Compliance issues HR professionals should prioritise in the workplace

As an HR leader, are you able to take notice of compliance issues taking precedent in your workplace? Or, which issues do you think should be managed more thoroughly or better enforced? Better yet, are you “in the know” when it comes to timely issues that receive more attention in the workplace now? At Hibob, compliance is paramount to our business activities and HR functions. It’s important that as a people leader and a company that supports the future of work, we highlight compliance and its necessity to the evolving industry. 


HR leaders are far more responsible for compliance issues than we can imagine. Believe it or not, they’re often overlooked as the gatekeepers of what’s fair and right, ethically and legally in the workplace. The law plays a large role in exactly which compliance issues HR leaders are required to adhere to, and their profession asks them to stay up to date on certain policies or regulations instated at a government level. 


Compliance issues are designed to protect the people, as well as the company they’re working for. HR leaders, regardless of jurisdiction, must take into account the compliance standards that apply to and affect their company’s functions. And, while compliance remains an official avenue that maintains fair and legal practice within a place of work, these laws are also meant to keep businesses both out of danger and in check. 


Some of these issues initially gained traction at a federal level and to a certain extent, are labeled as “trends” within the HR space. Each of these growing compliance trends has a spot on every HR leader’s checklist and they should be on yours, too: 


Compliance Issue #1: Equal Pay All the Way 

Equal pay between men and women is a trending topic in the realm of HR compliance, and growing concern amongst office environments in general. In the U.S., certain states and municipalities have passed various laws mandating pay equality within the past year. The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women be paid equally for the same work within the same company. Pay equity laws, of course, are riddled with stipulations and fine print that dictate what inequality actually is; what each job position entails, the type of working conditions jobs are performed under, and what skills or effort are required to do a certain job are just a few components of identifying pay inequality. 


In the UK, gender pay reporting is now a compliance procedure that’s meant to assure pay equality, using transparency as a method of enforcement. According to the 2017 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report, the UK is in 15th place for gender equality in its society and economy, while the U.S. is ranked 49th on the complete list of 144 countries. As an HR leader, who may or may not have access to salary data history, consider components such as seniority, quantity or quality of work, experience, training during onboarding, and any other additional skills required when determining what is fair pay in greater contrast.  


Compliance Issue #2: Data Privacy Protection is Key 

Basically, we have Mark Zuckerberg to thank for the uproar circling data privacy issues. Now, companies regardless of their jurisdiction, product, or mission have to heavily concern and comply with GDPR. To quickly confirm, GDPR is the general data protection regulation instated by European Union law, prioritising data protection and privacy for all citizens of the EU and its surrounding economic areas of business. Data privacy used to once serve the interest of investors and C-suite for legal reasons, who risked investment loss if their consumer data should have ever been mishandled. 


It’s all about the consumers now. Online users want to know what’s happening with the personal details they surrender to the many portals of the internet on a daily basis, and when we see those details released into the wrong hands, it starts to worry everyone. More than ever, GDPR regulations are impacting data privacy prioritisation in an insurmountable matter. Why? To protect company reputations, avoid expensive legal fines, and to protect consumers from exposed data that could destroy their personal and financial lives. 


Look, we can’t blame the whole data privacy mess on Zuckerberg. There was a slew of high-profile data breaches that have driven the discussion surrounding data compliance in the media. You might be wondering what can you can do, as an HR professional or people leader, to make sure GDPR regulations in your workplace are followed in agreement. Processing sensitive applicant and employee data, systematic monitoring of present data collections, and helping your people at any level adapt to new digital tools are great places to start. You can also focus on monitoring your company’s third-party suppliers, confirming that all consent documents are filed with proof, and that international data transfers are secure. 


Compliance Issue #3: Cover the Basics of Healthcare

Healthcare is a bit trickier to tackle. Companies are required to offer employees, as well as their families, proper health insurance options that abide by their jurisdictions’ policy. This means that HR leaders need to make sure that every person is covered properly, and by a plan of their choosing. The connection here is a bit more crystal clear than most would expect to see; sick days, PTO, maternity leave, and job-protected leave for serious illness are all correlated with the data secured in a digital admin system, all of which applies to healthcare consumption. HR professionals also need to keep on top of employee headcount, as it determines the percentage rate at which insurance will be paid by the company. 


Under the ACA in the U.S., companies with 50 or more full-time employees are considered “applicable large employers” and must offer affordable health insurance. Regardless of the Trump Administration’s actions to undo certain provisions of the ACA, companies remain subject to annual ACA reporting requirements and must ensure compliance with all ACA laws while keeping up with any legislative updates that may come. 


Compliance issues seem more intimidating than they need to be. The truth is that setting up Google Alerts and performing due diligence on legislative changes in your area could help you stay on top of your compliance game. Modern HR technology is there for you, too; as a supplemental tool that can update and streamline data processing in your organisation, HR tech has the capability to save time and catch any tiny details that might not align with relevant policies in place.  

Being a great HR leader is also about asking for help when it’s needed, and never shying away from a data-related question one of your people may bring to your attention. It’s an ongoing learning process that in the end, will be 100% worth it when everyone is covered and protected.


Author bio: Stephanie is Content Marketer at Hibob. She has a background in Clinical Psychology and Crisis Management, and enjoys abstract painting and watching horror films in her spare time. She believes that people can connect with themselves, their peers, and the world around them through creative writing, helping them foster a deeper sense of self and their life goals in the process.


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Written by Stephanie Stevens

Published 17th July 2019