employers to maintain I-9 forms to confirm that all employees are eligible to work in the U.S. legally.
- The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) indicates required information that must be provided to employees who participate in private health and pension plans sponsored by their employers.
- Federal Income Tax Withholding indicates the percentage of employee wages that must be withheld by employers and paid to the government.
- Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) designates a percentage of wages to be withheld for Medicare and Social Security.
- The Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires women and men to be paid the same salary if they are doing the same work.
- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) requires employees to be excused from work for military duty and retain their position for up to five years.
- The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) prevents employers from firing or disciplining employees who join or form unions.
- The Uniform Guidelines for Employment Selection Procedures prevent employers from discriminating against potential hires based on skin color, race, sex, religion, or nationality.
- The Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) prevents employers from giving employees and applicants lie detector tests.
- The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) sets guidelines about fraud prevention, financial disclosures, and corporate responsibility.
- The Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) establishes requirements for wage garnishment.
- The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT) requires employers to protect consumer credit data.
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prevents employers from receiving health information about their employees.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) set standards for workplace safety and record-keeping compliance.
- The Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on disabilities.
- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act prohibits discrimination for family medical history, genetic risk factors, and other genetic information.
- The Civil Rights Act prohibits sex discrimination and sexual harassment at work.
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination against applicants ages 40 and older.
- The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires employers to cover insured employees and their families under their health plan for a certain time period after discontinuation of employment.
- The Affordable Care Act requires large employers to provide affordable health care options to their employees.
- The Affirmative Action Program requires active recruitment and training programs for women, minorities, veterans, and disabled individuals.
- The Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act requires employees to receive notice of mass layoffs and workplace closings at least 60 days in advance.
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