Top 10 Compliance Issues for Employers

October 5, 2015

Category: Compliance

Compliance Issues

From weed to Obamacare, business compliance concerns are ever-expanding. The field is so diverse that compliance can sometimes feel like a hydra–as soon as you’ve tackled one issue, three new regulations surface demanding your attention.

But, facing your company’s compliance challenges doesn’t need to be such a labor. We’ve put together a list of the top compliance issues you may be facing, as well as some helpful resources for staying compliant.

1. Marijuana and the Workplace

Oregon has recently joined the growing list of states to legalize pot. As the legal status of marijuana continually changes, employers face new compliance challenges. Accommodations and limitations of adverse actions for employees using medical marijuana are included in legislation of the following states:

Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island

Whether you work in these states, or any of the 23 states with legislation on marijuana, staying compliant will mean staying up to date on your state’s marijuana legislation.

2. The Future of ACA

One of the most important features of compliance is keeping up with the seemingly ever-changing requirements. Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), already has provisions set to roll out in 2016, 2017, and 2020 that small business need to prepare for. We have outlined a number of potential changes to keep on your radar, and also recently announced a new, free ACA tool so you stay compliant no matter what comes.

3. Growing Pains

The number of employees at your company often determines which compliance issues apply to you. Generally, the magic number for additional compliance is 50.

We’ve put together two handy guides outlining the major compliance issues for for employers approaching the 50-person mark and at other stages of growth.

4. The Workplace Redefined

Nowadays, a growing number of employees call their home their workplace or telecommute. While such flexibility can benefit both employers and employees, it can also complicate your compliance picture.

The biggest issue with telecommuting arises if your employees work in states different from your HQ. For example, you may need to brush up on another state’s labor laws because remote employees are subject to the laws of the state in which they work, not the company’s home state. Staying compliant with telecommuters also means paying the proper taxes: be sure to note that certain states require payroll taxes, that others don’t.

5. White Collar Changes

Soon 4.7 million white collar workers may have their overtime eligibility changed thanks to the Department of Labor’s new proposal.

Essentially, the change would increase the minimum salary requirement for executive, administrative, professional, and computer employee exemptions from $455 per week ($23,660 per year), to $970 per week ($50,400 per year).

If you aren’t sure of the current difference between exempt and non-exempt employees, the answer to these three questions can help.

6. State-defined Compliance

Most employers focus on the Federal Department of Labor and their regulations. However, states often have more rigorous compliance requirements than their federal counterparts. For example, if you’re a California employer with more than 50 employees, you’re required to provide 2 hours of sexual harassment training to supervisory employees.

Be sure you know your state’s labor laws to ensure that your compliance is complete.

7. Employee Classifications

You may feel like you know who counts as an employee: anyone who works for you. Yet, this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s important to know the difference between independent contractors and employees because they’re subject to different compliance standards.

If you aren’t sure, this quick test will demystify the distinction.

8. Wages and Hours

Sometimes it’s the simple things that create the most headache in terms of compliance. Be sure you know your state’s laws on break periods, and what hours are considered “working.”

Again, telecommuting, and even business trips, can complicate compliance. For instance, certain states count the time spent traveling to the airport as work time, while others don’t.

9. Marriage Equality

As of June 26, 2015 same-sex marriage has been legally recognized across all 50 states. The historic case, Obergefell v. Hodges, not only allows wedding bells to peel for all couples, it also requires employers who offer insurance benefits to spouses to do so for all spouses.

We’ve created a useful guide to ensure compliance for all parts of your benefits plan.

10. Incoming Laws

While no one has a compliance crystal ball, it’s important to make sure you’re ready for all upcoming compliance regulations. The Society for Human Resource Management has a useful chart of new compliance challenges for 2015. For example, on December 31st, 2015 New York law will change to increase their minimum wage to $9.00 per hour.

Staying up to date with all of the modern compliance issues may feel like a Herculean task. But, Zenefits can help you face your compliance challenges. We’ll sift through all the federal and state laws, and provide you with compliance software that collects and organizes the information you need to keep you compliant on all fronts.


As a writer, Catlyn enjoys helping to demystify HR and compliance for business owners and HR professionals nationwide. She's also finalizing her PhD in Philosophy and enjoys spending time with her dog, Dottie.

Category: Compliance

You might also like