GRIFFIN VOLTMANN, Certification Manager, QualityPro
QualityPro is keenly aware of the challenges that companies face when trying to retain employees. Through the QualityPro V6 Standards and Model Career Pathway, they are coaching companies of all sizes on implementing a process that ensures employees are hired right and nothing is missed in onboarding. The strong foundation this builds decreases the chances employees will leave.
As you hire and retain, your company’s workforce will grow. In this article, we discuss employee milestones and a few of the regulations you will need to keep in mind as your company employs more people. Keeping these waypoints in mind and making changes before you need to will ease your growing pains.
Your First 10 Employees
Keeping yourself and your employees safe applies every day. Never lose sight of safety. While reporting requirements will change as you grow, as soon as a sole proprietor/operator hires their first employee, all OSHA regulations apply.
While the self-employed are not covered under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, the OSH Act grants all subsequent employees "employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards."
From the first employee through the tenth, the standard remains in place.
If a company has 10 employees or fewer during an entire calendar year, they are not required to maintain records unless specifically directed to do so by the Bureau of Labor Statistics or in some specific cases of fatalities or bodily harm.
Your 11th Employee
When a company hires their eleventh employee (even if they are part-time) in a calendar year, they must start keeping Records of Injuries and Illnesses for the calendar year. These annual records and the previous five years’ worth must be maintained. Records of Injuries and Illnesses are kept according to OSHA forms 300, 300A and 301, also referred to as OSHA logs. Form 300 is a running log of work-related injuries and illnesses, 301 is an individual Injury and Illness Incident Report, and 300A is a Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses to be submitted as required at the end of the year.
The wording "in a calendar year" is important. Employee count for OSHA recording purposes is determined by whether an employer has more than 10 employees at one time during a calendar year, rather than whether an employer has had 10 or more employees total across a year. This count also includes full, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers, and it counts all workers currently employed by the overall company rather than a specific company location (i.e., six employees at one branch and seven at another would constitute 13 employees total).
As you pass the 15-employee milestone, healthcare and many diversity-related requirements come into play. Besides regulatory requirements, your business is more likely to grow with a focus on diversity and inclusion, so it is never too early to make sure you are setting up a workplace that represents the diversity within your community. If you’re nearing the 15-employee milestone, proactively reach out to Sandy Seay of Seay Management Consultants—the HR firm available to NPMA members and QualityPro accredited companies—to make sure your policies are in order.
At 20 employees, COBRA kicks in and there are no exceptions for submitting OSHA forms. You will be required to submit Form 300A digitally every year regardless of whether there have been incidents that year. Companies that fall under this regulation must submit their information by March 2nd of the year following the one covered by the form.
The QualityPro team has helped a lot of companies grow since 2004. We have found that at some point between 20 and 50 employees, most companies will hire dedicated HR and safety specialists. If you have current staff who may want their career to go in one of these directions, consider encouraging them to connect with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) or the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP).
Your 50th Employee
Any business with 50 employees within 75 miles of each other is covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For purposes of FMLA, a business that has qualified by having at least 50 employees for 20 work weeks out of a year, this coverage remains in place until they dip below that threshold again. Distance between employees is considered based on the distance between each of the locations where employees are "based" (e.g., the office). Separate buildings or offices may be considered part of the same "worksite" if they are "in reasonable geographic proximity, are used for the same purpose, and share the same staff and equipment.
FMLA provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year, and requires that the employer maintain their group health benefits during the period of their leave, but the employee must request that leave through their employer’s customary requirements for taking leave.
In addition, if a company has 50 or more employees and holds federal government contracts more than $50,000 annually, that company is covered by Affirmative Action requirements under the U.S. Department of Labor and must write and implement an Affirmative Action Plan. Affirmative Action is a management tool intended to ensure that over time, in the absence of discrimination, an employer’s workforce will grow to reflect the demographic makeup of the labor pool from which that employer is drawing.
Success at Every Stage Through QualityPro
Those familiar with the resources available through QualityPro’s accreditation program already know that the solutions QualityPro offers are scalable. Our philosophy has always been that if a company begins with best practices, it will become more sustainable. We’ve seen brand new companies establish themselves against more entrenched competition through early and continuous use of the information and resources we provide. Prepare yourself to take on all the challenges associated with business growth by applying for and fully utilizing the resources that come with accreditation.