Judging by the more than 50 business owners who crowded into the human resources seminar SBS Payroll co-sponsored with Citizens Business Bank last month, HR issues rank high on the list of small business owners' challenges.
Even for businesses large enough to include a fully-staffed HR department, there's little question that maintaining compliance with workplace laws and regulations is a significantly more complicated task than it once was.
HR Compliance is a Multi-layered Task
Today's business owners have to contend with regulations that can spring from almost any level of government, in addition to the collection of federal agencies regulating everything from workplace safety to wage and hour rules.
California is an especially staunch defender of its interest in maintaining safe, fair and closely regulated businesses, frequently imposing requirements that go beyond what is required under federal law. Some California cities and counties have added their own layer of regulation, establishing local rules for things like minimum wage requirements.
Record Retention Policies Can Be Your Best Defense
Under such a patchwork of responsibility, there's nothing simple about the process of deciding what records to keep and what records can safely be sent to the shredder. It's not just a matter of regulatory compliance; accurate records can be an important defense against lawsuits.
So how is a small business owner to know what to keep and what to toss? Best practices vary depending on the type of record and the type of claim for which it is relevant.
Speakers Sherry Shavit, a partner at Tharpe & Howell LLP and Phillip Barquer, president of HR Alternatives, took questions on the topic, reminding the audience that a well-designed records retention policy can be your best defense against litigation.
A policy that falls short can have expensive consequences. An employee's claim for wage and hour violations becomes a whole lot more expensive if you don't have the payroll records to refute it. In many cases, our panelists recommended a longer period of retention than audience members expected.
Get the Answers You Need with HR Software
Our audience had a lot of questions around record retention. Chances are you do too. At SBS, our clients have access to a full suite of HR support services and software that includes access to federal, state and local employment laws by category and an alert service for letting you know when laws are changing. There's a Q&A database, a library of HR articles and quick guides, and the option to speak directly to an HR expert.
It's a range of solutions that will leave you feeling well protected, no matter how many questions you have.
Sign up with SBS Payroll before Aug. 1, and receive two free months of HR on-demand services.
Click on the link below for more information or if you’d like advance notice of our next HR event.