HR compliance for small businesses can be challenging, especially for businesses hiring in multiple states. Companies who don’t meet local, state, and federal labor regulations are open to significant risk. On the other hand, you may not have the capital and staff to manage HR compliance on your own.

Here are some critical small business HR compliance issues—and how to solve those problems with SixFifty.

What is HR compliance for a small business?

HR compliance for small businesses refers to the set of rules, regulations and practices that companies must adhere to in managing their human resources to ensure legal and ethical conduct.

Compliance typically covers a wide range of subjects, such as labor laws, anti-discrimination regulations, workplace safety, and wage and hour laws. Small businesses must establish and maintain HR policies and practices that comply with federal, state, and local laws to protect both employees’ rights and the organization’s interests.

Compliance efforts often include tasks like creating employee handbooks, managing benefits in accordance with legal standards, conducting proper record-keeping, and addressing workplace issues promptly. Non-compliance can lead to costly legal consequences, making it essential for small businesses to prioritize HR compliance to foster a fair, safe, and productive work environment while protecting their company from legal risks.

What HR compliance challenges do small businesses face?

Small businesses often have limited resources and expertise. Some common HR challenges include:

  • Understanding and adhering to regulations: Keeping up with changing federal, state, and local employment laws can be overwhelming for small businesses, making it challenging to ensure full compliance.
  • Hiring and onboarding: Conducting fair and legal hiring practices, is essential. Many small businesses struggle with compliance in this area – especially with work expanding into new states. This can potentially lead to issues like discrimination claims.
  • Wage and hour compliance: Managing employee pay accurately, including overtime and minimum wage requirements, can be tricky, especially for businesses with fluctuating work hours or part-time employees.
  • Recordkeeping: Maintaining comprehensive HR records, including personnel files, timekeeping, and payroll records, is crucial. Small businesses may lack the systems and practices for effective record-keeping.
  • Discrimination and harassment: Preventing and addressing workplace discrimination and harassment is important. Small businesses may struggle with implementing anti-discrimination policies, training and complaint resolution procedures.
  • Benefits and leave compliance: Administering employee benefits, such as health insurance and family and medical leave, can be complex and subject to various regulations, which small businesses may find challenging.
  • Employee handbook and policies: Developing and maintaining an up-to-date employee handbook and HR policies that align with current laws is a challenge, especially for small businesses without dedicated HR staff.
  • Termination and discipline: Managing employee terminations and disciplinary actions within legal boundaries can be a source of compliance risk, as wrongful termination claims can be costly.

To address these challenges, small businesses often seek guidance from HR consultants or legal counsel, invest in HR software and training, and stay informed about regulatory changes.

Small business HR compliance tips

Here are some ways your small business can stay on top of HR compliance issues:

  • Compliance software: Invest in HR software and tools that can help automate tasks like payroll, benefits administration, and recordkeeping. SixFifty’s Employment Docs platform and other tools can help you generate and update important documents and policies as needed.
  • Stay informed: Keep abreast of federal, state, and local labor laws and regulations that apply to your business, as they can change frequently. Consider subscribing to government websites, industry newsletters, or hiring HR consultants to stay updated—or rely on SixFifty’s services to inform you when the laws have changed.
  • Develop clear HR policies: Create comprehensive HR policies and procedures that align with applicable laws and clearly communicate expectations to employees. Ensure that these policies are accessible to all staff.
  • Employee handbook: Develop and maintain an up-to-date employee handbook that outlines your company’s policies and procedures. Ensure that employees have access to the handbook, and provide training or orientation sessions to review its contents.
  • Compliance training: Regularly train employees and management on HR compliance topics, such as anti-discrimination, workplace safety, and ethics. Document training sessions and maintain records.
  • Recordkeeping: Establish record-keeping systems for HR-related documents, including employment contracts, personnel files, time and attendance records, and payroll records.
  • Seek professional help: Consider consulting with HR professionals or legal experts who specialize in employment law and compliance. They can provide guidance and ensure your practices are in line with current regulations.
  • Regular audits: Conduct periodic internal audits of your HR practices and records to identify and address compliance gaps.
  • Open communication: Encourage open communication between management and employees, allowing them to voice concerns, ask questions, and report issues without fear of retaliation.

By implementing these tips, small businesses can significantly enhance their HR compliance efforts, reduce the risk of legal issues, and create a more positive and productive work environment.

How do you ensure HR compliance for your small business?

SixFifty’s tools make small business HR compliance easy and cost-effective. Our software helps employers create and customize their own compliant HR-related documents. Plus, our legal team watches for changes to employment legislation across the country. When the laws and regulations change, we’ll let you know so that you can update your documents as required.

Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo today!