Each year, ensuring HR compliance gets a little harder, and 2020 is no exception. States are increasingly creating their own compliance regulations — and each of them is unique. Meanwhile, the human resources landscape continues to evolve at rapid pace, and each industry faces its own set of challenges.

How can an employer keep up? One powerful strategy is to utilize HR technology that automates and optimizes labor compliance.

Maintaining HR compliance isn’t simply a way to avoid government fines and work site investigations. It helps ensure the security of your business and employees, while providing a consistent experience to clients and customers. Adopting compliance-focused HR tools not only improves the accuracy and efficiency of your HR administration but can enhance your appeal to potential hires and prospects.

Whether it’s differentiating statutory pay rules within your time-tracking system, applying special scheduling rules and alerts where necessary. or updating your technologies to resolve specific workforce liabilities, modern HR tools and workforce management software can help ensure that you’re running a fair, compliant operation. Best of all: some of these tools not only mitigate compliance risk but can also improve your bottom line.

Common Compliance Pitfalls and How HR Technology Can Overcome Them

Certain aspects of HR technology — such as cloud-based onboarding platforms, automated payroll processing, and customizable scheduling software — are particularly effective at eliminating compliance risk. These solutions provide employers with transparency into their entire operations, utilize built-in compliance safeguards, and allow for customization that allows employers to address specific HR challenges.

Here’s an example: as you know, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay non-exempt employees’ overtime (i.e., time and one-half) for hours worked beyond 40 hours per week.

If overtime pay isn’t calculated or paid properly, employers put themselves at risk of fines and lawsuits. (In 2019 alone, The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division collected $322 million in back wages from U.S. employers!) Time-tracking software that automatically calculates even the most complex overtime rules and blended pay rates help ensure overtime pay is handled correctly.

In addition, since accurate time-tracking is critical to complying with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — which defines eligibility around employee worktime — a highly accurate time and labor system is essential to ACA compliance, too.

Furthermore, HR technology helps address everything from complying with meal break regulations to providing evidence against baseless workers comp claims. If you haven’t explored the technological solutions available to you lately, you owe it to your business to do so.

Trending HR Technologies in 2020

This year, more and more employers are turning to certain specific HR technologies to help them avoid labor compliance pitfalls. These include:

E-Verify: This technology is a powerful feature for successful onboarding of new hires, providing easy, speedy I-9 verification. How it works: your HR system is integrated with the Department of Homeland Security’s database, allowing you to confirm an individual’s employment eligibility in just a few keystrokes.

Daily Safety Attestations: Fraudulent workers’ compensation claims cost employers millions every year. Some time and labor systems can be programmed to ask each worker if they had a “safe day” each time they punch out.

If an employee answers “no,” their manager is alerted immediately so they can address the incident. If an employee indicates they had a safe day but files a claim later, their documented response can be used to challenge it. This not only promotes worker safety but protects against false claims.

HR Analytics and Reports: When you use the HR analytics or reporting capabilities offered by some HR software solutions, you gain transparency into myriad aspects of your operation. You can identify compliance inconsistencies in payroll (i.e., rate changes, time changes, etc.), paid time off, time sheet reporting and more, while verifying compliance with EEO, OSHA, VETS, and ACA regulations.

Real-time Alerts: Real-time alerts are a helpful management feature offered by some advanced time and labor systems. These enable frontline managers to receive texts or emails immediately after workers do (or fail to do) certain things, such as taking mandated meal breaks or crossing into overtime — both of which play a big role in wage and hour lawsuits.

In short, if one of your 2020 priorities is achieving labor compliance on the federal, state, and local levels, see how state-of-the-art HR technology can help you meet your goals. You may be surprised.