Emergency Coronavirus Leave, Sick Pay and Your Small Business

To all our clients, friends, and partners, I wanted to share a quick update to be sure you are aware of the most recent business and HR-related changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on small businesses.

The U.S. Treasury, IRS, and U.S. Department of Labor have announced that small and midsized employers (those with less than 500 employees) can begin taking advantage of new refundable payroll tax credits. These credits were designed to reimburse employers for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and signed by President Trump on 3/18/20. If you know about this new provision, you are most likely feeling concerned with how to follow and administer the leave in addition to what it may mean for small businesses and employees.

If you are unaware or unsure how this impacts you, here is a quick overview of what was signed last week:

The Emergency FMLA & Emergency Sick pay goes into effect on 4/2/20 and sunsets on 12/31/2020. These new provisions apply to almost all businesses with less than 500 employees. Even the smallest of companies are subject to the paid leave provisions and job protection. As you can imagine, small companies that are not typically required to provide paid leave or job-protected leave (like FMLA) are unclear about administering and moving forward with these new regulations.

Given the current business slow down and financial burden, this new paid sick leave creates an overwhelming concern. In response, the IRS & DOL will immediately be offering paid leave credits, dollar for dollar, for companies that are impacted by having to pay the emergency sick leave.

These are essential regulations for our economy and the well-being of our employees and the overall U.S. workforce. Still, it creates many questions: how to administer this leave, who is eligible, how to track, and ultimately how to be reimbursed? This law is still getting defined, and in the days to come, we are supposed to have clear and straightforward guidelines to follow. You can find the full announcement here: Treasury, IRS, and Labor Announcement on FFCRA Implementation.

Meanwhile, there are some things you can and should do to prepare:

  • If you have more than two employees, you’ll need to be able to track your employee’s leave as it relates to the pandemic, so ensure you have a system in place now to do this. Most payroll or HRIS Solutions can do this for you, but a spreadsheet will work too. For the reimbursement, you’ll most likely need to track the time that an employee is unable to work due to the following reasons:
    • They are under quarantine
    • They are experiencing symptoms or a diagnosis of COVID-19
    • They are caring for someone in quarantine, with symptoms or a diagnosis of COVID-19
    • They are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to the pandemic
  • Add a line to your P&L called COVID-19 and begin tracking all of the additional expenses you have incurred through this pandemic here.

Additionally, as you know, this is a tough time for everyone. No one is unaffected by what is happening globally. As your human resource partner, let’s not forget the human component as we work through this together.

  • Ensure your employees have what they need to work remotely. Providing such resources or services may mean investing in additional equipment for effective remote working and allowing for flexibility relating to childcare needs.
  • Check-in with your employees and make sure managers are doing the same with their teams.
  • Please do what you can to keep morale up during this time. We need leaders now more than ever, be that leader! Use tools to promote social connections (video conferencing, slack, 1:1’s, team meetings, even a virtual happy hour. You can do it, get those creative juices flowing!
  • Employees are watching to see what you do during this critical time: pay attention to the small things, celebrate the wins and highlight the positives in your employer branding and social shares. Give and be generous in what you do.
  • Remind your employees of any telemedicine benefit that you have available. Often medical carriers have this option included. If you are unsure if you do, check with your broker.
  • Remind your employees of your available Employee Assistance Program. Again this may be a benefit included with your medical carrier. EAP programs can help your employees through any sort of stress or mental health concerns and provide Financial & Legal advice. Most programs allow for estate and will planning services as well. Not to insight fear, but these are questions employees are actively asking and thinking about during this time of uncertainty.

My team and I are here to help you through this time, please let us know if we can help in any other way, and if you’d like to schedule a call to review this or any other concerns, you can schedule a time on my calendar here.

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Attract and Hire, the perfect match!

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and some of you may be back in the office, still be basking in the post-Valentine’s Day glow (aka sugar coma). Now is the perfect time to talk about ways you can show you care to those people you are trying to attract the most: your job candidates!

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Everyone knows a strong foundation is key to any great relationship. The same applies to those we work with and that we are trying to hire! Our recruiting experience reveals that a little extra effort to ensure candidates feel you care about them can go a long way!

