Q1 Questions for HR Departments

by Colleen Malmassari

First quarter is generally a demanding time for Human Resource departments across business types and industries. The benefit renewal process, assessment of policies for the upcoming year, and regulation changes are just some of the HR-related topics swirling around as another year kicks off. Here are just a few things to consider as the rest of 2023 unfolds: 

Do you have an Employee Handbook?

  • Do you maintain the Employee Handbook in-house or do you outsource the maintenance? 
  • If updates are outsourced, which company is used? 
  • What year was the handbook last updated?Best practice is to perform a review annually, at least.

Do you understand and have a plan to implement relevant employment laws? Such as:

  • Due to the unstable economy, are you considering laying off employees either temporarily or permanently? Don’t forget to see if the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act applies to the layoff. A WARN notice is required to be given to affected employees 60 days in advance of a layoff date when a business with 100 or more full-time workers (not counting workers who have less than 6 months on the job and workers who work fewer than 20 hours per week) is laying off at least 50 people at a single site of employment or employs 100 or more -OR- workers who work at least a combined 4,000 hours per week, and is a private for-profit business, private non-profit organization, or quasi-public entity separately organized from regular government
  • If you employ remote workers, it is critical to ensure you know if the remote worker works from a State other than where the company’s primary operations are located.  Payroll taxes and State funded benefits vary between States. Based on the circumstances of the remote worker’s employment agreement and job functions, you may be required to follow the state requirements of either or BOTH the residing state and business operations state.
  • Salary Ranges in Job Postings. Beginning January 1, 2023, Washington employers with 15 or more employees are required to include a wage scale or salary range in every job posting. Employers must also include a general description of all benefits and other compensation provided to the hired applicant. Employers are also required to provide this information to internal job applicants, but only upon request when an employee is offered a new position or promotion. To comply with the law change, employers should develop a formal compensation plan, including pay ranges for each job and a process for regular review and adjustments. 
  • There is a new salary threshold implementation schedule that started Jan 1, 2023. To maintain their salary exempt status employers will need to continue to adjust pay along with the CPI modifier. For 2023, employers with less than 50 Employees the threshold is $57,293.60, and for over 50 employees it is $65,478.40. 
  • According to the decision of Cadena v. Customer Connexx LLC in 2022, time to boot up or shut down a computer is compensable time because it is impossible for an employee to do their jobs without logging on their computers.  
  • Implementation of WA Long Term Care Fund was postponed to July 1, 2023 for Legislative fix, and payroll deductions will start on that date. 
  • On December 29, 2022, the Secure 2.0 Act of 2022 was signed into law. The Secure 2.0 Act has a phase in rollout schedule through 2027.  For 2023, other than employees currently in retirement or entering retirement in 2023, no changes related to employee benefits will impact employer group health plans until 2024. 
  • Construction industry only:  Per the decision of Associate Gen. Contractors of Wash. v. State, amendments to the prevailing wage statue that pin the prevailing wage rate to the highest collective bargaining wage rate for the relevant trade in the COUNTY of operation.  

There are MORE changes that have occurred in the past three (3) years. If any of the above are a “surprise”, please reach out via the contact form below as I would be happy to schedule a call to discuss in more detail. 

When was the last time the following items were reviewed? 

  • Personnel files  
  • Forms I-9 
  • FLSA exemptions 
  • Workers Compensation Insurance Benefit experience rating 
  • Minimum wage and overtime compensation 
  • Child labor requirements 
  • Attendance policies 
  • Leave of Absence Programs (FMLA, PFML, etc.) 
  • Time records 

Best practice to perform these annually, at least.  Larson Gross can assist in helping you develop a process. If interested, please reach out via the contact form below.

Are you adequately prepared for a workplace investigation? 

  • Recognizing and addressing red flags that could result in company or even personal liability are critical to mitigating organizational risk.
  • Don’t wait for an allegation of misconduct to arise

Have you provided a Respectful Workplace or a Harassment Prevention training to your employees in the past 12 months?

Best practice to perform these annually, at least

Colleen Malmassari

Colleen Malmassari

HR Consulting Services Manager

Colleen graduated from Central Washington University with bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Spanish. She began her career in public accounting, providing assurance and tax services to many agricultural family-run businesses. About six years into her public accounting career, she became involved in recruiting and was instantaneously hooked on honing her skills in the Human Resources field.

For the past decade, she has helped lead HR teams at two different large Agriculture family-run businesses and in 2021, she joined Larson Gross to implement and lead the firm’s HR consulting services practice, helping clients cultivate their businesses and create improved workplaces for their team members.

How We Can Help

Outsourcing your human resources functions can reduce your administrative workload and free up your time so you can focus on your business objectives. We can help in the following areas:

Recruiting and Employee Retention
Performance Review Strategy
Policy and Handbook Development
Compliance Consulting
Workplace Behavior & Harassment Prevention Training

Contact Us to Learn More

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