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Does Your Company Have An Office Policy On Workplace Wearables?

Prior to the 21st century, workplace wearables really were not a human resources issue for most companies. Beyond the Casio calculator watch from back in the day, workplace wearables were not a reality before the release of the first version of the iPod on October 23, 2001. Even then, workplace wearables really did not become a question to be addressed by HR professionals until the rise of the Internet and the introduction of the Apple Watch in 2015.

workplace wearables

Do You Need A Workplace Wearables Office Policy?

Today, from health monitors and location trackers to wireless earbuds and smart glasses, workplace wearables pose a sudden multitude of benefits and risks to employers. Without a doubt, the demand for workplace wearables is exploding. Over the next 10 years, the market is expected to quintuple from $14 billion to $70 billion. In many industries, employers are just as excited as consumers and employees. The challenge is that new technologies often cause disruptions and unforeseen negative consequences when carelessly integrated into the workplace.

There is no question that employers must be mindful of legal pitfalls looming in the future. It’s essential is to make sure that a workplace wearables office policy opens the door to the benefits while avoiding any increased exposure to employer liability. In addition, any such policy will need to be revisited as the technology changes. After all, today as the 21st century is deep in its second decade, we merely are at the dawn of the workplace wearables revolution.

The Benefits of Workplace Wearables

As a professional employer organization, Total HR Management believes that an office policy on workplace wearables is becoming more and more of a necessity in 2017. Although the benefits of workplace wearables are many, the distracting influences and even external threats must be considered as well. Workplace wearables need to be divided into categories, particularly in relation to Internet access and privacy considerations. Although the benefits are significant, the potential negatives must not be allowed to disrupt an office.

The benefits of workplace wearables include enhanced worker communications and increased workplace safety. Moreover, wearables can be part of employee training and can improve employee tracking. Workplace wearables can allow employees to record themselves performing a task. Beyond providing a record, such a recording offers the potential for instantaneous feedback through sharing.

In other words, workplace wearables offer 24-7 access to your employees while they are on the job. They remove many of the traditional excuses for being out of touch or non-contactable. Moreover, according to experts from the University of London, wearable technologies have been also found to boost employee productivity by 8.5 percent, and to increase job satisfaction by 3.5 percent.

The Risks of Workplace Wearables

With access to the Internet available all the time, workplace wearables pose an obvious risk to confidential information and intellectual property. The impulsive nature of being in the moment with a workplace wearable could cause an employee to reveals inappropriate information. Rather than having the traditional filters and boundaries, workplace wearables make communication through email and social media a little too accessible. In light of the potential disclosure of your company’s confidential information, the issue of workplace wearables in the office must be handled with firm precision and a delicate balance.

Fitness-oriented workplace wearables can help improve the morale and the health of your employees. However, employee fitness programs connected to workplace wearables open the door to a host of potential issues. All such programs must be vetted to make sure they do not violate federal programs like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Although you can encourage employees to be healthy and keep fit, such programs need to be largely self-administered. You might want to give your employees Fitbits, but you are not allowed to track their progress. You need to be very careful not to open the door to potential penalties and federal violations. From HIPAA requirements and ADA prohibitions to EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) issues and GINA (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act) question marks, the federal hurdles for an employee wellness program combined with workplace wearables are many.

Is Smaller Always Better?

The potential business uses for smartwatches, smartglasses and other intelligent wearable devices are numerous. As wearable devices become smaller and more discrete, concerns about data security, surveillance and safety grow as well. Many of these devices offer hidden sound and video recording possibilities. Literally, the devices used by Cold War spies seem almost antiquated in comparison to what any consumer’s smart phone now offers. Beyond smartphones, miniature recorders and cameras are now common as well.

If an employer has access to the tracking capabilities and data collection of workplace wearables, written policies that explain in detail what types of data may and may not be collected need to be established. It must also be clear how the data will be used, and how it will be stored or destroyed. Workplace wearables should not be a step into either the spy world of James Bond or the tyrannical oppression of George Orwell’s 1984.

Even more importantly, employers need to make sure that employees do not use workplace wearables to violate wiretapping and surveillance laws. They also need to make sure that they avoid doing the same. For example, in California, all parties to a conversation must consent to its recording. Without a doubt, such dangers must be avoided. Any new workplace wearables introduced by a company need to benefit both the employees and the employer.

Total HR Management Can Help

The challenges that come with introducing wearable devices into the workplace have been faced in the past. With the pace of technology adoption only increasing and new challenges on the horizon, you need to stay ahead of the game. Total HR Management can help, including a revision of your employee handbook to include a workplace wearables office policy..

