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7 Things Your Business Should Do Now To Avoid Non-Compliance Issues

No matter what stage your business is in, you will need to work on your business. However, you will also want to spend time on other essential things. The US corporate compliance world is fraught with regulatory threats. You should be aware that many industries will have different forms of compliance that are specific to them. However, by the end of this post, you will learn some essential things that you must do to avoid issues surrounding non-compliance that are relevant to most businesses.

Compliance With Business Regulations Is Important

With the increasing number of regulations, business owners have to be more careful about what they do. They have to make sure that they follow the standards and laws of the particular country they are taking their company in. A growing number of businesses require compliance with a legal framework to conduct their operations. In general, these companies need to comply with the local rules and regulations of any given country. Anyone operating any business size cannot ignore the importance of complying with business regulations.

Most countries have set up laws and regulations for businesses and other entities. These abide by specific practices and codes. Compliance with these laws ensures the smooth running of particular procedures and activities. The US Chamber of Commerce has stated that companies must comply with the law. If companies and entrepreneurs know their limitations and those of their competitors, they will play fair in the market and make sure that they succeed. There are many cases where companies are penalised if they do not comply with the law. Therefore, the cost of compliance management can be significantly reduced when you factor in the penalties associated with non-compliance. Not only can non-compliance negatively impact you financially, but in some cases, it can even affect your brand. Are there any ways you can ensure your company complies with the various regulations that exist? Fortunately, there are many things that you can do, some more complex than others, but all of them are in your best interest.

Identify The Regulations That Affect Your Business

Regulations are essential because they provide clarity and transparency in the market. They also protect consumers from harmful actions and give their business an edge by providing a competitive advantage. With this in mind, your first step should be to investigate which regulations apply to your industry specifically. While many apply to businesses as a whole, some will be niche-specific. For example, a financial company may be required to comply with regulations surrounding the amount of money they can lend to a specific demographic (to avoid negative outcomes, etc.).

On the other hand, payment processing companies may need to implement specific policies to protect customer data in case of a data breach. Lastly, there are the general regulations that all businesses must follow, such as employment regulations, hiring practices, and so on. Once you are aware of the rules specific to your business, you can begin to implement them as best as possible.

Educate Your HR Department (Employment Regulation)

In the United States, workers are guaranteed certain rights and benefits by law. These benefits include protection from discrimination, fair compensation for work, and a safe workplace. An employee needs to be provided with a written contract in the US before accepting a job offer. This contract explains what tasks they will require in their new position and any other terms that you might include in their employment agreement. Compliance is important because it provides protection from discrimination and ensures that employees are being compensated fairly for their work. You can go some way to avoiding employment non-compliance by keeping your HR department updated on the latest laws and hiring best practices.

Develop A Practical Method For Achieving And Maintaining Compliance

The success of a practical compliance program depends on a company-wide ownership effort. To achieve compliance, people from all levels of the organisation should work together. Train employees to make good compliance decisions and reward those who go the extra mile to ensure compliance. Ensure you are familiar with what is happening on the front line, not just what you hear. People don’t always do what they say they’re doing, so what they’re saying isn’t actually happening. As a result, you might be in for a nasty surprise when something goes wrong.

Submit Reports On Time

Whatever reports are relevant to your business must be submitted on time. Prompt submission is an easy point to accomplish but one that is often overlooked. Many companies make the mistake of leaving these reports to the last minute, but this could result in errors and possible repercussions.

Stay Up-To-Date On Changes In Compliance

Businesses tend to forget about current rules, especially smaller operations with fewer employees. However, it is in your best interests to remain abreast of the latest changes in law. The easiest thing to do is to assign someone within your organisation as a dedicated compliance officer whose job is to ensure you stay within the law at all times.

Maintain Good Relations With Your Regulatory Agency

Everyone has a job to do, and you will make no friends by constantly haranguing those whose job it is to ensure compliance. While you don’t need to become best friends, maintaining good relations is in your best interest. You can do this by submitting reports on time, allowing easy access to inspectors, and continuing an open line of communication.

Improve Your Program Through Continuous Improvement

It is the job of regulatory agencies to ensure you comply with regulations, but it is your job to be proactive in their implementation. This is another job you can assign to your compliance officer, but you as a business owner must also retain some level of responsibility.

No matter what industry your business is in or what industry your business is going into, you should always take the time to learn about whatever rules and regulations may apply to your industry. Stay up to date, learn about which rules are specific to your industry, and be as facilitating as possible to the agencies in charge of their enforcement.

Tips for HR to Maintain an Employee Handbook while Working Remotely

The cornerstone of communication for HR departments is their employee handbook. Outdated policies not only cause confusion among the employees but also puts the company at jeopardy for several lawsuits. Therefore, it is really important for businesses to review their employee handbook twice a year as a policy as well as revise it every time a new law concerning the employees is introduced. E.g. the recent pandemic has raised serious questions about several compliance policies in companies and to remain clear HR needs to add and subtract several things to this corporate policy document.

