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Time Tracking & Non-Exempt Employees

Q: How do I verify hours worked from home for an hourly non-exempt employee? A: The amount of technology available concerning the tracking of time can be a little overwhelming. How you track work from home for hourly non-exempt employees will depend in large part on the capabilities of your current payroll system. Some payroll systems will have the option of allowing employees to log in on their laptop to track their hours, or through an app on their phone. If a more basic approach is needed, yo...

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How to Handle "Doomsday" Employees

Q: I have a "Doomsday" employee causing stress and frustration; what should I say to them? A: As we have discussed before, fear is easy to come by right now. Everywhere we turn we’re hearing nothing but doom and gloom, so it’s not surprising some employees may be more sensitive to that. The best way to address this type of situation or employee is head-on, and in a private conversation. It’s a good idea to get your human resources representative involved so they can help guide the conversation a...

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What does the OSHA ETS mean for your business?

  What does the OSHA ETS mean for your business? On November 5, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring all private employers with 100 or more employees to implement either requirement that employees be vaccinated against Covid-19 or be subject to weekly testing and wear of a face covering. The ETS does not cover employers already subject to other federal vaccine mandates such as Federal Contractors/Subcontractors...

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The Great Resignation

If you’ve tuned into the news lately, chances are you have probably heard of The Great Resignation of 2021, a coined term referring to the recent overwhelming spike in people leaving their jobs. Across the United States, as businesses are coming back into the office, many people have found themselves contemplating their careers (and expectations of such) after spending months, sometimes over a year at home. A new report cited in the The Business Journals suggests this could be just the beginning...

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Large and small employers encouraged to share feedback on mandate-or-testing rule with OSHA

Employers will have more time to weigh in on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's mandate-or-testing rule for Covid-19 — and even small employers not affected by the rule would be wise to submit their feedback. OSHA said it has extended the comment period by 45 days to Jan. 19. The rule, which comes in the form of an emergency temporary standard or ETS, was unveiled Nov. 4, and is part of the Biden administration's plan to increase national vaccination rates and limit Covid-19 out...

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COVID-19 Vaccine Best Practices At Work

The COVID-19 vaccine is a hot topic in the news right now, both inside and outside of the office. As an employer, there are many factors to consider when deciding if and how to incorporate the vaccine at your business. Before making a decision, we encourage you to read our answers to some frequently asked questions we have received regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.Q: What Are Some Factors To Consider Before Mandating The COVID-19 Vaccine At My Company?A: The first thing to do is figure out the rat...

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Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates and Opposing Orders for Texas Businesses

Texas Governor’s Executive OrderOn October 11, 2021,Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order (EO) GA-40 which states that “no entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination by any individual, including an employee or consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”It is worth noting that EO GA-40 does not prohibit employer vaccine mandates. Rather, ...

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FFCRA Paid Leave And The 2020-2021 School Year

The Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed into effect by President Donald Trump in March of 2020. Generally speaking, the Act requires employers with fewer than 500 employees provide two different options of emergency paid leave, expanding upon the existing Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to allow employees who need it to care for a child whose primary childcare facility or school closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers who fall under the FFCRA qualifications must provi...

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Guidance on Payroll Tax Deferral Implementation

Employers and employees alike have questions regarding the payroll tax deferral recently enacted by President Trump. Below are the answers to the most common questions we've received. How is eligibility for deferral determined? Payroll tax deferral is available to employees who have wages and compensation of less than $4,000 in a given biweekly payroll period during the September 1 to December 31 deferral period, or an equivalent amount for other payroll periods. This translates to anyone making...

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Flu vs. COVID-19: The Differences & Similarities

Flu season is upon us once again. While in previous years it has been common to experience coughing, sneezing and sniffles during this season, this year brings added layers of stress and worry with COVID-19 concerns. How do you know if the symptoms you or an employee are experiencing can be attributed to the flu or COVID-19?While the flu and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses, there are some key differences, as well as similarities between the two. The following outline of flu and COVID-19 ...

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How To Address Continuing COVID-19 Employment Issues & Challenges

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, employers continue to deal with unprecedented employment challenges. More often we are hearing a concern that many employees are requesting socially distant work accommodations based on their own concerns over underlying health conditions, fear or reaction to the experience of friends or family who contracted the virus, or loved ones lost as a result.This creates a paradox we’re not well equipped to handle. How do we qualify a request to work from home or reque...

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Texas Mask Mandate Update: What You Need To Know As An Employer

Governor Abbott recently lifted the mask mandate in Texas, which went into effect on Wednesday, March 10. Many employers have questions about how this affects their businesses and organizations.Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the cancelled mask mandate, with answers that should provide some insight to employers.Is the Texas mask mandate still in place?Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order (GA-34) on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 lifting the mask mandate in Texas and increas...

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The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) Has Been Signed, Now What?

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) was signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021.  As this is new information, there will be additional guidance from federal agencies in the coming weeks on administering parts of the Act.You may be most familiar with additional stimulus payments and the expansion of earned income and child tax credits, however there are additional provisions that businesses should be aware of.  Listed below are key highlights from the ARP Act for businesses. Families ...

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Important Reminders Regarding The American Rescue Plan Act

Last month, we sent out communication regarding initial information on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) after it was signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11.  A couple of key items of the ARP go into effect Thursday, April 1.Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA) UpdatesEffective April 1st, extensions of leave under the FFCRA are optional.Has your organization made a decision to extend or discontinue pay under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and/or Emergency Family and Med...

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Harris County Face Mask Ordinance FAQs

Monday, April 27 marks the first day of the Harris County face mask ordinance. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about the ordinance:   What is the new mandatory face mask mandate? On Wednesday, April 22 Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo officially announced an order requiring face coverings on most county residents who leave the house, in an attempt to stop the spread of the COVID-19. Under the executive order, people ages 10 and older must cover their noses and mouths with a ...

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Apache Services COVID-19 Decontamination Service Testimonial

As we ease into reopening the office, Achilles Group team members have been brainstorming ways to safely make the transition back into office life. When we learned that one of our clients, Apache Services, Inc., offers COVID-19 Decontamination services, our team member Dan Calvert scheduled them to clean the office. The results are impressive and worthy of sharing! Keep reading to learn about Dan’s experience with Apache Services. Dan's Experience with Apache Services  Upon Apache Service’s arri...

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Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act: Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions

The recently created Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA) addresses several concerns expressed by businesses regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). While the PPP loans were met with great enthusiasm, the program's rollout left many concerned about the possibility of being unable to meet the requirements for full loan forgiveness. Below is a summary of the revisions created by the PPPFA to address those concerns. Under the original provisions of the PPP, loan recipients w...

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Important Texas Workforce Commission Updates

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) recently posted some important updates regarding work search requirements for those collecting unemployment. The June 30th announcement states that it will delay the reinstatement of the work search requirement for unemployment benefits in Texas. This requirement, which is federal law, was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the outset, TWC has stated that bringing back work search would be conditions-based.“Due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in...

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Emergency Sick Pay & Documentation: What You Need To Know

The answer to this question is both yes, and no. It’s important to note that there are six reasons you can qualify for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL), part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): The employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medica...

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How To Keep Your Team Engaged While Working Remotely

Engagement is more difficult when you can’t do it face-to-face. We lose a lot of our communication capabilities when we’re not together in person. Ninety-three percent of how we communicate is through our tone and our body language. While working remotely does make it difficult sometimes to engage, there are creative ways to connect with your team members. Just think outside of the box!“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.” -  John Don...

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