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What to do if your employee has COVID

employee benefits

With companies beginning to return to work, there are a few procedures that employers need to put in place to keep their employees and customers safe. One thing employers need to put thought into is how they will handle what happens when an employee displays symptoms of COVID-19. Furthermore, when an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, or if employees are exposed to COVID-19 but are not showing symptoms. Here is some guidance on what to do if your employee potentially has COVID-19.

First, what to do if an employee comes to work with COVID-19 symptoms…

According to the CDC, if an employee has symptoms when they arrive to work or become sick when they are at work, they “should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors, and sent home.” Be sure to communicate the protocol. If they develop symptoms outside of work, they should notify leadership and stay home, away from all employees. 

When an employee does need to stay home due to illness, they should follow the CDC-recommended steps to help prevent the spread of the virus. Once they are sent home from work, employees should remain home for at least ten days. 

Next, consider what to do if an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19…

In most cases, as a business owner, you do not need to shut down your facility. But work to close off any areas that the person who might have had COVID-19 had been in for an extended period. When you have the opportunity, follow CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations to disinfect your workspace.

Consider how to determine what employees came into contact with the employee who may have COVID-19. Employers should inform their employees that someone they have come into contact with has Coronavirus. Ensure to maintain confidentiality to remain in compliance with ADA regulations. 

What about employees who have been exposed, but are not showing symptoms?

Employees who have been in close contact with someone infected (someone who has been within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period) but are not showing symptoms should remain home, or in an isolated area, and practice social distancing for 14 days. 

The CDC explains critical infrastructure employees can continue to work as long as they remain symptom-free and more precautions are put in place to protect the community. Be sure to advise these employees to wear a cloth face covering at all times during the 14 days following exposure. 

As we all continue to understand the implications of returning to the physical workspace, be sure to keep your employees safe and informed as you move forward. Take proper precautions to ensure your workforce and your surrounding community remains safe. For more information regarding COVID-19 resources, check out our COVID-19 page.

What to do if your employee has COVID

How Have Your Employee Benefits Changed Since the Start of COVID?

How Have Your Employee Benefits Changed Since the Start of COVID?

Before Coronavirus swept the world with high unemployment rates, a strain on healthcare resources, and economic strife, employers were thinking creatively about how to not only retain their existing employees but also attract the best employees with benefits. While some states have been more affected by the health concerns surrounding COVID-19, almost all have felt the effects of the economic downturn. How have your employee benefits changed since the start of COVID? Once you identify the changes, how can you begin to prepare your insurance plan for post-pandemic employee benefits to attract and retain the best employees?

Despite the large unemployment numbers we’ve seen over the last few months, employers should still consider offering employee benefits that align with their employees’ needs. 

Employers had to act fast as stay-at-home orders went into place rather quickly. Therefore, they had to establish work-from-home policies, provide external education opportunities, provide new leave requirements, and anticipate new policies for return to work phases. All of this combined with the fear of potentially contracting COVID-19 can be overwhelming. 

However your employee benefits have changed since the start of COVID, here are a few ways you can look to the future for your employee’s benefits:

  • Get proactive: As an employer, understand the implications of layoffs, furloughs, and other workplace changes. You also need to understand benefits utilization, headcounts, and changes to employment policies. 
  • Rework your employment policies: What does the return to the physical workspace look like? How can you ensure your employees stay safe when they come back? What happens when an employee tests positive for COVID-19? Think creatively about how to run your business effectively outside of your physical space. 
  • Consider your compliance: Have you experienced changes to your workforce? If you are a large employer (with 50 or more full-time employees), and you do not offer benefits to 95% of full-time or full-time equivalent employees you may be opening yourself up to liability. 
  • Include Telemedicine options: Telemedicine use has seen a drastic increase over the last few months. Be sure telemedicine is offered in your employee’s benefit programs. 

As we all continue to understand what the effects of Coronavirus will be, as an employer it’s best to try to get out in front of it. Ensure both your business and your employees stay safe. Contact us to begin crafting your benefit plans today!

Your Guide to Post Pandemic Employee Benefits

Are You Liable for Shared Responsibility Payments?

are you liable for shared responsibility payments?

With all the recent changes to employment due to the global pandemic, navigating ACA compliance can be challenging. ACA noncompliance may lead to shared responsibility payments. Businesses with 50 or more full-time employees must offer affordable, minimum essential health coverage. 

How can your business avoid tax penalties from the IRS? 

The first step to avoid potential shared responsibility payments is to make sure your business stays compliant with the ACA shared responsibility requirement. While this may seem simple, there are few distinctions to be aware of, including determining full-time employment status and full-time equivalents, and identifying the minimum value requirements. 

If employers do not cover at least 95% of full-time employees and their dependents, the employer will be subject to a shared responsibility payment. 

If a full-time employee receives a premium tax credit because they were not offered coverage, the coverage was not affordable, or the minimum value was not provided, the employer may also be subject to a shared responsibility payment. 

Once you have identified how to stay compliant with the ACA shared responsibility requirements, ensure your reporting is accurate and timely. 

Applicable Large Employers (employers with 50 or more employees) are required to file information returns with the IRS, Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. These forms will inform the IRS of the employers that owe shared responsibility payments.

To mitigate the risk of receiving a letter from the IRS for shared responsibility payments, employers should carefully review and complete the forms above. 

If you do receive a shared responsibility payment letter from the IRS, the employer has 30 days to respond. If you do need more time to gather your information, the IRS may be able to extend the 30 days deadline. Either way be sure to respond or ask for an extension as quickly as possible.

If you are required to pay a shared responsibility payment be sure to consult a lawyer to ensure your reporting is accurate. At SBMA, we want to ensure you remain compliant with all ACA requirements. If you receive a letter from the IRS in 1094/1095 filing that we completed, we will refile your forms, free of charge. 

Contact us today to learn more.

shared responsbility payments