As we enter a new year, and another year dealing with the pandemic, organizations will need to review compliance to meet with evolving laws, salary requirements and health and safety standards.
Here are some things to consider when reviewing your organization's 2022 compliance plans and policies.
Remote workers and FMLA: The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) uses the 50/75 rule to determine eligibility for leave (an employee must work at a location that has 50 employees within a 75-mile radius). But what about remote workers? Are their homes now considered offices?
This depends on whether FMLA eligibility requirements are met. The following are the criteria for FMLA eligibility:
1. The employee must have been employed with the company for 12 months.
2. The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of FMLA leave.
3. The employer is a covered employer, and employs 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius of the employee's worksite.
However, the FMLA regulation states, "An employee's personal residence is not a worksite in the case of employees, such as salespersons, who travel a sales territory and who generally leave to work and return from work to their personal residence, or employees who work at home, as under the concept of flexiplace or telecommuting. Rather, their worksite is the office to which they report and from which assignments are made."
In other words, home offices may not be considered the work location for FMLA purposes.
Surprise Medical Bills: Are you familiar with the new federal law prohibiting surprise bills for certain services? It takes effect for providers, group health plans, and individual/group health insurance policies beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2022. The No Surprises Act, adopted as part of the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), creates comprehensive patient protections against surprise medical bills. Employers should review the new law and rules and make any necessary updates in order to stay compliant.
Plan administrators may need to adjust claims administration processes to comply with tight time frames, apply new cost-sharing and provider-payment procedures, and provide new disclosures in plan documents and explanations of benefits (EOBs), among other requirements.
Salary Updates: New York City recently passed a law that mandates employers to include a salary range on job descriptions beginning in April 2022. This type of salary transparency promotes fair pay and fights the cycle of discriminatory pay. Even if your area hasn't passed a similar law yet, it could be on its way in the future. Consider making your company's pay more transparent to stay ahead of this change and to help recruit and retain talent at your organization.
Minimum wage has also increased in many states. Ensure your payroll reflects the new changes.
COVID-19 Impacts: Employers should review the continuing coverage mandates, various COVID-19 relief regulations, and communications to plan participants about pandemic-related covered benefits and deadline extensions. Whether continuing certain benefit enhancements or returning to pre-pandemic terms, communications with plan participants and plan documentation are essential.
Remote Work Monitoring: When an employee's personal device is connected to a corporate network or virtual private network (VPN), companies do have a legal right to require employees to agree to data security monitoring measures in those situations.
However, legal issues are arising around the use of videoconferencing to conduct business, specifically related to recording the images and voices of employees without their permission. Organizations might use such video recordings for creating transcripts or documentation of calls or for future training purposes.
See more about privacy and data security predictions here.
Compliance Next Steps:
1. Gain buy-in from management and leadership.
2. Understand what the costs will be and update budgets.
3. Develop documented plans and update formal procedures.
Reach out to the TalentSENSE team if you need help with your compliance planning this year.