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McKenzieHR Small Business Compliance Update:Handbooks Need Updating Too

Bob McKenzie of McKenzieHR forwarded these updates on small business employer issues. Bob has a dynamic H.R. consultancy in Jacksonville and is a frequent workshop speaker at UNF:

We would like to thank the Federal Government again for giving our firm more work to do as the number of changes in 2009 are probably more than the last 5 years combined. In fact, the labor law firm Fisher & Phillips recently issues a newsletter with the headline, “Put Handbook Review on Your 2009 TO DO List.” We couldn’t agree more. With all of the changes, a handbook update is an absolute must.

Here are a few of the changes that businesses will have to make in this New Year. Other recent changes include a Guns in the Workplace law and domestic abuse leave in the state of Florida.

Other states have also enacted new laws effective January 1. For example, the District of Columbia passed a law requiring employers to grant mandatory paid sick leave. The amount of which is dependent upon the number of employees of the establishment.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – The Department of Labor has issued the final regulations for updating the Family and Medical Leave Act. The FMLA added two types of military leave as qualifying for protected leave under the Act. The first is a qualifying exigency when a member of the National Guard, Reserves or retired military is called to active duty to support a contingency operation. In these cases, the employee’s spouse, child or parent must be granted FMLA upon request to take care of personal matters such as attending military events, child care and school activities, counseling or rest and relaxation.
The second military leave applies to the serious injury or illness of a covered service member who suffers an illness or injury while in service that may render the service member medically unfit to perform the duties of his or her office, grade, rank or rating. For leave under this example, the maximum leave has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks and also includes, spouse, child, parent or nearest next of kin.

In addition to the above changes, there were a few other changes to the paperwork needed and the time that can be attributed to FMLA leave.

Make sure you know the changes and how they will affect your business.
Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA) – on January 1st, the amendments to the American Disabilities Act went into effect.

If you need more information on the ADAAA amendment, take a few minutes and look at our November 2008 McKenzieHR mailer at

http://mckenziehr.com/enews/november2008.htm.

I-9 Forms – Effective February 2, 2009, all employers must use a new I-9 form. This is posted on our website at

www.mckenziehr.com. Look on the bottom right side of the home page. In calling the USCIS information center, we were informed that the I-9 form currently posted on the USCIS website which was revised 06/05/07 will not be accepted after March 17, 2009. The I-9 form posted on our website is the most current as it was updated on 6/16/08 and should be used after February 2, 2009.

E-Verify – As a result of a lawsuit filed by several business groups, including The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Society of Human Resources Management, the federal government is delaying the implementation of the final rule that requires many government contractors to use the E-Verify system to confirm the work authorization of its employees and new hires. The new regulation was to take effect on January 15th; however, the implementation has been delayed until February 20th. This delay will give the Obama administration the opportunity to review and decide on the regulation. Until then, employers can voluntarily use E-Verify. – From Debra Milstein Gardner, President of Workplace Dynamic and an Affirmative Action Plan specialist with an office in Owens Mills, Maryland.

Minimum Wage – The following state minimum wage changes became effective January 1, 2009: Arizona – $7.25; Colorado – $7.28; Connecticut – $8.00; Florida – $7.21; Missouri – $7.05; Montana – $6.90; New Mexico – $7.50; Ohio – $7.30; Oregon – $8.40; Vermont – $8.06; Washington – $8.55.
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