Get answers to your most urgent questions about COVID-19 and its impacts to employee benefits, human resources, risk management and other issues. Our page provides articles and webinars on critical topics as well as other resources.
Paid time off policies are typically drafted with the most common circumstances in mind. While this makes sense given that employers can’t anticipate all situations that might arise, it makes it difficult to adhere to your policy when circumstances become unusual and are not addressed in your policy. Employers who have generally felt comfortable with the terms and administration of their paid time off policies may be evaluating them in light of the current circumstances. If you found it difficult to comply with your policy or if your policy was silent as to how to handle these recent events, consider whether your policy might need some attention.
As states cautiously re-open and medical professionals brace for a potentially busy summer caring for people infected with COVID-19, protests have flared up nationwide sending hundreds of thousands of people into the streets to demand justice and systemic change. With emotional and physical stress already high from the fear, change and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, the additional grief and trauma of the current social unrest, could trigger a further increase in the already anticipated higher need for mental healthcare.
Recent business impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests have left many employers wishing they had been better prepared to respond to such significant disruptions and uncertainty. When a disaster or emergency situation occurs, time is of the essence for employers to respond. A failure to do so timely and effectively can be the difference between your organization surviving and your operations being interrupted so significantly that it ultimately fails.
Unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball that can predict when and where civil unrest will occur. The good thing is that if a business has the proper insurance policies in effect, it most likely already has some type of protection for such damages. But statistics show us that only roughly half of businesses are covered by these policies, putting themselves at significant risk, especially those businesses that are more prone to being subjected to civil unrest. Most small and medium employers (those with up to 100 employees), should have businessowner policies (“BOPs”) that cover property, liability, and business income protection when the business is closed due to damages.
Personal social media posts by your employees can have all sorts of unintended business impacts. How you respond (or don’t respond) can have both legal and practical implications. Fortunately, you have more power than you think. While social media has been the platform for any number of very positive things, it can also be terribly divisive and hurtful. Rather than seeking out opposing viewpoints, some people immerse themselves in echo chambers who think exactly the way that they do to the exclusion of others, and in such environments, it’s easy for everything to become politicized.
One of the many taxes and fees included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when it first passed was the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee. This was an annual fee based on the average number of members enrolled on the health plan, paid either by the insurance company (in the case of a fully-insured health plan) or the employer (in the case of a self-funded health plan, including Health Reimbursement Arrangements, or HRAs). In December of 2019, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed into law, extending the PCORI fee for another 10 years.
As a result of the pandemic, when many businesses had to choose between remote work or no work at all, many employers were forced to implement flexible work options to allow their employees to continue working while complying with stay at home orders and juggling family care issues. With some states loosening restrictions and other states still requiring many employees to work from home when possible, employers should be considering how to best use flexible work options to maximize employee performance, increase workplace satisfaction, decrease turnover, and save the organization money.
Two common OSHA questions we are receiving during the COVID-19 pandemic are about whether cloth face coverings are considered personal protective equipment (“PPE”) under OSHA’s rules, and whether employees who test positive for COVID-19 must be recorded on the OSHA log. In recent weeks, OSHA has provided guidance that helps to answer these questions for employers.
If you have a non-calendar year plan, the answer is maybe. If you have a calendar year plan, however, your filing deadline has not been affected, it remains July 31, 2020 (at least for now, barring further relief from the IRS). To see how your non-calendar plan may be affected, continue reading below. For more information on how to avoid errors and ERISA penalties as you file Form 5500 for your health and welfare plans, read our article The Form 5500 filing deadline is approaching - avoid errors and ERISA penalties.
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