DOL Launches Online Tool to Help Employees Determine FFCRA Eligibility

Category: HR Consulting

DOL Launches Online Tool to Help Employees Determine FFCRA Eligibility

Posted On: June 25, 2020 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

man reading families first coronavirus response act

DOL Launches Online Tool to Help Employees Determine FFCRA Eligibility The U.S. Department of Labor launched an interactive online tool to help workers determine if they qualify for paid sick leave or extended family and medical leave to cover time away from work for reasons related to the coronavirus. The tool guides employees through a series of questions to help them determine if the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) apply to their employer. If the provisions do apply, the tool helps them learn whether they qualify for either paid sick leave or extended family and medical leave under that law.


Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application

Posted On: May 19, 2020 | Categorized as: HR Consulting, Retirement Plans

paycheck protection program loan application

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application On Friday, May 15th the SBA has released their forgiveness application with detailed instructions on how to complete the form.   While the release promised further guidance on loan forgiveness, Innovative has received a lot of questions surrounding the calculation of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Employees and payroll costs that employers must report on their application. A few highlights relating to these questions are summarized below: Payroll Cost Calculation The application advised there are options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternate payroll covered period” that aligns with a borrower’s regular payroll. cycle. Employers will not have to change payroll dates to obtain maximum forgiveness. There is flexibility for employers to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight week period after receiving their PPP loan. FTE Employee Calculation The Loan Forgiveness Application made clear that FTE employees are…


IRS Releases Two New COVID-19 Notices

Posted On: May 13, 2020 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits, HR Consulting

IRS Releases Two New COVID-19 Notices To provide additional relief to Americans during these challenging times, the IRS released Notice 2020-29 and 2020-33. These notices provided new relaxed rules for 2020 for making elections under Cafeteria plans, using amounts during a grace period or carryover period changes to the method determining the carryover amounts under Health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)  and clarifying which premiums can be reimbursed under Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRAs). Notice 2020-29 In Notice 2020-29, the IRS provides for increased flexibility with respect to mid-year elections under a cafeteria plan during calendar year 2020 related to employer sponsored health coverage, Health FSAs and Dependent Care Assistance Plans (DCAPs). This notice also provides increased flexibility with respect to grace periods and carryover periods to apply unused amounts in health FSAs to medical care expenses incurred through December 31, 2020, and unused amounts in dependent care assistance programs…


COVID-19 Employer Considerations Regarding Employment Decisions and Plan Coverage Changes

Posted On: April 7, 2020 | Categorized as: Employee Benefits, HR Consulting

Due to the recent national health crisis in our country, many employers are considering the best way to handle a temporary economic turndown to best position themselves for recovery once the pandemic ceases and businesses can begin to return to some sense of normalcy. In addition, many employers are also navigating the benefit coverage changes being made by their insurance carrier(s) or by state and/or federal mandates which may include cost considerations, plan document revisions and employee notifications. Below are some explanations regarding various workplace employment options and health plan considerations. Employer/Employee Relationship One of the decisions employers are faced with is how to handle their workforce. Employers and insurance companies are using many terms to describe employer/employee relationships such as reduction in hours. furlough, temporary layoff, and permanent layoff. Many employers desire to keep employee benefits intact during this period. It is important to understand the differences and how…


COVID-19: Leave Donation Program

Posted On: March 19, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, HR Consulting

Leave donation programs have been considered and implemented by employers for years to allow employees to donate accrued paid time (PTO), vacation or sick leave to a general pool. The time available in this pool serves to be used by fellow employees who have medical emergencies or who are affected by major disasters and have exhausted all paid leave available to them. These programs can provide good-will for employees while serving to fill a need due to unfortunate circumstances. With the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, many employers are considering a Leave Donation Program to lessen the burden of limited Paid Time Off (PTO) available to employees who become ill and to increase camaraderie amongst their employees in the time of a crisis. The rules surrounding a program like this are onerous and can have major tax and compliance implications if not implemented correctly. Here is a summary of rules…


COVID-19: 7 Important Employer Considerations

Posted On: March 16, 2020 | Categorized as: HR Consulting, Workplace Wellness

COVID-19: 7 Important Employer Considerations As employers prepare for COVID-19 accommodations, Innovative has developed a checklist that offers specific considerations for employers in planning for emergencies like COVD-19. Examples include policies to review, communication strategies to consider and benefits that may be impacted. The Innovative team is here to support any organizational policy needs to ensure you and your team are prepared and protected.


