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:
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.
In her blog post last week introducing this month's HR topic and webinar, Four Critical Handbook Policies for 2020, Christy talked about the employee handbook builder available to subscribers of People Savvy HCM Essentials. This is a great resource to help HR professionals and part-time HR administrators alike create, maintain, and keep compliant employee handbooks that are custom tailored to their organizations. Behind each employee handbook created in the builder is a team of professional HR Advisors, who work on your behalf to generate a handbook that aligns with your company's specific policies while remaining compliant from a regulatory perspective. Here's how easy it can be to generate a new employee handbook or update a current one.
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.
Coordinating Human Resources wasn't in your job description when you were interviewed and hired at this little company of 47 employees. But you're a fast study and have a friendly personality, and so after six months at work you were asked to show a new hire around. Afterwards you thought, "There should probably be an orientation and initial paperwork process for when new people are hired," and so you took the initiative and created one. The benefits enrollment process interested you, and so you became the main contact with the broker. One day, somebody asked if the minimum wage poster in the break room was current. It wasn't, so you retrieved the latest version from the Department of Labor website and started checking and replacing the other notices from time to time. HR tasks didn't take up too much of your time, and it was kind of fun keeping on top of things.
Then a pandemic hit.
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.
As employees begin returning to the workplace from an extended period of home isolation, it is quite possible that we'll see a short-term bump in accidents and Workers' Compensation claims. It's going to take some time to restore old routines and form new ones in the offices, warehouses, and work spaces that have been quiet over the past few months. Mistakes are going to happen, and some of those mistakes are going to cause accidents that result in Workers' Compensation cases. How much time will you waste juggling all the different tools you use to manage those cases? With an integrated Human Capital Management solution like People Savvy HCM, the answer might be, "Not much."
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.
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.