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.
Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are asking questions like how and when is it safe to re-open their organizations. Meanwhile, local governments are working through very confusing phases of re-opening regulations. And as if that's not enough to think about, OSHA updated the rules for employer obligations of reporting COVID-19 as a workplace illness. Lions, and tigers, and bears, OH MY! Could this be anymore overwhelming? In this post, we will attempt to help make sense of some of the latest updates, and we're also offering a free webinar on COVID-19 workplace safety as well as a policy template so that you have two valuable resources to assist your progress in these safety-related tasks.
With everything that has happened this year, does anyone else feel like we are in some strange time warp? Anyone know what month it is? Oh that is right, it's June. Crazy to think that we are halfway through 2020 already! So July is just next month, and it brings with it some important deadlines and potential changes for payroll and accounting departments. Here are some critical dates in July that you don't want to lose track of.
Many counties are working through the required phases to get people back to work, and that leaves employers trying to figure out how to safely return to the new normal. Employee safety is generally a number one priority for employers. As businesses face post-COVID-19 reopening, following are some key factors to consider:
On May 16, 2019, House Bill 3427 was signed into law creating the Corporate Activity Tax (CAT). This new tax doesn’t replace the corporate income tax. It is in addition to that longstanding tax. The CAT became effective January 1, 2020, and it applies to all types of businesses with Oregon commercial activity that generate revenue in excess of $1 million (although businesses with $750,000+ in revenue are required to register with the Department of Revenue). Very few businesses are exempt from the CAT (e.g. nonprofit organizations, farmers, school districts, hospitals, long-term care facilities). This gross receipts tax is expected to raise at least $1 billion in annual revenues, intended to fund state investments in education.
More help brings more questions and new confusion. On March 27, 2020, Congress passed a second round of economic stimulus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Some of the relief elements contained within this latest act include:
- Paycheck Protection Program Loans
- Additional Unemployment Benefits
- Student Loan Payments Suspension
- Funding for Hospitals, Airlines/Airports, and Food Assistance Programs
- Government Checks to Individuals
- Small Business Debt Relief
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Emergency Economic Injury Grants
Here is a closer look at some key aspects.
** This article was sent to all of our Bennett/Porter clients via email on 4/3/2020 **
As an employer, there is so much information to try to review and absorb right now in regards to the administration of the new regulations around COVID-19. We hope you are looking to us to be your trusted advisor as we continue to provide comprehensive and easy to understand Payroll and HR guidance during this challenging time.The most common questions we are getting right now are around the obligations to offer Emergency Sick Leave and Emergency Family and Medical Leave (FFCRA) benefits and how to claim the credits for paying those benefits. Following is a summary:
Who is dreaming about the days of getting back to a normal version of crazy? You know, kids back in school, too many scheduled social gatherings, a day packed with back-to-back in-person meetings, watercooler talk with co-workers, sporting events to cheer at, too many toilet paper options at the grocery store, and bumper-to-bumper traffic in the morning and afternoon. Okay, maybe not so much the traffic.
These are definitely uncharted times that we are going through. It’s such a strange feeling to take that pause that keeps our family members, friends, co-workers, and even total strangers a little safer by staying distant from them.
With all the constant, fast-breaking news pertaining to COVID-19, you may not have heard that yesterday, President Trump signed the “phase two” stimulus legislation. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides paid leave for certain workers, enhances unemployment insurance, and ensures free testing for infection by the Coronavirus. Unemployment eligibility requirements have been eased by waiving the work search requirements as well as the waiting week before benefits can be claimed. This measure also helps take care of small businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees) by providing reimbursement through tax credits for offering the qualified paid leaves.
Following his a very high overview of the paid leave benefits. For additional, detailed information, we encourage you to refer to the H.R. 6201 Act passed by Congress.