To learn more about how we can help your company establish a policy in regards to workplace wearables, contact Total HR Management today. Please call (800) 975-5128 today to speak with an HR professional and access the help your small to mid-sized company needs.

 

No Legal Advice Intended: This blog includes information about legal issues and legal questions.  Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.

 

 

 

Does Your Company Classify Workers As Independent Contractors?

Does your company classify workers as independent contractors? In 2017, companies need to realize that such classifications are becoming fraught with financial peril. Given stricter IRS enforcement of independent contractor standards in regards to employment taxes combined with the ongoing requirements of the Affordable Care Act, misclassification has become hazardous to your company’s bottom line. As a professional employer organization, Total HR Management has a proven track record of making sure our client companies avoid the financial and regulatory hazards of worker misclassification.

Do You Classify Workers as Independent Contractors?

classify workers as independent contractors

Classify Workers As Independent Contractors?

Beyond IRS enforcement and Affordable Care Act requirements, there are many other reasons not to classify workers as independent contractors. For example, avoiding potential problems with the Department of Homeland Security is a major motivating factor. The Department of Homeland Security has become much more vigilant when it comes to the completion of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms. Every employer is required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for every employee hired for employment in the United States.

The only major exception for Form I-9 verification is for individuals hired on or before November 6, 1986. Employees hired on or before November 6, 1986 are exempt if they have been in continuous employment with an employer. Given the huge time gap, the certified Professionals in Human Resources (PHRs) at Total HR Management would imagine that few, if any, of your employees qualify for such an exception. More importantly, this exception would never apply when making the decision to classify workers as independent contractors. In other words, there are no loopholes.

Increased Workplace Rights for Independent Contractors

Do you know about additional federal provisions that call for increased workplace rights for employees who once were classified as independent contractors? Such provisions are coming at employers from all directions. These added requirements will have a lasting impact both on employers and employees moving forward. If you sign up for an HR audit with Total HR, we can examine your employment and staffing strategies, figuring out how these provisions affect your company.

 

For example, expanded requirements for employers to pay unemployment compensation insurance and workers’ compensation insurance now covers many workers once classified as independent contractors. In addition, the Family and Medical Leave Act now covers many of these workers once classified as independent contractors. The Department of Labor is focused on remedying independent contractors’ ineligibility to take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. They consider this an unfair loophole that needs to be closed.

Beyond Federal Problems, Beware the States

 

Although this article focuses on the federal hazards of deciding to classify workers as independent contractors, the state hazards are increasing as well. In a future article, we will detail the dangers of independent contractor misclassification in California and other states. For now, your company needs to realize that the threat is real. In the past, it wasn’t a big deal to classify a potential employee as an independent contractor. Today and beyond, the decision to classify workers as independent contractors has become a much riskier decision for your company

Overall, the benefits of deciding to classify workers as independent contractors have been greatly reduced in the past couple of years. Instead of being positive for your company, the decision to classify workers as independent contractors has become a real liability. Misclassification is a literal minefield of financial dangers for your company. However, the HR managers at Total HR Management can help minimize this danger for your company, allowing you to hurdle the federal regulatory and bureaucratic minefields. Our goal is to help you focus on the business of your business.

Total HR Management Can Help

To learn more about how we can help your company avoid the dangers of worker misclassification, contact Total HR Management today. Please call (800) 975-5128 today to speak with an HR professional and access the help your small to mid-sized company needs.

 

No Legal Advice Intended: This blog includes information about legal issues and legal questions.  Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.

 

 

 

 

A Multistate Fair Pay Audit Is Today’s Smart Choice

In the 21st century, a multistate far pay audit has gone from being an option for business owners to a necessity. Many states, counties, and cities are in the process of either implementing or expanding fair pay laws. Such laws now include bans on salary history inquiries in the hiring process. The reason for this ban is that such questions fail to account for the traditional gender pay gap. If you are a multistate employer and the idea of staying in compliance with a complicated labyrinth of state and local laws seems overwhelming, Total HR Management can help with a multistate fair pay audit. After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The Importance of a Fair Pay Audit

multistate fair pay audit

A Multistate Fair Pay Audit Protects Your Company

Beyond helping to equalize pay among male and female employees, a multistate fair pay audit also can help to keep your company in compliance with other state, county and city requirements. The key is to be proactive by conducting a regular multistate fair pay audit in advance. Total HR has found that making such changes in advance is much easier than paying unneeded fines and undergoing potential litigation down the line.

