Managing compliance or regulatory matters is the greatest priority for their corporate legal teams in the next 12 months.
A recent survey conducted by Robert Half Legal reveals that In-house counsel continue to focus on business compliance challenges. Of the 175 interviews conducted with in-house counsel, more than four in 10 lawyers (41 percent) cited they are grappling with a growing number of corporate regulations and transactions and rank managing compliance or regulatory matters as the greatest priority for their corporate legal teams in the next 12 months.
Council were asked, “Which one of the following areas will be your legal department’s top priority in the next 12 months?”
Compliance or regulation management: 41 percent;
Mergers and acquisitions: 14 percent;
Risk and crisis management: 13 percent;
Data privacy and security: 12 percent;
Litigation: 8 percent;
General business or commercial law: 3 percent;
Something else: 4 percent; and
Don’t know/can’t choose just one: 6 percent.
“Staying current with changing government regulations and business mandates will be a chief concern for corporate counsel in the months ahead,” said Jamy Sullivan, executive director of Robert Half Legal. “Industries facing increasing compliance requirements include healthcare, financial services, real estate and technology,” she added. Of course labor law changes can be complex and time consuming for any organization. Add local labor laws to the mix or business operations in multiple locations further add frustration for HR and corporate council and uncertainty on actual risk assessment.
Multi-state and local compliance challenges:
Proposed state and local labor regulations are adding complexity to an already challenging federal compliance environment. For businesses operating or considering expanding into new markets or locations where you haven’t done business before, it’s important to understand the impact of local labor regulations and be able to easily adapt to prevent risk. Given the constantly changing regulations plus the list of pending legislation, and the cost implications for violations, it’s no wonder that companies identify compliance as a top priority.
Minimum Wage Pressures
Labor costs continue to be the largest operating expense for businesses. Rising minimum wages in many states have a ripple effect throughout the workforce. Typically a rising minimum wage will increase base compensation across an organization. This creates a struggle for industries with low profit margins. Employers have limited option when it comes to balancing labor costs with profitability. Minimum wage also affects other pay practices which requires a compensation audit to ensure compliance.
State and Local Tax Withholding and Reciprocity
When an employee works in one city or state but lives in another, reciprocity agreements may allow an employer to withhold taxes based on residency, not on work location. Knowing which states or cities allow this and which don’t can be overwhelming. If your organization has operations in any of the states with complex withholding or reciprocity regulations, then you need to pay special attention to these regulations.
Paid Leave Laws
In the absence of federal regulations, a growing number of states and local jurisdictions have passed paid sick leave laws. Each new law can have its own rules and restrictions. This requires each set of rules per state or local jurisdiction be incorporated into your HR/payroll system. Employers operating in multiple states run into challenges when they aren’t able to operate under a single set of rules. This can cause confusion for employees and makes it difficult for organizations to standardize configurations within their HR/payroll systems, which likely adds to system maintenance and updating issues on the users end.
Meal and Rest Breaks
The Department of Labor’s outlines rest period requirements for states that require them. Several states (California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) require that employers permit nonexempt employees to take a rest period in the middle of each work period, if practicable. In California, in particular, failure to comply with meal and rest break rules is an ongoing cause for litigation. If a rest break is not given to an employee, or if that rest break is interrupted, the organization owes the employee another uninterrupted break (often not feasible in a day’s work) or one hour of pay for each day on which a “break violation” occurred. This self-imposed penalty must be included in the next paycheck. Otherwise additional penalties, like waiting time penalties, could be assessed. Even if the employer encourages and permits employees to take their meal period in accordance with these obligations, the burden is ultimately on the employer, the liability could be astronomical and the reality is the room for error is huge.
Unified HCM Platforms enable better compliance management
Unified HCM platforms like OnePoint offer methods to manage wage and hour compliance issues. The all in one database provides reporting and tracking automation compared to manually processes. Further streamline data visibility to track compliance issues vs multiple siloed workforce databases.
For example the Pay Calculations rules are customizable to reflect what clients want to happen for various wage and hour options. The single database applies the resulting pay rules for all employees. It can even handle employees with multiple roles or multiple departments with different pay rates. Tracking even more complex pay scenarios like peice rate, weighted average overtime, discretionary bonuses, etc. are simplified.
Real-time Data Reporting
A real time system, means that data is fully calculated when it is input into the system. The Time & Labor calculation engine and Payroll calculation engine are one-in the same. Gain accuracy and visibility because the system processes data at the employee level with fully calculated data for labor distribution, general ledger, accruals, taxes without having to wait for the batch to run as with many payroll technologies. Any exceptions to time cards, breaks, payroll can be seen immediately and trigger alerts to empower managers and supervisors to be proactive and avoid unexpected issues or errors from manual or disconnected systems.
Employee Attestation Requirements
Employee attestation functionality provides an added layer of defense against meal and rest period violations, required actions, workplace injuries or any question that is deemed necessary to track. Attestation surveys are customizable for each client. It is triggered on punch in/out from the desktop, mobile or OneTouch time clock. Administrators view and audit attestation report by employee providing an audit trail for corrective action or in case of a law suit.
Dynamic Reporting and Audit
OnePoint reporting engine is quite unique, in that nearly every screen in our system doubles as a report. Modify or filter reports in an unlimited number of ways to create dashboards that provide real-time insights into employee activity. Schedule reports to be sent by e-mail, forcing recipients to authenticate so that user security is applied. New snap analytics give users the option to configure up to six charts per report. Report details such as included fields or filters can be changed on the fly.
With the right systems and processes in place employers have the ability to more easily manage common issues and complex situations with OnePoint. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of a truly all-in-one HCM solutions can mean for your organization.
About the Robert Half Survey. The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on 175 telephone interviews of lawyers employed at companies with 1,000 or more employees in the United States and Canada.
Source: Robert Half Legal.