5 Ways For Employers to be certain they COMPLY in 2017

As an employer, you must comply with any number of employment laws. If you offer employee benefits such as health insurance to your employees, there are even more laws with which you must comply. This is not an issue that can be deferred.Compliance must happen now or penalties could apply. The Department of Labor (DOL) has been conducting more ERISA compliance audits over the past few years and your company could be next on the list. Organizations of all sizes are at risk of being audited. Today is a great time to take stock of your organization’s compliance with important federal, state, and local labor law requirements. Monetary penalties for falling out of compliance can be significant. Noncompliance is not an option.

Stay on top of notice requirements

From summary plan descriptions (SPDs) to COBRA, HIPAA, and FMLA-related notices, employers are required under various laws to provide employees with certain information about their benefits and responsibilities. Confirm that your employee communications are accurate, consistent, and compliant with applicable law. See links below for compliance services Pender & Associates offers. Compliance services include Wrap/SPD document creation and personalized required benefit notices. Additionally, we partner with top HR Consulting vendors who can assist you with HR compliance issues (i.e., employee handbooks, job descriptions, FMLA). These are concerns beyond employee benefits (ERISA) concerns.

Section 125 or Premium Only Plan (POP) Document

Each employer needs to address its Section 125 Cafeteria Plan or Section 125 Premium Only Plan (POP). Whether you have a Cafeteria or a POP Plan, annual enrollment, plan disclosure, notification and testing may be required. If employees’ share of premiums are deducted on a pre-tax basis under a POP Plan, the employer must have a written document in place that addresses all benefits being deducted and includes the latest amendments. Free POP Plans issued by third parties – AFLAC/Colonial etc. may include language that applies ONLY to the products written by those entities. Your Section 125/POP Plan must include language that covers all pre-tax benefit deductions. If you cannot locate your Section 125 or POP plan documents, contact us for cost efficient document purchase sources.

Review policies and procedures

Be sure your company policies and procedures comply with applicable labor laws related to employee leave, equal employment opportunity, sexual harassment, work safety, and other requirements. If you do not have an employee handbook, your HR 360 subscription provided free of charge by Pender and Associates to our clients includes compliance guidance, documents and templates to build your own HR compliance package. You can also access one of our HR Consulting partners on a fee basis to help your company become and remain compliant.

Keep up with record keeping

In addition to being a good business practice, employers are required to maintain certain employee records to comply with applicable law. Verify that your recordkeeping procedures address any requirements related to confidentiality (HIPAA) and how long to keep records.

Confirm that your EMPLOYEES have been classified properly

Misclassifying employees as independent contractors can result in costly legal consequences. Also remember that an employee’s overtime exempt or nonexempt status is based on his or her compensation and specific job duties. It’s a good idea to review job descriptions on a regular basis (at least annually) as employee tasks and legal requirements may change.

Ignorance of the rules does not exempt employers from the penalties resulting from non-compliance. Good intentions will not prevent heartache when contacted for an audit.  Pender Benefits is here to assist you with compliance requirements.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions or to request compliance services.

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