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State Compliance Update with CIC Plus’ Brian Elfrink

As business operations expand and regulatory requirements evolve, the more challenging it becomes for HR and Payroll professionals to remain compliant across all the states they do business in. Monitoring all regulatory changes and then determining how to interpret and implement the new requirements quickly can become a time-consuming and overwhelming task.

At CIC Plus, we have deep experience in monitoring, interpreting, adopting and implementing the latest regulatory changes. For instance, every year, we update more than 60% of all federal, state, and local tax withholding forms. Our clients have peace of mind knowing that all their tax withholding forms are always up-to-date and readily available for their employees.  

Now we are addressing the challenge of managing state compliance by introducing our newest solution, Compliance Library. The Compliance Library provides access to state-mandated forms employees need to complete based on their work and home address; including but not limited to – employee wage notice, discrimination and harassment, paid sick leave, FMLA, and gender equity.

In a nutshell, our compliance experts will proactively monitor all state-level regulatory developments and implement appropriate changes to the state-mandated forms available within the Compliance Library. New hires will have immediate access to the forms they need to complete through our automated onboarding workflow. Compliance Library delivers the right form, in the right format, at the right time.

To learn more about the challenges Compliance Library is solving for and overall trends in the state compliance space, we turn to our CIC Plus compliance expert, Brian Elfrink. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role as the Compliance Manager at CIC Plus?

I am a 15-year veteran in the HR technology space. During my career I have supported a comprehensive suite of HR technology services, including: electronic Form I-9 services, state-specific compliance forms, federal, state and local tax withholding, customer-specific onboarding forms, W2 and year-end tax forms plus ACA reporting.

As the Compliance Manager at CIC Plus, I interact daily with internal and external clients fielding a wide gamut of compliance-related questions and requests. I collaborate daily with our internal product teams and external stakeholders to identify recommendations for product enhancements and mandatory compliance-related updates.

What are some of the primary challenges employers face today in complying with Federal and State legislation?

The challenges regarding regulatory compliance are multi-faceted and come in several stages.

The first stage—and one of the most complicated—is the amount of time and resources employers must allocate towards monitoring and researching regulatory changes. All 50 states plus the District of Columbia are constantly evaluating and introducing new legislation, impacting employers across all industries and sizes. A dedicated team is needed just to stay current. 

The second stage requires a trained eye familiar with interpreting the legislation itself to determine the effect on the organization. Once new regulatory compliance laws are passed, it is critical for your organization to determine whether they apply to them. 

The third and fourth stages involve the adoption and implementation of the new requirements. The adoption of the new regulatory compliance requirements often involves an internal legal review and updates to internal documentation to fully establish the new requirements as protocol. The implementation of the new requirements most likely requires the introduction of a new form to be presented to and attested by all new hired employees beginning on the effective date of the regulation.  The implementation itself can be difficult dependent upon the organization’s method of new hire paperwork deployment. 

The last stage is ongoing and includes a defined audit procedure to ensure ongoing compliance with the regulation. Organizations should establish official processes for auditing their regulatory compliance adherence on an ongoing and frequent basis.

Automate the process of monitoring state regulations & delivering required forms to employees.

Compliance Library ensures employers remain compliant with state-mandated notification and acknowledgement requirements, without having to search for the latest legislative changes.

See What's Included

Are employers at risk of financial penalties for non-compliance with state-mandated regulations? 

Employers face the potential for hard and fast financial penalties due to non-compliance with certain federally regulated legislation such as FLSA, Form I-9 compliance, and ACA. However, the potential financial impact for non-compliance of State driven requirements is not necessarily as clear cut.

In the event an employer fails to comply with state-mandated notice requirements, there is a real potential this failure could result in employee lawsuits and disputes. In some instances, employers can even lose or forfeit certain defenses if they fail to notify their employees of their rights. In an employment-related lawsuit, failure to comply with required employee notices could be used against the employer as evidence of bad faith. This can negatively impact business reputation as well as come with potential financial implications.

What options do employers have to help them navigate the complexities of regulatory compliance?

Regulatory compliance assistance via software providers is not necessarily anything new. However, employers should carefully research providers to determine the extent of what is offered and how much of the burden remains with the employer itself. The regulatory compliance software providers covering state-issued legislation typically fall in one of three categories. 

  • HCM providers: The HCM solution will grant employers access to create their own form versions. Some may even have a very limited and standard out-of-the-box offering but all the monitoring activity required to stay current and compliant will most likely fall on the employers themselves. 
  • Research Service Providers: They gather intelligence on the constantly changing regulatory environment and organize everything into manageable content. However, the onus for interpreting, adopting, implementing, and auditing all remains with the employer to navigate on their own.
  • Compliance Specialists: CIC Plus is an example of a compliance specialist who begins with a comprehensive library of state-mandated regulatory compliance forms and also serve as the eyes and ears for employers by providing proactive monitoring of regulatory changes as a standard offering in their service model. 

Are there specific employers that can benefit most from this type of comprehensive state compliance service?

The CIC Plus Compliance Library was built for any employer who struggles with HR regulatory compliance. Whether they are an employer who does not have the resources to dedicate to the ongoing monitoring activities required or an organization that has the resources but still wants to gain efficiencies, CIC Plus can meet your needs. delivering the right form to the right employee at the right time.

The regulatory compliance environment is complex already; any chance employers start to get some relief any time soon?

Unfortunately, no. If anything, I expect the environment to continue to become even more complex.  States are constantly evolving and striving to protect workers of all types. Aside from net new requirements being introduced, employers have to ensure they are staying up-to-date with the current versions of these state-issued forms. For example, although it was initially introduced in July 2018, the Rhode Island Sick and Safe Leave notification has been revised as of March 2020.

It will be imperative for employers to devote resources to managing regulatory requirements and keeping a pulse on the environment. One of the best investments an employer can make is to partner with a provider like CIC Plus. This is an ever-changing environment, there’s really no reason to go it alone.