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.
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:
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:
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.
On August 8, 2020, President Trump signed an executive action that postpones the collection of employee payroll taxes from September 1st through December 31st. This affects the Social Security FICA taxes. The idea behind taking this action is that, during these difficult economic times due to the COVID pandemic, deferring tax withholding has the potential to put more money in working Americans' pockets to help boost the economy. This action of the Executive Branch results from Congress being unable to arrive at a compromise regarding another round of stimulus assistance.
Can anyone else believe how fast 2020 is passing by? We are almost half way through summer already! Do any of my HR friends out there have reviewing and revising (or creating?) the employee handbook on their growing list of things to do? With all of this year's other unanticipated priorities taking precedence, I bet it is pretty close to the bottom right now. If you want to move it up briefly and check it off the list quicker than you anticipated, following are some great resources that might just help you do that.
Over the past few months, we have all been hyper-focused on navigating our organizations safely through the current, unprecedented times. We've been furloughing employees and bringing them back; making sure we provide a safe work environment or making remote working the new normal; administering all the new government compliance programs and reporting paid sick leave and extended FMLA. While these responsibilities have been taking most of our time and are, understandably, very important, we still have to make sure we are checking items off from our normal HR to-do list, like making sure the employee handbook is up-to-date, maintaining performance management programs, completing OSHA reporting, conducting safety training, benefits renewals, and open enrollments...and the list goes on and on.
While the presence of the Coronavirus in the United States stretches into its fifth month, the pandemic continues to impact employers, their businesses, and their workers. Three of the latest developments are below.
As your business continues addressing these items, please remember that Bennett/Porter & Associates is here to continue supporting you, your employees, and your organization. We strive to keep you up-to-date on all the latest HR, payroll, and employer-related technology changes that impact your company. If you are not currently signed-up to receive our Blog posts, we encourage you to do so in order to avoid missing important updates such as these. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or technology needs you have.