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Updated CDC and KDHE Quarantine Guidance

On December 27, 2021, the CDC shortened its recommended isolation and quarantine periods for confirmed positive cases of Covid and well as cases of exposure to confirmed positive cases of Covid-19. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (“KDHE”) has adopted the CDC’s guidance as set forth below:

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ONLY FOR EMPLOYERS OVER 100+ EMPLOYEES - OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard Policies

OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard Policies

Under OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”), employers are required to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with an exception for employers that instead establish, implement, and enforce a policy allowing employees to elect either to get vaccinated or to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at the workplace. To assist employers in meeting this requirement, OSHA has provided two (2) sample policies for employers to adapt to their organization:

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OSHA Update - 100 Employees +

OSHA ETS Stay Lifted

On Friday, December 17, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit lifted the stay blocking OSHA from implementing and enforcing the Private Employer Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”).  OSHA has announced it will begin implementing and enforcing the requirements of the ETS with modified deadlines. This decision does not affect the national stay placed on the Federal Contractor mandate or the Missouri and Louisiana injunctions enjoining the CMS mandate in twenty-five (25) states, including Kansas.

Who must comply with OSHA’s ETS:

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Governor Kelly Signs House Bill 2001 into Law

On November 22, 2021, Governor Kelly signed House Bill 2001 (“HB 2001”) into law. HB 2001 consists of two main components: (1) Employer COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements and Exemptions; (2) and Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits.

Employer COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements and Exemptions 

HB 2001 requires an employer who implements a COVID-19 vaccine requirement to exempt an employee from such requirement, without punitive action, if the employee submits a written waiver request to the employer stating that complying with the requirement would:

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Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate

Pursuant to Executive Order 1402, issued September 9, 2021, and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”) Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors Guidance, updated November 10, 2021, Federal Contractors and Subcontractors with a covered contract will be required to conform to the following workplace safety protocols:

  1. COVID-19 vaccination of covered contractor employees, except in limited circumstances
    where an employee is legally entitled to an accommodation;
  2. Compliance by individuals, including covered contractor employees and visitors, with the
    Guidance related to masking and physical distancing while in covered contractor
    workplaces; and
  3. Designation by covered contractors of a person or persons to coordinate COVID-19
    workplace safety efforts at covered contractor workplaces.

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Overview of OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”)

Who must comply with OSHA’s ETS:

  • The 100-employee threshold is based upon a companywide headcount rather than the number of employees at a particular worksite. Employers should count all employees individually, whether they are full time, part time or working on a temporary basis.
  • The standard does not apply to workplaces covered under the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors or in settings where employees provide healthcare services or healthcare support services subject to the requirements of the Healthcare ETS.
  • The standard also does not apply to employees who work remotely or employees who work exclusively outdoors.

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COVID-19: Religious Accommodations Blog

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), employees have a right to request an accommodation for a “sincerely held” religious belief. Employers must provide a reasonable accommodation for workers who have “sincerely held” religious beliefs, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship on the employer. To respond to an employee’s request for a religious accommodation, HR Partners recommends the following steps:

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Federal Contractor - Mandated Vaccine Blog

Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors

On September 9, 2021, President Biden released his COVID-19 Action Plan, Path Out of the Pandemic (“Plan”). As part of the Plan, President Biden signed Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors. Pursuant to the Order, on September 24, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force released Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors Guidance, which contains three major workplace safety protocols:

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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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More Articles...

  1. Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated in the Workplace - Q & A
  2. FAQ - Remote Worker Compliance
  3. Updated OSHA Guidance
  4. Job Openings Reach Record High, But Where Are the Applicants?
  5. Guidance on Masks in the Workplace
  6. Please Read - Very Important
  7. Updating Policy Language - Return to Office
  8. Vaccine Finder
  9. American Rescue Plan Act
  10. Before Your Business Rewards Employees for Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine, Read This. (It May Save You a Lawsuit.)
  11. Kristina Dietrick KSNT Interview on COVID-19 changes.
  12. President Has Signed - Second Stimulus Package - Highlights
  13. Second Stimulus Package - Highlights
  14. Kansas Department of Health and Environment Updated Quarantine Guidance
  15. EEOC Guidance on Vaccinations
  16. Update - CDC Guidelines
  17. Updated Quarantine Guidance from the KDHE and the CDC
  18. Thanksgiving Tips from the CDC
  19. FFCRA Changes
  20. Payroll Tax Deferral
  21. More Contact Information - Unemployment Insurance Fraud - Kansas
  22. Unemployment Insurance FRAUD - What To Do
  23. COVID Test - Option for Employers
  24. Q & A - Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act Clarification
  25. Q & A - Over 50 Employees? How the FFCRA and FMLA Work Together
  26. Memo of Notification - COVID HIT
  27. Executive Order No. 20-52
  28. CDC Guidance
  29. Topeka Family Therapist & Human Resources Expert on Job Stress During Pandemic – KSNT Town Hall
  30. Transitioning Back to The Workplace
  31. Re-Opening After Covid-19: A Small Business Guide
  32. Health and Travel Declaration Form
  33. New Hire Report & Job Refusal Statement
  34. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans
  35. FFCRA Poster - Non-Federal
  36. New DOL Guidance - Small Business Exemption
  37. New DOL Guidance
  38. Small Business Exemption
  39. Families First Coronavirus Response Act Q&A
  40. Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  41. Interim Guidance: COVID-19

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...

Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation

Gina Stewart
Director, Information Management, Analysis and Reporting 
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."