Employees and Payroll

Who do I contact if I have questions?

 

For the fastest service, please call our main number (801-443-1090) to reach a Client Success Manager. They can answer your questions and connect you to our experts in each department.

 

What is the process for hiring a new employee?

Please have new employees complete the new hire paperwork online on or before their first day of work. Managers log into their own Employee Portal and click on the Onboarding Management in the left side of the screen. The online paperwork will be routed to your Payroll Specialist once it is complete. For more information check out our PDF tutorial.

Where can I access the new hire paperwork?

The link to the new hire paperwork can be located in the Employee Portal on our website. Check out our PDF tutorial here. If you do not have a username and password for the Employee Portal, please contact us at service@helpside.com

What documents will an employee need to complete the new hire paperwork?

Included in the new hire paperwork are an I-9 form and a direct deposit form. To complete the I-9 form, employees will need their I-9 list items. Examples are a passport or a drivers’ license and social security card. Please see the List of Acceptable Documents on the I-9 form for other items that can be used for I-9 verification. To enroll in direct deposit, a voided check is no longer needed. It is suggested however to avoid any errors made by the employee when entering account information.

For questions about completing an employee I-9 form, check out our I-9 Online Toolkit or watch the recording of our on-demand webinar.

When is my payroll due for processing?

Payroll is due before 9:00 am, 48 business hours (two business days) before the expected pay date. If payroll data is provided late, a $50.00 express fee may be charged.

How early do wage, direct deposit, W-4 withholding and other changes need to be made for them to apply to the next payroll?

To guarantee the change will be made before the next payroll, they need to be submitted to Helpside at least three business days before the expected pay date.

How do employees change their W-4 withholding?

Employees can change their W-4 tax withholding in the Employee Portal on our website. The W-4 changed significantly in 2020. Check out our blog for more information.

How do employees change their direct deposit account?

Employees can add or change a direct deposit account online through the Employee Portal. Go to helpside.com and click on Employee and then Employee Portal.

How do employees update addresses and other personal information?

Employees can request an address update online in the Employee Portal.

How do employees view their pay and other employment information?

Employees can access their pay stubs and other employment information online through the Employee Portal.

To register for an account:

  • Employees can go to tools.helpside.com
  • Enter employee information and click “Request Registration Email”
  • Click on link in email.
  • Create a username and password.

Where do I send garnishment paperwork?

If original garnishment paperwork is received please forward the entire original packet, including any compensation, by mail to Helpside at the address below. Helpside is the primary point of contact with the courts and attorney offices and will send copies of the employee’s documents with additional information to the employee’s address.

Helpside
Attn: Garnishments
PO Box 849
Pleasant Grove, UT 84062

In the event that the courts or attorney’s office contacts you or one of your employees directly, you can ask them to contact Helpside at:

Phone: (801) 443-1090
Email:  garnishments@helpside.com
Fax: (801) 841-3554

How and when do I need to communicate with Helpside about an employee termination?

Laws vary state to state, but the best practice is to follow this timeline and communicate as follows:

How to Communicate:
Use the Separation Notice in the Employee Portal, send an email, or call your Payroll Specialist with the termination details.

When to Communicate:

  • Involuntary termination (termination of employment that is management-initiated of dismissal, including layoffs of over 30-days): We recommend that you notify your Payroll Specialist before 9:00 am one to two business days prior to the termination. This will allow time for Helpside to process the check and have it available for you to hand to the employee upon dismissal. If payroll data is provided late, a $50.00 express fee may be charged in order to process the payroll within the required state deadlines.
  • Voluntary termination (an employee informs you that they are quitting or when an employee is absent from work for three consecutive workdays and fails to contact a supervisor): If the employee provided at least three days’ notice of their resignation, we recommend you notify Helpside before 9:00 am one to two business days prior to their last day of work, so that the check can be prepared and available for the employee on the final day of work. If the employee did not provide notice of their resignation, we recommend that you contact us as soon as possible after the employee’s last day of work and we will process their check within three business days. If payroll data is provided late, a $50.00 express fee may be charged in order to process the payroll within the required timeframe.

What to Communicate:

  • Employee’s first and last name
  • Last 4-digits of employee’s social security number
  • Last date work
  • Termination effective date
  • Reason for separation

The easiest way to do this is to complete the Separation Notice Form and send it to your Payroll Specialist.

Benefits

When do employees become eligible for benefits?

