The Compliance Rules, They are a Changing (and Present Opps for HRO)

Compliance is not always the most exciting topic, and being the manager of workforce safety, leave of absence and FMLA were on Kris Dunn’s Workforce.com list of the Five Worst Jobs in HR. Exciting or not, compliance is important to both employees and employers, and is a major regulatory focus of the current U.S. administration. It is also an opportunity for HR outsourcing.

I was reading the just-published U.S. Department of Labor’s Fall 2009 Regulatory Plan agenda (really, I was…I need to get a more exciting life!) and the list of proposed changes is very long and touches on many HRO service areas. Here are a few examples of proposals:

•  LOA/FMLA: review the implementation of the new military family leave amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as other provisions of the FMLA regulations that were revised and implemented in January 2009

•  Benefits: Clarify the circumstances under which a person will be considered a fiduciary when providing investment advice to employee benefit plans and their participants and beneficiaries, and require defined benefit plan administrators to provide all participants, beneficiaries and other parties with detailed information regarding their plan’s funding status  

•  OSHA: collection of additional data to help employers and workers track injuries at individual workplaces

•  Wage & Hour: update decades old recordkeeping regulations in order to enhance the transparency and disclosure to workers as to how their wages are computed, and to allow for new workplace practices such as telework and flexiplace arrangements

While large-scale HRO is not usually driven by compliance issues, it is a benefit of outsourcing increasingly valued by buyers.

Continually updated regulatory compliance support and reports can be designed into HR services delivery systems and make any audits much easier to support with thorough documentation.

Training and coverage of required reviews are also a part of a compliance system. On Monday, my NelsonHall colleague Gary Bragar and I were catching up on the learning activities of a multi-process HRO provider and we briefly discussed compliance training. Too often it is funded at the lowest possible level and designed to meet the letter of the regulations and to document participant coverage. It can entirely miss the larger point of application in real work situations as well as the value and spirit behind the regulations.

Significant expertise is required to manage benefit and health and safety programs. Having an HRO partner that keeps up on the regulations and can help buyers design and administer a cost effective program brings real value to the business, HR and to employees. Compliance tracking and reporting can indeed be tedious, but compliance coverage and training need not be.

Learning vendors — be creative  and show clients how they can leverage outsourced compliance training services to provide coverage that really works and is still low cost. 

At the end of the day, compliance is about value-based fairness, and impacts the real lives of employees and communities and an HRO provider partner can help companies maintain the balance between compassion, compliance and cost.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

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Explore posts in the same categories: benefits administration, benefits administration outsourcing, health and welfare administration, hr outsourcing, hr outsourcing research, hro, HRO providers, hro research, learning outsourcing, nelsonhall, outsourced learning, outsourced training

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