This Regulatory Burdens Series has been informed by Robert J. Grossman’s article on Regulatory Relief in HR Magazine (February 2013)
Part 3 – Immigration, Safety Regulations, Wage And Hour Laws
If properly addressing the regulatory requirements of healthcare reform, pro-union labor laws, and discrimination difficulties was not enough, there are several other major federal regulatory challenges facing America companies. From immigration and safety regulations to wage and hour laws and all the federal regulatory burdens, regulatory compliance is becoming a larger and larger hurdle to overcome. A serious part of the regulatory burdens, particularly in California, is the aggressive enforcement campaign of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Recently, ICE has been doing a comprehensive audit of small to mid-sized businesses to make sure employers have compiled and maintained the I-9 forms of their employees. As opposed to the drama-filled raids that tend to be newsworthy, particularly in small markets, the audits have proven to be a less disruptive and more effective enforcement methodology. In 2011, there were over 2,500 audits, an impressive fivefold increase over the course of the previous three years, and more than ten million dollars in fines.
If the old regulations were not already a challenge, new regulatory burdens from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administrations (OSHA) Injury and Illness Prevention Program are expected in the spring of 2013. Employers will be required to identify and address workplace hazards on their own. If they fail to address such hazards in this new “find and fix” program, they will be penalized. Although experts have questioned the necessity of such a program, regulatory compliance will become necessary for the majority of small to mid-sized businesses in America.
What could be most problematic is that the agency plans to issue the newly revised “most dangerous” quartile list in 2013. Companies in the bottom 25% when it comes to workplace safety will be forced to keep OSHA logs. When you consider how large a number 25% is when it comes to every company in the country, such a regulation seems blatantly anti-business and too widespread to be fair or effective. Still. Total HR Management will help any client company execute such logs and remain in proper OSHA compliance.
If all of the above isn’t hard enough, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), record-keeping requirements are being expanded and made more complex by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition, given the new healthcare reform thresholds of the number of employees in a company and IRS enforcement of payroll tax classification requirements, classification analysis has become a focus as well. The misclassification of employees as full or part-time will now be more penalized than ever and from multiple fronts as well.
As we asked in Part 2 of this Series, does such regulatory vigilance make sense when so many American small to mid-sized businesses are trying to regain their equilibrium after the recent nationwide recession? If we want America to be at the forefront of the world in terms of business opportunities and productivity, why are business owners under attack with so many federal regulatory burdens? Yes, Total HR Management understands that many of these businesses are not perfect, but do they need to be punished to such an extent? The damage being done is why Total HR Management offers such regulatory support and compliance help when companies choose to outsource their human resources functions to us.