Complete Payroll Solutions continues to actively monitor developments regarding COVID-19. We want to ensure our valued clients that we have taken every precaution to prepare for any feasible situation that might arise. Appropriate and proactive measures have been taken to ensure our continued service delivery and operations while our nation deals with this serious matter.

3/30/20 Update · CARES Act

We're excited to share breaking news of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Act makes maintaining a workforce during this time significantly more viable through a $350 billion, federally-backed SBA loan and forgiveness program. Additional details are available in the resources below. 

The Paycheck Protection Program provides several beneficial features, including forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll, health insurance costs, and other operating expenses.

Business owners may be able to retain their valued employees and have their payroll and operating costs forgiven by the federal government, by participating in this program. If you have laid off or furloughed your employees, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness provided you hire them back by June 30, 2020. 

Important Resources

We strongly urge you to contact your CPA and banker in applying for your loan. CPS has you covered when it comes to calculating your payroll data requirements as outlined in the Act. Taking advantage of this program could be vital to the long-term health of your business. 

If you have any questions about the Paycheck Protection Program, please contact us at 1.866.658.8800.

3/27/20 Update · Families First Posting Requirement

To be compliant with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, all covered businesses must display a new workplace poster. The notice, which describes the impact to the Family Medical Leave Act and paid leave entitlements in regard to the coronavirus pandemic, is effective from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

Where Should the Poster be Displayed?

Each covered employer must post the notice in a conspicuous place on its premises. Since many workforces are telecommuting, an employer may satisfy the requirement by emailing or direct mailing the notice to employees or posting it on an employee information internal or external website.

Where Do Employers Get the Poster?

The poster is available from the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division website or by calling 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).

What If We Have the CPS Poster Replacement Solution Program?

For clients on our Poster Replacement Solution Program, PosterElite has sent out the Federal E-update with the new required Family First Coronavirus Repose Act notice to all clients on both the E-Update Service and the Poster Replacement Solution. Additionally, they are currently working on sending out hard copies to clients on the Poster Replacement Solution. Because the law is currently only temporary and the notice only needs to be posted temporarily, they are planning on sending out the notice as a stand-alone hard copy, laminated poster that can be hung alongside the current All-in-One Poster.

How Do We Subscribe to the Program?

For clients that are not on our Poster Replacement Solution Program, the service provides an initial All-in-One laminated Federal and State Poster. Clients then receive automatic delivery of a new poster any time there is an update to a State or Federal poster. If you are interested in learning more, please email your Client Relations Specialist or our Poster Compliance Team at compliance@completepayrollsolutions.com.

What If We Have More Questions?

More information about the posting requirement can be found on the FAQ on the Department of Labor’s site.

3/25/20 Update · DOL: New Paid Leave Requirements Take Effect April 1

Coronavirus Response Act Applies to Leaves Taken April – Dec. 2020

The paid leave provisions of the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act will go into effect April 1, 2020, according to Q&As released by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Specifically, the guidance states these provisions apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020. 

The Act includes two types of paid employee leave for reasons related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic:

  • Expanded federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to provide workers with partially paid leave for child care purposes. 

  • Up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for specific reasons caused by COVID-19, including the employee’s own COVID-19 illness. 

Effective Date

The language of the Act states that the leave provisions take effect “not later than 15 days after the date of enactment.” The Act was passed on March 18, 2020. Sources had interpreted this language to mean the Act would take effect on April 2, 2020. The new guidance from the DOL clarifies that the leave requirements take effect April 1.

3/23/20 Update · Tax Credits for Small- to Mid-sized Businesses

Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave.

Learn More at IRS.gov

3/20/20 Update · COVID-19 FAQ Webinar Recap

The Complete HR Solutions division hosted a COVID-19 FAQs webinar on March 20, 2020 at 2:00pm. We have made the webinar freely available below.

You can find a recording of the webinar here.

Click here for the webinar slides. 

3/19/20 Update · Congress Passes Coronavirus Aid Law

Legislation Requires Two Types of Paid Employee Leave

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) into law. The Act requires employers to provide paid leave for some employees related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, among other measures.

Effective Date of Law

  • April 2, 2020 and expire December 31, 2020.

Key Elements for Employers

  • FMLA expansion

  • Paid sick leave

  • Group health plan benefit mandate

  • Payroll tax credit

FMLA Expansion

Covered Employers: Employers with fewer than 500 employees.

