COVID-19 Update August 17, 2020

  • News

Happy Monday! Hope your week is off to a great start.

There’s still nothing new from Congress for pandemic or stimulus legislation; however, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi will summon the House back in session to vote on USPS funding as early as Saturday, August 22nd.

New Orleans Citybusiness published an interesting article about the possibility of raising business taxes to replenish the unemployment fund for the state of Louisiana. Surprisingly, for a state that heavily relies on the hospitality industry, Louisiana was able to continue to pay out unemployment claims longer than other states during the instability and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s unemployment fund is on track to be depleted in the next month or so, and the Louisiana Workforce Commission has begun the process of borrowing from the federal government to be able to continue the payments for the unemployed community. Business owners should prepare for insurance costs and taxes to continue to rise over the next year, especially the SUTA payroll tax. Our own liability insurance package was renewed last month with substantial increases in costs.

As the coronavirus crisis continues to impact the workplace and the economy, employers haven’t abandoned their salary increase budgets for 2020. However, for the first time in twelve years, the rate of salary increase has declined to 2.9% down from the 3.3% expected at the start of the year. This is obviously a result of apprehension due to the pandemic. Moreover, safety programs—such as drug-free workplace initiatives—have become more complicated to administer. SHRM has rounded up some tips for employers struggling to maintain their existing drug-testing programs. Plus, new guidance information has surfaced on the effectiveness of certain types of face masks for stopping the spread of COVID-19. For instance, the CDC discourages the use of clear plastic face shields as a substitute for masks.

Here is the link to register for this week’s webinar, where we will walk through the recent executive orders issued by Trump and cover your most pressing FAQs, from hurricane season to the start of the school year. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. As always, the team at Delta is here to provide the necessary guidance for updating your company’s pandemic policy.

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