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Mar20

Increase in Number of Employees

We are a not-for-profit organization in New York State. Over the past year we have been expanding services and are about to undergo an additional expansion. We have gone from about 30 employees to an expected total of about 45. Are there any federal or state laws or regulations we need to be aware of with the increase in employee numbers?

Kudos for expanding!

Federal laws soon to apply to you are the federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The FMLA provides qualified employees of covered employers up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.

Covered employers include those who employ 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. An eligible employee is one who has worked for their employer for at least 12 months and has worked for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months.

If you’re unfamiliar with the FMLA, then it’s best to take a training course so you’re aware of both your employees’ and your rights and responsibilities under the law. The law may seem straightforward at first but it’s very easy for any employer to become confused regarding their obligations especially when other factors may need to be taken into consideration like worker’s compensation or disability. Of course, you can always ask us questions!

The other federal law is the ACA, still commonly referred to as Obama Care. The ACA requires large employers to offer healthcare benefits to employees or face penalties, and report employee health care coverage offerings to the IRS. Large employers under the ACA are those with 50 or more full time equivalent employees. Full time employees are those who regularly work 35 hours or more per week.

If you currently provide health insurance than your provider/broker should already be adhering to the many insurance provisions set forth under the ACA. If not, it’s best to seek guidance from a knowledgeable broker. There are many brokers that cater to smaller businesses and they can ensure your legal obligations under the ACA are met.

Also, if you’re a federal contractor, you should also be aware of the Employer Information Report EEO-1 which requires specified employment data be submitted annually to the EEOC.

There are quite a few other federal regulations that you should already be aware of such as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

From a state standpoint, NYS labor laws already apply to you as a business with 45 employees. Most of these laws mirror federal statutes with some exceptions like meal periods/rest breaks,  minimum wage, and the Wage Theft Protection Act (WTPA), all of which you should already be familiar with.

It’s also worth mentioning that now is the time to create an employee handbook if you don’t have one already. An employee handbook is a comprehensive resource for employees providing information on company policies like code of conduct, timekeeping/pay/overtime, benefits, attendance, performance management, discipline, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, workplace violence, drug and alcohol abuse, smoking, complaints/concerns procedure, safety, and electronic communication. Employee handbooks can also ensure compliance with published statements requirements.

Make sure your policies are clearly written and easily understood. The purpose of them is to inform employees of your expectations of them and their entitlements under certain laws. Confusing or misleading information will only create problems later on.

Lastly, make sure your compliance posters are up-to-date and once you hit the 50 employee mark include the necessary FMLA information.

HTH!

This entry was posted on Monday, March 20th, 2017 at 11:37 am and is filed under
Human Resources Management.
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