In March of 2020, working from home became the new normal for many people. Organizations may not have been prepared for this new normal, but ready or not, the transition needed to be made. Some employers went with the Band-Aid approach of doing what they needed to do to get by temporarily, while others fully embraced the challenge and sought the potential long-term advantages that it offered to employer and employees alike. Most employers did not expect this new normal to last as long as it has, or for it to bring so many unforeseen challenges.
In our recent post addressing the need for and benefits of an employee handbook, we mentioned the importance of having employees sign off on having received and read an organization's employee handbook. This is a vital step in creating and distributing a handbook because it encourages employees to read the document, ask questions about its contents, and signal that they understand the information provided. We also noted that sign-off should occur when each new edition of the handbook is given out.
Are all employers required to have an employee handbook? If you answered "no" to this question, you are technically correct. There are no federal or state laws that specifically require companies to create and maintain employee handbooks. HOWEVER, we strongly suggest doing so since, regardless of your company's size, having an employee handbook is a good business practice. There are many laws requiring employers to notify employees of workplace rights (e.g. EEO, sexual harassment, ADA, FMLA), and this document can help with that. In fact, a well-crafted employee handbook helps protect both employer and employees. Following are five specific reasons why having a handbook might be a good idea for your organization.
With a new year come a lot of new changes and updates to payroll requirements. 2021 is quickly approaching, so - as in past years - we compiled the following list of items that may initiate some payroll changes in your organization. You might start thinking about these now and take action sooner than later.
On November 6, 2020, Oregon OSHA issued final temporary rules to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in workplaces by requiring employers to implement a comprehensive set of risk-reducing measures. The rules will take effect November 16th, with some tasks phased in, and are expected to remain in effect until May 4, 2021. These new rules affect all employers and include additional requirements for high-risk jobs.
The following is a summary taken from the final temporary rules requirements for all workplaces:
Strong and resilient backups are the most important piece of protecting your business. Cybersecurity is an ever-evolving arms race. Antivirus, spam filtering, and firewall vendors are all constantly plugging holes and vulnerabilities only for malicious actors to abandon their old tricks and find new ones. No matter how elaborate your security mechanisms are, they will never truly be 100% effective forever; there will always be some small risk. Whether that’s a brand-new exploit or users being tricked, malware and scammers will always try to find a way in. Those protective measures also won’t do much good against natural disasters or hardware failure, either.
Here we are. The first of October. Does everyone know what that means? Yes, it means the leaves are falling and changing colors, and the holidays are quickly approaching. Payroll/Accounting departments know what it means, too: it’s time, once again, for quarter end.
At the end of September, the IRS issued an updated Form 941 and instructions to be used beginning third quarter of 2020. The Form 941 has been revised to allow employers, who have elected to defer the withholding and payment of the employee share of social security tax on wages paid on or after September 1, 2020, to include the deferral on line 13b. The following additional guidance was also released on completing Line 16, to avoid failure-to-deposit penalties:
Okay, not really. It's inconceivable that any company can create a comprehensive solution to its workplace health and safety concerns in just two minutes. However, two minutes is plenty of time to watch a reliable overview about specific aspects of workplace health and safety as well as obtain some basic direction about how to proceed towards creating a safe, compliant environment. We actually call this video library 2-Minute HR, and it's just one of the resources that can be found in the HR Support Center section of People Savvy HCM Essentials. Here's how it works.
If there has ever been a year that employees and customers feel insecure and unsafe, 2020 is definitely right up there. It seems as though around every corner there is a new challenge. Businesses are trying to support the feelings of uncertainty all the while trying to keep the doors open and make financially responsible decisions. Daily questions continue to include: when is it safe to bring employees physically back to work; is it legal to reopen my business; am I doing everything possible to protect everyone.
As The Fixx sang anxiously in 1982, "One thing leads to another."
Here in the anxious environment of 2020, that statement may be more true than ever. The arrival of COVID-19 led the federal government to pass economic relief legislation, such as the FFCRA. Responding to that, employers updated their policies to comply, but in many cases they also re-evaluated existing leave policies to adapt to the required changes. All of this filtered down to HR departments, which needed to codify these policies in employee handbooks so that employees could understand what all of this realistically means for them. Then more legislation, then more policies, then more handbook changes.