Workplace changes to keep in mind in 2014

Businesses need to update their policies around these recent changes.

Businesses need to update their policies around these recent changes.

Human resources departments have a large project to start the year with: updating company-wide policies and benefit packages. Ranging from the Affordable Care Act or expanding benefit provisions for same-sex couples, employees have a right to be aware of their workplace's policies.

Personnel could have already changed their handbooks and HR software, but insight from Rebecca Signer Roche on JD Supra, a senior counsel member on employment matters at DynCorp International, could be useful to see exactly how organizations will be affected. This is a collection of one the most discussed changes:

  • Social media at the workplace – Depending on the industry, these social networking websites may play a significant role to complete daily tasks. Access to the internet allows users to visit their profiles all day, but moves to regulate use of these websites were deemed unlawful by the National Labor Relations Board. Regarding corporate social media accounts, who has the ultimate control? Signer Roche asked, "Do certain posts on LinkedIn or Twitter violate an employee's non-compete agreement?"
  • False Claims Act – Details on a business' operations have been released by former employees or contractors. Depending on their claims, businesses can protect themselves under the False Claims Act, otherwise they may have to pay huge settlements. Organizations may opt to implement a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement in 2014 to prevent these situations from happening.
  • Expanded Benefits – The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that protections for opposite sex spouses have to include same-sex marriages as well. Paperwork for these coverage plans need to be updated for 2014.
  • Affordable Care Act – Although the employer mandate does not go into effect until 2015, human resources have to notify the staff about the health insurance exchange marketplace in 2014. The enrollment deadline for coverage on January 1, 2014 ends on December 23.