Human Resources FAQs

Curious about your business’s HR needs and solutions? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that we get at The Human Resource USA. Click on the following questions for an answer to each common human resource question. 


How do I make a performance review stick? 

Many companies think of employee evaluations as a once-a-year activity.  Companies who do the best job of motivating their employees use goal setting with measurable benchmarks throughout the year complimented with strong and timely communication. 

Focus on progress toward the goals and have accountability for working toward them.  The Human Resource USA can assist you in developing a performance review and goal program that motivates your employees and properly compensates your best-performing team members. 


I own a small company so I don’t have to worry about federal and state employment laws, right? 

That’s not correct.  Even if you have only one w-2 employee, you are accountable to federal and state employment laws. 

While it’s true that many of these laws are dependent on the number of employees you have, the core laws apply when you hire your first employee, even if he or she is a family member.  The Human Resource USA can perform a basic HR audit to identify what you need to do to become compliant with the applicable laws for your business and the states your employees reside in. 


What is a “reasonable accommodation?” 

Reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to be considered for a position.  These accommodations must be in place to allow a candidate to perform essential job tasks. 

Reasonable accommodation also includes adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities. 

To lean more about the steps you should be taking to comply with the Americans with Disability Act, contact The Human Resource USA. 


Can we bring new hires in to start as 1099 Contractors rather than w-2 employees? 

The IRS and Department of Labor view the use of 1099 contractors in the workplace very seriously.  A business doesn’t want to look as if it’s avoiding paying taxes, benefits or overtime.  There are specific criteria that determine if someone qualifies as a w-2 employee or 1099 contractor. 

Huge fines can be assessed for violations.  If you are found to be in violation, a payroll audit may identify even further concerns.  The Human Resource USA can assist you in properly classifying employees and preventing these vulnerabilities. 


Our employee handbook hasn’t been updated in a couple of years.  Using the internet can’t I update the policies myself? 

No.  Never depend on the internet to provide compliant language for employment policies.  If your handbook and policies haven’t been reviewed or updated in the past year you are very likely out of compliance and only the expertise of a labor law attorney or experienced consultant will know how to address that. 

The number of changes to employment laws and practices has been staggering over the last several years, and small business owners need to be prepared for it to continue.  If you have your company policies in writing, you are liable for that language or program, meaning, with all the changes dictated by agencies such as the IRS, the National Labor Relations Board, and Department of Labor, you may be violating employment practices that you aren’t even aware of. 

Government agencies expect business owners to have accurate and updated information available to their employees, and can face potentially devastating fees for violations or inaccurate information. 

Our advice:  Don’t think you can believe everything you read on the internet.  Have us review your handbook policies or contact your labor law attorney.  It’s an investment of time and energy you need to make for yourself, your company, and your employees. 


Do I have to provide breaks for the employees? 

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act doesn’t require you to provide employees with meal or coffee breaks.  However, state laws may differ.  Depending on where you are located, you may be required to provide as little as a fifteen minute break after five or more hours.   

Another consideration must be taken in regards to how the Fair Labor Standards Act defines breaks and how employers deduct those from paid time.  This area of time involves smoking and bathroom breaks.  Many employers are not aware of the law involving short paid breaks.  

One of our consultants can help clarify these topics with you and coach your team on how to treat breaks under the law.   


How do I know if I have the right person handling human resources for my company? 

Great question?  Every company should be asking the same thing about the individual handling of the human resource function of their company.  Confirming the competency of your HR representative is a prudent act for the company.  It’s no different than assuring that your CFO or Controller is competent to be handling your money. 

Like any other area of the business, making certain that you have the appropriate and best skill sets in a position is vital to the success of the company as well as the success of the individual.  We have a simple assessment we recommend identifying the skill sets and competencies that can be administered in less than 20 minutes.  We can also offer professional educational and training opportunities to strengthen your team’s expertise and knowledge level.