There are many employment laws that small businesses have to keep track of in order to stay in compliance. Not staying in compliance can hurt your business and your employees. Because of this, you need to be aware of the different employment laws that affect your company. Here are some frequently forgotten employment laws that may be applicable to your business:
Independent Contractor vs Employee
One area where small business owners can get tripped up is when classifying a worker as an independent contractor or an employee. Independent contractors are sometimes viewed as more flexible and less expensive, so many business owners like to hire independent contractors alongside their employees. However, depending on how you hire an independent contractor, they may actually qualify as an employee at your company and therefore qualify for certain employment protections. The main factors that qualify an independent contractor are if the individual has control over what work they complete and how they complete it, if supplies are provided by the individual instead of the company, and if you aren’t providing any benefits for the independent contractor. If these criteria aren’t met, you may have to classify the worker as an employee. Incorrectly classifying an employee as an independent contractor can come with some hefty penalties, so getting it right is important. When in doubt, you can always err on the side of classifying as an employee.
There are a lot of laws that protect employees during the hiring processes. One of these laws is “ban the box”, which is active in many states. This prohibits employers from asking potential hires if they’ve been convicted of a crime. Another law related to hiring is the law against unpaid internships. Though some unpaid internships are legal, there are a lot of strict laws surrounding when unpaid internships can be legal. You will want to check laws thoroughly before hiring someone as an unpaid intern or you can choose to avoid unpaid internships altogether. There are additional laws preventing discrimination during the hiring process, limiting dangerous work for minors, and retaining hiring and employment records that all small businesses should be aware of. If you have questions about hiring laws, you can consult with Helpside’s HR team at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will help answer your questions.
How, when, and how much you pay your employees is important for staying in compliance. Most states have payday requirements that tell you how often you must pay your employees in order to stay in compliance. For example, Utah requires employers to most employees at least twice a month on days designated as regular paydays, but salaried employees can be paid once a month. Laws vary from state to state, so make sure you know the requirements for your state. Another wage law relates to overtime pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay employees 1.5 times their regular pay rate for hours worked past 40 hours a week. Forgetting or paying overtime incorrectly can make you liable for damaging lawsuits and fines. Additionally, how you choose to pay your employees may have laws tied to it. Some state and federal laws impact your ability to make employee direct deposit mandatory or may require you to fulfill certain requirements. These are just a few of the many wage laws that may affect your small business.
The EEOC is responsible for harassment training laws and processing harassment claims. The EEOC requires that mandatory harassment trainings are carried out on a regular basis. These trainings should educate employees about harassment and how to remove it from your workplace. However, each state may have its own regulations for harassment training. Make sure you are aware of your state’s requirements.
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