COVID-19 Resources for Employers and Workers

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If you were like an ostrich with your head in the sand during the first few weeks of this now worldwide pandemic, you weren’t the only one. Now federal, state, and local authorities are implementing wide-reaching ordinances that are expanding their power and reducing your ability to bring life-giving oxygen (cash) to your business.

Below, you’ll find downloadable resources to assist your business operations during this uncertain time. While we don’t know how long these ‘shelter-in-place’ and ‘social distancing’ practices will be in place, we do know that many hospitals and other major institutions have canceled events all the way up into June and July.

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Table of Contents

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Local News

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Business Operations

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Setup Telecommuting Policies

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IRS & Tax Credits

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FFCRA Payroll Tax Credit

Local News

Bad News:

  • Dallas County is implementing a ‘shelter-in-place’ ordinance only allowing essential business activities, to-go orders at restaurants, and forcing churches to only have online services. Tarrant County and surrounding counties will likely follow suite.
  • 1987 hit, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” by R.E.M. is now #1 on iTunes and many streaming services.

Good News:

  • Greg Abbott & TABC have relaxed laws to allow delivery and to-go orders of alcohol. Restaurant owners are disputing whether it is legal to make gallon-sized margaritas or if the alcohol being delivered has to remain in it’s original manufacture container.

Business Operations

At this time, it is essential to review all of your HR policies and procedures. These resources below can help guide you toward what is best for your organization and employees.

COVID-19 and Your Workplace [Checklist]
Use this checklist to prepare your workplace, if you require essential employees to remaining coming into the office.

Office Closing Letter [Template]
If you need help communicating to your employees that you need to close your doors, use this template to wrap your head around the idea.

Telecommuting

The running joke that I keep hearing is “If your company employs any millennials, ask them how to use video conferencing.” But seriously, for those companies who are have not used video conferencing during the normal course of their business, you might as well embrace it now, because, over the next 4 to 12 weeks, it’s going to be essential for communicating and to both employees and customers.

Video Conferencing Tools

If you have Gsuite for your email, you alread have access to Google Hangouts.

However, there are many other free and premium video conferencing tools that are popular:

  • Zoom, which offers a free plan
  • Zoho Meetings, which is a great tool because it integrates into their CRM and other suite of products
  • Join.Me, offers a free plan
  • Webex, offers a free plan
  • GoToMeeting, offers a free plan

When you’re evaluating a video conferencing tool, keep in mind that you want it to be easy to use for both you, your employees and customers who will be joining in.

Policies and Downloadable Resources

Setting up a work-from-home policy (ie telecommuting, remote work) isn’t that difficult. The difficult part is going to be adjusting to working with kids, pets, and new distractions that lie at home. Be sure you stress the importance for employees to have a separated space that is quiet, not in front of the TV, and has reliable wifi.

Here are some resources that you can use to guide the implementation of your remote-work policy:

Telecommuting Legal Aspects, Measurability, and Conditions

Home-based Checklist

Workplace Flexibility Provisions

IRS & Tax Credits

Hopefully you’ve already seen the news that the IRS has postponed the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15. This relief and others are efforts to provide financial relief to individuals and families who are burdened by this pandemic.

FFCRA Payroll Tax Credit

On Friday, March 20, the U.S. Treasury, IRS, and U.S. Department of Labor announced their plans for making the paid leave provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) less burdensome for small businesses. Key points include:

  • To take immediate advantage of the paid leave credits, businesses can retain and access funds that they would otherwise pay to the IRS in payroll taxes. If those amounts are not sufficient to cover the cost of paid leave, employers can seek an expedited advance from the IRS by submitting a streamlined claim form that will be released next week.
  • The Department of Labor will release “simple and clear” criteria for businesses with fewer than 50 employees to apply for exemptions from the leave provisions related to school and childcare closures; and
  • There will be a 30-day non-enforcement period for businesses making a reasonable effort.

We know that for many of our clients, business slowdowns related to the spread of COVID-19 have made it hard to imagine how they could bear any additional expenses. We encourage anyone with these concerns to read the linked announcement carefully.

The full announcement can be found here: Treasury, IRS, and Labor Announcement on FFCRA Implementation.

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More to come on this above mentioned topic.

Concluding Thoughts

Our thoughts and prayers are diligently with our community, clients, and those who have been affected by this terrible illness. We will continue to update this page with the most relevant information and resources as there are developments.

If you have any questions you’d like to ask us, please catch us on the online chat, or contact us here.

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