Now that 2020 is underway, it is essential that you make sure your company is in compliance with Ohio and federal regulatory updates. By keeping your company in compliance with recent changes to the law, you establish a “healthy” workplace. Although you may have to spend some time and resources to put these measures in place, that time will be well spent in avoiding unnecessary future litigation. The following provides a brief overview of some of these changes. You will find additional resources, updates and clarification on these at wellslawllc.com/resources or by contacting our office at Wells Law LLC (614) 702-7473.
- Make Sure to Post the Most Recent Version of Required Ohio and Federal Workplace Posters in Visible Locations at your Workplace
It is vital to ensure that you are posting the most recent posters dealing with topics such as employment services, questions regarding wage requirements, job safety requirements and employee rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. These posters must be placed in unobstructed view at your workplace so that employees have clear access to information relevant to their employment. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services provides Civil Rights poster package (JFS 02745) for free here. You can find a fresh copy of the Federal posters, also free of charge, here.
- Changes to the Minimum wage in Ohio
Effective January 1, 2020, the minimum wage in Ohio increased to $8.70 per hour for non-tipped employees and $4.35 per hour for tipped employees. These rates apply to businesses with annual gross receipts of more than $319,000 per year. For employees at smaller companies with annual gross receipts of less than $319,000 per year and for 14-and 15-year olds, the state wage is tied to the federal minimum wage of $7.25, which requires an act of Congress and the president’s signature to change.
- New W-4 IRS Income Tax Withholding Form
The new W-4 IRS income tax withholding form became effective on January 1, 2020. Existing employees can be encouraged, not required, to complete a new W-4 for 2020. Employers will still be able to use 2019 W-4s but, as a result, payroll systems will need to simultaneously maintain 2019 and 2020 withholding systems and calculations. You will find a link to the W-4 form here. The American Payroll Association also has some helpful information about communicating with employees about the new form available here.
- The Current I-9 form Expired on August 31, 2019
The current version of the I-9 form used to verify employment eligibility was issued 07/17/17 and was to expire on 08/31/19. A new edition will be published soon, but in the meantime, you may file using the 07/17/17 edition. You can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions. This version re-numbered List C documents and streamlined the certification process for certain foreign nationals. You will find a link to the current I-9 form here.
- Wage and Hour Law Changes for 2020
Employers should be mindful of the most recent changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which raised the salary threshold for exempting employees from receiving overtime pay, changed the calculation of the “regular rate” for overtime purposes for the first time in 50 years, and revised the regulations on joint employer status. It is essential for employers to review these changes to ensure they are paying overtime appropriately and if joint employment applies to their business.
- Review and Update your Employee Handbook
It is essential that employers have current, updated handbooks that reflect all the changes made by the state and federal legislature in 2019. Specifically, employers should review policies on confidentiality of investigations, use of company email, breastfeeding, medical marijuana, the use of social media, leaves of absence, training pay, the driving of company vehicles, dress code regulations and disability accommodations. Because some of these laws may be difficult to construe, it is highly advised that employers seek legal counsel to make sure that they are in complete compliance.
Disclaimer: The information provided above is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.
Wells Law, LLC is here to assist you in the development of cost-efficient, compliant policies and procedures for your professional practice or business. Contact us or to learn more about the services we can provide for you and your business.
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This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included. ©2020 Mindi Wells, Wells Law, LLC.