The Hiring Framework

Developing an effective Hiring Framework sets the stage for your candidate’s experience and ensures you can maintain, automate and deliver with every hire you make! It’s great to attract talent, but finding the perfect match in your next hire is what really matters!

It sounds like a lot of work, and it certainly can be if you don’t already have an effective process in place. We’ve become experts in defining this process and leveraging the right technology to automate specific steps in our clients’ hiring process.

We love to leverage our ATS partner, JazzHR, which gives even our smallest clients the ability to do all of the above every time they hire. An ATS can help simplify a few key areas, including crafting compelling job postings that syndicate out to multiple sourcing platforms with one click, leveraging templates to create personalized candidate communication, and having a central system for all candidates to be managed. It can also help in setting expectations for everyone involved, from hiring managers to onboarding coordinators!

The hiring processes can be lengthy and time-consuming, so take the time to build relationships with candidates, show you genuinely care, and follow through on promises. Simple strategies like providing clear communication, setting and keeping expectations, and giving the candidates timely feedback can ensure your candidates feel valued and build trust, even if they aren’t the right fit for the role. You never know who may become your next great hire!

“When I tell candidates that I’ll do something, I do it.  If I promise to keep a top candidate in mind for future opportunities, I do.  It builds trust and credibility when I call them back.  It’s important to provide that service to exceed expectations to our candidates, clients, and partners.” Lily Rincon, Talent Consultant.

Love what you see? Contact our team to develop the perfect Hiring Framework, implement JazzHR or get more information about our on-demand, hourly recruiting services today! 

What you need to know about the new 2020 W4

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year: tax season! Keeping up with tax regulation changes is not exactly top of mind until it’s time to prepare taxes. You are also probably not ready to face the fact that there are major changes to this year’s tax code. Don’t worry; there’s no need to panic and call your accountant again.

Here’s what you need to know about changes to your employees’ Form W-4:

In 2017, Congress approved major tax reform in the Tax Cuts and Job Acts. This has been enacted and takes effect in 2020.

New employees hired in 2020 need to fill out the redesigned Form W-4.

While employees hired prior to 2020 are not required to submit a new Form W-4, their withholdings will continue based on a previously provided form. According to the IRS, the new design “replaces complicated worksheets with more straightforward questions that make accurate withholding easier for employees.” Well, that’s promising, but we still would not recommend bringing up tax reform at your next company happy hour.

The new Form W-4 no longer calculates “allowances”

Employees should use the Tax Withholding Estimator to ensure that the right amount of federal income tax gets withheld from their wages. 

For a step-by-step guide on how to fill out the 2020 W-4 form, check out our partner, Gusto’s Employer’s Guide to the 2020 W-4.

Can you fall in love with payroll? The answer is a resounding yes! It’s a practical love, but we are truly in love. We are proud to partner with Gusto to offer full-service payroll, including W-2s, 1099s, federal, state, and local taxes, and more. Gusto automatically calculates, deposits, and files your payroll taxes. That means that you don’t have to add your CPA to your favorite contacts this tax season. Find out more about why 100,000+ businesses choose Gusto.

Hire Ventures does Payroll #withGusto

Is it time to consider switching payroll providers?

Hire Ventures and Gusto have partnered together to simplify your small business payroll needs with big-time features! Gusto makes payroll so easy, you’ll wonder why you didn’t switch sooner! The set-up is complete in a snap, and it integrates seamlessly with all of the most popular accounting software programs.

What is Gusto?

Gusto – an all-in-one platform for payroll, benefits, & compliance.

noun – great enjoyment, energy, and enthusiasm

Ex. Hire Ventures does HR and Recruiting #withGusto

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Payroll Made Easy.

End-of-year is fast approaching, and it’s the perfect time to change payroll providers! There’s no shortage of options out there, but we recommend checking out our partner provider: Gusto, for small businesses.

And with Gusto handling year-end filings and W-2s for free, you’ll save money since many other providers charge for these extras.

We recommend starting the new year #withGusto!

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Start the new tax year off with an easier payroll provider.

Gusto is offering free implementation services to ALL Hire Ventures referrals. Check it out, and if you have any questions we can help you through, let us know! And, if you are ready to get started, sign up here.

The Perfect Pairing: Crafting a Resume

Job description + your resume = the perfect match!