Employees must complete a waiting period to become eligible for benefits. The most common waiting period is 60 days, meaning new employees are eligible for benefits the first of the month after 60 days of employment. Employees who consistently work 30 hours or more per week are eligible to participate in health, dental, vision, and long-term disability insurance. Employees who consistently work 20 hours or more per week are eligible to participate in life insurance and employees who consistently work 15 hours per week are eligible to participate in the Reliance Standard supplemental insurance options.

When do employees need to enroll in benefits?

New employees or employees who move from part-time to full-time status should complete their enrollment forms as soon as possible after their hire date or full-time status date. Employees who do not enroll at least one month prior to their effective date could end up with back collections. If an employee chooses not to enroll, they will have to wait until open enrollment to enroll in coverage unless they have a qualifying event.

How do employees enroll in benefits?

To enroll in benefits, employees will need to complete the benefits enrollment online. Instructions can be found here. If employees have questions about enrolling in benefits, they should contact us at (801) 443-1090 or at service@helpside.com.

When can employees expect to receive their benefits card?

Employee should receive their benefits cards from EMI Heath about 12-18 business days after submitting their completed enrollment form to Helpside. Employees who have requested a debit card for the flexible spending account can expect to receive their debit card about 10-13 business days after submitting their request to Helpside.

When can employees make changes to the health, dental, and vision benefits?

Helpside conducts an annual open enrollment that allows individuals to add, drop, or change coverage options. Outside of open enrollment, individuals are not able to add, drop, or change coverage. However, individuals can drop coverage, add dependents, or drop dependents outside of open enrollment if they have a qualifying life event. Examples of qualifying events include: gain or loss of other group coverage, birth of a dependent, death of a dependent, adoption of a dependent, and divorce.

How are employee insurance premiums deducted?

Premiums are deducted a month in advance. Monthly premiums are divided over two checks if paid bi-weekly or semi-monthly and four checks if paid weekly. Premiums are deducted on a pre-tax basis (for most benefits).

What is a back premium (adjustment) and when does it occur?

Because premiums are deducted a month in advance, employees can get behind on premium when they first enroll. This occurs when premium is missed due to the employee enrolling within 30 days of their effective date. To avoid a back premium, employees should submit an enrollment form to Helpside at least one month prior to their benefits effective date.

Where can employees access information about their benefits?

Helpside uses multiple vendors to help manage benefits. Each vendor can be contacted at the numbers listed below. Employees can create an account on each vendor’s website to allow them to view their insurance information and claims.

Health Insurance:  EMI Health- (800) 662-5851  www.emihealth.com

FSA Accounts: National Benefit Services- (800) 274-0503  https://mywealthcareonline.com/nbsbenefits/

HSA Accounts: Optum Bank- (866) 234-8913  www.optumbank.com

Reliance Standard Benefits: (800) 351-7500  www.reliancestandard.com/helpside

Employees who have questions regarding 401(k) through Transamerica, or life and disability insurance through Reliance Standard can contact an Account Representative at (801) 443-1090.

When will an employee’s benefits be terminated?

Employees will lose coverage for most benefits the end of the month in which they last met the eligibility requirements. If an employee works a day in a month, they will have coverage until the end of that month. If an employee has a qualifying event, such as obtaining new group coverage through spouse’s employer, their coverage will end the day before the new coverage begins.

Human Resources

How do my former employees apply for unemployment?

Employees should contact the Department of Workforce Services by phone:  Salt Lake – (801) 526-4400, Ogden – (801) 612-0877, Provo – (801) 375-4067, elsewhere and out-of-state – (888) 848-0688.  You can also access DWS on the web www.jobs.utah.gov. All unemployment decisions are made by the Department of Workforce Services.

Where do I send unemployment paperwork I receive?

Unemployment paperwork and questions about unemployment claims can be sent via email to humanresources@helpside.com.

My employee needs to take a medical leave of absence (FMLA), what do I need to do?

Please feel free to contact us via email (humanresources@helpside.com), Live Chat, or call us at 801-443-1090. The forms are also available at helpside.com/human-resources-library/

Our company is required use E-Verify for our new employees because of a contract we are working on now. How much does this cost and how do we get started?

Helpside can run E-Verify on your behalf free of charge. To get started, you will need to complete an intake form and submit it to our HR team via email at humanresources@helpside.com. The E-Verify Intake form can be found at helpside.com/human-resources-library/

I would like to start doing background checks on my employees, how do I get started with that?

