Welcome to HR Partners' COVID page.  To receive our company newsletter, the HR Advisor, please click here.

Vaccine Mandate - Federal Contractors

President Biden signed an Executive Order on September 9, 2021, that outlines the coronavirus vaccine mandate for Federal Contractors. This order instructed the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”) to issue guidance by September 24, 2021, explaining requirements and exceptions to the mandate.

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KANSAS Updated Isolation and Quarantine Guidance for Vaccinated Individuals

FOR KANSAS CLIENTS ONLY

The quarantine guidance for vaccinated individuals exposed to a positive case of COVID-19 depends on if the exposure was from someone within the household. If the exposure comes from a household contact, the KDHE requires that the fully vaccinated individual get tested 3-5 days after the initial exposure and re-test again 7-10 days after exposure. The KDHE guidance also states that fully vaccinated individuals that are close household contacts with a confirmed or suspected case should mask in indoor settings for 14 days after their last exposure. While the KDHE recommends this practice for all exposures, it is specifically required if the exposure comes from a household contact. Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine while waiting for test results after exposure to COVID-19 as long as they remain without symptoms.

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Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated in the Workplace - Q & A

HR Partners received some great questions from one of our CEO clients recently about managing vaccinated and unvaccinated staff in the workplace.  Below is the Q & A, and our guidance:

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FAQ - Remote Worker Compliance

Frequently Asked Employer Questions for Remote Worker Compliance

COVID-19 had a significant impact on the way employers conduct business, with many employees continuing to work on a remote basis. HR Partners frequently has inquiries on how to remain compliant with employment laws while administering remote workers. See below for a few of the most common questions and answers.

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Updated OSHA Guidance

New OSHA Guidance RE: COVID-19 (June 10, 2021)

In response to the updated guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), which explains that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except in limited situations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) released updated guidance on mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace on June 10, 2021. This guidance focuses only on protecting unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers in their workplaces. This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. 

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Job Openings Reach Record High, But Where Are the Applicants?

Great article I wanted to share from the Society for Human Resource Management.  I have bolded the most important part.  Because of the most recent circumstances, many of our clients have started to analyze their current compensation ranges.  If your organization is challenged finding employees at your current compensation ranges, please give us a call.  HR Partners can assist.

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Guidance on Masks in the Workplace

New guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) on May 13, 2021, advises that individuals who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 are no longer required to wear a mask or practice social distancing in most indoor and outdoor settings, with the exception of certain forms of public transportation as well as high-risk workplaces including health care settings, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.

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Please Read - Very Important

Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”), employers will be required to provide COBRA premium assistance to Assistance Eligible Individuals (and their qualified beneficiaries) who are eligible for COBRA as a result of an involuntary termination of employment or reduction in hours. The premium assistance applies to periods of health coverage on or after April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. An employer or plan to whom COBRA premiums are payable is entitled to a tax credit for the amount of the premium assistance.

The Department of Labor recently released Model Notices and Frequently Asked Questions related to the ARPA Cobra premium assistance, which can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/laws-and-regulations/laws/cobra/premium-subsidy.

If you have additional questions related to the ARPA COBRA premium assistance, or need other HR assistance, please contact HR Partners at 785-233-7860.

Updating Policy Language - Return to Office

Many of our clients with HR Partners have emphasized the stress of work schedules and locations changing because of the pandemic.  Now, they want to get back to pre-March 2020 business operations schedules (if they have not already).  Please see the template policy below, and please feel free to incorporate this language into your employee handbook.

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Vaccine Finder

To find COVID-19 vaccines near you, click on the link below to view a list of providers to check availability and sign-up process.

VaccineFinder - Search for COVID-19 vaccine locations or https://vaccinefinder.org/search/

Subcategories

  • Second Stimulus Package

    On December 20, 2020, Congress reached an agreement on a second stimulus package that will provide immediate aid to both individuals and businesses. This bill now must be signed by the President in order to become law. The bill will impact both the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) and loans established under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”).

