By answering questions, consulting and advising thousands of U.S. employers – HRWS maintains a bird’s eye view of the Country’s most pressing business issues. We developed the “HRWS 5” to highlight and give some perspective on the most pressing HR topics that challenged U.S. companies throughout 2019.

Our Formula

HR Workplace Services (HRWS) used data obtained from directly supporting tens of thousands of employers, with employee counts of 3 to 200,000+. Service and practice areas for this data included our HR Advisory, Compliance as well as Technology segments across all 50 states and 545 disparate SIC codes.


1. Leave

Leave finds itself at the top of the list as we see employers from all over the country having to accommodate employees due to a tight labor market. Organizations continue to struggle with related procedures, policies & training protocols. Over the last twelve months, companies have struggled with FMLA related issues, including ongoing difficulties managing intermittent leave.

2. ACA Reporting

For the most part, eligible companies now recognize that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its reporting requirements will likely remain in place for some time, barring any unforeseen changes to current legislation. This year, thousands of companies received an Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions (ESRP) Letter. This initial awareness letter notifies an organization that the IRS intends to assess a penalty.

3. Harassment

From large settlements and media attention to state-mandated training requirements, employers have responded by analyzing their policies, conducting training and implementing updated procedures in order to create a defensible position if an issue were to arise.

4. Employee Handbook

“The Handbook” is the most utilized tool for communicating a company’s policies, culture and expectations. Issues arise when handbooks are out-of-date, missing state/industry verbiage, or include discriminatory/ incomplete polices – just to name a few. Earlier this year, HRWS data showed that 96% of handbooks reviewed by the HRWS consulting team required updates.

5. Alternative Medical Plans

Over the last year there has been a significant uptick in the amount of companies opting for Self- or Level-Funded plans. Moving to one of these alternative plans can create additional regulatory issues that include HIPAA, Nondiscrimination and the ACA.

“Bonus” Topic: Rise of the Lawyers

Employers and workers compensation attorneys, hired by disgruntled ex and current company employees, are requesting ERISA Plan documents at an alarming rate. And it is NOT because their client had a problem with the company’s ERISA Plan. Rather, these attorneys know that assessed ERISA violation penalties can be large. They are using this strategy to force settlements with employers.

How the HRWS 5 was Determined

The top five issues above were selected from data aggregated from the following criteria: volume of questions, percentage of increased questions volume (year over year), and the number of original topic searches in the myHRWS Portal.

About HRWS

HR Workplace Services Inc. partners with the nation’s top insurance brokers and agencies providing their clients with best- in-class services and support for HR concerns, compliance and technology*. HRWS operates in all 50 States and in over 25 different countries, serving organizations from three to 200,000+ employees in 545 SIC Codes.

If you have questions about HRWS, call or email us directly or ask your insurance broker about us.

P: 866-691-7757
E: Support@HRWorkplaceServices.com

*HRWS Technology includes Benefit Administration, On Boarding/Off Boarding, Customized Compliance Tracking, Customized Legislative Dates and HR Reference Material.


The information contained in this article is intended for educational purposes and to provide a general understanding of regulatory events, legislative changes and the law – not to provide specific legal advice.