COVID-19 Communicating With Employees

Posted On: March 12, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, HR Consulting, Workplace Wellness

COVID-19 Communicating with Employees March 12th, 2020 As part of their efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, employers should implement an employee communication plan about the illness to employees. The CDC, WHO and OSHA have all created informational material on the virus and its symptoms, prevention and treatment that can be helpful for employees. Please see table below for key resources.     World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public   U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Get Your Workplace Ready for a Pandemic (flu-specific but can be adapted to Coronavirus) Pandemic Planning Checklists and Guidance (can be adapted to Coronavirus)   U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety and Health Topics: COVID-19 How to Protect Yourself in the Workplace During a Pandemic   U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (WHD)   Pandemic Flu and the Fair Labor Standards…


Coronavirus And The Workplace

Posted On: March 12, 2020 | Categorized as: Compliance, HR Consulting

Coronavirus And The Workplace  March 12th, 2020 Dealing with Epidemics and Communicable or Infectious Diseases As the number of reported cases of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rise, employers are increasingly confronted with the possibility of an outbreak in the workplace. Employers are obligated to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for their employees, but they are also subject to several legal requirements protecting workers. Compliance issues to consider include: The general duty to provide employees with safe workplace conditions imposed by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act. Protection against disability discrimination (including disability-related inquiries and medical examinations) under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Requirements set by federal and state employee leave laws; and The compensation of individuals who miss work due to COVID-19. Employers can utilize resources to become educated and to educate employees: What is the Coronavirus? How is the virus spread? Disease Prevention in…


Proposed Mandatory Anti-Harassment Policy Development and Training Delivery in the State of New Jersey

Posted On: March 4, 2020 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

Proposed Mandatory Anti-Harassment Policy Development and Training Delivery in the State of New Jersey March 4th 2020 On February 18, 2020 New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy presented a new bill to the State Legislature that would require all public and private employers in the state to develop anti-harassment policies and training. The establishment of the proposed bill would, as Governor Murphy and other anti-harassment advocates in the state office asserted, make compliance easier and would also require that employers with more than 50 employees collect and report data on harassment complaints to the state. Currently, New Jersey is one of twelve states that require executive/state government employees receive training but have nothing in place that extends that requirement to private employers. New Jersey would join the nine current states that require anti-harassment training. As your organization considers how it might begin to develop or improve upon existing anti-harassment policies and…


4 Concepts to Construct Company Culture

Posted On: February 25, 2020 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

4 Concepts to Construct Company Culture February 25th, 2020 When we think of employee retention, it often seems like we think of the same few strategies: employee benefits, PTO, food, etc. However, the company culture surrounding a team seems to matter just as much.  Your employees spend a considerable amount of their time at work, so one of the simplest tools at your fingertips when it comes to retention is offering them your consideration, and an enjoyable environment that they can be a part of. Here are some simple ways to make your team members feel more involved in your office. Create a Culture Committee If you’re in HR, you probably spend a good portion of your year doing things like exploring different team-building ideas, finding volunteer opportunities and discovering  ways to welcome new members to the team. Truthfully, the people that can help you the most with these tasks…


4 New Year’s Resolutions for an HR Department to Consider

Posted On: January 6, 2020 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

The start of January brings with it the start of a brand-new year, with endless opportunities to be and do better than years past. Often, we consider what goals we would like to set for ourselves personally rather than professionally. Why not set goals for both? Here are a few New Year’s resolutions that will help set you and your team up for a prosperous 2020. Re-evaluate your HR Tools What’s one function of your job you wish could be automated? Chances are, there is software out there that can manage those tedious tasks that seem to consume all your time. Research different options available to you. If it doesn’t seem like there is a software capable of managing that function, consider outsourcing it. If you already have HR software in place, go to market and make sure that it is still the best option for you and fits into…


Avoiding and Correcting Common Mistakes on the I-9

Posted On: November 19, 2019 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

Let’s talk about I-9s. You probably filled them out for each employee, filed them away and never thought about them again, right? This can be problematic as there are several common mistakes made on the I-9 form. An audit can be a very costly experience if your forms aren’t all in order. Let’s review some of the most common (honest) mistakes that are made on the I-9 form. Section 1. Employee Information and Attestation Section 1 of the I-9 must be completed by the employee on the first day of employment. In this section, employees often don’t realize they need to check off the Preparer and/or Translator Certification box. If the employee did not use a preparer or translator, the box below should be left blank. Section 2: Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification This section must be completed by the employer within three days of the employee’s first…


Diversity Discussion: Terms to Know

Posted On: October 23, 2019 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

The concept of diversity is often presented to employees only in the negative – employees are told not to discriminate, or not to harass. But diversity is much more than that – when embraced and fostered, it promotes creative, engaged, happy workplaces. Beginning the diversity discussion with your workforce can be difficult, but there are several important terms to know that can be excellent ways to open a dialogue with your managers and other employees. This is not an all-encompassing list of terms, but it is a good place to start. Once you understand these concepts, it will put you in a better place to begin to have these conversations within your workplace.   Diversity Diversity is synonymous with variety, but in this context, it is much more than that. Diversity is the acceptance and understanding that we are all unique individuals coming from different backgrounds. It means respecting people…


