If Your Small Business Has Employees: 40 Things to Know

Handling employee issues properly can be essential to keeping your business running smoothly--from hiring to firing, taxes to benefits, background checks to final paychecks.

Having employees means dealing with a special set of business issues. Making sure you handle those issues properly can be essential to keeping your business running smoothly. From hiring to firing, taxes to benefits, background checks to final paychecks:here’s a list of 40 ideas to be a successful employer.

Step

Description

 

1

Find out the right way to advertise a job and handle interviews.

2

Find out how to make a job offer, reject an applicant, and other details related to new hires.

3

Make sure you're properly handling employee files and performance reviews

4

Create an effective employee handbook and know how to discipline employees for infractions.

5

Familiarize yourself with requirements for overtime, minimum wage, and equal pay.

6

Ensure you're meeting requirements for recordkeeping and payroll withholding.

7

Decide on what kinds of employee benefits you want to offer.

8

Learn basic information about family medical leave, including who is covered, what kinds of leave are covered, and related matters.

9

Learn additional information about family medical leave, such as substituting paid leave and advance notice rules.

10

Familiarize yourself with the basics of the occupational health and safety act and state OSHA laws.

11

Learn about workers' compensation and other health and safety issues like disease prevention and drug abuse.

12

Be prepared for health and safety inspections.

13

Avoid illegal discrimination based on age, pregnancy, and citizenship.

14

Familiarize yourself with other forms of illegal discrimination, including those under state and local laws.

15

Get information on federal law for employees with disabilities, including who is and is not covered.

16

Learn how to handle about workers with various types of impairment, including making necessary accommodations, getting medical exams, and similar issues.

17

Learn how to properly investigate worker complaints.

18

Approach terminations the right way--avoid wrongful dishcharge lawsuits.

19

Learn more about terminations, including handling the firing process, continuing health insurance, and safeguarding business information.

20

Make sure you don't violate rules about employee privacy--learn about monitoring, searches, and other activities.

21

Learn about your state's laws for classifying independent contractors versus employees.

22

Think about how to handle unionization of your business -- including how to make it unnecessary.

23

Learn about when you may need a lawyer--and how to work with one if you do.

24

Don't hire the wrong people -- and hold on to the right ones.

25

Know the rules for drug and alcohol testing in your state.

 

26

Know your state's rules regarding employee arrest and conviction records.

 

27

Learn about your state's rules regarding access to personnel records.

 

28

Find out about the minimum wage laws in your state.

 

29

Understand how tax deductions work for salaries and other employee-related expenses.

30

Learn about FLSA exempt and non-exempt employees.

31

Understand employer record-keeping requirements.


33

Learn about the laws on continuing health insurance in your state.

 

34

Find out about your state's laws on family and medical leave.

 

35

Learn about your state's rules for workers handling hazardous chemicals.

 

36

Familiarize yourself with your state's anti-discrimination laws.

 

37

Learn about the final paycheck laws in your state.

 

38

Familiarize yourself with the rules for distinguishing between employees and independent contractors—both for yourself and for those you pay to do work.

39

Discover the benefits of hiring incorporated independent contractors.

40

Learn the tax and insurance basics of having workers who are independent contractors.

More Information

Even a list of over 40 good ideas is just a start for many employers. For a more complete picture, see Nolo's Employment Law Center for articles, resources, and more on employment law. Also see Nolo’s best-selling book for employers, The Employer's Legal Handbook: Manage Your Employees & Workplace Effectively, by Fred S. Steingold.

Also, if you want more general tips on running your business, check out the Nolo article “Running Your Business: 85 Things You’ll Want to Know.”

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