Don’t expect the whirlwind of regulatory activity and change to slow down in 2020. Several hot issues will remain on the front burner, and you need to keep them on your radar moving forward.
The top 10 regulatory issues for employers involve everything from overtime pay and worker classification to privacy and healthcare reform, according a report by Paychex. Staying on top of these issues can give you a leg up in hiring, retention, benefit management, and more.
- Form W-4 Changes. A new W-4 form will be in use for 2020, with changes including the elimination of withholding allowances. Starting on January 1, all employees hired must complete the new form. While existing employees aren’t required to complete a new W-4, they can choose to adjust their withholding based on it.
- Final Overtime Rule. Announced earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Labor, this rule revises federal regulations governing which employees are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay. Specifically, it raises the “standard salary” for executive, administrative, and professional white-collar exemptions from $455 to $684 per week, and it allows employers to use non-discretionary bonuses and some incentive payments paid annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level.
- Worker Classification. This issue continues to gain attention from enforcing agencies across the country. Watch for action on this, particularly in state and local legislatures.
- Multiple Payment Options Available to Businesses. In the new year, watch for expansion of multiple faster payment options to send and receive funds. If your organization wants to improve cash flow by using these faster payment options and help employees with financial flexibility, consult with your financial institution or payroll provider regarding your options.
- Data/Information Privacy. This is always a hot issue for legislators and consumer groups alike. Just recently, several legislators expressed privacy-related concerns about Project Nightingale, which involves patient information-sharing between Google and a large health system. Elsewhere, employers that use biometrics to identify employees and track their hours need to be aware of regulations in their states regarding this technology and privacy.
- Healthcare Reform. Big changes may be on the docket for healthcare, so watch both national and state legislatures for actions. To date, several regulations have shifted in the Trump administration, including the Association Health Plans, Short-Term Limited Duration Insurance, and Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements. The removal of the federal penalty under the individual mandate also is a notable change.
- Employer Shared Responsibility Enforcement. Watch for the IRS to continue expanding and refining its enforcement of employer shared responsibility (ESR) provisions.
- Sexual Harassment Prevention. In 2019 alone, several state and city legislatures passed laws and drafted regulations addressing harassment. These include provisions to implement or expand employer requirements to have sexual harassment prevention policies and/or training programs in place.
- Paid Family Leave and Paid Sick Leave. As we move into 2020, many states and localities have implemented paid sick leave laws; and eight states and Washington, D.C. have passed laws establishing paid family and medical leave programs. There is bipartisan support on the Hill for a paid family leave law, and there are currently several proposals for this on the table.
- Marijuana Legalization. Some state and local jurisdictions have already enacted legislation addressing issues such as the decriminalization of marijuana, recognition of medical marijuana use, and the legalization of recreational marijuana. Watch for further action on this subject, and stay on top of legal developments as well as court decisions.