27 Aug

Reaching the 50-employee mark is an exciting milestone for any business. However, with growth comes responsibility, especially when it comes to human resources (HR) compliance and best practices. Let's dive into the essentials that every expanding company should prioritize. We know this is a bit of alphabet soup, so please reach out for support and assistance.

1. Legal Compliance is Paramount

 FMLA: If your company has 50+ employees within a 75-mile radius, you're obligated to offer 12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave while continuing health benefits. 

Affordable Care Act (ACA): Firms with 50 or more full-time (or equivalent) employees must provide qualifying health insurance. Contact us for referrals to companies who can help you remain compliant and even offer affordable benefit options before you reach 50 employees. 

Anti-discrimination Laws: Ensure your business adheres to EEO laws such as Title VII, ADA, and ADEA. Discrimination based on race, religion, gender, or age is illegal. Employers have obligations under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) once they reach 15 employees. Many state and local laws related to anti-discrimination and workplace accommodation have requirements above federal law. Contact us at Deep End Talent Strategies or your legal counsel to ensure compliance. 

Wage Laws: Follow the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by paying the minimum wage and providing overtime, ensuring proper employee classification. Classifying employees as exempt from overtime is more than just paying them a salary. Contact us for more information. 

Workplace Safety: Align with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to maintain a safe working environment and document workplace accidents and illnesses when required. 

Documentation: Properly complete and retain Form I-9s, verifying employee identity and work eligibility. 

Employee Benefits: Companies offering employee benefit plans (such as retirement plans or health plans) must comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requirements. Disclosure of plan information and fiduciary responsibilities are regulated. 

State and Local Laws: Beyond federal regulations, be aware of state and local laws in your jurisdiction. 

Whistleblower Protection Laws: Employees are protected by various federal and state laws when reporting violations of laws or regulations within the company. 

2. Recruitment and Onboarding: Recruitment and onboarding processes become more critical with more employees. Develop efficient recruitment strategies, interview processes, and effective onboarding programs to help new employees integrate smoothly into the company culture. It is mandatory to follow fair hiring practices and ensure new employees are properly onboarded.

3. Benefits and Compensation: Evaluate and potentially expand your employee benefits and compensation packages. This may include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and other perks that can attract and retain quality employees. It is mandatory to adhere to wage and benefits regulations, including minimum wage laws and certain benefits depending on jurisdiction.

4. Record-Keeping and Documentation: Maintain accurate and organized employee records, including personnel files, payroll records, and performance evaluations. Proper record-keeping is crucial for legal compliance and HR decision-making. It is mandatory to keep proper records for legal compliance, including tax, employment, and benefits records.

5. Health and Safety: Following the Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) regulations is mandatory to ensure a safe work environment. With a larger workforce, prioritize workplace safety and ensure your company adheres to all relevant safety regulations and best practices.

 It's crucial for companies reaching 50 employees to consult legal counsel or HR professionals to ensure full compliance with these and other applicable laws and regulations. Non-compliance can lead to serious legal and financial consequences.

Non-Mandatory Provisions, But Topics to Consider Addressing: 

1. Employee Handbook and Policies: Develop and maintain a comprehensive employee handbook that outlines company policies, expectations, and procedures. This document can serve as a reference for employees and help ensure consistency in HR practices. While this is not mandatory, it is recommended to have clear policies in place that can help manage expectations and minimize potential disputes.

2. HR Staff and Expertise: Consider hiring dedicated HR personnel or outsourcing the HR functions to ensure your company is equipped to handle the increasing complexity of HR-related tasks, such as recruitment, benefits administration, performance management, and employee relations.

3. Performance Management: Implement structured performance management processes, including regular performance reviews, goal setting, and opportunities for employee growth and development. This can help maintain a motivated and productive workforce.

4. Employee Relations and Conflict Resolution: As the company grows, the potential for conflicts and workplace issues may increase. Have clear procedures in place for addressing employee concerns, conflicts, and grievances in a fair and transparent manner. While this is not required, having structured performance management processes is recommended to ensure fair and consistent evaluations.

5. Workplace Culture and Communication: Nurture a positive workplace culture and effective communication channels. Regularly engage with employees to gather feedback, address concerns, and foster a sense of belonging. This may not be compulsory. However, having procedures for addressing conflicts and grievances is advisable to maintain a positive work environment.

6. Training and Development: Offering training and development opportunities is not mandatory, however, but offering training opportunities can enhance employee skills and contribute to growth. This can include both job-specific training and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

7. Succession Planning: As your company grows, consider succession planning to identify potential leaders within the organization and ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities as the company continues to expand. Succession Planning is not required, but having a plan in place can help ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities.

8. Diversity and Inclusion: Focus on creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. Encourage diversity in hiring and promote an environment where all employees feel valued and respected. It is not mandated, but promoting diversity and inclusion is increasingly recognized as important for business success and employee well-being.

9. Technology and HR Systems: Consider implementing HR software and systems to streamline processes such as payroll, benefits administration, time tracking, and performance management. Having an HRIS is not mandatory, but using HR systems can streamline processes and improve efficiency.

Reaching 50 employees is more than just a number—it signifies a transition to a more structured and compliant business approach. Consulting with legal or HR professionals can provide invaluable insights and prevent potential pitfalls. Embrace this new phase with informed decisions, and watch your business thrive.

The Deep End team is here to help answer any questions you have and support your team's growth. Contact us at hello@deependstrategies.com.