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What’s New in Compliance for Q1 2022

This blog was updated on Jan. 25 to include details about OSHA withdrawing its emergency temporary standard related to COVID-19.

The new year brings us new opportunities to succeed. Ensure your organization has what it needs to do so in Q1 2022 by understanding the latest updates to federal, state and local laws affecting compliance. Getting caught up on these emerging trends is great place to start:

The U.S. Supreme Court and COVID-19 vaccines

Effective Jan. 26, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has withdrawn its emergency temporary standard (ETS) for COVID-19. The agency announced it is working to finalize a permanent COVID-19 health care standard.

Previously, the Supreme Court issued a stay on OSHA’s ETS, which required employers with 100 or more employees to track employee vaccination and testing statuses.

The U.S. Supreme Court did allow the rule requiring COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers at Medicare and Medicaid-covered entities to move forward. This rule requires almost all employees at hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers that receive federal funds to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Read more about the rule here.

FMLA expansion

The evolving nature of work — especially given the rise of remote workspaces — has led many to ask questions about the exact meaning of an employee’s “worksite.” Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a worksite is not an employee’s personal residence, even if that’s where the majority of their work is conducted. Rather, the office employees report to and receive assignments is considered their worksite.

Some states are expanding the definition of “family,” broadening the scope of FMLA for the employees who live there. The term has largely grown more inclusive to cover more family members — such as grandchildren, grandparents, siblings, stepchildren and more.

Remember that the legal scope of a family, as well as other local leave laws, vary across states. Be sure you’re aware of the specific laws and guidance that impact where your business operates.

Sexual harassment

Nationwide, laws surrounding sexual harassment are changing.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, settlements totaling approximately $2.62 billion have been paid to victims of harassment over the last decade.

Given the new and updated legislation emerging in several states, it’s important to understand the rules applicable to your workforce. And because harassment isn’t limited to shared workspaces, the need for consistent and effective training is high.

In a survey from TalentCulture, an HR news outlet, 61% of HR professionals said they would use technology to provide employees with more training if they had the time. Consider investing in a comprehensive learning management system that makes it easy for you to deliver learning opportunities about important topics — such as sexual harassment — to your employees anytime, anywhere.

Pre-employment and salary disclosures

Rising trends surrounding the application process and compensation are gaining traction.

For example, “ban the box” refers to a movement seeking to strike pre-employment questions about felony convictions or other criminal history on job applications in order to reduce discrimination. Maine, with its recently implemented “ban the box” law, is among the first to put this concept into action, but you may see similar laws arise across the country in the near future.

Likewise, salary history bans are designed to halt questions about an applicant’s previous wages on employment applications, though some proposals are seeking to ban such inquiries during interviews, background and reference checks as well. A growing number of jurisdictions also require employers to include salary ranges with their job openings. According to research from Boston University School of Law, when employers didn’t ask about salary history, it led to increased average pay for:

  • all new hires by 1%
  • women by 2%
  • non-white applicants by 9%

While new and state-specific rules may affect your talent acquisition, it’s important to ensure your continued Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliance. Consider adopting a tool that helps you comply with the FCRA while conducting background checks, automates action letters and stores background data securely, accessible to only the necessary parties.

Digital compliance

In order to account for ongoing challenges, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) extended its temporary policy for submitting and inspecting virtual Forms I-9 to April 30, 2022. This means employers may continue to use remote I-9s to onboard new hires working off-site, even if there are some employees still working in a business’s primary worksite. However, ICE recently confirmed the Department of Homeland Security is slated to issue a permanent remote review proposal this summer.

Noncompliance risks fines, costly litigation and other penalties that could negatively impact your business. Ensure your HR team is aware of the latest compliance updates affecting your workforce by:

  • reviewing labor posters
  • updating all employee trainings as needed
  • scheduling a learning day to discuss laws related to your operations

Join us for our 2022 Q1 compliance webinar for a deeper dive into these important topics and more. And explore how our comprehensive, single software helps you ensure compliance, elevate HR, simplify your employees’ lives and more!


DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.