To begin with, a company’s management needs to be willing to rectify any existing pay gaps. Although such a step can involve salary increases for female employees, the financial hit tends to be much less than expected. In addition, such proactive raises can empower female employees, leading to a boost in overall morale and greater productivity.

Avoid Damage from Unique Laws

Your company needs to avoid financial damage from fair pay laws that are unique to certain locations. As certified professionals in human resources, the HR managers at Total HR keep track of fair pay updates and payroll processing shifts in cities, counties, and states across the country. Wherever your company works, a multistate fair pay audit be done by Total HR. We will cover any needed fair pay compliance issues in the present. Moreover, once you become a client, we also will keep your company up-to-date with any future multistate fair pay compliance needs.

We never want a client company to be damaged by unique laws that apply to their specific locale or even industry. Beyond knowing the details, our best practices policy also includes an initial federal analysis in a multistate fair pay audit. In such an analysis, we make sure your company’s pay practices are in line with the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These laws are enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Federal compliance comes first, then anything specific to a company’s multi-state locations and jurisdictions follows.

Federal Equal Pay Act Exceptions

The federal Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying workers of one sex less than the other for performing substantially the same job. Such equal pay exceptions can only be reconciled based on several traditional criteria. These criteria include the following:

  1. A company seniority system
  2. A clearly defined merit system
  3. Pay measured by the quantity or quality of production
  4. A differential based on a factor other than sex like technical expertise

A major problem is that equal pay exceptions under these criteria have been used in the past to enforce the traditional gender pay gap. Both the merit system and the seniority system can be difficult to quantify in certain business situations. California and several other states have done their best to close these loopholes. Total HR recommends closing them as well.

Specific Needs of A Multistate Fair Pay Audit

In particular, as an employer located in California, Total HR Management is well-aware of the specific state requirements that go well beyond federal regulations. Since the legal standard is broader, we make sure a company with California employees remains in compliance. For example, given the broader definition, California’s Fair Pay Act of 2016 requires fair pay for men and women who perform “substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility.”

Whenever Total HR works with a California-based company, our goal is to ensure compliance across the board. By handling the bureaucracy of payroll and other HR services, we lessen the pressure on your company, allowing business owners to get back to the basics. We want you to focus on the reason why you started or joined a company in the first place: being productive and increasing profits.

A Multistate Fair Pay Audit with Total HR

To go through a fair pay audit with Total HR, you first will need to contact us for a general HR audit. You also will need to have up-to-date and accurate employee and payroll data readily available. The different jobs in your business should be grouped together to do payroll comparisons. Such groupings usually are done by department. Furthermore, a fair pay audit can reveal disparities in company policies in regards to setting starting pay, calculating merit increases, and deciding upon promotions. In other words, more will be revealed.

If you want to know more about how a fair pay audit can help your company, contact Total HR Management today. Take the smart first step by calling (800) 975-5128 to set-up an HR audit.

 

No Legal Advice Intended: This blog includes information about legal issues and legal questions. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.

 

 

Ensure Your Company is Compliant With 2017 Form I-9

Ensuring that your company is compliant with the 2017 Form I-9 is more crucial than ever before. Given a renewed focus on immigration issues, employment eligibility verification has come to the forefront of HR necessities in 2017. Total HR Management has the proven track record to ensure that our client companies get and stay in compliance.

On January 21st, the new 2017 Form I-9 became a legal requirement for both employers and employees. If you are not using the new Form I-9 today, then you are behind the proverbial curve. The HR managers at Total HR can help you become compliant with the new regulations. If you need to know more about 2017 Form I-9 compliance, please read more.

2017 Form I-9 Compliance

2017 Form I-9

New 2017 Form I-9 for Employment Verification

Distributed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the 2017 Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired in the United States. It is a requirement for all employers to ensure the proper completion of Form I-9 for each new hire. What’s essential to understand is that the completion of the 2017 Form I-9 applies to both in citizens and non-citizens.

In addition, the 2017 Form I-9 is not just completed by employees. Rather, both employees and employers are required by the federal government to complete the form. In certain cases, an authorized representative of the employer can carry out this task. In relation to employees, however, every employee must fill out Form I-9 with no exceptions. As an employment eligibility verification, the 2017 Form I-9 is designed to avoid employment fraud and illegals from entering the legitimate workforce.

Preventing Employment Fraud

On the 2017 Form I-9, an employee being hired must attest to his or her employment authorization. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable documents that establish both identity and employment authorization. By examining such documents, the employer can determine employment eligibility and the genuine right of the potential new hire to work in this country. Here is a link to access the list of acceptable documents for such employment verification.

