Make Sure to Do your Annual HR Check Up
by Mindi Wells
Now that 2019 is underway, it is essential that you make sure your company is in compliance with state and federal regulatory updates. By keeping your company in compliance with recent changes to the law, you establish a “healthy” workplace. The following provides a brief overview of some of these changes:
1. Make sure to post the most recent version of required Ohio and Federal workplace posters in visible locations at your workplace.
It is vital to ensure that you are posting the most recent posters dealing with topics such as employment services, questions regarding wage requirements, job safety requirements and employee rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. These posters must be placed in unobstructed view at your workplace so that employees have clear access to information relevant to their employment. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services provides Civil Rights poster package (JFS 02745) for free here. You can find a fresh copy of the Federal posters, also free of charge, here.
2. Be aware of changes to the minimum wage in Ohio.
Effective January 1, 2019, the minimum wage in Ohio increased to $8.55 per hour for non-tipped employees and $4.30 per hour for tipped employees. These rates apply to businesses with annual gross receipts of more than $314,000 per year. For employees at smaller companies with annual gross receipts of less than $314,000 per year and for 14-and 15- year olds, the state wage is tied to the federal minimum wage of $7.25, which requires an act of Congress and the president’s signature to change.
3. Keep informed on the new W-2 IRS income tax withholding form.
The new W-2 IRS income tax withholding form became effective on January 1, 2019. Existing employees will be encouraged, not required, to complete a new W-4 for 2019. Employers will still be able to use 2018 W-4s but, as a result, payroll systems will need to simultaneously maintain 2018 and 2019 withholding systems and calculations.
4. Be prepared for the expiration of the current I-9 form on August 31, 2019.
The current version of I-9 form, used since September, 18, 2017 to verify employment eligibility will expire on August 31, 2019. This version re-numbered List C documents and streamlined the certification process for certain foreign nationals.
5. Use the new Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms issued in August, 2018.
Employers should be mindful to use the most current FMLA medical certification and notice forms, which were made effective on September 4, 2018. These new forms are identical to the agency’s previous forms but they include the new expiration date, August 31, 2021, in the upper right hand corner. It is essential to use the new forms.
6. Review and update your employee handbook.
It is essential that employers have current, updated handbooks that reflect all the changes made by the state and federal legislature in 2018. Specifically, employers should review policies on medical marijuana, the use of social media, leaves of absence, training pay, the driving of company vehicles, dress code regulations and disability accommodations. Because some of these laws may be difficult to construe, it is highly advised that employers seek legal counsel to make sure that they are in complete compliance.
You will find additional resources, updates and clarification on the foregoing by visiting wellslawllc.com/resources or by contacting (614) 702-7473.
Disclaimer: The information provided above is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.
Attorney Mindi Wells, of Wells Law, (www.WellsLawLLC.com) is a presenter at the 2019 OSMA Education Symposium on current legal issues in the workplace. Wells Law provides advice, investigations and training on workplace legal issues to ensure clients' businesses are in proper order and their employment practices are sound.
Upcoming wells Law Lunch & Learn in Columbus:
HR Legal Landmines & Tips to Avoid Them on Jan. 17.