There are fees associated with background checks and your new hire will need to fill out an authorization form before we can run the background check. The pricing sheet is available at helpside.com/human-resources-library/. The employee authorization form is online at helpside.com/document-center/. Fees will be charged on your regular payroll invoice.

What are your drug testing hours to avoid extra fees?

Drug tests conducted between 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at our office in Lindon, UT is only $28.00. Drug tests conducted after 11:00 a.m. at our offices are $78.00. All positive tests will incur an additional $50 lab fee. Our drug testing pricing sheet can be found at helpside.com/human-resources-library/

How do I get help with my recruiting needs?

You may send all recruiting inquiries to humanresources@helpside.com.

How may I obtain a salary survey for a position?

Please send salary survey requests to humanresources@helpside.com. There is a request form available online here. Please note there is a $10 fee for each salary survey request. Fees will be charged on your regular payroll invoice.

Where do I send a verification of employment (VOE)?

Please send VOEs directly to our HR team at humanresources@helpside.com. If you are ever contacted by a lender or government agency trying to complete a verification of employment, they can be directed to Helpside (801-443-1090) for the information they need.

You can expect it to be completed by the end of the following business day. If for some reason, your VOE is not returned by the end of the following business day, please contact us again.

Where do I send an Employer's Health Insurance Information Form (116m) that I received from an employee?

Please send these forms to us via email at service@helpside.com

You can expect it to be completed by the end of the following business day.

I sent a request to the HR team, but I haven’t heard back. When can I expect a response?

Our HR team does its best to respond to all client inquiries on the same business day questions are asked or inquiries are made. However, sometimes our HR team members are in the field working with a client onsite, which may prevent them from getting back to you on the same day. If your matter is urgent, please 801-443-1090 and speak to a member of our Client Success Team.

Workers' Compensation and Safety

How do I get a copy of my workers’ compensation certificate?

If you participate in the Helpside workers’ compensation policy, you can request a copy of your workers’ compensation certificate online here.

How do I report a work-related injury?

Clients on the Helpside workers’ compensation plan must complete the Supervisor Incident Report available in both the Employee Document Center and Employer Resource Center on the Helpside website. The form must be completed during the same shift the injury occurred. If you have any questions, you can contact Raul at (801) 443-1338 or rontiveros@helpside.com.

Where should employees with work related injuries go for medical treatment?

All employees who are injured through a work-related event must follow the injury reporting procedure as outlined below:

1. All work-related injuries, no matter how minor, must be reported to the employee’s supervisor during the same shift the injury occurred.

2. Helpside must be notified of all work-related injuries within 24 hours. Helpside can be notified by completion of the Supervisor’s Incident Report (SIR). This form can be completed together by supervisors and employees online.

3. If the work-related injury requires medical treatment, the employee must first call 1-844-581-0831 and speak with nurse triage, to discuss their injury and treatment options. If medical treatment is advised, the employee must use a designated medical provider. Links to designated providers can be found below:

4. If the employee’s injury is life or limb threatening, please seek emergency treatment at the nearest emergency facility or call 911.

5. All employees seeking medical attention are required to complete a post-accident drug screen. Employees with work injuries who do not seek medical attention may also be drug tested at their employer’s discretion.

6. After receiving medical treatment, employees are required to report back to their immediate supervisor. If work restrictions are given by the doctor; the employee is required to contact their immediate supervisor to determine if modified work is available to meet the restriction given by the attending physician.

Contact info for Claims Director:
Email: rontiveros@helpside.com
Call: 801-443-1338
Fax: 801-841-3538

How do I learn more about the safety services you provide?

Our Safety Director can help your company develop an effective safety program. Reach out to us at (801) 443-1339 or jhancey@helpside.com to learn more.

COVID-19

What financial resources are available for small businesses who are facing challenges due to the COVID-19 outbreak?

Many small businesses have expressed their concern over the financial impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are some resources we have found that may offer some assistance:

CARES Act: Economic Stimulus Package
Trump recently signed the CARES Act, which includes important provisions to help small businesses keep employees on payroll during the COVID-19 crisis. These benefits are potentially available to all employers and, in some cases, the federal government will cover many of the costs of continuing to pay your employees for a period of time.