For part two of this blog series, let’s talk about a resume in terms of dating. Now you might ask yourself,

“How in the world is the job hunt related to dating?”

In case you missed part one of this series, we explained how relationships connect to the job hunt by creating a resume, getting social on LinkedIn, and trying to stand out in the crowd. This blog post is narrowing in on resumes.

The perfect pairing of pizza and beer…

pizza and beer

The biggest myth about applying for jobs is that you can use one standard resume for every job you apply to. Too many people believe this works! Consider it this way, when going out to dinner, would you always order the same drink with whatever you ordered for a meal? How does that champagne sound with a pizza? Terrible! Everyone knows the perfect pairing for pizza is your favorite soft drink, or an IPA can be the proper complimentary drink. The same applies to every job category (be it marketing, sales, or HR). When applying to these different job categories, it is best to craft your resume around the specific job duties listed. Because no one wants pizza and champagne, right?

Crafting the Perfect Resume…

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From the employer side, every company and individual hiring manager is different in their resume preferences. Some may prefer a cover letter for applicants to get considered for a position. Some companies might want certifications and references provided right up front, while others may not. Either way, follow the instructions provided on the job posting and follow my top three tips for crafting the best resume:

1. “Speling Mistakkes arethe Worstt”: The #1 thing that bugs me to no end is the misspelling of words on any important document. Before submitting your resume to a potential employer, please do us, recruiters, a favor: PROOFREAD. We can almost guarantee that if a hiring manager sees multiple mistakes on your resume, they will immediately put your application in the “no” pile. If it is truly your dream job, it will be worth reading over and spell-checking before sending it in.

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2. Make it professional: For many job descriptions, a skill requirement is often communication skills, including written communication. If you write your resume as if you were writing a text to a friend, most employers won’t take you seriously. Spend a little extra time making sure that your resume is clear, concise, and on a higher reading level.
3. Certifications and special skills: Just like you would list your degrees, any certification listed on a resume is a plus as long as it’s relevant. If you take the time to earn a certificate, be proud and include it! Also, if you have any sort of special skills, put them down!! Something like that could potentially help you stand out among the other applicants.

Those are the top 3 tips when creating the perfect resume to ensure you find the perfect pairing. While these tips may vary depending on the career choice, these little nuggets of advice can help anyone receive an interview. So, here’s the real question…

How will you make it easy for the hiring manager to select you to move forward?

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Preparing for Election Day 11.6.18

Election Day 2018 is fast approaching, and with everything going on in our political landscape, it will be a record turnout at the polls. These results could impact your business, so it’s a good idea to review your time off to vote policies now to minimize disruption on November 6th.

As an employer, you are not only obligated to ensure your employees can take time off to vote, but your state law may also mandate it. While there is no federal law that outlines time off to vote, over half of the US states have laws that do.

State laws vary from state to state, and some even outline the amount of notice an employee must provide to request time off to vote. Others may even require advance postings of their policy to employees.

While some states have no time-off requirements, Georgia law requires that employees get granted time off to vote if they cannot vote during non-working hours. Georgia employers must provide two hours of leave to vote in “any municipal, county, state, or federal political party primary or election for which such employee is qualified and registered to vote.” Employees in Georgia must provide reasonable notice to their employers, and they must not otherwise have two hours outside of work to attend the polls and vote to be eligible.

I’ve typically seen Georgia employers have a simple yet straightforward policy allowing time off to vote, up to two hours, if employees cannot get to the polls during non-working time. This time off request may be submitted and approved how you would typically process time off requests but shouldn’t get deducted from PTO or other time off policy balances.

Click here if you would like to receive a free Time Off to Vote policy that you can copy and paste into your employee handbook. Please keep in mind this is a Georgia-specific policy, so check your state law and edit as needed. If you are unsure of your state-specific law, I’m happy to help clarify that for you, or you can check with your employment attorney.

Lastly, don’t just communicate this policy to your employees. Encourage and support them to get out there and vote!

It’s Job Fair Season…Help!​

Let the ‘butterflies in the stomach’ feeling commence! It’s job fair season!

For many seniors, the job search is now in full swing. Thousands of campuses across the country will be hosting job or career fairs for their graduating students during the upcoming months.

With so little time, how would I be noticed?

