Author Archive

Bringing People Back to the Workplace Safely & Efficiently

Key to bringing people back is developing and implementing industry best practice safety and wellness protocols.

Meridian’s temperature sensing Personnel Management Kiosk is designed to help protect the health and safety of both employees and guests by helping prevent anyone with a temperature or those without access from entering a facility.

Features

  • Temperature Verification
  • Facial Identification
  • Temperature Threshold Alarms
  • Pedestal & Countertop Configurations

Designed to monitor multiple kiosks in remote locations it is ideal for businesses requiring system security and remote performance management.

Temperature Management Solutions help balance the need to get back to business as quickly as possible while ensuring workplace health and safety. Easy to setup and use. Potential integration, current and development, will make this product a powerful monitoring service tool. More information available at www.meridiankiosks.com.

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides employee benefits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services.

OSHA Recommends that Employers Encourage Workers to Wear Face Coverings at Work

As businesses open and employees return to work, large numbers of employees of workers will be required to wear faces masks in the workplace.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a series of answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the use of masks in the workplace to help employers provide a safer work environment. The guidance outlines the differences between cloth face coverings, surgical masks and respirators.

Guidance includes:

  • Cloth face coverings are not considered personal protective equipment and employers are not required to provide them. (Employee Benefit Advisors believes this is an extremely important as it could provide the employer a layer of liability protection.)
  • OSHA generally recommends that employers encourage workers to wear face coverings at work.
  • Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing measures.
  • OSHA suggests following CDC recommendations, and always washing or discarding cloth face coverings that are visibly soiled; and
  • Employers must not use surgical masks or cloth face coverings when respirators are needed.

Click here for more information.

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides employee benefits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services.

COVID-19 and Fat People

I posted Fat People Have Issues November 19th. 2014. – Medical Issues.

Once again, before offending anyone – I posted the politically incorrect title in hopes of getting more people to read. I like fat people, many of my friends are fat. And to be honest, I would like to lose a few lbs. So please take it in good humor. I do not need hate mail. I also recognize some people have genetic challenges.

The statistics for COVID-19 are showing 94% of the deaths have underlying medical conditions, 88% have two conditions and 19% at least one. Elevated blood pressure is the number one underlying medical condition at 53%, overweight 42%, diabetes 32%.

One of the most effective ways to ensure quality healthcare services is to not need it in the first place. All those overweight, please raise your hand. All those currently being treated for a preventable healthcare issue raise your hand. Employee Benefit Advisors has seen, time after time with my own clients, that weight loss is the number one factor to controlling health care costs.

One my biggest beefs with Obamacare is that it did nothing to promote a healthy lifestyle. A good BMI can resolve many medical issues. Maintaining a proper BMI has the potential for the doctor to remove you from your high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and other medications.

As for COVID-19, it is recommended people with underlying conditions stay home during phase 1 and 2 of the reopening of the economy.

Want more info on the Dietary Impact on Health? Check out https://ebafl.com/dietary-impact-on-health/

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides employee benefits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services.

Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health has received accolades from the Presidential Response Team during the daily briefing. Doctor Deborah Brix has mentioned several times it is an ideal resource and one that other states should try to emulate.

Florida Health 201 Novel Coronavirus Response (COVID-19) https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/. The site includes the county-specific Surveillance Dashboard I mentioned in my previously blog.

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides employee benefits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services.

Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard

The link below provides some very insightful data regarding the spread of COVID-19.

https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/96dd742462124fa0b38ddedb9b25e429

The chart in the lower left is particularly interesting. Obviously, one would expect an increase in cases as the number of tests increase. However, note the trend of the decrease in the number of new cases.

What does this mean? To me it says we may be getting ready, hopefully, to start the economy back up. It also suggests we should start thinking about how to restart our businesses. – Need help planning the restart? I know people, experts – people that can help. – Let me know what you need, I’ll help you find the right person.

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides employee benefits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services.

Employers of Choice – Furlough vs. Layoff

The COVID-19 relief packages have passed based on three fundamentals; (1) providing economic support to both businesses and individuals (2) keeping people employed, and (3) keeping people insured. Financing payroll may not be possible, after all it’s generally the largest expense. Companies may to need decide between a Layoff and Furlough.

Layoff (noun) – temporary or permanent separation of employment
Furlough (noun) – considered an alternative to a layoff, generally a short-term temporary layoff from employment
COVID-19 has forced many workers to either be laid-off(v) or furloughed(v).

When considering Furlough vs. Layoff, there are three reasons a furlough is viewed more favorable, especially under these circumstances.