Covered Employees: Any employee who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days.  An exemption exists for employers with employees who are health care providers or emergency responders.

Covered Leave Purpose: To care for a child under 18 of an employee if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to a public health emergency, defined as an emergency with respect to the coronavirus declared by a federal, state, or local authority.

Duration:

  • Up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave.

Compensation:

  • No pay for first 10 days of leave (employee can elect to use any other leave available to them, including the emergency sick leave discussed below). Employers may not require employees to use paid leave during this period.

  • After 10 days, employers must pay two thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay for the number of hours they would normally be scheduled to work, capped at $200/day and $10,000 total.

Reinstatement to Position after Leave:

  • The same reinstatement provisions apply under the traditional FMLA. However, restoration to position does not apply to employers with fewer than 25 employees if certain conditions are met: The job no longer exists because of changes affecting employment caused by an economic downturn or other operating conditions that affect employment caused by a public health emergency, subject to the following conditions: the employer makes reasonable efforts to return the employee to an equivalent position, and the employer makes efforts to contact a displaced employee if anything comes up within a year of when they would have returned to work.

Paid Sick Leave

Covered Employers: Employers with fewer than 500 employees. 

Covered Employees: All employees (no matter how long they have been employed). Employees who are health care providers or emergency responders may be excluded.

Covered Leave Purposes:

  1. When subject to federal, state, or local quarantine/isolation order;

  2. When advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine (due to concerns related to COVID-19);

  3. When experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;

  4. When caring for an individual doing #1 or #2;

  5. When caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19;

  6. When the employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition

Duration of Leave:

  • Full time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave.

  • Part time employees are entitled to sick leave equal to the number of hours worked on average over a typical two-week period.

Rate of Pay:

  • Sick leave must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay for leave used for the employee’s own illness, quarantine, or care - (1, 2, and 3 described above). Pay is capped at $511/day and $5,110 total.

  • Sick leave must be paid at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate if taken to care for a family member or to care for a child whose school has closed, or if the employee’s childcare provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus – (4, 5, and 6 described above). Pay is capped at $200/day and $2,000 total.

Health Plan Benefit Mandate

  • The act requires all insured and self-funded medical plans, including grandfathered plans, to cover diagnostic testing-related services for COVID-19 at 100 percent without any deductibles or co-pays. 

  • Examples include services provided by doctors, emergency rooms, and urgent care centers leading up to the decision that testing is needed, along with the actual lab-based testing. 

  • The mandate does not apply to treatment.

Payroll Tax Credit

  • Applies to both the emergency FMLA expansion and the emergency sick leave.

  • Dollar for dollar credit for sick leave and paid FMLA wages against the employer portion of Social Security taxes.

  • Refund is possible for amounts that exceed what is available as a credit.

  • Limits on what can be claimed mirror the caps for what must be paid.

3/16/20 Update · House of Representatives Passes Coronavirus Relief Bill

Senate Vote Expected This Week

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 14, 2020, following negotiations with the White House. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the bill this week.
 
In addition to funding for economic assistance and COVID-19 testing, the bill—if passed into law—would provide workers with the following support:

  • 14 days of paid sick leave, at two-thirds (or more) of their regular rate of pay, for government workers and employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees. Leave is available to workers who are sick, have to care for a sick family member or have a child whose school or childcare facility has closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Expansion of the FMLA for employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees, requiring paid leave at the two-thirds rate after 14 days.
  • A tax credit for employers that provide paid sick leave benefits required by the bill.
  • Additional funding for state unemployment programs.

COVID-19 FAQs Webinar

Please join Karyn Rhodes, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, VP/Director of Complete HR Solutions and Neal J. McNamara, Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP for a webinar on the most commonly-asked questions of COVID-19 policy on Friday, March 20, at 2:00pm.


A Message About COVID-19 from Our CEO

The health and safety of our employees, their families, and our communities is our highest priority as well as continuing to provide reliable services and business continuity to our clients. Our comprehensive Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan includes:

  • Should employees face quarantines, school closures, or need to work from home for any reason all of our telecom services, email, and operating platforms are cloud-based, allowing our clients unparalleled and uninterrupted service no matter the circumstance. Our valued employees have the ability to work from anywhere at anytime. Additionally, our IT infrastructure on all of our Payroll, Benefit, and HR platforms are secure and redundant to ensure your data is always safe and accessible.

