The end of the calendar year can mean a lot of different things. For benefits departments, it means a rush to compliance before all of the rules change when January ushers in. Labor Law Center just announced its annual list of the top five compliance issues benefits pros need to be aware of.
1. Minimum wage: Seven states bump up their minimum wage next year, all of which kick in Jan 1.
- Arizona: Up from $7.65 to $7.80 per hour for non-exempt employees. The minimum wage for tipped employees increases from $4.65 to $4.80 per hour, plus tips.
- Florida: Climbing from $7.67 to $7.79 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped employees increases from $4.65 to $4.77 per hour, plus tips.
- Montana: Jumps from $7.65 to $7.80 per hour for non-exempt employees.
- Ohio: Nudges from $7.70 to $7.85 per hour for non-tipped employees. For tipped employees the minimum wage increases from at least $3.85 to at least $3.93 per hour.
- Oregon: It switches from $8.80 to $8.95 per hour for non-exempt employees.
- Rhode Island: the minimum wage will advance from $7.40 to $7.75 per hour for non-exempt employees.
- Washington: Increase from $9.04 to $9.19 per hour for non-exempt employees.
New posters or updates to existing ones, of course, will be needed for employers in these states, while Colorado, Missouri and Vermont are still mulling changes to their minimum wages.
2. Workers’ comp.: Texas, along with at least half a dozen other states, are looking at changes to workers’ comp law, requiring additional employee notification. But maybe the bigger issue here is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s potential federalization of workers’ comp, as some are calling it. That’s worse than coal in your stocking.
3. Independent contractor laws: Apparently New Hampshire has changed their criteria for what constitutes an employee. It’s always a good idea to double-check what exactly defines an independent contractor in your state with the turn of the calendar year.
4. W-2 forms: This one’s a no brainer for your seasoned veterans out there, but the experts at Labor Law Center want you to remember that all employees must receive a W-2 form by Jan. 31.
5. On-the-job injuries: New updates to workers’ compensation benefits in Louisiana, according to Labor Law, must be displayed on job place posters.
Of course, none of this takes into account the changes (or non-changes) lawmakers are wrestling with as we all tumble over the fiscal cliff. The clock is ticking and there’s no way they’ll address either the Bush-era tax cuts or the payroll tax holiday before most of you have to do January payroll.