Now that 2015 has come to a close, NFC wants to make sure your business is prepared to hit the ground running in 2016. Below is a "To Do" list of the TOP 10 PRIORITIES employers should focus on to prepare effectively for the New Year.
Please email or call us at 973.665.9100 should you need any assistance in preparing your business for 2016. 
1. Review Job Advertisements, Job Applications, and Hiring Processes to Ensure Compliance with "Ban the Box" Legislation
The ordinances, effective on March 1, 2015 in New Jersey and October 27, 2015 in New York City, restrict a covered employer's ability to inquire into, or otherwise consider, an applicant's or employee's criminal history in employment decisions.
2. Compliance with Affordable Care Act:  Employer Reporting Requirements
Under the Affordable Care Act, large employers and employers who self-insure their medical plans must comply with information reporting requirements for the 2015 Plan Year.  Although the forms are not due to the government until May 31, 2016 (June 30, 2016 if electronically filed), certain forms must be provided to each employee by March 31, 2016.   Because the forms ask for significant information and are not easy to complete, we recommend that employers who have not started this process begin as soon as possible.  
Click the links below for the required forms for large employers:
3.  NEW YORK EMPLOYERS: Ensure Compliance with the Following:
  • NYC Commuter Benefits Law   Read More
  • Mandatory Minimum Wage Increase   Read More
  • Expanded Protections for Women and Transgender Workers   Read More on legislation to protect and further Women's Equality and Read More on protections for Transgender New Yorkers.
  • New Background Check Laws including "Ban the Box" Legislation   Read More
4. NEW JERSEY EMPLOYERS: Carefully Evaluate Independent Contractor Arrangements Under the "ABC" Test
The "ABC" test defines the criteria for independent contractor status under the New Jersey Wage Payment Law and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law.
5. Is Your Employee Handbook Out of Date?
Your employee handbook can be an employment lawsuit waiting to happen. Check your employee handbook to ensure compliance with recent NLRB guidance on employee handbook rules.  In addition, make certain that policies are up to date in the following areas:
  • Electronic communications systems
  • Social media
  • Anti-discrimination/harassment statements to include language on sexual orientation and transgender discrimination
  • DOL rules on nursing mothers
  • Overtime and off-the-clock work
  • New rights of same-sex married couples
  • FMLA leave
  • Sick leave policies designed to comply with applicable paid sick leave ordinances
  • ADA reasonable accommodations policy to include the EEOC's guidance on accommodating pregnant employees
  • Inclement weather and attendance
6. Schedule Critical Employment Training Sessions for Q1

Plan sessions now for your managers, employees and Human Resources departments on:
  • Preventing workplace harassment and discrimination
  • Combatting unconscious bias in the workplace
  • Conducting effective workplace investigations
  • Complying with ADA and FMLA laws
  • Compliant hiring practices
  • Managing the risks of social media in the workplace
  • Performance management training
7. Update Your Recruiting Practices
Ensure that your offer letters, employment agreements, and any existing commission policies/agreements comply with applicable state law requirements. Review your background check processes to ensure compliance with federal and state laws.
8. Ensure That Your Method of Conducting Background Checks is Lawful
Recently there have been a substantial number of high profile class action lawsuits alleging non-compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  These lawsuits have resulted in multi-million dollar settlements.
9. Make Certain That Your Anti-Harassment Policies and Training are Effective and Consistent  
Employers should ensure that they have and enforce adequate and effective policies addressing discrimination and harassment. Employers should properly train those who may be deemed a "supervisor" to ensure that they follow the company's anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. Lastly, employers should confirm that all employees, including temporary employees, are made aware of the anti-harassment policy and receive anti-harassment training.
10. Continue to Monitor Proposed FLSA Changes
The DOL is proposing amendments that focus on three key changes to the FLSA:
  • Raising the standard salary level to qualify for the white collar exemption.
  • Increasing the total annual compensation requirement to qualify for the highly compensated exemption.
  • Establishing a mechanism to annually update the salary and compensation levels for these exemptions going forward.
Please email or call us at 973.665.9100 should you need any assistance in preparing your business for 2016. 
Employment Law Solutions That Work.
New Jersey | | New York