      • Flexibility – because business reality is changing day to day and sometimes hour to hour, a furlough allows an employer the ability to reduce work days and/or hours of its employees all the way down to not working at all once it gets to that point.  But for those employers that are not yet at the point of having to make a final decision on cuts across the board, a furlough is a good option.
      • Employee Centric – employees who are laid off are cut off from benefits as per plan rules (which could be from the date of notice), once they are laid off. With a furlough being considered more like a leave of absence then a termination of employment, employers are able to provide benefits at a minimum for 30 days and can even opt to continue to pay for benefits throughout the duration of the furlough. In light of how this pandemic is affecting workers finances and health, doing so certainly signals that the Employer is making decisions with the employee impact in mind and not simply considering the bottom line.
      • Ability to Regain Ground Quickly – Once the crisis ends, and businesses are able to reopen, it’s going to be critical for businesses to be able to quickly staff back up to meet demands and furloughing employees rather than laying employees off and risking them seeking other employment due to the “permanency” that layoffs signal, would allow an employer to quickly bring back experienced, already trained employees to restart operations and servicing customers.

    Special thanks to Ivelices Thomas, HR & Beyond www.hrandbeyond.com, for her input.

     

    Employee Benefit Advisors provides employee benefits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services.

Small & Midsize Employers – two new refundable payroll tax credits

IR-2020-57, March 20, 2020

The U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.

The Act will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

Key Takeaways

Paid Sick Leave for Workers

  • For COVID-19 related reasons, employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave when employees’ children’s schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.

Complete Coverage

Employers receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the Act.

  • Health insurance costs are also included in the credit.
  • Employers face no payroll tax liability.
  • Self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.

Fast Funds

Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.

  • An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided
  • Where a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.

Small Business Protection

  • Employers with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for an exemption from the requirements to provide leave to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care is unavailable in cases where the viability of the business is threatened.

Easing Compliance

  • Requirements subject to 30-day non-enforcement period for good faith compliance efforts.

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides employee benefits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services.

 

COVID-19 and Medicare

Employee Benefit Advisors recommends communicating the following to you employees. Odds are your company has either employees on Medicare, family members on Medicare, or both.

Copays for the Coronavirus test have been waived, but not the cost of the doctor visit needed to get the test or the treatment.

Telehealth – CMS announced that it will expand telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries and cut back on HIPAA enforcement. Email and texts to docs will be possible! Read the CMS details here

Cost of testing – Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers a test to see if you have coronavirus (officially called 2019-novel coronavirus or COVID-19). https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/coronavirus-test

3 Day Hospitalization Waived for Skilled Nursing Facilities – The waiver of the requirement for a 3-day prior hospitalization for coverage of a SNF stay provides temporary emergency coverage of SNF services without a qualifying hospital stay, for those people who are evacuated, transferred, or otherwise dislocated as a result of the effect of disaster or emergency. In addition, for certain beneficiaries who recently exhausted their SNF benefits, it authorizes renewed SNF coverage without first having to start a new benefit period (Blanket waiver for all impacted facilities). Click here to download the full CMS memo.

Employee Benefit Advisors provides employee benefits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services.

Coronavirus – do the 5

I’ve been seeing this advice on Google the past few days. I think it’s simple and easy for employees t grasp. Pass it on.

Help Stop Coronavirus

1. Hands – Wash them often
2. Elbow – Cough into it
3. Face – Don’t touch it
4. Feet – Stay more than 3ft apart
5. Feel sick? Stay home

 

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides employee benefits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services.

Coronavirus – easy to understand info for employees

Symptoms people may experience:
1. runny nose (Not to be confused with allergies)
2. sore throat
3. cough (develop the habit of coughing into your sleeve or handkerchief – never your hand!)
4. fever
5. tightening of chest / difficulty breathing (severe cases)

What can you do?
• Emergency Room – very expensive
• Urgent Care – less expensive than ER but more cost-effective options exist
• Primary Care Physician – generally a low flat copy; at most the contracted rate between the physician and insurance company
Because COVID-19 is highly contagious to prevent contaminating health care service workers, it is not recommended you go directly to the              ER, UC or PCP.
Telemedicine – no cost! – If you need emergency care or any additional care the doctor will advise you.
(According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Essential Health Benefits (EHB) coverage generally includes coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.)

 

Employee Benefit Advisors provides employee benefits, tax-advantaged healthcare, compliance guidance for ACA and Health & Welfare DOL Audits, and PEO Advisory & Consulting Services.

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