    FFCRA. Under the bill, the FFCRA is still set to expire on December 31, 2020. However, employers may voluntarily elect to continue to provide FFCRA leave (both paid sick and paid family leave) and receive tax credits until March 31, 2021. The leave under the FFCRA does not renew. This means that any employee who has exhausted their paid leave under the FFCRA will no longer be eligible for FFCRA leave. 

    PPP. The second stimulus package also impacts the PPP by allocating 284 billion dollars for a second round of PPP loans, as well as clarifying PPP forgivable expenses and tax deductions for PPP expenses for both the original and second round of PPP loans. Most notably, the second stimulus package will provide the following:

    • Second Round of PPP Loans. Smaller and harder-hit businesses, qualifying non-profit organizations, housing cooperatives, veterans’ organizations, tribal businesses, self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and small agricultural co-operatives may be eligible for a second PPP loan with a maximum amount of 2 million dollars if the business does not employee more than three hundred (300) employees, has used or will use the full amount of their first PPP, and can demonstrate at least a twenty-five percent (25%) reduction in gross receipts in the first, second, and or third quarters of 2020 relative to the same 2019 quarter.

     

    • Simplified Forgiveness Application for loans under $150,000. Under this Application, borrowers of both the original and the second round of PPP loans will receive forgiveness if they provide a lender with a one-page certification that includes a description of the number of employees the borrower was able to retain because of the covered loan, the estimated total amount of the loan spent on payroll costs, and the total loan amount. The SBA must establish this form within twenty-four (24) days of the enactment of the Act.

     

    • Allowable and Forgivable Expenses. The following expenses will be considered allowable and forgivable uses of PPP funds for both the original and second round PPP loans made before, on or after enactment of the Act, except in the event that forgiveness has already been obtained: 1) payments for software, cloud computing and other human resources and accounting needs; 2) costs related to property damage due to public disturbances that occurred during 2020 that are not covered by insurance; 3) expenditures to a supplier pursuant to a contract, purchase order, or order for goods in effect prior to taking out the loan that are essential to the borrower’s operations at the time at which the expenditure was made. Supplier costs of perishable goods can be made before or during the life of the loan; and 4) personal protective equipment and adaptive investments to help a borrower comply with COVID-19-related federal, state, or local health and safety guidelines during the period between March 1, 2020 and the end of the national emergency declaration.
    • Tax Treatment of PPP Loans. Both original and second round forgiven PPP loans will not be included in taxable income. Deductions are allowed for expenses paid with proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan, effective as of the date of enactment of the CARES Act and applicable to subsequent PPP loans.
    • Clarification of Forgivable Payroll Expenses. Employer provided group insurance benefits, such as group life, disability, vision, and dental are included in forgivable payroll costs for both the original and the second round PPP loans.

What our clients say...

What Our Clients Say About Us

"It's not what you say about yourself, it's what others say." - Anon.

We like to think our clients know us best. Here's what they have to say...


Gina Stewart
Executive Director of Administration
Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation

“HR Partners provides a screening process when searching for candidates for a position. The phone screens save me valuable time and give me the information needed to decide whether to invite someone to our office for an in-person interview. They also serve as a knowledgeable resource for up to date standards with HR issues. Two of the most significant improvements would be making the hiring process a breeze and having a resource to provide valuable feedback on HR issues.

HR Partners allows you to continue to work on your mission, whatever it might be, while spending less time on HR issues. You have the confidence when hiring someone that they will have the skills/knowledge to the job well.”


 

Angie Clevenger
Human Resources
Butler Electric Cooperative

“Knowledgeable and efficient are the two words I would use to describe HR Partners.  When I need accurate information in a timely manner, I know I can count on HR Partners!”


Kevin Holland
Vice President
Cook, Flatt & Strobel Engineers

“We started working with HR Partners when we had staffing changes in our Accounting and Human Resource department. HR Partners has been there to assist us in that transition and has become a resource that we plan to continue to utilize. Everyone in their office is professional, courteous, knowledgeable, and always very prompt. HR Partners has been able to provide advice and guidance on numerous HR topics and provided a mandatory Workplace Etiquette for our employees. They have also updated our personnel manual in order to provide clear and consistent polices for our employees. HR Partners would be an asset for any company looking for assistance with any human resource needs.”