How am I supposed to get noticed by a potential employer?

Let’s compare this to something you know…

For those of you going to your first career fair or applying for your first post-grad job, consider this experience like dating. You might have a conversation about your likes and dislikes during your first conversation, maybe about who you are and what you are looking for. After making a connection, you may even check out their online presence with a bit of internet sleuthing. After a few dates, you find out enough to know if it’s worth a commitment.

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It’s the same for finding that perfect candidate or job, so let’s call this “The Job Dating Process.” The connections go like this:

  • Love at first job fair: When first meeting someone you might eventually date, you will naturally remember a few facts about them. At a job fair, companies remember who you are through the conversation and also your resume! Many employers at the job fair will take notes on your actual resume after your conversation. These companies then identify those true matches and those who don’t hit the mark. So make sure to bring your resume, printed and ready to share! Be sure to include all previous work experience, especially those that pertain to the job.

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  • Social media (LinkedIn) stalking: Potential employers often check your online presence, so make sure your profiles are professional! One of the most important professional platforms is LinkedIn, a site dedicated to business connections and heavily used when recruiting professionals. Make sure you create a LinkedIn profile that mirrors your resume and your in-person presence. Inconsistencies in your in-person and online presence will sabotage your job hunt. Check out our prior post on this topic here.
  • “Pick me. Choose me. Love me.” (based on my qualifications and background): In a world where hundreds of people apply for the same job position, what makes you different among this crowd? If you don’t know your own strengths and weaknesses, your potential employers will also not recognize those qualities. Take some time before submitting applications to think about your strengths, then make sure you show them to your potential employer. Also, don’t be afraid to mention those qualities that you are improving on. A weakness is just a strength that requires some extra TLC.

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Georgia Distracted Driver Law and your employer responsibility!

Cell phones are part of everyday life, both at work and at home. We use our phones for everything, email communication, banking, staying connected via social sites, navigation, texting, and occasionally making calls. The cell phone has come a long way over the last 40+ years, with most almost all cell phones being considered “smartphones” in 2018. With all of this love for technology, it is easy to become dependent on these small devices, and states are now cracking down. Beginning July 1st, Georgia’s new ‘Hands-Free Georgia Act’, commonly referred to as the GA Distracted Driver Law, is in effect. This new law will require drivers to use hands-free technology when using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving.

What is a distracted driver?

A distracted driver is someone who has taken their eyes off the road to send a text, change navigation, talk on the phone, or use it in any way while driving. Using your phone in the car seems trivial. Most use their phone to play music or to navigate to their destination. As harmless as this sounds, using your phone in a motor vehicle can harness some severe consequences. In 2015, 391,000 people got injured in a car accident due to a distracted driver. Yikes! That’s a lot of potential employer liability if the injuries occurred while driving and working.

What this means for Employers in Georgia:

If you are a Georgia employer or have employees in Georgia, you need to ensure your policies and practices enforce Safe Driving. Meaning, you confirm your employee handbook or other driving/safety policy language includes some sort of the following information:

“While driving, employees are not permitted to hold or support, with any part of the body, a cell phone or stand-alone electronic device (like an iPod or GPS). Those employees are further not permitted to write, send or receive any text-based communication while holding a device.

Employees are permitted to speak or text while using hands-free technology, a smartwatch, or an earpiece. They may also safely use a GPS or mapping app (assuming you are not holding this device).”

If your company has any employees who drive to work, drive for work, carry a smartphone with work email, or other work-related apps, this new law concerns your business!

If you need any assistance updating your employee handbook to cover this new law, or if you would like a free Driving Policy download, feel free to download it from The HR shop:

Safe Driving

Stay safe ya’ll!

#SHRM18 – Let’s do this!

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We are super excited to be heading to the Windy City next week for the #SHRM18 Annual Conference and Expo! This conference is THE event to attend for HR professionals to gain powerful and relevant training, professional development, have opportunities to network with others and stay up to date on the latest compliance and cultural trends that affect every organization. With a mix of mega and concurrent sessions, a smart stage for snippets of learning, and a huge expo to demo various products and solutions, this conference has it all!

