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The Importance of Respect in the Workplace

The year 2020 has been unlike any other. COVID-19 concerns, coupled with current social, economic, and political climates have led to tense conversations and sometimes disrespectful workplace interactions. Political views and opinions on social justice have been especially divisive. We all deserve to be treated with kindness and respect, and could benefit from more respect and civility in the workplace. Studies have shown that rudeness and disrespect in the workplace can drastically diminish you...

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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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Unemployment Fraud Is On The Rise

Unemployment fraud is a growing issue for many employers in Texas. A form of identity theft, unemployment fraud occurs when an individual knowingly collects unemployment benefits using a social security number or other private information that does not belong to them. If you or your business become the victim of fraudulent unemployment benefits claims, there are several steps you can take to dispute the claim. In order to file an unemployment benefits claim, a social security number is needed. T...

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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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NEWS: New Sexual Harassment Laws Now In Effect & EEO-1 Filing Deadline Extension

New Sexual Harassment Laws Went Into Effect September 1Governor Greg Abbott signed two new bills in August, SB 45 and HB 21, which broaden protections for Texas employees who file sexual harassment claims. Both laws went into effect on Wednesday, September 1. Employers should take heed of the impact these new laws will have on their businesses. The most important highlights include: The timing of the allegation. While previous language stated that “prompt” attention should be taken by an employe...

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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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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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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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How to Deal with Sickness at Work During COVID-19

Q: An employee tells others “Go home so you don’t get everyone sick.” How do I handle this?A: Now that we know more about the symptoms of COVID-19, there are some pretty well-known expectations that have been set. An employer should post that if you’re having symptoms (coughing, feeling sick, running a fever, etc.), then don’t come to work.The best way to handle an employee engaging in this type of behavior is to pull that employee aside and have a conversation with them. Tell the employee that ...

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How to Motivate and Appreciate Your Team During COVID-19

Q: How do I motivate and appreciate my employees during this difficult time? A: The number one employee motivator or incentive businesses think of is money. And honestly, money does have an immediate impact to reward and recognize employees. However, money only motivates people for a short period of time because when you get more money, you spend it! Considering that most businesses don’t have the cash-flow right now to give out bonuses or incentive pay, we can’t get stuck in a rut thinking the ...

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PPP Loans Are No Longer Available. Here Are Some Alternatives to Consider.

The deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan was August 8, 2020. If you missed this deadline but still need financial assistance, there are other programs available including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), as well as number of tax deferral programs created by the CARES Act.Click here for more information on the EIDL programClick here for more information on tax programsHere are some of the basics tha...

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How To Navigate The Coronavirus In Your Business

[caption id="attachment_5767" align="alignright" width="300"] Image courtesy of Texas Department of State Health Services website.The entire world is reacting to the spread of the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus), and as a business owner, it can be difficult to navigate through this issue. There are questions concerning the impact this virus could have on our businesses, our employees and our communities. Knowledge is power, and in this case, knowledge is the best weapon against the spread of the vi...

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