A comprehensive legal and HR compliance update is essential for keeping up with ever-changing laws and regulations. Your designated HR compliance specialist or team members should stay up to date on these changes, but if your company is small or has a complicated business structure, you may need additional support to remain compliant.
Below, we’ll run down a short list of the most important changes with links to resources. We’ve focused on the areas of human resource compliance, federal form changes, and government agency changes that have the greatest impact to employees and HR.
An I-9 is the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Employment Eligibility Verification form. Completed by each new employee at your business, it is used to determine and document each employee’s eligibility to work in the US. On January 31, 2020, the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services (USCIS) published the Form I-9 Federal Register notice announcing a new version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, that the Office of Management and Budget approved on October 21, 2019. This new version contains minor changes to the form and its instructions. Employers should begin using this updated form as of Jan. 31, 2020.
The USCIS made the following changes to the form and its instructions:
Revised the Country of Issuance field in Section 1 and the Issuing Authority field (when selecting a foreign passport) in Section 2 to add Eswatini and Macedonia, North per those countries’ recent name changes. (Note: This change is only visible when completing the fillable Form I-9 on a computer.)
Employers must begin using the new form with the October 21, 2019, revision date as of May 1, 2020, and ensure that HR teams and others responsible for completing Section 2 of Form I-9 are aware of these changes to ensure no inadvertent discrimination or noncompliance in completing I-9s for employees.
On December 5, 2019, the IRS released the final version of the 2020 Form W-4, retitled Employee’s Withholding Certificate, with major revisions designed to make accurate income-tax withholding easier for employees starting in 2020. The IRS also posted FAQs about the changes incorporated in the revised form.
When the final version of the 2020 Form W-4 was released, the IRS identified the following key points for employers:
The 2020 Form W-4 is a single page followed by instructions, worksheets and tables. In place of withholding allowances, the new W-4 includes five possible steps for declaring additional income so employees can adjust their withholding with accuracy, privacy and ease of use.
The IRS also released a new Publication 15-T, Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods, for use with the new 2020 Form W-4, which includes steps employers can take to determine federal withholding. Employers can still compute withholding based on information from employees’ most recently submitted Form W-4 if employees choose not to adjust their withholding using the revised form, but employers should advise them that withholding will be based on their previous W-4 and may not be as accurate as the new form.
Resource for employers: SHRM created a sample Notice to Employees—What You Need to Know About the New Form W-4, encouraging employees to consider completing the new form to more accurately account for their annual income when determining paycheck withholding.
The IRS has lowered the rate used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business purposes for the 2020 tax year. Standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be 57.5 cents per mile driven, half a cent lower than in 2019. The deductible mileage rate is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. Many companies use the standard rate to calculate reimbursements for employees who use personal vehicles for business.
There are several changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that employers should comply with in 2020. You and your team should incorporate the new rules relating to unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), paid leave and childbirth into one comprehensive policy. Ensure that your childbirth and bonding leave doesn’t leave the father out, as more men are suing for equal rights and winning.
A summary of the changes:
Keeping up with employment law and HR compliance changes takes research and time. If you’re not getting the right information, or if you don’t make adjustments correctly, you easily become noncompliant and open your company up to liability. Because the HR and compliance changes for 2020 are fairly complex and vary on federal and state levels, it can be challenging to keep up. A third-party vendor like Cisive can assist and support your entire HR steam with advice on the new changes in 2020.
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