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As 2019 closes, many will reflect on accomplishments and look to the future. And for HR professionals it’s crystal ball gazing time where we make predictions on HR and employment law trends for 2020.

When your business is part of a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), such as Resourcing Edge, no matter what the future holds your PEO is there to partner with you on compliance challenges or policy trends. Contact Resourcing Edge for more information about the value of being part of a PEO.

The most obvious trends aren’t new for 2020, but a continuation of several that have been big the last few years including changes to and implementations of paid sick leave in multiple states. Some additional trends for the new year were shared in a recent article by Human Resources Today:

  • Family Policies –It is mandatory for employers with more than 50 employees to provide Mother’s Rooms for privacy to express breast milk, however, it cannot be a bathroom. Employers with less than 50 employees must comply unless they can prove an undue hardship.
  • Paid Leave – More states and cities are adopting paid leave laws.
  • Pregnancy and Childbirth Leave – Currently, only the District of Columbia, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, and Washington have paid childbirth leave laws. This benefit is predicted to increase in the coming years. Employers are reminded to make sure their childbirth and bonding leave doesn’t leave fathers out. More men are suing for equal rights and winning.
  • Pay Equity – Perhaps the biggest HR compliance development in 2019 was the push for pay equity. Several states passed new rules prohibiting employers from asking about pay history during their hiring practices. The expectation is to push employers to make salary offers based on experience, education, and talent rather than what the individual made in a previous role.
  • Predictive Scheduling Laws – Workers have complained that their employers make last-minute schedule changes or cancel shifts all together without notice, this is seen especially in lower-paying jobs. States and cities have passed rules regulating what changes employers can make after the schedule has been posted.
  • Overtime Changes – The final ruling, which goes into effect January 1, 2020, raises the exempt salary levels for most exempt positions from the current $455 per week to $684 per week. This will affect the exempt status of many employees throughout the country and employers should work with HR professionals like the ones at Resourcing Edge to ensure they have their employees in the right category to ensure compliance.
  • Sexual Harassment Prevention – Harassment will continue to be a hot button issue; employers have no choice but to increase their training and prevention programs. With claims and litigation on the rise, employers need to take a proactive approach to harassment and stop hoping the problem just goes away. The HR Services department at Resourcing Edge offers in-depth compliant training for all states; let us help you prepare your managers and supervisors on how to prevent harassment and how to respond to claims.
  • Immigration – Both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor are strictly enforcing workplace immigration laws. Employers need to do regular reviews of their I-9 files for compliance in the event of an outside audit or even a raid. It is a good idea to ensure your hiring practices include following proper verification steps with your new hires, especially if you are an employer in a high-risk industry such as food service, construction or assembly work.

According to a recent Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) article, “How the Workplace – and it Rewards – Will Change in Coming Years,” the future of HR will see smaller more flexible work teams as middle managers are displaced. They predict that the upskilling of employees, “the process of improving worker’s skills,” will outweigh tenure and experience. They also forecast that the values employees place on their work will change and move into a more purposeful and passionate goal. Employees will focus on what they get out of their work more than what their salary is.

Work-life Balance in an Always “Connected” World

Work-life balance will become increasingly challenged due to the constant connectivity of employees. By staying connected to their offices, employees have been able to become more productive and more valuable to their employers. It is not unusual to find individuals checking their email during their wait in line at the local coffee shop or their kid’s school events. However, this ease of connectivity is also a source of concern for employers and employees alike.

Employees worry about the amount of time they spend working outside of the office. They feel increasing pressure to take work wherever they go. In years past only top management was connected via their smartphones due to the cost of cell phone plans. However, now that unlimited data is commonplace more employees from all levels can be connected without the additional cost or need for the company to reimburse additional fees. There will be a challenge to ensure that non-exempt employees are not due overtime wages due to working after they clock out. This will become increasingly harder to manage as more non-exempt employees look to the convenience of being connected and tempted to work beyond the traditional workday.

What Should Employers Do to Manage Work-life Balance Issues?

  • Review policies and objectives to determine which employees within their organizations need or should have access to employer-provided networks or email applications on their personal devices.
  • Adopt policies to require non-exempt employees to obtain authorization from their supervisors to work remotely before the employer’s IT department provides them access to the employer’s network.
  • Establish policies that instruct employees on their work-hour requirements, whether they are required or expected to check company email off-the-clock, how fast they are required to respond and whether individuals who make a personal decision to violate this policy will be paid for doing so.

As you consider what the future of HR looks like in the coming months and years, remember the seasoned HR professionals at Resourcing Edge are here to help with HR best practices so you can focus on what matters most—building your business.

Kimberly D. Gray is a Senior HR Services Partner at Resourcing Edge, who has 25 years of experience in employee relations, training, and compliance.

Kimberly D. Gray, Senior HR Services Partner
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