It’s also an excellent opportunity to hear from an impressive lineup of keynote speakers like Malala Yousafzai and Adam Grant. I’m sure both are great, but I am most excited to hear from Sheryl Sandberg, who will be closing the conference and likely send us off in an inspirational way! I even re-read her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead in anticipation!

Additionally, Hire Ventures will be hosting a meet-up networking event on Sunday evening for other HR Consultants, HR Business Owners, and Independents. Every entrepreneur knows that it can be challenging to build a business. I wanted to have an event that would allow us to connect, collaborate and network with other like-minded HR entrepreneurs!

Initially, I was thinking this would be a handful of people meeting in a hotel bar, and it has since turned into over 60 RSVPs! Luckily, I have a great relationship with a particular recruiting software company who has graciously offered to help with my event. Phew! Either way, I’m really excited about making new connections, strengthening existing relationships, and coming away from #SHRM18, ready to crush the last half of 2018!

 

Social Media and the top 5 ways it can hurt your career

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Messenger, Voxer, Skype, etc.

Social Media is part of our everyday life and is excellent for sharing information and staying connected. These social apps can certainly provide countless benefits, but they can also hurt your job hunt and even hinder your professional advancement.

You are what you post…

The profile you put out there is exactly how you are perceived. In the world of social media, perception is reality.

Think of the last time you posted a status update or tweet. You may have thought that only your friends would be interested in seeing what you post, but did you know that many companies include a social media check-in as part of their reference and background screening practices? At the very least, the hiring manager often makes an effort to “check out” their potential new hire.

That said, if you are on the job hunt or have plans for professional movement in the future, the obvious things are for you to polish up your resume and LinkedIn profile. It may be time for you to think about your social profiles and the image you present to the world. In my personal experience recruiting and hiring over the years, I’ve seen all sorts of crazy things that candidates have posted that can sabotage their job hunt.

These are the top 5 mistakes job seekers make all the time.

1.) Overly political, aggressive, or divisive posts (can’t we all just get along!?)

It’s been a tough few years on the political spectrum, and our country has undoubtedly felt divided at times. We all have our opinions but being very aggressive, accusatory, or overly political- especially in a negative manner- just isn’t good. No one wants to read those posts- Not your friends and certainly not your co-workers or futures boss.

Instead of the aggressive, divisive, and hateful posts, we can each do our part to create a social media presence of equality and inclusion.❤️

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2.) Vulgar or sexually explicit posts

Do I even have to explain? Well, apparently, yes. I know that right now, it’s all about being a badass or a kickass in the business world but seriously, enough already. We get it; you’re amazing, but trust me, leave the profanity and overly explicit posts out of your public profile. If it’s not something you want your grandmother, pastor, child, or future employer to see, don’t put it out there or just make it private.

3.) Partying / drinking / wild and crazy nights out

So, you want to go out and have fun with your friends, tag everyone you know, and see your social status climb! I get it! I enjoy my wine, some nights more than others. 😉 There’s nothing wrong with that now and then, but if you’ve done it all the time, especially throughout the work week or even alcohol during the workday while referencing calling out, you may not have a job left to play hooky from!

4.) Complaining about your boss, co-workers, or employer

We all have rough days and get frustrated, but it’s essential to keep it in perspective. Scrolling through a candidate profile and seeing how much they hate their boss or how they can’t stand the company they work for won’t make anyone want to hire you. I promise.

5.) Non-work related posts while you are at work

You’ve joined a side hustle and want to earn that passive income by sharing online, then sharing again, then again and again. All during the 9-5 when you are technically working for another employer.

Or, you open Facebook for a quick check and get sucked into that funny cat or food prep videos, and you just want to share, and share, and share again.

Or, you’re obsessed with that new .io game and can’t stop playing. Little do you know that your score is repeatedly getting posted as a status update with each game. Oops!

This all just looks bad. Moderation is key. While at work, focus on your work. Also, just so you know, posting and working your side hustle during the paid time from your current employer, or working that side hustle on their company-issued equipment, may be considered theft and can be grounds for termination or a breach of any employment agreements.

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Polish up those profiles, stat!

Social Media has become one of the best ways we can share information and connect. We open the door for everyone to see, but no “delete” feature erases a post forever. Many employers will check out your social media profiles to get a better idea of who you are. Make sure those public profiles align with your professional goals!