There probably isn’t a person anywhere who can say the coronavirus pandemic has not in some way affected them. I think we are all a little - or, more realistically, a lot - tired of it. While we might wish we could bury our heads under our pillows and not come out until it’s over, employers and HR professionals alike know that this is not a realistic response. We must continue to keep up with all the latest news and required enforcements and to make decisions that will keep our employees, their families, our customers, and businesses as safe as possible. To help, we've compiled the following updates. Hopefully, some of the resources below will help make everyone's work life a little easier as we get through this together.
Mask mandates may soon be going away in cities and counties throughout the country. Viruses - Covid or otherwise - certainly are here to stay. One positive effect of the pandemic for many companies is that more attention has been brought to the physical health of their overall workforces. At workplaces where employees have already returned or will do so soon, allowing a few potentially ill employees to interact with lots of healthy ones in close quarters has become a true threat to conducting business. Employers can't afford to have large groups of employees out sick for an unspecified amount of time, especially in such a challenging hiring environment. Increasingly, companies are looking for contactless technologies that will help protect the wellbeing of their employees, their customers, and their business operations alike. Touchless timeclocks are a key component of this health-maintenance strategy.
On March 11, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 was passed and signed into law by President Biden. There are several provisions in the law that could have an impact on employers and specifically on their employees' payrolls.
Earlier this week, we announced a change in our February HR webinar topic, which will now address the high-demand subject of COVID-19 Vaccinations and Your Workplace. If you or someone you know may benefit from current and critical information relating to the current legality of workplace vaccination mandates, ways to encourage rather than require vaccinations, employees’ rights to speak out against your policies, and much more, we invite you to attend our webinar.
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.
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:
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.
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.