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New Year’s Resolutions for Businesses

Labor & Employment Law Update Kelly Lyon Davis

Congratulations on your success in 2014. As you focus on making 2015 your company’s best year yet, here are a few simple New Year’s Resolutions for businesses of all sizes and in all industries:

  1. Timely implement changes that affect the amount you must pay your employees. Florida’s minimum wage increased from $7.93 to $8.05 per hour, effective January 1, 2015. Employers must apply the increase for any time worked January 1st or later, even if those first few days of January fall within a pay period that began in 2014. For employers with tipped employees, Florida’s maximum tip credit remains at $3.02, resulting in an increase to the minimum wage for tipped employees from $4.91 to $5.03 per hour.
  2. Update your workplace posters. Employers must post a minimum wage notice in a conspicuous and accessible place in each establishment where its employees work. This poster requirement is in addition to the federal requirement to post a notice of the federal minimum wage. Florida’s minimum wage poster is available for downloading in English and Spanish here: Florida Minimum Wage Posters. Take some time to review your workplace posters to make sure you are not displaying outdated posters.
  3. Reimburse mileage at or below the standard IRS mileage rate to avoid taxation issues and additional documentation requirements. Effective January 1, 2015, the standard IRS mileage rate for all miles driven in 2015 is 57.5 cents per mile, that’s up from 56 cents per mile for miles driven in 2014. Note that the rate is dependent on when the miles were driven, not when the reimbursement occurs. This IRS rate is optional, as is the decision whether to reimburse employees in the first place. Amounts paid in excess of the standard IRS mileage rate may be subject to reporting and taxation as wages. Employees who are reimbursed at a rate below the standard IRS mileage rate may be able to claim the difference when completing their annual tax returns.
  4. Review your employee handbook. When was the last time you updated your company’s handbook? Do your written policies even match current practices? An employee handbook is a written document that contains an explanation of your company’s workplace policies and rules. It is a resource for all employees, including those who are tasked with enforcing your company’s policies. Review your handbook to ensure it contains an at-will employment disclaimer, an equal employment opportunity statement, an anti-harassment and no retaliation policy, a complaint procedure, an explanation of employment classifications (full-time, part-time, seasonal, etc.) and FLSA status (exempt v. non-exempt), and general workplace and safety rules. Ask your employment counsel to review your handbook for compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

    If your business does not have an employee handbook, policy manual, or written documentation by any name that describes your company’s practices, drafting an employee handbook (and implementing the policies in it) should be your top resolution.

For more information, please contact Kelly L. Davis at (239) 659-5066 / [email protected], or your local Quarles & Brady attorney.