 

Gwen Denton
Human Resources Director
Grandstand Glassware & Apparel

“I have worked with HR Partners for over two (2) years in an advisory and legal capacity. The HR Partners Team has made themselves available with little notice when I’ve been in need of their expertise in an immediate situation. They are available when I want to bounce an idea or will just listen when I need to work through a situation. They have assisted with phone screens, job descriptions, policies, unemployment, FMLA, HR audit, and so much more. They are very easy to work with and I have always felt they ‘really’ cared about assisting me and our organization. Their guidance has helped me grow personally in my knowledge which extends to being a better HR Professional for my employees and my company. Thank you, HR Partners!”


Sandy Atwood
Director of Human Resources
Kaw Valley Bank

“It gives me the peace of mind knowing that we have the support and expertise of Human Resources professionals just a phone call away through our collaboration with HR Partners. I would definitely tell anyone considering working with the HR Partners team that they offer a wide variety of services tailored to the client. The HR Partners team assisted our Company with the revision of the Employee Handbook by customizing it to our needs and culture while ensuring it complied with federal, state, and local employment laws.”


 

Joe Koechner
Pharmacist/Owner
KexRx Pharmacy & Home Care

“I’ve been working with HR Partners for seven (7) years and they’ve been a trusted resource for all of our HR needs.  From creating our Employee Handbook, Job Descriptions, assisting with the hiring process and terminations, they have been a much needed and valuable partner as our company has grown from one location with six (6) employees to five (5) locations with over forty (40) employees.”


Dan Beal
President
McElroy's, Inc.

“When McElroy’s first started in business, there were not the extensive Human Resources compliance requirements that there are today.  HR Partners has assisted us by formalizing our policies and updating our employment records to make sure we meet these requirements.  This has enabled McElroy’s, Inc. to focus on what we do best and continue to provide ‘Service You Trust’ to our clients.”


Sandy Warren
VP Operations
Capper Foundation

“Consultation services provided by HR Partners proved a valuable resource for personnel matters and in updating our personnel handbook. As we continued to grow in staff size, we found an on-going retainer with HR Partners a great fit to support management, policy and training needs. The HR Partners team is professional, knowledgeable and creative in their approach and we can have confidence in managing employment matters with their involvement and understanding of our organization.”


Michelle Meier
Administrator
Kansas Medical Clinic

“HR Partners has built an exceptional company with some of the most proactive professionals I’ve seen in a long time.  We hired HR Partners with a human resources 911 issue and were in much better shape within two weeks!  Kristina Dietrick, President of HR Partners,  is also great as a speaker and motivator for your staff.”


 

Martha Bartlett Piland
President and CEO
MB Piland

“We have worked with HR Partners on multiple occasions.  Since we’re too small to have an HR advisor on staff, we have relied on HR Partners’ expertise in reviewing our employee manual and other HR-related documents.  HR Partners has also been available for advice when needed.  They are thorough, straightforward and focused on positive outcomes.  I am always confident in HR Partners’ counsel.”


 

Brent Boles
Co-Owner
Schendel Lawn and Landscape

“Schendel worked with HR Partners in several different capacities over a five state area. HR Partners answered our questions about employment law, helped train our management staff to be better leaders, and ensured our employee policies and procedures were legally sound and in the best interests of both Schendel and our co-workers. I've always found the HR Partners staff to be very knowledgeable, friendly and easy to work with. The relationship we formed with HR Partners helped protect both our company and our co-workers, and I feel it was very beneficial to Schendel."


Ross T. Hendrickson
President
MRH Insurance Group, Inc.Group, Inc.

“I want to thank you and your team again at HR Partners for your amazing work in securing a high quality Customer Service Representative (CSR) for our Topeka MRH Insurance Group office. Without a doubt, if it were not for your company’s ability to understand the different paths to communicate our need, we would not have been successful in securing in our opinion, the very best CSR in Topeka. HR Partners was instrumental in providing the strategy to secure such an individual for our company and my workings with each and every member of your team was professional and impressive. I shall ever be grateful for your assistance in helping our company grow in Topeka and northeast Kansas by securing the right MRH Team Member for our operation.”


