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Top Regulatory Issues of 2024: What Businesses Should Know and Prepare For

February 12, 2024

by Mike Trabold

Businesses have many responsibilities in their day-to-day operations, which importantly includes staying compliant with federal and state regulations. It can be challenging. Here are the regulatory issues that could impact businesses the most in 2024 to help employers and HR professionals prepare for what could be coming down the road.

Artificial Intelligence Regulation 

AI is transforming the business landscape, but it comes with challenges, like potential bias and privacy issues. Governments, including the US and the EU are taking steps to regulate AI with the Biden Administration’s Executive Order being a notable example. Individual states are also focused on guardrails for the responsible use of artificial intelligence. So, while AI can help improve efficiency and raise productivity, employers need to be aware of the risks, as well as the regulatory requirements in the jurisdictions where they conduct business.

Data Privacy and Cybersecurity 

Data breaches are on the rise affecting businesses of all sizes, including small businesses. Data breach notification, privacy and data protection laws continue to broaden across most states. To protect your business and your customers, you’ll want a transparent privacy policy about the data you collect, use, share and retain. You’ll also want a cybersecurity program as a key part of your business strategy. You should review these regularly to ensure they reflect changes to the business and comply with the rules and regulations in your state. Washington is among the states that have privacy laws taking effect in the coming year.

Wage and Hour Regulations

The US Department of Labor is expected to announce a new overtime rule soon. While there is some uncertainty on when the final rule will be released, you should prepare now for the potential impacts on budgets and timekeeping. Minimum wage increases happened in more than 20 states, effective January 1, 2024, including Washington. Industry-specific requirements in the hospitality, retail and healthcare sectors continue as well. Keeping up with these constantly moving targets is a major challenge and compliance is crucial to avoid any potential financial penalties.

OSHA and Workplace Safety 

OSHA standards are evolving with increased inspections and new reporting requirements, so businesses must stay informed and prepared. Heat-related illness prevention and workplace violence plans are becoming key focus areas. As is often the case, states with OSHA-approved plans have gotten ahead of federal OSHA, so be sure to keep track of what is happening at both the state and federal levels.  

Employee Retirement 

The Secure Act and Secure 2.0 are changing retirement planning for businesses. Smaller companies can take advantage of a pooled employer plan, or a PEP, which pools the assets of the employees of many businesses into one large plan. You can save time and money because most of the administration is handled by the pooled plan provider, who also helps reduce your fiduciary risk. There are significant tax credits, up to $16,500 over three years for starting a plan that includes auto enrollment.

This is just a snapshot of what is expected in 2024. For a more in-depth look at these issues, check out the full article here.  

Mike Trabold is Director of Compliance with Paychex.

This article appears in the winter 2024 issue of the Washington CPA magazine. Read more here.