However, these new programs are complicated and there are important choices each company will need to make. As outlined in more detail here, there are three new ways that employers can access funding for payroll expenses. Understanding your options is vital to making the best business decision for your company:

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan: The biggest change is a new streamlined SBA loan program designed to provide eligible businesses with cash to meet payroll (including benefits) and other fixed costs (such as rent, interest on mortgages, and utility payments) for up to eight weeks. The maximum loan amount would be 250% of the employer’s average monthly payroll costs, capped at $10 million. The CARES Act expands the previous SBA definitions of small employer in a number of ways to increase the availability of these loans and makes changes in the traditional SBA loan process that should speed-up the process of obtaining a loan. Additionally, after the borrowing business demonstrates that the loan proceeds were actually used to maintain previous payroll or pay those other fixed costs, then the loans (and any interest due) would be eligible for very generous loan forgiveness (and the forgiven amounts would not be taxable).The Treasury Department released the loan application form and a Borrower Fact Sheet  on March 31, 2020, but you are not able to apply until April 3, 2020. You can apply through any existing SBA lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. Business owners can consult with their local bank/ lender as to whether it is participating or visit www.sba.gov for a list of SBA lenders.Please keep in mind, that the Paycheck Protection loans under the CARES Act are different from the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) from the SBA that have been around for years. Most notably in that EIDL loans do not have the Paycheck Protection’s loan forgiveness rules.If you have already applied for or received EIDL loans, you will be able to refinance the EIDL into the PPP for loan forgiveness purposes. However, they you not take out an EIDL and a PPP loan at the same time and for the same purposes.Click here for a guide and checklist from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the new loan program.
  • 50% Employee Retention Tax Credit: Another option allows employers that are uniquely affected by COVID-19 to claim a refundable tax credit against the employer portion of payroll tax equal to 50% of certain wages paid to an employee from March 13, 2020 through the end of the year. Only $10,000 of wages can be taken into account for any employee. This 50% credit would be available to businesses (i) that have had their operations fully or partially suspended by government order due to COVID-19 or (ii) that experienced a 50% decline in gross receipts during a 2020 calendar quarter when compared with the same quarter in 2019.
  • Social Security Tax Deferral: Another provision that is available to employers of all sizes is the ability to defer the payment of the employer portion of Social Security taxes (6.2% of wages) for the remainder of 2020. Fifty percent of those deferred taxes would have to be repaid by the end of 2021, with the remainder due by the end of 2022.

You Can’t Choose All of the Above. Each of these new options provides generous tax subsidies to assist employers, but you have to make decisions about what would be best for your company.

  • If you obtain one of the new SBA loans, you are not eligible for the 50% employee retention tax credit.
  • If you have a new SBA loan forgiven, you cannot take advantage of the Social Security tax deferral.
  • If you claim the 50% employee retention tax credit, you will no longer be eligible for an SBA loan.
  • If you take advantage of the Social Security tax deferral, you will no longer be eligible to have your SBA loan forgiven.

It is critical that you carefully evaluate your eligibility for and the benefits of each of these options, since the amount of assistance provided by the federal government could vary greatly depending on which path you choose.

As with all new legislation surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, information about exactly how to access some of the tax relief is still coming out. We will provide you with additional information as it becomes available, so you can make the best decision for your company.

Utah SBA Loans
In partnership with Utah’s congressional delegation, the state emergency management division and the Utah Governor’s Office, we’re pleased to announce businesses located in all Utah counties are now eligible to apply for low-interest loans through the Small Business Administration.

This loan program will not solve all of today’s economic challenges, but it will be a useful tool for businesses affected by COVID-19. Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

Details of the new SBA loans are as follows:

  • Loan amounts of up to $2 million per entity
  • Repayment terms of up to 30 years
  • 75% interest rate for small businesses, and 2.75% interest rate for nonprofits

The SBA offers a PDF that explains the application process in detail.

You’ll need to select “Economic Injury” and “COVID-19” options. The Utah disaster number is UT00066. The process requires several financial documents and may take over an hour to apply.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or by email.

 

Salt Lake City Emergency Fund
Salt Lake City also has an emergency fund, but you have to be within city limits to qualify: https://www.slc.gov/ed/elploan/

 

Ogden City Emergency Fund
Ogden City’s Emergency Loan Fund is available to help companies immediately affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus). https://www.ogdencity.com/1458/Business-Information-Center

 

Private Loan and Grant Programs

There are a few additional programs we have become aware of that may be helpful as well.

