Answering Your top HR & Payroll Questions

categories: Blog, HR Tips, Podcast
Answering Your Top HR Questions

Do you have questions about HR but don’t know who to ask? We can help! Every day, our team of experts guides clients through hundreds of HR issues and inquiries. But there are a few questions that seem to come up more than most, so we decided to take them on.

See how the experts at guHRoo answer these FAQs below:

What should I do if an employee is relocating to a new state and will be working from there?

With remote work opportunities becoming more commonplace, we’ve seen this situation more and more in recent years. If your employee moves out of state, there are a few things you need to do:

  • If you don’t already have other employees in the new state, you’ll need to set up payroll tax accounts there. The state in which the employee physically works is the state used for state income tax withholding, unemployment tax contributions, etc.
  • Update your work handbook as necessary to reflect any new state regulations. A state-specific addendum is usually used for this purpose. Don’t forget to give an updated copy to the employee.
  • Review any new hire paperwork requirements in your state. If necessary, modify forms.
  • Provide the employee with any relevant employment law posters for the state.
  • Notify your workers’ compensation carrier and your health insurance carrier, if applicable.

Can we ask an applicant why they are leaving their current job during an interview?

Yes, you can ask applicants why they’re leaving their current job. The employment application is a fantastic resource for gathering this type of information. You may inquire about the reason for each employee’s departure from each position in the section where you ask about previous experience. Trends you notice may be cause for follow-up questions during the interview or a reason not to schedule an interview at all.

Be cautious about the direction of your response if you do decide to inquire about previous or current employment during the interview. As with any interview question, if the applicant starts to disclose sensitive information, gently redirect them. For example, if a candidate says they left past employment due to medical reasons, don’t ask for details about their condition. Instead, you could ask whether they provided notice of their need to resign and whether they left on good terms.

Is it feasible to require employees to have childcare if they work from home?

We wouldn’t recommend establishing a policy that requires childcare. For one thing, it often isn’t necessary. Many employees can do their jobs just fine while supervising children in the home. This restriction (and the resulting significant financial strain) won’t fix any issues, but it will encourage remote workers to search for new employment. Even in situations where caring for children has a negative impact on job performance, forcing childcare as a solution may be seen as imposing on their personal lives.

Instead, we recommend setting clear expectations for attendance, availability, performance, and productivity. Then you can discipline workers who don’t meet these standards without seeming as if you’re micromanaging their personal lives.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that employee expectations around remote work have changed. Employees choose remote work hoping to have greater flexibility throughout the day to attend to their personal duties. If that flexibility isn’t an option, it’s important to make that clear so employees know what to expect.

What are the consequences of misclassifying workers?

The answer depends on a few factors:

  • How many employees are misclassified?
  • How much extra money would they have been paid if properly classified?
  • Will lawyers or regulatory agencies have to get involved?

If an employee files a complaint with the federal Department of Labor (DOL) and claims they have been misclassified, the DOL will launch an investigation. If the DOL determines that an employee—or entire group of employees—should have been paid overtime but wasn’t, the employee will be owed up to two years’ worth of unpaid wages (or up to three if the misclassification was “willful”). The employer may be required to pay the employee or employees liquidated damages equal to the amount of money owed. In this scenario, if an employee was due $2,000 in overtime pay, the organization would be liable for up to $4,000. The IRS could also demand penalties for under-reporting wages, as well as interest on any taxes not paid.

Most states also have their own minimum wage and overtime laws, and often an organization can be held liable under both federal and state law, meaning the employee would be owed additional damages for violations of state wage law. And if you are in a state with late payment penalties, the organization could owe additional damages for not having paid all wages by the time they were due. There’s also a very good chance that the organization will be held liable for attorney’s fees—both the organization’s and the employee’s.

On top of the costs mentioned above, there are potential federal civil penalties of $2,074 per violation (generally one penalty per misclassified employee), state penalties (which will vary), and in some cases the potential for jail time. Finally, statutory interest may begin to accrue on the amount owed immediately.

Can a non-exempt employee manage another non-exempt employee?

Yes, you can have non-exempt employees manage other non-exempt employees. Honestly, even if an employee meets the requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s exemption criteria, he or she is not required to be classified as such. If employers want, they may have an entire workforce of non-exempt employees. The crucial thing is to comply with any wage and hour rules that apply to non-exempt workers, such as paying them for overtime.

You can easily build a powerful HR department without the extra expense and time commitment. By outsourcing to guHRoo team of experienced professionals, you’ll get access to the best training, tools, and resources available. We’ll take care of everything for you, so you can spend less time searching for the answer to questions like these and more time focusing on your core business goals

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