Most people tend to avoid anything with the word “compliance” in it, but compliance is an inescapable part of all areas in your business. Compliance management obligations used to be tasks that you could “check-off” once you achieved them, but the business world is not static anymore, and slips in compliance can mean big costs to your company. New legislation is continuing to change requirements in all areas of your business, which means that your compliance goal is like a moving target.
Like target practice, it is possible to hit your compliance goal, but it takes extra preparation and strategic planning. It’s easy to focus on the crisis of the day, thinking you’ll get to compliance tomorrow – but you have the potential to reduce your costs and eliminate a lot of the chaos that goes with scrambling to catch up if you plan ahead.
You have to be committed to educating yourself on the upcoming changes and prepare your employees with the right tools (i.e. training, financial support, physical/environmental changes, etc.). The best use of these tools is actually before legislation is set. Be proactive – utilize the resources you have to approach compliance management issues as they are developing in each branch of your business.
While sometimes employment and employee benefits compliance is sometimes considered “HR Only” and ignored by senior management, the recent health care reform decision is now a hot topic on everyone’s mind. What will the new law mean for your business in the next two years, or the ten years beyond that?
As the state and federal government decide how to approach these changes, your business also needs to decide which route to take. Unless you have less than 50 employees, you are also facing the “Pay or Play” provision of health care reform that may subject your company to fines if you don’t offer a qualified health plan.
Compliance with Employment Law
Enforcement of employment law is on the rise, with the Department of Labor hiring thousands of new inspectors to look into allegations of wage and hour issues, discrimination, unlawful termination, etc. The Department of Labor has even released a wage tracking app allowing employees to document their hours worked for use in a labor dispute.
With the advent of new technologies, there are many other developing changes in employment law. Social media is creating an entirely new debate on legal recruiting and hiring practices, and no federal law is set as of yet. The government is also considering reform for immigration and unemployment laws. Take the time now to create clear, detailed policies outlining your company’s stance on these issues and update it as needed when amendments are passed down.
Safety Compliance and Other Regulations
Employee safety in the workplace has always been, and should always be, a priority for businesses. New engineering in technology is changing how we work, and OSHA is updating its standards to meet these new safety concerns. These regulations will vary greatly depending the industry, but remember that when you are introducing new machinery that you are also introducing new safety requirements.
Other safety compliance demands vary by industry. The FMCSA in the transportation industry, of course, enforces a wide range of requirements on the transportation industry and any businesses involved in interstate commerce.
What Can You Do to Keep Up With Compliance Management?
Avoiding the subject of compliance isn’t an option. Take the time to learn about the changes brewing and prepare your company and your employees.
Meeting compliance issues head-on is essential. Trying to play catch-up on the back end is often costly and chaotic, resulting in mistakes and misinformation, a much more difficult way to meet compliance management standards.