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

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.

Read more...

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:

Read more...

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...

 

 

 

Robert A. Shively, CAE, CFRE
Executive Director
Kansas Masonic Foundation

“When I joined the Kansas Masonic Foundation as their Executive Director four years ago I knew that as a small organization I needed professional human resource advice from an outside advisor.  Being an organization of only five staff members it was impossible to provide the level of ongoing consultation needed internally.

I interviewed a number of agencies and immediately realized when I interviewed HR Partners that the talent and expertise they had on staff would be a perfect team for our organization.  I especially appreciated the “legal” help and advice they could provide as well. I am thoroughly satisfied with our partnership and am confident it will last for many years to come!”

“When I joined the Kansas Masonic Foundation as their Executive Director four years ago I knew that as a small organization I needed professional human resource advice from an outside advisor. Being an organization of only five staff members it was impossible to provide the level of ongoing consultation needed internally.

I interviewed a number of agencies and immediately realized when I interviewed HR Partners that the talent and expertise they had on staff would be a perfect team for our organization. I especially appreciated the “legal” help and advice they could provide as well. I am thoroughly satisfied with our partnership and am confident it will last for many years to come!”


Bruce Graham
Chief Executive Officer
Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc.

“HR Partners has helped us with those ‘I’ll get around to it’ things such as an employee handbook and updating employee files. The most important benefit is they are a phone call away from peace of mind on all things HR. It is a challenge for any employer to keep up on changes to personnel practices and requirements. The suite of services HR Partners can provide is comprehensive and affordable. The question should be, can you afford not to engage them as part of your employee relations program?”


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.”


 

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!”


Susan Koch
Human Resources Officer
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.”


 

Debbie Robinson
CEO and General Manager
Wood County Electric Cooperative, Inc.

“I have recently used the services of HR Partners to coordinate the evaluation of our CEO. I found their services made the process convenient and easy to administer. HR Partners also helped us to analyze the results of our CEO evaluation survey offering unique perspectives we may not have otherwise picked up on. I’m very happy with the services I received.”


 

Tambra Offield
Office Manager
East Texas Electric Cooperative

“HR Partners worked closely with myself and our General Manager to develop our new employee handbook specifically to fit our needs.

We were so impressed that when our Board President asked about doing an evaluation of our General Manager’s performance, that we immediately thought of HR Partners.

We can’t thank HR Partners enough for all their help with our GM’s review process.  HR Partners’ knowledge and experience made the process so easy. 

I have recommended HR Partners to all ten (10) of ETEC’s distribution cooperative members for all their human resources needs.”


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.”


Tom Meyer
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 work with.”