Regulatory compliance is an area of concern for many companies, and our current business landscape has created the need for new developments in regulatory oversight and enforcement. These are the top compliance issues Quantum Strategies has identified for business owners in 2022.
Safety in the Workplace
Workplace safety came to the forefront of regulatory compliance as the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced in early 2020. The pandemic continues to shape regulatory policy, especially as litigation and public sentiment over vaccine mandates continue to unfold.
To make matters even more complex, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued its Emergency Temporary Standard, which continues to face court-ordered stays and reinstatements. It is essential for business owners to stay on top of the current federal, state, and local mandates — legal changes could significantly impact your compliance requirements. Make sure to view our Quick Tip Topic on keeping track of regulatory requirements.
The Affordable Care Act Employer Shared Responsibility Reporting requirements compel employers to furnish timely, accurate information returns. In previous years, employers could apply “good faith transition relief” to avoid penalties for errors and omissions. In 2021, though, this provision was discontinued.
Also, there are currently several proposals that could potentially lower the affordability rate. This means businesses falling under the “Applicable Large Employers” umbrella would need to look at employee contributions for health insurance to ensure all full-time employees have access to adequate coverage at affordable rates.
Medical and Recreational Marijuana in the Workplace
in 2021, four new states — New York, Virginia, New Mexico, and Connecticut — joined 16 other U.S. states and territories that have already legalized recreational marijuana.
Numerous other states are watching the results of current and emerging marijuana programs as well. Assuming these states are satisfied with the results they see, there’s little reason to think they won’t follow along within the next 12-24 months.
While states are increasingly passing legislation to permit medical and recreational cannabis use, federal law still prohibits marijuana use, possession, sale, and cultivation.
Tailoring workplace policies to balance the two views can be challenging. On the one hand, workplace safety must be a priority, and that includes protecting employees and customers. A cannabis user on a forklift, for example, could create a significant safety hazard.
On the other hand, changing attitudes toward cannabis use, coupled with the rapid implementation of medical marijuana programs across the country, have contributed to the widespread use of the plant.
The availability of the plant’s psychoactive chemical — tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — in many new forms also signals public acceptance and integration of cannabis into mainstream society. Gummies, vapes, chocolates, tinctures, and other products allow users to medicate discreetly.
As the normalization of cannabis continues to grow, companies will find it increasingly difficult to attract top talent while maintaining a purely cannabis-free environment.
Want more guidance to help your company identify and navigate compliance issues? Contact one of our experienced team members today.