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We're frequently asked the question, does my small company (or startup) really need Human Resources. If you have employees and do not have access to an HR professional who is current on federal, state, and local HR laws, you likely need at least a little bit of guidance from a Human Resource professional.

Here are some common questions we, as advisors and consultants, are asked regularly:

  • What's wrong with having my workers be independent contractors and not employees?

  • What is the difference between salary, exempt, and nonexempt?

  • How can I uphold attendance expectations or address a leave of absence for someone who has an injury or illness?

  • Do I have to pay employees for breaks? What if they become excessive?

  • An employee damaged our property? Can I deduct from wages?

  • Do I have to provide benefits like health insurance, paid sick time, or paid time off to employees?

  • What types of things can I or can I NOT ask on an application or interview?

  • What forms, documents, and posters are required for employees at hiring/termination?

  • How/when can I do background checks or drug tests?

  • How much do I have to pay employees and how do I calculate overtime? What is tip credit, and how do I use that?

The answer to most of those questions vary depending on current state and federal laws and where your employees are working. States and the federal government are constantly changing legislation and requirements for employers, and unless you're extremely dedicated to following the changes as they occur, it's likely your company may be out of compliance.

For example, the State of Colorado recently repealed a requirement for the Employment Verification Affirmation Form to be completed for new employees effective August 10, 2016. However, on the same day, Colorado signed into law it's Pregnancy Accommodation Law which requires several things including a new poster and notification to employees. That poster and notification will have to be posted/provided to all employees beginning December 8, 2016 (Here's a link to the new poster/notice: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByJYmAdla2F8UDlQQnhrV2VyR0k/view)

Another minefield of HR laws revolves around paid sick leave. While the federal government has only set requirements around paid sick time for federal contractors; states, counties, and cities have been busy creating overlapping and contradicting laws. States such as California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont have enacted state-wide requirements. Cities including Chicago, Washington DC, Minneapolis, St. Paul, New York City, Portland, Seattle and Spokane and a slew of cities in New Jersey and California have specific requirements for paid sick leave. As you can imagine, if your employees are working in a location where more than one rule applies, you'll want to make sure you're addressing all of the facets of the applicable laws.

So how can HR help? Human resources professionals can assist in ensuring you're compliant with the most recent laws impacting your business and your employees and help you anticipate what changes are coming. Partnering with a human resource firm allows small businesses to have piece of mind when it come to their compliance and human resource needs. Employment attorneys and many HR companies including simplyHR provide advising, handbooks, and forms/documents to address all of the issues.

If you have questions/comments/concerns, simplyHR would love to hear from you!

simplyHR is an HR consulting firm located in Fort Collins, CO. Servicing companies in all 50 states. Our goal at simplyHR is to provide training, education, partnership, and resources to make Human Resources simple for small businesses.


The content of this website provides practical and HR best practice information and is not legal advice. simplyHR LLC does not provide legal advice or other professional services. While every effort is made to provide accurate and current information, laws change regularly and may vary depending on the state and/or the municipality your business operates in. The information provided from simplyHR is provided for informational purposes and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgement. You should review applicable federal, state and municipality laws in your jurisdiction and consult with legal counsel as you deem necessary.

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