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Your Task List for 2019

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Melissa KnowlesMelissa Knowles

As we find ourselves at the beginning of a new year, we find ourselves either in a state of premature nostalgia for 2018 (ruminating over our accomplishments and wins with the losses and missteps already diminished by the glow of the holiday lights) or stressing over the mounting To-Do List for 2019.

January is a wild time in this industry of ours! The resolutioners are upon us, bringing with them their cash, and hopefully, yielding a nice bottom line to launch into a prosperous new year in business. Now, I don't want to add any more to your To-Do List or take away from the impending rush of your best sales month, but there are a few critical items that are must-dos for 2019. Let's take a look at what should be on your radar in the new year:

  • I-9 Form Perfection - We've touched on this a few times this year, but it bears repeating. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) warns that, going forward, the agency will increase Form I-9 audits, conduct more worksite raids and promote involvement in the government's voluntary compliance program (E-Verify). Under the current administration, audits are expected to go up 4,000%. It's also important to note that civil penalties associated with violations have increased. Current penalties are between $224 and $2,236 per violation (employee). Now, more than ever, it is vital that employers ensure that Form I-9s are being completed accurately and on time for each new employee. In some states, participation in E-Verify is required. Check with your state agency.
  • Minimum Wage Review - In 2019, 21 States are increasing their minimum wage. On top of the State changes, 23 cities and counties are mandating rates above the State minimums. Make sure you review your current workforce and adjust where needed. You may need to reconsider your compensation plans to account for accommodating this change. Some areas are seeing increases of more than $2 per hour. For a small business with already razor-thin margins, this can have a significant impact.
  • Mandated State Paid Sick Leave Program - The count for states requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees moves up to 11 in 2019. This is a trend that is here to stay, and it's expected that we'll see more states legislate similar laws in the coming years. Check your state laws and ensure you have a reliable leave management system in place.

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