It is that time of year when we all get the “bug” to do a little Spring cleaning. Now, is a great time to clean-up your human resources department too. Here are a few tips to help you do so:
- Audit all Employment Eligibility and Verification Form I-9 – Check to make sure that your company has a form for every employee and that it has been completed in its entirety and correctly. Consult the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Handbook for Employers at www.uscis.gov/files/form/m-274.pdf for additional information. The most important item to remember is that all I-9 forms must be kept separately from all other employment-related records. New Focus HR suggests that you keep all I-9 forms in a 3-ring notebook with alphabetical dividers by the employee’s last name. This is an easy way to keep track of active employees and remove terminated employee forms immediately upon termination of employment from your company.
- Audit all Employee HR Files – Each employee’s information should be separated into a minimum of four areas to include: 1.) general information that a supervisor and/or manager would be privy to review such as the application for employment, resume (if applicable), performance appraisals, letters of recommendation or commendation, progressive disciplinary action documentation, training information, etc.; 2.) all payroll-related information to include: both state and federal tax forms, payroll change forms, approved deduction documentation, paid time off information, etc.; 3.) benefit-related information; 4.) medical-related information to include return to work notifications, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) certification forms and workers’ compensation paperwork. New Focus HR recommends that companies arrange their employee files in a manner in which a supervisor and/or manager would not have access to review the payroll and/or confidential-related information. This also means that the person responsible for maintaining the employee HR files needs to police who is reviewing the documents within each file and provide them with only the appropriate information as it pertains to the employee’s job.
- Audit the Employee Handbook – Review your company’s employee handbook to make sure that it is compliant with all new state and federal laws, as well as your company’s policies or updates. Remember, if your company has 50 or more employees, the Family and Medical Leave Act was revised in March of 2013 and all employee handbook policies should reflect the new revision. If you do not have someone internally within your company, who is knowledgeable in employment law and writing polices to accomplish this task, consulting with a legal representative or reputable HR consulting firm may be appropriate.
- Audit the HR Compliance Posters – Check employee break rooms to make sure that you have the most recent up-to-date required employee posters. One of the easiest ways for Indiana employers it to check to see if you have a poster that represents the latest minimum wage rate of $7.25 an hour. From a federal perspective check to make sure that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) section represents the addition of the update regarding caring for members who have been active members in the military. Also, make sure that you have posted a workers’ compensation notice from your current insurance carrier.
- FMLA Certification Forms – Are you an employer that has 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius of your home office? If so, you are required to comply with the FMLA certification process. So, it is also a good idea to make sure that you are utilizing the most recent and up-to-date Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) certification forms. Refer to www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/index.htm for copies of the most recent forms.
- Vendor Invoices – Do you offer medical, dental, vision, group life insurance, short-term or long-term disability insurance for your employees? If so, now is a great time to audit these invoices to make sure that you have added new hires, added or deleted dependents and deleted terminated employees correctly. This may be a great time to get refunds from your vendors, if your company has been paying for terminated participants. However, be aware that you may also find that your company owes the vendor additional money?
These are all areas where your company may experience financial and/or legal exposure if they are not in order. In addition, there are probably other areas within your company’s HR department, where you could spend some time reviewing to make sure that they are “cleaned up?” So, whether it is auditing your company’s I-9 forms, employee’s HR files, employee handbook, compliance posters, certification forms or vendor invoices, Spring is a great time to make sure that your company is compliant and that records are in order.
Written By: Kristen Shingleton, M.B.A., CCP
President, New Focus HR LLC