12 High-Impact Fed Rules that will affect HR this year
January 7, 2010 by Jim Giuliano

Congress and various federal agencies are enacting a dozen new rules and procedures that will affect how you do business in 2010.

1. Extension of the COBRA subsidy. Employees who are involuntarily separated will continue to have rights to a COBRA subsidy — and you’ll continue to have to do the paperwork and notifications. Expect it: now.

2. New regs requiring your company disclose all retirement plan fees and and expenses to participants. These regs are in the “final rule” stage, meaning it’s almost a done deal. Expect it: September 2010.

3. More Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) changes. Yes, your firm just had to account for new changes to the FMLA when it comes to military personnel. But the Feds aren’t done yet – they’ve vowed to review both those changes and the FMLA overhaul from Jan. ’09. No timetable yet.

4. Changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This major (and costly-to-comply-with) rule isn’t immune from new scrutiny, either. Expect to make changes in HIPAA provisions covering: access, portability and renewability. Expect it: September 2010.

5. Updated recordkeeping regs for the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Plan on having to keep more thorough records on how you pay your people – you guessed it – in the name of “greater transparency.” No timetable yet.

6. An increase in wage-hour audits. Be sure your entire payroll papertrail is in order. DOL just hired 250 new investigators to enforce wage-hour laws. Expect it: Early 2010.

7. A spotlight on foreign workers. Firms that use workers with H-2B visas can expect more scrutiny – the Employment and Training Administration is proposing rules regarding labor certification for these folks. Expect it: after a February rule on agricultural workers.

8. A new definition of “temporary” workers. Along the same lines, the DOL wants to ensure people who are hired as temporary actually are. No timetable yet.

9. Greater accountability on affirmative action. Current regs will be revised to ensure your company complies with affirmative action reqs, particularly as it concerns veterans. Expect it: November 2010.

10. New rules for union info disclosure. Companies with unionized employees will soon have to go to greater lengths to report on the arrangements they make to persuade folks to join or not join a union. Expect it: November 2010.

11. A new standard on slip, trip and fall hazards. Beware: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration promises the rule will cover “every nonconstruction worker in the U.S.” Expect it: March 2010.

12. The return of an old recordkeeping task. Prepare to resurrect those logs your company had to check when recording musculoskeletal disorders. OSHA’s bringing it back. Expect it: January 2010.




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