“I don’t always read the small print and sometimes get stung for my lack of attention.
As a small business owner I’ve always thought I was immune from the inspections of the DOL (Department of Labor) and its rules and therefore I haven’t been paying much attention to their latest publications.
First, here is why I thought I was immune from the DOL. I didn’t have 15 employees which seem to be the magic number of employees that turns my small business from Little Boy to a Big Boy business. Also, I had read somewhere that if my business didn’t generate more than $500,000 annually I was immune from a number of the rules,
I didn’t read the small print.
I was shocked to find out the $500,000 test was only good if my business wasn’t involved in Interstate Commerce. I discovered that if I had a phone and made and received out-of-state calls, I was involved in Interstate Commerce. The fact I was sending mail to another state meant that I was involved in Interstate Commerce. I was just as vulnerable as the Bigger Boys.
When you start looking for more small print, guess what else you find out? I found that there are new stringent rules for completing I-9’s. (You know the form that verifies whether an employee is eligible to work in the United States? And if you’re not filling those out or filling them out incorrectly, then the fine for improper documentation doubled in 2016 with a penalty of $216 – 2,156 per form incorrectly filled out. Ouch!)
Add to that and you have issues to contend with regarding the safety people in OSHA and FLSA. (FLSA stands for Fair Labor Standards Act and is basically those guys and gals that have written 500 pages of fine print relating to items such as, mimimum wage, overtime, mileage reimbursement and how to prove you paid for what you were supposed to pay.) And, again, if you don’t have your ducks in a row the government inspectors will be more than glad to point out the mistakes. Sometimes you only have to pay back wages. Sometimes they charge penalties plus back wages. Double ouch.
Now, regarding government inspectors, there’s good news and bad news. Congress has increased their budgets to allow for more inspectors to check for compliance. The good news is that some of those inspectors have is some text that my interest you.
The DOL has the authority to conduct inspections of workplaces and bring enforcement actions against employers found to be in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
This is done through audits and reviews where they may assert their broad investigative authority.
Don’t let your story be mine.
John Q. Doe
Dear John Q. Doe:
Executive Advantage is an expert in helping small businesses to keep up-to date with the government’s regulatory actions. Why don’t you call Doris at 573 819-0706 to schedule a brief consultation or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe we can find some simple ways to start filling in some of those compliance holes.