Facebook: $100M in Grants for Small Businesses. Facebook is offering $100 million in grants to support over 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries. Facebook will be accepting applications for grants in the coming weeks. https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grant

Nav: Small Business Grant Contest. Nav is giving grants to small businesses that tell a story of preservation and opportunity in the face of a past or ongoing challenge. Apply by May 30th https://www.nav.com/business-grant-contest/

Kiva: If you’re a small business owner who believes you can benefit from a Kiva loan, or you know one in your community, reach out at kiva.org/borrow and apply for a loan.

Opportunity Fund: Specializes in money lending to small businesses owned by women, immigrants and people of color, is collaborating with investors and nonprofits to put together a coronavirus relief fund that will provide grants and low-interest-rate loans to business owners in need. https://www.opportunityfund.org/assistance-for-small-business-owners-affected-by-covid-19/

Google Ads: Google has pledged to help small businesses, by providing $340 million in credits for Google Ads that the company says can be used throughout 2020 across any of Google’s advertising platforms. According to the company, the goal is “to alleviate some of the cost of staying in touch with their customers.” There’s no sign-up or application process. Instead, credits will automatically be added to active Google Ads accounts.

What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), is new legislation designed to help employees who must miss work due to the COVID-19 outbreak and provide tax breaks to employers for providing paid leave. The law will become effective April 1, 2020 (according to the most recent update from the Department of Labor).

The Department of Labor has provided a notification poster for employers. Please make sure this is posted or provided to employees.

More information about the FFCRA itself, including answers to some common questions, can be found below.

Who is a Covered Employer: The FFCRA has two main leave components: expanded FMLA and emergency paid sick leave.  Both components apply to private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business. Initial details about how to qualify for this type of exemption are available here (see question #58): https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions.

Paid Sick Leave
Generally, the law states that covered employers must provide the follow types of paid leave to all qualified employees:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work or telework because the employee is quarantined (due to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (due to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or childcare provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19

Qualifying Reasons for Paid Sick Leave:
Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for Paid Sick Leave if the employee is unable to work and unable to telework due to a need for leave because the employee:

(1) is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
(2) has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
(3) is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
(4) is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2); or
(5) is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19

Expanded FMLA
A covered employer must provide to employees that it has employed for at least 30 days:

  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of expanded FMLA at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or childcare provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Qualifying Reasons for Expanded FMLA Leave:
As noted above, an employee qualifies for expanded family and medical leave if the employee is unable to work and unable to telework due to a need for leave because the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.

The law does not allow for retroactive pay, so any paid time off and associated tax credits would begin on that date. This paid leave is also separate from any other leave offered by the employer, so you can not require employees to use PTO or other paid time in lieu of this leave. A layoff is not a qualifying event that triggers coverage under the law. Employers should be cautious in laying off workers who may qualify for this type of leave to avoid retaliation or discrimination claims.

The Department of Labor has stated that they will not enforce penalties for not complying with the new law for 30 days after it is enacted, as long as an employer is putting forth a good faith effort to comply. This means that if mistakes are made in trying to figure out exactly how to comply with the new law, employers will be given a chance to fix them without penalties.

Tax Credits for Employers:
The law includes employer tax credits equal to the cost of providing paid leave to employees. Eligible employers are also entitled to an additional tax credit based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period

Here is some more helpful information from the Department of Labor:

How should Helpside clients handle FFCRA leave requests from employees?

Here are some steps Helpside clients can take now if an employee requests leave under the FFCRA:

  • STEP 1: Ask the employee to complete the FFCRA Paid Leave Request form. If an employee is unable to complete the form on their device, an email with the same data and attached documentation can be used in place of the form.
  • STEP 2: Have employee provide all applicable documentation (see leave request form for details).
  • STEP 3: Determine eligibility for paid leave under the FFCRA. Helpside HR is always available via phone or email to assist on making these determinations if you are unsure.
  • STEP 4: Keep a copy of the request and documentation for your records AND send a copy to humanresources@helpside.com.
  • STEP 5: Communicate paid leave for your employee using the corresponding pay code when paying the employee during their FFCRA qualifying leave. Pay codes can be found here.
  • STEP 6: For leave lasting beyond the 80 hours/10 days, contact Helpside HR for guidance.

What should I do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?

