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Before Your Business Rewards Employees for Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine, Read This. (It May Save You a Lawsuit.)

Recently, HR Partners has received several questions related to employers incentivizing employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

On January 7, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued proposed regulations governing wellness programs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”). The new guidance states that employers generally may not offer more than “de minimis” incentives to take part in an employer’s wellness program that asks participants to provide medical information.

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Kristina Dietrick KSNT Interview on COVID-19 changes.

Kristina Dietrick explains why employers can fire people over not wearing a mask and other pandemic workplace changes. (Click the image below to watch the video.)

Kristina KSNT mask

President Has Signed - Second Stimulus Package - Highlights

On December 20, 2020, Congress reached an agreement on a second stimulus package that will provide immediate aid to both individuals and businesses. This President’s signature occurred yesterday.  It is now law. The law impacts both the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) and loans established under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”).

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Second Stimulus Package - Highlights

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”).

Read more...

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Updated Quarantine Guidance

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (“KDHE”) has adopted a modified version of the CDC’s shortened quarantine guidance. However, each county Local Health Officer has the ultimate decision on whether to adopt the shortened quarantine guidance. Please check with your local county authority to determine the appropriate quarantine guidance for your locality.

The new KDHE requirements are as follows:

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EEOC Guidance on Vaccinations

As COVID-19 vaccines are distributed across the nation, the EEOC has released initial employer guidance regarding compliance under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”).

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Update - CDC Guidelines

On December 2, 2020, the CDC released additional quarantine options. While local public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last based on local conditions and needs, the CDC now recommends two (2) additional options for how long quarantine should last:

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Updated Quarantine Guidance from the KDHE and the CDC

Due to the rise of COVID-19 cases, both the CDC and the KDHE have implemented new quarantine guidance.

You will notice that quarantine has reverted back to 14 days, rather than 10 days, with 72 hours symptom free. The 10 days, 72 hours symptom free standard now only applies to lab confirmed cases and those who develop symptoms during quarantine.

Additionally, the KDHE has clarified that if an individual develops symptoms while in quarantine, and tests negative, the individual is still required to finish quarantine. A negative test result will not allow the individual to end quarantine early.

COVID-19_ When to Quarantine _ CDC

Isolation and Quarantine Guidance

Thanksgiving Tips from the CDC

My hope for you, and your family is to have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.  To assist with this, please review the following guidelines from the CDC:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html

Please feel free to share with your respective staff.

FFCRA Changes

On September 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued revised regulations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) following a decision from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York which invalidated portions of the DOL’s initial, temporary rule.

In its revised regulations, which took effect on September 16, 2020, the DOL made the following changes:

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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...

Anesthesia Associates of Topeka, PA

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.”