9 Employee Handbook Essentials

Posted On: September 23, 2019 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

There are so many things that are essential to the employee handbook that it can be tough to know where to even start. We’ve got you covered. Below are 9 key components that every good employee handbook should include. 1. Introductory Statement This statement introduces the handbook, describes the purpose of it, and includes the At-Will Disclaimer and General Disclaimer. The At-Will Disclaimer should describe what it means to be an at-will employee. The General Disclaimer should address the intentions of the handbook, the ability of the company to interpret it at its own discretion and the handbook’s compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws. It should also state that it is not a contractual document. 2. Equal Employment Opportunity Policy (EEOP) Federally, this means different things for different types of employers, but most employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee, a job applicant, a former employee…


Do’s and Don’ts When Creating an Employee Handbook

Posted On: August 27, 2019 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

The employee handbook is an important communication resource for your employees that also limits your company's legal liability. It can be tough to decide what does and does not belong in the employee handbook, but these tips can help you along the way.   Read the full article, here.


Cyber Security: The Need for Both IT and HR

Posted On: August 1, 2019 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

Businesses face a multitude of risks throughout their daily operations. One of the most complicated risks that organizations confront is cybersecurity risk. Cybersecurity is defined as the protection of internet-connected systems, including hardware, software and cyberattacks. When businesses hold sensitive data on the cloud or shared servers, you must address the potential risks that arise from storing information. Cyber security risk is difficult to address because a cyberattack can come in many forms. Hackers have become more creative in how they breach data systems, but there are vital steps HR and organizations can take to protect themselves, such as:   Implement Email Screening Software: Companies can proactively protect against these forms of cyber-attacks by implementing software that “screens” messages before they are delivered. The best defense against phishing scams is preventing the messages from reaching employees. Screening software is always improving but it’s use does not guarantee that a fraudulent…


Four Tips for Managing Five Generations in One Workplace

Posted On: July 18, 2019 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

As organizations become more age diverse, business leaders find themselves managing a multigenerational workforce. Five generations in the workplace can mean more opportunity for success or more challenges, depending on how an organization deals with the generational differences. Each generation has grown up in very specific times in history and their outlook, beliefs and perspectives on what “work” means to them have been molded by the socioeconomic, political and cultural atmospheres in which they grew up. The five generations include: Traditionalists/Silents: born before 1927 and 1946 (2% of the workforce) Baby Boomers: born between 1946 and 1964 (25% of the workforce) Generation X: born between 1965 and 1980 (33% of the workforce) Millennials/Generation Y: born between 1981 and 1995 (35% of the workforce) Generation Z: born 1996 to 2012 (5% of the workforce) Each of the generations have different leadership, communication, and career development styles. Understanding what motivates them will…



HR Person of the Year Awards Dinner

Posted On: June 18, 2019 | Categorized as: Company News, HR Consulting

Last week, Innovative attended the 19th Annual Delaware Valley HR Person of the Year Awards Dinner as a proud Silver Sponsor. Our very own Ryan Kastner was nominated as HR Consultant of the Year! A lovely time was had by all. It was truly a successful event, raising $9,290 to benefit Liberty USO. A big congratulations to all of the 2019 winners, especially our friend and client, Sue Learn! 2019 HR Junior Rising Star of the Year Bobby Lundquist - Guru Technologies   2019 HR Senior Rising Star of the Year Jillian R. Rosenthal, SHRM-CP - EwingCole 2019 HR Consultant of the Year - Small Company Betty Jean (BJ) Anderson, SHRM-SCP - Humareso LLC 2019 HR Consultant of the Year - Large Company Julie Kinkopf, Esq. - Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires Newby, LLP 2019 HR Person of the Year - Small Company Jamie Lynn Rivero, MSHRD, PHR, SHRM-CP - Fox Run Brands 2019 HR Person…


Gen Z is Coming. Is Your Workplace Ready?

Posted On: January 31, 2019 | Categorized as: HR Consulting

While it may feel like businesses are still reeling from adapting to the working millennial, the next generation is already knocking on the HR door. The Society for Human Resource Management went straight to a 16-year old source to see what is on the workplace horizon. Here are a few trends and some potential takeaways for employers. Gen Z is competitive, raised on more pervasive youth sports and regularly reminded just how hard it is to get into elite colleges. These go-getters are used to immediate feedback. HR departments will be wise to consider how to offer quality, actionable feedback to these employees. On the one hand, rigorous coaching and parent investment mean Gen Z can take tips on how to improve and even handle tough criticism, something millennials are seen to struggle with. Even better, the competitive nature of Gen Z will make them want to work to succeed. To…


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