Employers are responsible for handling the situation swiftly to protect the health of other employees while preserving the affected employee’s confidentiality. In addition to notifying the company and its customers, employers must also disinfect the office and evaluate next steps.

If you’re in this situation, you may be wondering what you need to do. Here is an overview of how you can respond to finding out an employee has COVID-19.

Responding to the Employee

When an employee notifies you that he or she has tested positive for COVID-19, you should respond calmly and empathetically. In these uncertain times, it can be easy to overreact, but you need to ensure that the infected employee is treated with compassion. Reassure the employee that their identity will remain confidential and be sure to help them coordinate taking leave or paid time off until they’ve recovered.

You will also need to ask the employee some potentially difficult questions, including gathering a list of who employee has been in contact with in the last two weeks. Obtaining this information is essential so that you can directly notify customers and other employees that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Notifying Employees and Customers

Without disclosing the identity of the infected employee, you need to notify their co-workers, customers and the rest of the company.

Directly notify any co-workers or customers who had direct contact with the ill employee in the past two weeks. Because of the sensitive nature of the information, it is probably best to talk to individuals over video chat or phone, since in person communication is not feasible. Be sure to remain calm and let them know that someone they have been in contact with or has been in their physical work area has tested positive for COVID-19. Recommend that they should self-quarantine for the next 14 days and monitor themselves for the symptoms of COVID-19. If feasible, allow eligible employees to work from home during this time. You may get a lot of questions that you simply can’t answer. Leave that to the experts. Recommend that employees contact a health care provider (using telehealth if possible) and refer to the guidance on the CDC website if they have questions. Let individuals know what support the company can offer during this time. Plan to check in with the employee who tested positive and any employees or customers isolating due to close contact regularly to see how they are doing.

Be sure to notify the rest of the company by email or letter that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. Remember to keep the employee’s identity protected and be transparent about your response. The communication should include what steps your company will be taking to protect the health of other employees. If you plan on having employees work from home for the next 14 days or closing the office, this information should be disclosed in the communication.

Disinfecting the Office

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 can remain on hard surfaces for up to 12 hours, creating a potential risk of transmission. Depending on the size of your organization, you may want to consider closing the office for a few days so that it can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. All surfaces that the infected employee may have touched should be disinfected, as well as other high-touch surfaces, which include countertops, cabinets, doorknobs, handles and chairs.

Evaluating Leave Policies

Employers need to evaluate what their next steps will be. For some, this may involve shutting down their office temporarily. For others, this may mean asking employees to work from home until further notice. Each business is unique and should make the best decision for their unique needs. Should your company decide to shut down, you will need to review your leave policies. Consider asking employees to use their sick leave or paid time off if you’re shutting down the office. You should also be aware of provisions included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), should you have employees who need to take leave due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or recommendation to quarantine by a healthcare provider. Employers should contact Helpside, with questions about how the FFCRA might apply in this case.

Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, employers should be prepared to respond to an employee testing positive for the disease. By being prepared, employers can swiftly respond to the employee, notify the rest of their organization, and make plans for moving forward.

How can I communicate with employees about reducing the spread of COVID-19?

Right now, a lot of individuals are scared, and uncertainty causes even more anxiety. It can be helpful to reassure employees and provide them with the information they need to feel safe.

We created some templates that you can modify as needed to communicate with your employees about your expectations during the COVID-19 situation. These are editable Word documents that will automatically download when you click on the links below.

Preventing the Spread of Illness 
Employee Work from Home Guide

The CDC has a number of resources available in both English and Spanish that you can provide or post for employees to help educate them about reducing the spread of COVID-19.

CDC Handouts and Posters

How can I complete Form I-9 for new employees working remotely?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has offered guidance to employers for completing the identification verification section of the Form I-9 with employees now working remotely due to COVID-19.

If a new employee is working remotely. employers must inspect the Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents, within three business days for purposes of completing Section 2. Employers also should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Section 2 Additional Information field once physical inspection takes place after normal operations resume.

Once the documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to the Section 2 additional information field on the Form I-9, or to section 3 as appropriate. These provisions may be implemented by employers for a period of 60 days from the date of this notice OR within 3 business days after the termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first.

Once normal operations resume, all employees who were onboarded using remote verification, must report to their employer within three business days for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Once the documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to the Section 2 additional information field on the Form I-9, or to section 3 as appropriate.

More information can be found here: https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/dhs-announces-flexibility-requirements-related-form-i-9-compliance 

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