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9 Employment Laws That Will Impact Your Business in 2012

January 24th, 2012

As most of us are flipping our calendars to 2012 to start a brand new year, there will be many changes for the small business world – including many human resource and employment laws that will impact the way small businesses operate. Being aware of these changes in employment and hiring laws is critical to your success. To help you get a jump start on the year ahead, here’s a brief rundown of 12 regulatory changes that may impact your business, to help you stay out of legal hot water.

  1. Employee Classification – Now is the time to review your employee classification system, because several US states are enacting stricture guidelines and fines for companies that misclassify workers. This includes actual job descriptions, salary vs. non-salaried, employee vs. contractor, work hours, and overtime.
  2. Immigration Reform – This is a big one with many states and the federal government, that will be cracking down on the hiring of illegals and employers who don’t pay minimum wage or provide benefits to green-card carrying immigrants. More use of E-verify will become mandatory in the USA as a way to identify illegals.
  3. Job Creation – As President Obama continues to focus on bringing tax credits to small businesses as well as tax cuts to ordinary working citizens, we will keep seeing legislation geared towards job creation in America. Consider making some of your temporary workers into permanent employees to see these benefits. Also, there will be more funds available for those who wish to start their own businesses in 2012.
  4. Employment Laws – Many states, supported by the US Department of Labor, are looking into creating new employment laws that will clarify and set standards in the overtime and minimum wage requirements on the part of employers so they can help workers understand these laws. Good time to update your minimum wage and overtime posters on the company bulletin board.
  5. Debt and Deficit Reduction – Going into 2012 be aware that Congress has a focus on reducing the national debt in big ways, starting with tax reform for businesses and individuals. While the recent extension of payroll-tax cuts for an additional two months  benefits many, expect that some of the tax credits you enjoy now may be gone by the end of this election year, and plan accordingly.
  6. Business Security and Privacy – With  cybercrimes on the rise in recent years, many businesses are ramping up privacy and security in a big way going into the New Year. This means you may need to review your current safety and security policies to make sure they comply with state and federal laws, including the way you store data about your employees.
  7. Health Insurance Reform – The Affordable Care Act of 2010 started the ball rolling in terms of how health care insurance works in the USA, including how businesses provide access to group benefits. Be aware of these laws by visiting http://www.healthcare.gov/ for updates on these laws. This includes the new dependent care laws that require insurance coverage for young adults up to age 26. Additionally, employers filing 250 or more W-2 forms in the past year will need to include the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage on the 2012 W-2 form.
  8. Unemployment Insurance – Congress is working on reinstating the federal unemployment surtax, which could cause businesses to see increases in unemployment taxes going into 2012. This is to offset the burdens of a national average of just under 9 percent unemployment nation-wide, and to cut down on unemployment insurance fraud.
  9. 401(k) Retirement Savings – In 2012, employers will also have to provide additional fee disclosures to employees who participate. Reforms in 401(k) laws will also restrict how many loans employees can take from their funds for emergencies and hardships. Look for alternatives to 401(k) plans to give employees more options when it comes to saving for retirement.

Want more up-to-date information and resources on various HR and career topics? Be sure to come back often to Concorde Personnel’s blog, and be sure to add your questions and comments below. We love feedback!

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