Written by: Melissa Morehouse, Consultant at HR Solutions Group of West Michigan

January 1, 2017: Labor Law Posting Change

Now is a great time to verify that your required Labor Law Posters are up-to-date. In addition to the two updates to the Federal Labor Law postings in 2016, the Michigan minimum wage posting changed effective January 1, 2017. Visit http://www.knowmyhr.com/order-workplace-posters to purchase your up-to-date poster that is customized specifically for your company size.

January 22, 2017: New Form I-9

Starting January 22, 2017, employers must use the new Form I-9! The form can be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9. Employers who do not begin using the newly released form by January 22, 2017 run the risk of penalties, which have nearly doubled. The updated form must also be used for Reverifications.

The new form is very similar to the previous form. The list of acceptable documents and retention requirements remain unchanged. Additionally, the same guidelines for verifying the employment eligibility remain the same; the employer’s representative must be physically in the presence of the employee that is being verified, and must also see the original documents that are being provided. Employers must still allow employees to choose what forms of documentation they want to provide. 

What has changed? Significant changes include:

1) If a data field on the form does not apply, and you would have previously left this field blank, “N/A” must be entered into that field, as it may no longer remain blank. Example: the employee does not have an Apt. Number, “N/A” must be used in that field.

2) An electronic “smart” version of the form is now available. The new form is designed to flag errors and fields when information is missing on the form by alerting the user of what needs to be corrected. There are interactive tools built in to help answer questions or provide additional guidance on completing the form. If using this “smart” version, it is important to note that it still requires the form to be printed and signed manually, unless using an electronic signature system which meets specific requirements. The form continues to be available in a printable paper format that can be downloaded and completed by hand.

3) Lessened administrative burden on foreign workers. Foreign nationals authorized to work in the U.S. may provide either their alien registration number, Form I-94 admission number or foreign passport number. Prior to the new form, both an I-94 number and foreign passport information were required.

4) Employee is required to verify if they had a Preparer or Translator assist with preparing their form. Instead of leaving this section blank like previously done, the employee must verify by checking the applicable box on the form. It is important that that employer double check to make sure that the employee has checked a box. If the employee is using the “smart” version of the form and did use multiple Preparers and/or Translators to assist with the completion of the form, the employee may select the specific number of people that assisted, and the form will automatically modify to allow more designated space for each specific person.

February 1, 2017: OSHA Form 300A

It is time to start preparing your OSHA 300A Form! Most employers with more than 10 employees must complete the following OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping forms:

  • The Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300),
  • The Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A), and
  • The Injury and Illness Incident Report (OSHA Form 301)

Certain low-risk industries are partially exempt. A list of low-risk industries can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/ppt1/RK1exempttable.html

Employers are required to complete the Log (OSHA Form 300) and the Incident Report (OSHA Form 301) only if a recordable work-related injury or illness has occurred. However, employers must complete, sign and post OSHA’s Form 300A from February 1 to April 30. Even if there were no recordable work-related injuries or illnesses during 2016, you must still complete and post Form 300A. This form must be posted in a common area where notices to employees are routinely posted. Please keep in mind that only the Summary page of Form 300A must be posted. The OSHA Log (Form 300) must be available to employees, upon request. 

July 1, 2017: OSHA’s New Electronic Reporting

In addition to the existing recordkeeping requirements, there are some new reporting requirements for 2017. OSHA now requires many employers to electronically submit data related to workplace injuries. A secure website to submit this data is scheduled to go live in February 2017 and the data is required to be submitted by July 1, 2017. Starting in 2018, establishments with more than 250 employees will also be required to submit data from OSHA Form 300 and Form 301.

What are the OSHA Record Keeping Requirements for my company? The information below will help you identify requirements based on number of employees. Please keep in mind for OSHA purposes that the number of employees is determined per establishment. An establishment is defined as a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed. The low-risk industries that are exempt from the recordkeeping forms, are also exempt from these requirements.

20-249* Employees: Form 300A should be submitted electronically to OSHA by July 1, 2017 and again by July 1, 2018.

250+ Employees: Form 300A should be submitted electronically to OSHA by July 1, 2017 and Forms 300, 300A and 301 should be submitted by July 1, 2018.

*A list of establishments in certain high-risk industries with 20 – 249 employees that must begin submitting electronic data can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/NAICScodesforelectronicsubmission.pdf 

If you need assistance or have questions regarding any compliance items, please feel free to contact HR Solutions Group. The beginning of a new year is also a great time to review your employee files to ensure they are compliant.

Are you looking for an electronic solution to maintaining your employee data and streamlining many HR related tasks? HR Solutions Group has an affordable HRIS solution for you! For information on how HR Solutions Group can help, contact us at 616.719.5372 or hrsupport@thehrsolutionsgroup.com.2017