HR News

7 Trending HR Topics You Must Know in 2016

April 13, 2016 · 3 min read

Kim Runyen is the blog manager for TriNet.

The legal landscape for employers is constantly shifting and can be very confusing. Below, we touch on seven trending HR topics you need to be aware of in 2016 and direct you to resources to learn more about these trends.

1) Changes to overtime rules
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is in the process of amending overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This amendment would increase the salary threshold for employees considered to be exempt from overtime pay from $23,600/year to $50,440/year. This means employers could face a very large increase in the number of their employees eligible for overtime pay by the end of 2016.

2) Ban the box

In the quest to eliminate instances of discrimination in hiring, more and more states are requiring employers to remove from their employment applications any questions about an applicant’s criminal history.  Criminal history-related questions on employment applications often ask the applicant to check a box asking if he or she has been convicted of a crime.   The Office of Personnel Management plans to release a proposed rule, in May 2016, to “ban the box” on federal job applications.

3) Equal pay

Several states and the federal government have equal pay laws on the books. In 2016, these laws could have implications for employers throughout the nation.

Equal pay means eliminating wage gaps between the sexes. Employers should take a hard look at salary gaps for male and female employees performing substantially similar duties, even if they work in different locations or have different titles.

4) Paid sick leave
Mandatory sick leave laws are another growing trend among the states. Details of these laws can vary, making compliance even more complicated – especially for companies with employees in different states.

5) Leave laws
As you know by now, there are a host of regulations overseeing various leave laws and, of course, the matter is further complicated by different laws in each state. Just like with paid sick leave, employees missing work for paid time off, vacation, care of a family member, long-term illness or any other reason opens up a whole host of compliance concerns.

6) Social media

Social media is increasingly becoming a business buzzword, but it can be a double-edged sword when it comes to managing employees. While using social media for your recruitment efforts can be an effective hiring practice, many employers have found they also need to provide employees with a written social media use policy to set parameters on proper social media use when it comes to work.

This year will see some significant changes regarding the social media accounts of your employees and applicants – especially when it comes to privacy.

7) Discrimination
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), more than $525 million was paid out to victims of discrimination during the 2015 fiscal year. Many instances of discrimination are as unintentional as they are avoidable.

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By Kim Runyen

Kim Runyen is the blog manager for TriNet.