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Keeping Up With New and Changing Regulations

Group of business executives attending seminar in conference room

Like many California businesses, yours may be constantly faced with new and changing regulations. From new California regulations about employers' use of criminal history when making employment decisions (which took effect July 1) to the possible repeal and replacement of the federal Affordable Care Act (still being debated) to a California bill that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants for their salary history (still under consideration), there's a lot to keep up with.

The NAVEX Global 2016 Ethics & Compliance Policy Management Benchmark Report found that almost half of respondents (47 percent) cited keeping policies up to date with new and changing regulations as their top policy management challenge.

Put your strategy in place

Implementing a well-thought-out strategy to stay in compliance can help keep your business current with new and changing regulations. These seven steps can help.

1. Maintain a database of all the regulations that affect your business. Track their subjects, requirements, effective dates and the status of their implementation within your company.

2. Work with a knowledgeable attorney. Your attorney should take the time to understand your company, its industry and its culture. That should allow him or her to pass along information about relevant legislation and regulation changes.

3. Subscribe to newsletters that provide updates on regulations. Check with regulatory bodies, law firms and industry sources to find helpful sources of information. For example, the California Regulatory Notice Register provides weekly notification of actions by state regulatory agencies. The U.S. Department of Labor provides an app with information about employment law by category.

4. Attend conferences, seminars and webinars sponsored by industry groups, regulatory agencies and others. The professionals who put together these education opportunities can help you understand the most important aspects of regulations that are relevant to your business. They may provide tips for implementation, too.

5. Train staff. Once you've developed new policies and procedures that will keep your business in compliance with regulations, consider how they can best be integrated with your existing workflow and company practices.

6. Make updated policies easily accessible to employees. A single training session is often not enough to ensure all employees comply with new policies and procedures. Be sure they have easy access to a record of updated practices so they can check them if they've forgotten steps or have questions about what needs to be done.

7. Be sure every compliance policy has a person in charge of it. Make it that person's job to be sure the policies reflect changes in laws and regulations. That means they'll have to stay informed as regulations change. That person should also ensure that employees are following company practices.

We're here to help

For more ideas and creative solutions to help you prepare for and overcome your industry's most pressing business challenges, visit California Bank & Trust's Business Resource Center.

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The information contained herein may not represent the views and opinions of California Bank & Trust, a division of ZB, N.A. or its affiliates. It is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.
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