  • We have multiple processing offices already in place throughout New England. This will allow us to seamlessly address your Payroll, Benefit and HR needs, print checks, and provide our customary outstanding client support from multiple physical and secure locations as needed.

  • We are also in constant communication with our employees about our Business Continuity Plan as well as awareness and prevention of COVID-19 at home and at the workplace.

 We will continue to actively monitor the situation and will take action based on CDC, state and local governance in all of our operating areas. If you have any questions or concerns or if you experience any issues with your service, please contact your dedicated specialist.

We appreciate your confidence in CPS to see you through the challenges we all face in operating a business in these difficult times. Rest assured, our commitment to you, our clients, as well as to our dedicated employees at CPS, will remain strong and steadfast as we confront and overcome the challenges that lie ahead of us in the future.

 

John-Signature

John Pettengill, CEO


3/13/20 Update · COVID-19 FAQs

What do we do if an employee travels to a high-risk country?

If an employee travels to a high-risk country, the individual should be advised to follow the CDC’s recommendation and self-quarantine at home for 14 days.

Can we require an employee to stay home or leave work if they appear sick?

If your employee exhibits flu-like symptoms, you can ask them to seek medical attention and you can generally ask them to leave. Please refer to the CDC for symptoms of COVID-19.

Can we require an employee to use vacation, sick or personal time when they are out of work?

Yes. You can require employees to use any accrued time off that they have. Employees should be reminded to check to see what leave is available.

What if an employee is sick and they refuse to leave the workplace?

You should separate sick employees and send them home. If an employee will not leave, the employer will need to decide how to handle the situation. We recommend the use of discipline up to and including termination of employment. If the employer decides to terminate an employee for refusing to leave, the employer may call the police for trespassing.

How do we know when to let employees who were infected come back to work?

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.

Can we take an employee’s temperature at work?

In short, no. The ADA restricts inquiries into a worker’s medical status and the EEOC defines this action as a medical examination under the ADA. As such, it may be unlawful for an employer to take an employee’s temperature if it it’s not job-related and consistent with business necessity.

What should we do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?

Send home all employees who worked in a close proximity to the employee during the previous 14 days for at least a 14-day self-quarantine period. Be sure to not identify the infected employee by name. You may also want to arrange for cleaning of the affected workspace. In addition, you should notify third parties such as customers and vendors who had contact with the employee.

What should we do if an employee has a suspected but unconfirmed case of COVID-19?

Follow the same procedure above.

What should we do if an employee has come into contact with someone who had a case of COVID-19?

Treat the situation as an unconfirmed case of COVID-19 and follow the same procedure above.

What steps can we take to minimize the risk of transmission?

Follow the CDC’s guidelines for Prevention & Treatment.

Can an employee refuse to come to work because of fear of infection?

Under OSHA’s general duty clause and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), an employer is required to protect its employees against “recognized hazards” to safety or health which may cause serious injury or death. Under OSHA’s whistleblower statutes, the employee’s refusal to work could be construed as “protected activity”, which may prohibit employers from taking adverse action against them for their refusal to work.

Does an employee who is afraid to come to work get paid?

Many employers are increasing flexibility in working arrangements at this time. If an employer can allow the worker to work from home, they will continue to get paid for the work they do. If the employee does not have the ability to work from home and they do not work, they will not get paid. Deductions from pay may be made, however, when the employee is voluntarily absent from work for a day or more for personal reasons other than sickness or disability.  Thus, if an employee is absent for a day or longer to handle personal affairs, the salaried status will not be affected if deductions are made from salary for those absences. Section 541.602(b)(1) states: While non-exempt workers need only be paid for the time they work, exempt employees under the FLSA who perform at least some work during the work week must be paid their entire salary for that week.

Can we refuse an employee’s request to wear a face mask?

Under OSHA rules, right now, there is no recognized health or safety hazard that necessitates a face mask or respirator to protect most employees. Face masks are only needed if an employee is taking care of a person with a suspected case of COVID-19 as recommended by the World Health Organization. If an employee feels like they want to wear a mask and it is not getting in the way of them performing their job, they should be allowed to use a mask. Otherwise they are likely not to come to work. Employees need to be educated as to who needs to wear masks and that it will not prevent them from getting sick.

Should we implement a temporary remote work policy?

The answer depends on your organization’s location, industry, culture, and infrastructure. If you don’t already have protocols in place, take into account worker roles, technology capabilities, security and other issues to determine if you can and should move forward with a plan.