Once completed, employers must retain Form I-9 for a designated period. Such documentation needs to be readily available for inspection by authorized government officers. Total HR Management helps our client companies process these forms and manage them if needed. Our goal is to make sure that employment verification issues never become a problem for any of our client companies. After all, such problems only get in the way of the true business of your business: being profitable and productive.

Above all, Total HR does not want any company to see ICE agents knocking on their front doors. If this does happen to your company and the needed forms and proof of eligibility are not filled out or readily available, employers will end up shouldering all the blame. This doesn’t need happen at your company.

Smart Fillable PDF Features and 2017 Form I-9

The most prominent changes to the 2017 Form I-9 are its new “Smart” fillable PDF features. The 2017 Form I-9 can now be completed electronically, which hopefully will decrease errors and increase compliance. However, if a company uses the electronic Form I-9 on the government website, they must still print it out and have the form signed by both the employee and employer. There also are updated instructions and the new penalties related to Form I-9 for non-compliance.

While it’s probably not worth going out of your way to have an employee use the “Smart” PDF version, there’s enough benefit to the “Smart” form that employers should definitely consider using it. In fact, the HR managers at Total HR believe it is the wave of the future. Employers may want to consider structuring their on-boarding procedures to provide an opportunity for employees to complete Section 1 in the fillable PDF on-site. At the same time, the fillable PDF option makes no change to employers’ ability to electronically complete, sign, and store the 2017 Form I-9.

Total HR Management Can Help

If government forms and smart options seem intimidating, you are not alone. However, the HR managers at Total HR Management can help. To learn about how Total HR can help your company get and stay in compliance with the 2017 Form I-9, please call Total HR Management at (800) 975-5128 today to set-up an HR audit.

Your Company Really Needs Employment Practices Liability Insurance

“Why would my company ever need employment practices liability insurance? Nothing bad is going to happen.” The PEO professionals at Total HR Management are surprised by how many of our client companies came onboard with this initial attitude. They literally did not realize how a lack of an EPLI policy can truly place a business on the edge of dire jeopardy. If something with an employee does go wrong, the excellent EPLI policy offered under a professional employer organization’s group umbrella can save your business and keep your doors open.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance A Necessity

In the 21st century, from the moment that a manager starts the pre-hiring process until the exit interview, the company is vulnerable to an employment-related lawsuit. Such lawsuits are much more common that you might imagine. This is why your business should take a hard look at whether it can afford to defend itself against alleged wrongful employment practices accusations.

If you are unwilling to crack open the company’s piggy bank and put the future of your company at risk, you need an EPLI policy yesterday. Total HR Management can help get you one today.

employment practices liability insurance

Employment Practices Liability Insurance in 2017

As an insurance solution, employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) protects your company against wrongful termination, discrimination or sexual harassment suits from your current, prospective or former employees. This coverage applies to directors, officers and employees, and can sometimes extend to third party liabilities as well.

Total HR Management has seen EPLI coverage protect client companies from unexpected lawsuits, both spurious and real in nature. While the majority of employee lawsuits are groundless, defending against any lawsuit is costly and time-consuming. This is why your company needs EPLI armor.

Three Out Of Five Employers Will Be Sued

According to researchers, three out of five employers will be sued by a prospective, current or former employee while they are in business.

Did you know that the vast majority of general liability policies held by companies do not include employment-related lawsuits? Such non-EPLI coverage leaves a company’s assets 100% vulnerable to such an employee lawsuit. As costs for litigation and damage awards climb, experts predict that employment liability will only become more complex.

Total HR Management wants you to know the manner in which your company will be covered under such a policy. EPLI policies provide protection from the following wrongful employment practices and many types of employee lawsuits, including

  • Sexual harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Wrongful termination
  • Breach of employment contract
  • Negligent evaluation
  • Failure to employ or promote
  • Wrongful discipline
  • Deprivation of career opportunity
  • Wrongful infliction of emotional distress
  • Mismanagement of employee benefit plans

Can you imagine one of these potential problems hitting your business hard? In fact, it’s probably more than possible. Such issues don’t always lead to employee lawsuits, but you need to be ready and prepared to protect the future of your business if they do. EPLI policies reimburse a company against the costs of defending a lawsuit in court and for judgments and settlements. An employment practices liability insurance policy covers legal costs, whether a company wins or loses the suit

Total HR Management Can Help

Does it sound like employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) could make sense for your company? The HR managers at Total HR Management can explain exactly how EPLI coverage will benefit your business model. Isn’t it time to be protected? To learn more, please call Total HR Management at (800) 975-5128 today.

 

No Legal Advice Intended: This blog includes information about legal issues and legal questions.  Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.

 

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