HR professionals or owners are faced with my conflicting HR questions or situations everyday and how to solve the issues can vary depending on who you ask. Many business owners or HR professionals often ponder the same question, “Is there an agency or source where I can go to get guidance or assistance on these HR issues?”. Well now there is a solution! www.HumanResourceBlog.com is now available for any HR professional to come and share their thoughts, questions, or issues and to openly discuss the situation or issue at hand. Where else would you be able to go to find a community or center that has professionals sharing your same common problems and also having suggestions for you to possibly consider. Like they say, two brains is better than one. In this particular case, it’s two professionals better than one!
www.HumanResourceBlog.com has a goal to build a community strictly for HR professionals all across the states to be able to post and receive answers from actual professionals in the same situation or have the knowledge to possibly guide you to answer. State laws vary from state to state. If your organization operates in multi-states, this is the place for you. www.HumanResourceBlog.com does not limit the answer to any particular state or topic. It does not have boundaries and/or limitations in the state the question is deriving from. If you are seeking an answer to your HR question, www.HumanResourceblog.com will be the solution!
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In Rhode Island, the New Hire Reporting system requires a little bit more information from its employers. Not only do they require the standard information on you—the employer federal ID number and your company name and address. But they also require your email address, your name or the name of another main contact at the company, and the telephone number where they can reach you.
The state also allows you the employer to register online onto a special New Hire Reporting Web site. That way, you can just sign in to that Web site and report your new hires right there online. The site is secure, according to Rhode Island officials, so no worries they say about getting hacked in to and having all of that private employer and employee information stolen or lost.
The benefit of doing all of your new hire reporting online is that you can have all of your employee records on hand—the employee file, job application, background investigation release, employment offer, interview evaluation, etc.—and not have to make copies or fax them to the state authorities. Just use them to fill in the spaces online, send in the info digitally, and then store those forms back in the file where they will be safe until the next time you need them.
This process might especially help employers who are in the midst of a big growth spurt, who have frequent turnover in their employees, or who tend to hire a lot of temporary or seasonal labor. Yes, even temporary and seasonal employees need to be reported as new hires to Rhode Island—unless, you get your temporary employees through a temp agency. In that case, it is the temp agency’s job to report the employee as a new hire, and not yours.
Smoking has become a huge issue for many employers and employees over the last decade. I have noticed that many restaurants and bars in some states no longer allow public smoking. Others are outlawed within their cities from allowing smoking in these public places. Recently Rhode Island updated their no smoking laws for private employers.
Under the terms of the Rhode Island No Smoking Law, smoking is prohibited in the workplace. A poster must be made visible within the workplace so that all employees can see that smoking is strictly prohibited. The Bill was made affective on March 1, 2005 by the General Assembly of Rhode Island. Included in the Bill are not only private offices, but also all public places where people may linger. This Bill is in amendment to the Public Health and Workplace Safety Law that has been in place to protect workers from job-related risks.
If an employee or smoker is found to be smoking in a public place or in the workplace, then they must pay fines. The first violation is $250. The second violation is $500. The third violation is $1,000.
Under the terms of the new law, no smoking posters are to be placed at every entrance where the smoking has been deemed illegal. The new law must also be communicated to employees and prospective employees upon their application for employment. These “No Smoking” posters are either stand along posters or they can be part of the Public Health and Workplace Safety poster, depending on the employer’s preference. The Rhode Island Complete Labor Law poster does currently reflect the no-smoking law.
If an employee or smoker wishes to take the issue to court after receiving a fine, then he or she would benefit from hiring an attorney and filing with the state court. However, due to the strict nature of the new law, there have not yet been instances where a smoker has succeeded in winning back “smoker’s rights.”
I recently came across the Rhode Island Website devoted to Workers’ Compensation. This site is phenomenal – it offers information about labor and training, and has a very comprehensive section devoted to answering common questions. In short, the site makes it easy to understand the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Law without having to spend too much time digging around.
Here’s what I found out in only a few minutes:
As of January 1, 1999, every person, firm, public service or private organization in Rhode Island, including the State itself, that employs workers regularly in the same business must adhere to the Workers’ Compensation Law. This fairly well means that every business in Rhode Island needs to comply with the law.
The only exemptions from the law include sole proprietors, partners and independent contractors. In addition, the State recognizes that it is often the case that real estate, agricultural and domestic service employees can also be exempt from the law.
If an employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance in Rhode Island, there are civil and administrative penalties for each day of noncompliance until the employer invests in the insurance. As such, there are also criminal penalties, which can result in fines and imprisonment.
Additionally, employers must disclose their compensation to all prospective employees at the time of their application. If the employer is exempt, then the employer must notify the employees or potential employees. Employers must also post a poster, which is available in both English and Spanish. The poster must be placed in a visible, trafficked location. Any tampering of the poster can result in a penalty or fine.
If an employee in Rhode Island is then injured at work, the State law states that the employer must report the injury and offer medical treatment. There is a $250 fine if an employer fails to report the injury the first time.