Kelly Liby
Anesthesia Associates of Topeka, PA

“Kristina and her team are a dynamic and reliable group to work with.  Whether there is a crisis or you’re looking for strategic planning, they will handle it in a responsive, knowledgeable manner.  When I need a speedy answer which I can depend on to also be the right answer, HR Partners delivers.  This is a talented, smart group and I highly recommend their services.”


Jon Newcomer
President
Kansas Grain Inspection Service, Inc.

“HR Partners has been instrumental in ensuring our company is in compliance with ever-changing government requirements.  Equally as important, they’ve helped us effectively deal with some of those out-of-the ordinary human resource issues that pop up from time to time.  They have been accessible and very pleasant to work with.”


 

“We began working with HR Partners to help us fill an important position in our organization.  They offered some new and effective methods for helping us advertise the open position and were instrumental in assisting us with following up on potential candidates.

Since that initial engagement, we’ve utilized the expertise of HR Partners for a wide range of human resources services, from staffing assistance to general HR management advice.  Their entire staff has been exceptional.  They are professional, knowledgeable, responsive, and enjoyable to work with.   We are very happy with their service and intend to continue to rely on them as a trusted business partner.”

Seth Born
Comptroller/HR
Beachner Grain, Inc.


 

“Kristina and her group of advisors have been very valuable to our company over the last several years. They have assisted us both in critical employee issues as well as reviewing and updating our employee handbook. As their company name proclaims, they are true business partners!”

Mark Wheeler
President
Berlin-Wheeler, Inc.


 

“Because our statewide network had used HR Partners for several special training events, I knew exactly who to connect with when it was time to conduct a thorough review of our own agency’s HR division. The professional team took the time needed to build a strong understanding of our situation and to review multiple, essential aspects of our files and protocols. They were prompt in answering our questions and responded knowledgeably. The resulting recommendations were presented with impressive detail and professionalism; it was well worth our investment. We won’t hesitate to collaborate with HR Partners again.”

Tawny Stottlemire
Executive Director
Community Action, Inc.


 

“HR Partners earned our trust to revamp our employee handbook, restructure the organizational chart and train and develop our most valuable asset – our workforce.”

“We knew we had to improve our overall HR program, but the ‘how’ was overwhelming.  HR Partners helped guide us through the tough work.  Their ongoing support gave staff and the organization encouragement and confidence needed to truly make changes happen.”

Gina Frack, BS, RN
Interim CEO and COO
Norton County Hospital.Norton County Hospital


 

"We rely on the SOS II results to give us insight into an applicant's work ethic and integrity.  Overall, we have found the results to be reliable and important in getting a complete understanding of the applicant's past behavior to then predict if they will be a good fit for our position opening.  This assessment is also easy to administer and user friendly for the applicant."

Lori Blosser, PHR, SHRM-CP
Manager, Corporate Staffing
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas


 

“The Topeka Country Club has used HR Partners for five years.  During that time, when a situation arose needing immediate attention, they were always there.  The whole team at HR Partners is professional, knowledgeable and extremely helpful with their approach.”

Clay Meininger
President & COO
Topeka Country Club


 

“HR Partners has provided invaluable training, mentoring and coaching for my staff and coworkers that is in concert with our own Human Resources Department and internal policies, procedures and development plans.  It has proven to be a successful partnership for us that provides an extra set of resources in our staffing and organizing efforts, succession planning, and individual employee growth and development endeavors.  The staff at HR Partners are professional, courteous, and make working on challenging issues not only effective, but fun!”

Sylvia Davis
WPC General Manager
City of Topeka


 

“HR Partners is an excellent tool to have in your belt.  Time is taken to be sure that everyone understands every topic, the anticipated outcome, and the steps taken to achieve the desired results.  The solutions provided are prompt, professional, and thorough.  Our management team appreciates the expertise provided by HR Partners in an industry with few diamonds and much rough. HR Partners is truly a diamond in the rough.”

Tyler Levier
Operations Manager
Prairie Band, LLC