Employers have spent most of 2020 and early 2021 focusing on employee policies for COVID. However, in addition to the pandemic, employers should ensure other sections of their employee handbook are in HR compliance. Here are five HR and compliance updates MP’s HR services experts predict will heavily impact the second half of 2021.
5 HR Compliance Alerts:
Independent contractors and HR compliance:
There will be more regulations on a federal and state level regarding classification for independent contractors. The federal government will potentially implement the ABC test, a three-pronged test for classifying contractors.
Employers’ strategy: Reevaluate all employees, ensuring proper classification per local and federal guidelines.
Marijuana legalization and HR compliance:
More states, potentially even on the federal level, will be legalizing and decriminalizing the use of Marijuana. Some states are even protecting the rights of workers fired, hired, or disciplined based on positive drug testing.
Employers’ strategy: Ensure policies are clear and compliant with relevant laws for Marijuana, both state-wide and federal. One tactic is to treat Marijuana similarly to alcohol. If employees perform well and aren’t high in the workplace, they shouldn’t be tested or disciplined.
Unionization rules and protections and HR compliance:
The current administration will focus significantly on unionization and collective bargaining rights.
Employers’ strategy: Employers should stay updated with the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), as well as any decisions by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Employers should ensure that employee handbook policies don’t include any language that impinges on employees’ labor rights.
Vaccination policies and mandates and HR compliance:
Most recently, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) stated employers may require COVID vaccination if they allow for exceptions. The EEOC has also suggested incentivizing vaccination will be legally supported if employers make exceptions for those who cannot get the vaccine for religious or health reasons.
Employers’ strategy: Reassess their COVID vaccine policies based on their state regulations, on the COVID case numbers in their locations, and with advisement from an employment attorney. MP’s HR services team also assists employers in developing a COVID vaccine policy or approach that mitigates legal risk and improves workplace safety.
Non-compete agreements and HR compliance:
More states are eliminating non-compete contracts or invalidating portions of them. As of March 2021, 45 state bills were pending to modify laws regarding non-compete agreements. This legislative trend will continue into 2021 and beyond.
Employers’ strategy: Work with an employment lawyer to reassess the current non-compete agreements they use. Employers may want to consider abandoning these altogether, as they’re frequently unenforceable or useless amid legal action.
Learn more about updating your employee handbook. Register for the webinar.
Major government COVID programs will be sunsetting in the fall. Learn more and register for the webinar.
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