Here are 4 tips to keep your employee handbook up to date while we have all started working remotely:

1. Remote Working Policies

As the entire world was forced to shift to remote working, a lot of employees complained that remote working meant they had to be available 24/7 or that their families might be close by when they are taking important work calls. To deal with such things, HR has to upgrade their company privacy policies as well as the timings of employees as well. Having access to the internet all the time should translate into working anytime and every time, especially when it comes to remote working parents, or people who have sick relatives at home etc, they should be given the flexibility of when they want to work or whether they want to work task based or time based etc.

2. New Tools For Communication

Employees who are remote can communicate via calls or SMS all the time, SaaS tools for communication such as slack should be introduced throughout the organisation to make communication easier. Some organisations do use tools like skype but skype does not offer a full range of apps it can connect to such as slack. Introducing new policies to communicate at appropriate timings and on appropriate channels according to the company need to be added to the upgraded employee manuals.

Some policies on accessing company documents and other data through your personal laptops or work laptops should also be in place to avoid data leakage. These policies are to upgraded in the document as well as communicated to the entire company over email or a short meeting

3. New Applicable Laws

New laws regarding employee welfare, different businesses, taxes etc are being introduced all the time. One of the most tedious responsibilities of an HR person is to be on the lookout for these and then after documenting the laws into the handbook, explain them to the employees too. To avoid expensive litigation, federal and local law compliance is of vital importance.

We recommend keeping your employee handbook handy in a word or google doc file and keep updating the chances as they come to you. HR is recommended to convert these policy upgrade meetings into a fun presentation or a 15-20 minute training so that its can become fun for both the parties.

4. Pandemic Contingency Plan

The covid-19 pandemic brought the remote work wave with it. A Lot of people loved working remotely but many questions arose with this plan. Such as what would the company do if another pandemic is to show up ? Would the employees be let go ? How can you make business digital if you were to lose your physical location tomorrow? How will the aggrieved employees who were let go be compensated and several other questions.

We recommend HR needs to ask the employees to send their questions that were looming in their thoughts during the pandemic and devise policies to answer those questions for the future. An entire pandemic contingency plan section should be a part of all the employee handbooks from 2020 onwards.

Whether you are starting from scratch or just upgrading the previous handbook, the two important steps include taking feedback from employees and keeping your handbook up to date according to the employee issues as well as the law. Let us know what interesting policies your company came up with to help their employees.

New data reveals HR leaders’ Coronavirus preparedness

Survey reveals less than 10% of businesses had a workplace / HR policy in place covering a disease pandemic. Approximately 80% now have a policy, or plan to introduce one in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Leading law firm Lewis Silkin today announces the launch of a new benchmarking survey, mapping the preparedness and response strategies of UK HR decision-makers to the Coronavirus / COVID-19 outbreak.

For its first survey of the series Lewis Silkin surveyed an initial group of 65 senior HR leaders and in-house counsel in organisations employing more than 200,000 employees between them and the findings are being presented now to help guide employers as they seek to effectively manage their workplace response to coronavirus.

This comes as the World Health Organisation has confirmed the status of the virus has been elevated to a Pandemic.

HR Policy

58.8% of respondents confirmed that they had implemented a workplace policy addressing pandemic disease in response to Coronavirus. 10% still plan to implement a policy while almost 11% still had no plans to implement a policy at the time of response. Less than 10% had a policy in place prior to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Business Travel

Employers are being cautious with regard to travel. Almost a quarter (24.2%) of respondents have restricted both international and UK domestic travel beyond FCO guidance and a further quarter (25.8%) have restricted international travel specifically beyond FCO guidance.

Remote Working & Self-Isolation

The vast majority (87.9%) of businesses are managing NHS-recommended self-isolation by requesting employees work from home. However, businesses are taking a nuanced approach with a combination of responses being used, including sick leave and sick pay (45.5%) and full pay without work or sick leave (16.7%). 51% of respondents are directing some employees to self-isolate as a precaution beyond government advice while a similar number are allowing employees to choose to self-isolate.

57.7% of polices reported by survey respondents cover employees should their care arrangements break down (such as school closures or family illness).

James Davies, employment partner at Lewis Silkin, commented: “These are unprecedented times and employers are having quickly adapt, evolve or scale up their workplace policies in response to Coronavirus. This is a fast-moving situation and businesses will need to collaborate and learn from each other in order to know how best to move forward, with the wellbeing of staff and business continuity very much front of mind. This is why we have launched this survey, to benchmark and monitor the best practice of some of the UK’s leading HR professionals, and we will continue to gather and disseminate helpful information and guidance to our clients and the wider business community wherever we can.”