In addition to recruiting employees and working to create a high-performing culture, HR professionals also have to be experts in rules and regulations to keep the company compliant with federal laws. But HR staff for many small organizations wear more than one hat. If you are one among them, here are six HR rules that can help you excel.
Rule #1: Become your organization’s policy expert
Companies write policies to keep things in check. If it’s been a while since you took a peek at the employee handbook and company policies, you may want to. It’s important to understand and update policies on time off, tardiness, holidays. You need to be the go-to person for this information to keep your organization’s workforce aligned.
Rule #2: Ensure employees have I-9 information
It is not legal to hire an individual who is illegally residing in the country. You need to verify each employee’s identity and employment eligibility by having the complete an I-9 form that is provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Rule #3: Keep employee information private and confidential
Your employees are required to provide very personal information about themselves in order to be employed (such as social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, home addresses). It is vital that you keep this information discrete and protected. If you become privy to any employee’s personal or health problems, you cannot disclose them to anyone.
Rule #4: Know what questions are ok to ask
Hiring is an exciting part of your role, but it’s also important for you and any hiring managers to understand what questions are legal to ask on an application or in interviews. For instance, did you know that you cannot ask questions that reveal a person's race, gender, religion, marital status, disabilities, ethnic background, country of origin, or age? Have your questions planned out to ensure you don’t accidentally venture into one of the questions that are illegal to ask. See this article for detailed information.
Rule #5: Know your employee’s rights
Even if your small business doesn’t have Union employees, all employees have certain rights under federal laws. Know what these rights are so that you don’t violate them. They can be found on the Department of Labor website and are important for all HR staff to understand.
Rule #6: Health Benefits Must be Compliant
Health benefits are a great thing to offer employees—they allow you to recruit and retain employees. However, there are certain rules you must follow to be compliant in your health benefit offerings. For example, if your organization reimburses premiums for employee’s health insurance, it’s important to understand that you can offer different reimbursement amounts for different job classifications, but you cannot discriminate based on race, gender, and other factors. Similarly, certain reimbursement arrangements, like the ICHRA, require that employees have minimum essential coverage (MEC).
Interested in recruiting and retaining top talent? See 11 Strategies for employee retention on a small business budget.
This post was originally published December 22, 2014. It was last updated October 12, 2020.