Small businesses employ nearly half of all workers in the U.S. That means small business owners are put to the task of processing payroll and keeping track of ever-changing payroll and HR regulations. If you own a small business, here are 10 important changes for 2019, you’ll want to keep an eye on.

New Minimum Wage Rules

The federal minimum wage rate ($7.25 per hour) did not change in 2019, but state and local rates apply if higher than the federal rate. All small business owners should review their state specific laws as several states increased rates effective January 1, 2019.   (Note Georgia’s minimum wage did not change, but Florida increased by $0.21.)

Get New Employment Posters

Employers are required by law to display posters reporting minimum wage rates and other details. Check with DOL, OSHA, and your state labor department for free posters. (You can get posters for the state of Georgia here.)

Note New Social Security Wage Base

The Social Security tax, part of FICA, applies to taxable compensation up to a set limit. For 2019, this limit is $132,000.

Implement Employee Elective Deferrals

If your small business offers a qualified retirement plan with salary reduction contributions (elective deferrals by employees), such as a 401(k) or SIMPLE IRA, limits for 2019 have increased.

Implement New FSA Limits

The amount of compensation employees can commit to FSAs in 2019 increased to $2,700. The limit for dependent care FSAs is $5,000, which is a fixed amount that’s not adjusted annually for inflation.

Consider Medical Coverage Options

The employer mandate for companies with 50 or more full-time and full-time equivalent employees is still in place under the Affordable Care Act.

Smaller employers can choose to provide coverage and should note changes for 2019:

Other Employee Benefits

If you offer transportation benefits to your employees, such as parking, transit passes, or van pooling—the amount that can be considered tax free is $270 per month in 2019. You cannot deduct this benefit. Please review the IRS guidelines for compliance.

Note Any State Unemployment Tax Changes

If you are a SmartPayroll Solutions client, we’ve got you covered. Otherwise, check with your state on whether you have any changes in your unemployment tax rate.

Review Workers’ Compensation Costs

Your premium rate may be higher, lower, or unchanged for 2019. Check with your state to determine what you have to pay, and for whom.

Note New Employment Laws

Your state or municipality may have other new rules for 2019. For example, a California law now requires employers with 5 or more employees to provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisors by the end of the 2019, and once every 2 years after that.


Keeping up with regulations related to payroll and HR can be overwhelming. And SmartPayroll Solutions helps small business owners in Georgia and the southeast stay compliant with payroll and HR tools and services. We also recommend you work with your CPA to stay on track.

Original article posted on Small Business Trends.