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COVID-19 Update October 7, 2020

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards warned that Hurricane Delta was expected to make landfall as a Category 3 storm on Friday night or Saturday morning, and the entire state in its possible path. So much of the Gulf Coast is still recovering from the other major hurricanes this year, and we pray for all of those having to endure this incredibly active season.

The White House’s ever-shifting economic relief agenda lurched in a new direction Wednesday as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tried to make a deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to rescue the airline industry, just one day after President Trump announced he was halting the months-long negotiations for a broader stimulus bill until after the election. The travel industry last week announced layoffs, and the labor market has weakened while the coronavirus pandemic remains a factor across much of the country. It seems to be still unclear whether this type of stand-alone bill will be approved before another comprehensive stimulus bill.

Employers may need to change their documentation and intermittent leave policies following the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) recent revisions to Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) regulations that provide a narrower definition of “health-care provider.” Additionally, together with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the DOL is expected to issue long-expected reforms for H1-B visas that raise the bar for entry into our country for qualifying foreign workers. The interim final rules, including new requirements for wage levels, will be shared before the end of this week.

For anyone that must send in 1095 forms as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the IRS has extended the deadline next year to March 2nd from the normal January 31. They will not grant an additional 30-day extension beyond this deadline for distributing forms and encouraged employers to send the forms to employees as soon as possible.

Here at Delta, we are patiently awaiting the final paperwork to introduce what’s called a “Master Health Insurance Plan” for our clients. For years, we have been trying to offer this benefit that almost every other state in the country has allowed for PEOs. Basically, what this means is that we will be able to pool all of our PEO clients into a single, lower-cost plan with multiple options within the plan to fit individual business needs. Larger companies have the advantage of economies of scale to reduce costs, so with this Master Health Insurance Plan, Delta will be able to access this discount. More to come next week upon official approval from the state, so don’t forget to register for our next COVID-19 webinar on Thursday 10/15 at 3pm CST.

Lastly, SHRM has published a guide for how to use salutations in a professional manner, with helpful advice from best-selling author and career coach Martin Yate. The opening and closing of your communications set the tone for what you have to say, who you are, and your grasp of business etiquette, so it’s great for both employers and employees to be on the same page.

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