New Year News: What to Look for in 2015


The year has officially rolled in, bringing with it lots of legislation, staffing and employment trends, and expectations for the labor market. Here's what to prepare yourself (and your business) for in 2015:

  1. Minimum wage increases: thirteen states raised their minimum wage in 2014, and as of Jan. 1, 2015 twenty nine states will have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage requirements. Why is this important? If you are part of the twenty nine states, you should be good to go. If not, pay close attention to your state's legislation as chances are there will be movement towards wage increases sometime this year. Realizing 2015 is already a busy year with legislation (and it has hardly started!), it is always best to be aware than to scramble at the last minute.
  2. New OSHA reporting requirements: in addition to new requirements on what types of incidents must be reported, employers in several industries are now required to maintain OSHA 300 Logs for the first time. The changes will lead to thousands more inspections by OSHA, but the hope is for an end result of decreased workplace injuries. The biggest change is that employers are now required to report all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, as well as amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours. New reporting regulations affect all employers covered by OSHA, so pay attention if this applies to you.
  3. Going live with the ACA: employer responsibility regulations are officially in effect, and you need to make sure your business is abiding by a few key factors to pay-or-play.
    1. Determine employee worker status, particularly in instances where the job is a variable hour status position. There are several key factors to consider, but your safest bet is to apply them to and by each position.
    2. Common Law Employees are still a confusing topic within the ACA. Staffing firms and clients should be able to reach accommodations on contractual agreements. Speak with your provider, if you haven't already, immediately regarding coverage of your contingent workforce.
    3. Make sure you don't get penalized for HRA and FSA violations. The IRS noted that some "employer payment plans" do not meet certain ACA insurance market requirements. If you offer non-compliant employer-payment arrangements, you could be subject to major penalties. For an explanation on how penalties might be abated, see this article.
  4. Trends for Hiring and Recruitment: matchmaking will be the new buzzword - start matching the requirements of a job role to candidates and vice versa; outsource recruiting to pick up your pace - take recruiting and talent agenda off your business leaders to-do lists, recruiting/staffing firms deliver both efficiency and experience!; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus - social media will be an even more important tool in talent acquisition, so get familiar with navigation and searching for candidates; analytics - HR should be using the technology driven candidate sources to beef up their interview armory.
  5. Stabilization of the workforce: the job market is tightening up in earnest, which means competition for top talent is only going to get tougher as the year goes on. As the labor market participation increases, candidates are going to become increasingly picky about employers. Make sure you have competitive pay rates and benefits to stay ahead of the surge, you don't want that top candidate to go to your competitor!