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Navigating HR Compliance: A Strategic Imperative for Midsize Businesses

Part III

In the previous sections of our HR compliance guide, we covered the essential areas of EEO reporting, GAG Clause Prohibition, PCORI Fee Filing, and FMLA regulations. These components form the foundation of a comprehensive compliance strategy for midsize businesses. In Part III, we will conclude our series by focusing on the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). We will also discuss the intricacies of COBRA compliance, crucial for ensuring continuity in employee health coverage. This final part aims to round off your understanding of HR compliance, equipping you with the knowledge to tackle these critical areas with confidence and efficiency.

FMLA Compliance: Balancing employee rights and business needs’ adherence to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is vital. FMLA provides employees with 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for specific family and medical reasons, balancing the needs of the workplace and the rights of workers while requiring that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave. Not all employers are required to provide FMLA leave. Eligibility criteria include:

Private Sector Employers: Those with 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

Public Agencies: All public agencies, regardless of the number of employees.

Public and Private Elementary and Secondary Schools: All are covered, irrespective of employee count.

Employees must meet certain criteria to be eligible for FMLA leave, such as working for a covered employer for at least 12 months and clocking in at least 1,250 hours of service in the 12 months prior to the leave. Special rules apply to school employees, particularly regarding scheduling leaves around the academic calendar.

 

The WARN Act: Navigating Employee Transitions

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires businesses to provide a 60-day advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and mass layoffs. This federal law protects workers and communities by giving them time to prepare for the transition. The WARN Act applies to employers with 100 or more employees and defines specific criteria for mass layoffs and plant closings.

 

FLSA Standards: Upholding Fair Labor Practices

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and youth employment standards. Key aspects include:

Minimum Wage: $7.25 per hour federally, with many states and localities having higher rates.

Overtime Pay: Time and a half for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

Recordkeeping: Detailed records for each non-exempt worker, to be kept for at least three years.

Youth Employment: Restrictions on the hours and types of jobs minors can work.

 

COBRA Compliance: Ensuring Continuity of Health Coverage

COBRA compliance is crucial for ensuring that workers and their families who lose health benefits can choose to continue group health benefits under certain circumstances. COBRA coverage typically lasts 18 or 36 months, depending on the qualifying event, and applies under various circumstances like the termination of employment, death of the covered employee or divorce.

 

Conclusion: A Technology-Driven Approach to Compliance

For midsize businesses, managing HR compliance is a complex task that requires a robust, technology-driven approach. This ensures efficiency in meeting legal obligations, avoiding penalties and focusing on growth and success. Advanced HR compliance software can automate data flow, provide legislative updates, and empower employees, making it an indispensable tool for modern enterprises.

For more insights on HR compliance for businesses with 20 or more employees, visit Cosmo Insurance Agency’s dedicated blog series at https://cosmoins.com/counting-for-compliance-understanding-federal-employment-laws-by-employer-size/.


Mark Herschlag, the founder and CEO of Cosmo Insurance Agency, specializes in providing personalized insurance solutions. For more information, contact (201) 817-1388 or email [email protected].

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