COVID-19 Relief Bill Extends Unemployment Benefits, PPP and More

| posted in Blog

The $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill, passed by Congress and signed into law on Dec. 27, includes a number of provisions that affect employers and their workers in terms of paid sick leave and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act provisions. The legislation also boosts unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans, as well as reopening and expanding the Paycheck Protection Program that was introduced in March as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Paid sick leave and family medical leave The new law has not extended the obligation for employers to provide emergency paid sick leave…
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Your New Year Insurance Checklist

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As 2021 gets underway and while you’re making New Year’s resolutions, you should also resolve to review the state of your business’s insurance program. The best way to do that is to start by reviewing your enterprise’s activities in the past year and how they may affect your insurance policies in the new year. What you find as you go through the following checklist may surprise you. Did your operations change last year? Workers’ compensation and commercial general liability (CGL) insurance premiums are based in part on the type of work your business does. If your business changed, the insurance company…
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Law Imposes New COVID-19 Reporting Requirements

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California employers already have a lot to digest after Cal/OSHA issued sweeping new COVID-19 safety regulations in November. Now they face additional requirements starting Jan. 1, 2021, thanks to a new law. AB 685 expands Cal/OSHA’s authority to issue stop-work orders to workplaces it deems a COVID-19 “imminent hazard.” It also requires employers to send notices to a number of parties (state agencies, local authorities, employees, contractors, and more) if they have coronavirus infections in any of their facilities. The law, which comes into effect on January 1, covers a lot of territory and employers need to understand their obligations…
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Top 10 Laws and Regulations Affecting Employers in 2021

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Every year starts with a bevy of new laws and regulations affecting employers and businesses in California, and many of the new rules this time around are an outgrowth of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on workers. Employers in California in the year ahead have a number of changes they have to contend with, some of which were enacted near the end of 2020 as emergency regulations or legislation. The following are the top 10 laws and regulations affecting employers in 2021. 1. COVID-19 workers’ compensation rules AB 1159, which took effect in September, is an expansive law requiring…
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Health Insurance Rates Mostly Holding Steady

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, personal and family health insurance rates are staying stable going into 2021. In fact, it’s the third year in a row of premiums barely moving in most areas, while the number of insurers writing policies in the personal market continues to grow. According to the ACAsignups.net website, which tracks enrollment, the average requested premium increase for 2021 is 2.1%, and in 18 states where regulators have approved rate hike requests, the average increase was just 0.4%. Under Affordable Care Act rules, each summer insurers must file proposed rates for the next year with the states they operate…
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California’s COVID-19 Tracking Requirement Challenges Employers

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SB 1159, signed into law in September, requires that when a California employer “knows or reasonably should know” that an employee has tested positive for coronavirus, it must report that positive case to its workers’ compensation carrier within three business days along with other COVID-19 tracking requirements. There is a lot of ground to cover in these reports and the legislation was passed without much publicity, so many employers may not even know about their obligations. And that could cost them: the fine for non-compliance is $10,000 per incident. The law goes further than merely reporting a positive case: The…
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How Will COVID-19 Change Health Insurance

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

With talks of a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, many are asking about the long term effects of the pandemic, like how will COVID-19 change health insurance. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses and other organizations in multiple ways. Lost revenue and the overnight change to remote workforces, among other things, have caused significant changes to operations and finances. A new report shows that there will be long-term effects on employee benefit programs as well. Health insurers are forecasting continued cost increases that dwarf general inflation rates, according to the report by Mercer Marsh Benefits. Most expect 2021 medical cost inflation…
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Pandemic Telecommuting and the Wage and Hour Dilemma

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With the coronavirus pandemic forcing so many employees to work remotely, and with mobile technology allowing them to work from anywhere, your employees may be working when they are off the clock. They may feel pressured to do so or maybe they just want to get their work done, but if they are working past normal working hours, it could spell trouble for your organization in the form of wage and hour disputes. The proliferation of smartphones had already led to a rising number of lawsuits by employees claiming they were required to work uncompensated on evenings and weekends when…
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How to Reduce the Risk of Theft, Vandalism at Your Business

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Protecting your business from burglary, robbery, and vandalism is crucial as they can be particularly devastating to small businesses in terms of money, customers, and employee safety. You can see thousands of dollars of merchandise or equipment damaged or stolen, and your employees and customers can be in mortal danger if your facility is robbed. These types of risks to your business are unpredictable, but there are crime prevention steps business owners can take to protect their assets and employees. How To Protect Your Business Burglary prevention Establish and enforce clear policies about employee theft, substance abuse, crime reporting, opening…
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Pandemic Puts Spotlight on Financial Employee Benefits

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With so many people facing challenging circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are now looking to their employers for value-added voluntary benefits and financial employee benefits that protect their and their families’ health and finances, a new study has found. According to the study conducted by Prudential Life Insurance, 40% of U.S workers are planning to buy life insurance to cover unexpected life events and provide financial protection. The good news is that there are a variety of employee benefit plans designed to help safeguard employees’ finances and health during this unprecedented time. Beyond the traditional retirement and health care…
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