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25 HR Regulations All Small Businesses Need to Know

25 HR Regulations All Small Businesses Need to Know

Confession: The title of this post is a teeny bit misleading. There are tons of HR regulations that your small business should know about, especially when it comes to the state and local level. But we’ve decided to highlight this list of HR policies you should definitely have on your radar.

Thanks to our partners at ThinkHR, we’ve broken down the regulations by employer size. The more employees you have, the more regulations you must comply with.

Let’s start with the ones that affect all employers. Note that these descriptions contain a brief overview of each law/regulation and is provided simply for education. If you have any questions regarding these laws, please reach out to a trusted advisor.  

HR Compliance for Employers of All Sizes

1. Consumer Credit Protection Act (CPPA) This protects employees from discharge by their employers because their wages have been garnished for any one debt. It also limits the amount of an employee’s earning that may be garnished in any one week.

2. Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) – This applies to most private employers and prohibits them from using lie detector tests for pre-employment screening or during employment.

3. Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) - [Other than governmental employers and certain church plans]. ERISA sets minimum standards for retirement and health benefit plans regarding: standards of conduct, fiduciary rules, and reporting requirements to the government and plan participants. It does not require employers to establish a plan, but employers who do must meet certain standards.

Fun fact: PrimePay handles ERISA compliance. Learn more here.

4. Equal Pay Act (EPA) – This amended the FLSA (see below) to prohibit sex-based wage discrimination between workers in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions.

5. Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) – Monitors employers’ use of consumer reports (background checks).

6. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – This federal law establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards that affect full and part-time employees in the private sector as well as federal, state, and local governments. There’s a lot more that goes in to FLSA, so you’ll want to read more on it here.

7. Federal Income Tax Withholding (FITW) – This requires employers to withhold taxes on employee wages.

8. Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) – This imposes taxes on employers and employees to fund Social Security and Medicare.

9. Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) – Paid by employers, this federal unemployment tax provides for unemployment compensation to workers who lose their jobs (with state unemployment programs). Read more about FUTA here.

10. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) ­– This provides for the portability of employees’ health care plans and protection of certain health care-related information. You can learn more about HIPAA here.

11. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) – This prohibits: Citizenship status or national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, recruitment, or referral for a fee; unfair documentation practices during the employment eligibility verification, Form I-9, and E-Verify processes; retaliation or intimidation. Learn more about the INA here.

12. Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) – This prohibits employers from consciously hiring unauthorized aliens or individuals without completing the employment verification process. This is the law that requires all U.S. employers to fill out a Form I-9. Learn more about the IRCA here.

13. National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) – This guarantees the right of the employee to organize and bargain collectively with their employers and to engage in other protected concerted activities. Read more here.

14. Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act (NMHPA) – This requires group health plans that offer maternity coverage to pay for at least a 48-hour hospital stay following childbirth. In the case of a Cesarean section, it would be 96-hour stay. Read more on NMHPA here.

15. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) – Enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), this requires compliance with the act’s standards to provide employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards. Employers in specified low risk industries are exempt. FindLaw has a quick breakdown of OSHA here.

16. Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) – This requires employers to report new employees to state new hire directories for child support enforcement.

17. Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) – This protects civilian job rights and benefits for veterans and members of reserve components. You can find out more details on USERRA here.

15 or more employees:

18. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – This prohibits discrimination against a qualified person with a disability and also requires employers to reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations. You’ll want to read more about the details of ADA here.

19. Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) – This prohibits discrimination against employees or applicants based on genetic information. That information includes: individual’s genetic tests (including his/her family members), disease, disorder, or condition of an individual’s family members. The EEOC explains more on GINA here.

20. Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) – This requires covered employers to treat women who are pregnant, have experienced childbirth, or related medical conditions in the same manner as other applicants or employees who are similar in their ability/inability to work. The EEOC has more on the PDA here.

21. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) – This prohibits discrimination against an individual in employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. Here’s more on Title VII.

20 or more employees:

22. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) – This protects individuals aged 40 or older from employment discrimination based on age.

23. Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) – This requires most group health plans to offer individuals who lost coverage due to certain events, the opportunity to continue coverage on a self-pay basis.

50 or more employees:

24. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – This allows eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, but job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. It also requires that employee get continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. More on FMLA here.

25. Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) – This requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to ensure financial requirements and treatment limitations related to mental health or substance use disorder benefits are no more restrictive than the predominant requirements or limitations applied to substantially all medical or surgical benefits. Whew, that’s a mouthful. Read more on this one here.

HR Compliance Made Easy

That’s a lot to take in, isn’t it? Sure, if you’ve been in business a while, you’ve likely come across those acronyms plenty of times. It’s just a part of doing business, and keeping your employees safe and treated fairly.

If you need help with it all, we’ve got your back. Remember ThinkHR that I mentioned at the beginning? They power our HR Advisory product that you’ll want to learn more about.

It’s free for all clients and the upgraded version is just $29 per month.

Fill out the form below to get the conversation started.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding specific application of the information to your own plan.