The U.S. is comprised of 50 states which each have its own rules and local employment regulations, some of which can differ widely from one area to another. Therefore, companies new to a jurisdiction or which plan to expand into another state must ensure they are compliant with the local employment laws. Below are some tips for doing this.
Go To Community Meetings
It isn’t enough to know what laws are currently on the books; you should find out if there is pending legislation. One way to learn about this is through going to community meetings. These are typically held by the Chamber of Commerce and will give you a chance to meet local leaders and to determine if there is any potential legislation that could positively or adversely impact your business. These events also give you the opportunity to forge new connections and increase awareness of your business.
Learn The Differences Between States
Generally speaking, complying with the local laws in states on the East and West Coasts is much more challenging than states in the center of the country. Although states such as New York and California are the most lucrative, they also demand significant protections for employees. States such as Texas, by contrast, have historically been friendlier towards small and moderate size businesses, and have lower requirements as a result. Cities within states will have their own unique requirements, which is another thing that employers planning to expand must be aware of.
Be Sure Your Data Is Accurate
Nothing is set in stone when it comes to laws and regulations, which are subject to change at any time. Employers have to be careful where they acquire their information, because if it’s outdated and inaccurate and they make decisions based on it, this can cause these serious problems in the future.
It will often be necessary to perform legwork, and one of the best sources for this is the website for the American Department of Labor. It has the latest information on both state and federal laws, including minimum rest time, age requirements and other rules which can help you avoid violating employment laws. Most individual states will also have their own labor department websites, so you should definitely review them.
Employment legislation is both extensive and complex. Few small businesses have the staff or expertise to go through it all in a timely manner and interpret what is being said. Therefore, it is best to hire an attorney who specializes in labor law, as they can help you navigate the many potential landmines involving labor disputes and other issues. These services will be expensive, but they are worth it.
Many small businesses fail to comply with local labor laws due to a lack of knowledge, overwork, and low HR expertise. However, this should not be an excuse, as the consequences of non-compliance can result in steep fines and other penalties which can quickly undo all the years of hard work you put into building your business. Educate yourself or hire outside help to avoid this scenario.