Top Six Things HR Professionals Need to Get Ready for the New Year

Some professions are enjoying a lovely week of time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  But there’s no time off when it comes to HR professionals and employment law attorneys.  Before you grab that glass of egg nog, here are six things you need to get ready for 2024:

  1. A legally compliant, attorney-reviewed employee handbook.  If I were tending to a herd of reindeer in the Arctic tundra all by myself, I would still have an employee handbook.  No company is too big or too small for this important legal document, which will protect your company in the case of a lawsuit or claim to a state or federal agency.
  2. In addition to putting that handbook in your employees’ stockings, you need to make sure it complies with National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rules and the recent Stericycle decision issued by the NLRB.  There is a very good chance that your previous rules and policies were on the Nice List, but your current handbook is likely out-of-date and needs a review for compliance before or immediately in the beginning of the New Year.
  3. A compliant, up-to-date paid sick leave policy.  There may be no sick leave for Santa’s elves up at the North Pole, but in your jurisdiction there is a good chance that there is a paid sick leave law covering your employees.  You need to be ready to decide whether to frontload, whether to accrue, whether to combine your paid sick leave with your PTO policy or keep it separate, and other ways to be ready for compliance on January 1.
  4. A marijuana policy that complies with the most recent laws on recreational and medical marijuana.  Hopefully there wasn’t a cloud of smoke hanging over the employee breakroom at your holiday celebration (in no state do you have to permit that) but some of your employees may have indulged over the holiday week, and you need to know how to deal with applicants and employees who use marijuana, as laws have changed during 2023 and you need to be ready to enforce your policy on the first of the year.
  5. An understanding of joint employment.  The holidays are all about togetherness, but are you and your staffing clients or your franchisor considered one company for the purpose of enforcing employment laws?  The NLRB has delayed the issuing of the joint employment rule until February 26, 2024, but you need to be ready to hit the ground running when this rule becomes permanent.
  6. Making sure you are complying with the minimum wage in your jurisdiction.  Some employees will have a happier New Year than others depending on whether the minimum wage increases in your jurisdiction (municipal or state) on January 1.  There are some tricky rules regarding the size of the business, whether employees receive tips or you offer health insurance to your employees, but failing to pay the legal minimum wage starting the first of the New Year could lead to a wage and hour claim.

A licensed attorney with employment law expertise is critical to ensuring you are ready to comply with all laws and regulations starting January 1, 2024.  Fortunately, with myHRcounsel there is no lump of coal in your stocking in the form of disclaimers (“this is not legal advice” or “run it by counsel”) or hourly law firm fees that will result in an unhappy New Year.

myHRcounsel provides expert legal advice backed by attorneys with over one hundred collective years of employment law experience for a flat monthly fee.  This includes an up-to-date, best practices handbook that complies both federally and statewide and will protect your company in accordance with recent NLRB rulings.  So you can enjoy that champagne toast knowing that myHRcounsel will make sure you are compliant with the aforementioned six essential items and so much more that will make your January 1 stress-free.  Cheers and happy holidays from myHRcounsel!

Contact the team of attorneys at myHRcounsel for any additional guidance.