Hello Everyone – Hope this may be helpful to our members as they try to keep up with the latest regulations on Emergency paid leave, Emergency family and medical leave, unemployment issues and how the new law signed last night by President Trump may affect your business and employees.
FAMILY FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT (FFCRA)
A BRIEF SUMMARY FOR EMPLOYERS
The President signed into law a new act to provide relief for employees which will go into effect on April 2, 2020. All employers with fewer than 500 employees (employers) are affected by the provisions of the FFCRA, although the Secretary of Labor may exclude healthcare providers and emergency responders from the definition of employees and may exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if the required leave would jeopardize the viability of their business. We will need to watch for regulations that will explain how this exemption will work for employers, not yet published.
Employers should be aware that there are two parts of the FFCRA which may require them to provide temporarily until the end of December 2020, coverage for employees under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA).
EFMLA changes who is an employer that must provide coverage from one with 50 employees to any employer with fewer than 500 employees.
1) must have worked for an employer for 30 days before the first day of the leave.
2) may take up to 12 weeks of job protected leave, if an employee is unable to work or work remotely to care for the employee’s child (under 18 years of age) if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the childcare provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency.
3) may receive paid leave (for full time employees equal to two-thirds the employee’s regular rate for the number of regularly scheduled hours or for part time or irregular schedules pay based on the average number of hours the employee worked for six months prior to taking emergency FMLA, paid leave is subject to caps). The first ten days are unpaid and an employee may use accrued paid leave like PTO or vacation to cover those days.
4) except in cases of employers with less than 25 employees, the employee must be returned to the same or equivalent job upon returning to work. For less than 25 employees, the employer may be excluded from job restoration if the employee’s position no longer exists due to an economic downturn or circumstances due to a public health emergency. However, the employer must make reasonable efforts to return the employee to work for up to a year following the leave.
For the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)
An eligible employee may take paid sick leave for the following reasons:
1. subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
2. advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
3. experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis;
4. caring for an individual subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order or advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns (not limited to family members);
5. caring for the employee’s child if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to public health emergency; or
6. experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
Eligible means any employee of an employer with fewer than 500 employees (no prior work duration requirement prior to leave) who meets one of the above reasons, will receive 80 hours of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate (or two thirds of the employee’s regular rate for qualifying reasons 4,5,6). Part-time or employees with an irregular schedule will be paid based on regular rate determined from the average number of hours the employee worked for the 6 months prior to taking paid sick leave. An employee may also request to use this paid sick leave to cover the unpaid 10 days under the EFMLA. There are caps on the paid sick leave allowed.
Paid sick leave does not carry over to the next year and may be in addition to any paid sick leave provided by the employer.
UNEMPLOYMENT – no 7- day waiting period in Texas. Employer must notify employee of the availability of unemployment when they are separated from work. State’s action in accordance with the FCCRA where there is at least a 10% increase in claims over the same quarter last year will allow for payment of an extra 26 weeks of unemployment paid solely by the federal government. Keep in mind if your facility is ordered to close by a government entity, the Department of Labor may allow for chargeback protection. In addition, unemployment due to medical reasons may prevent a chargeback.
TAX CREDITS FOR EMPLOYERS WHO ARE REQUIRED TO PAY EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE AND EMERGENCY PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE
FFCRA provides for a series of refundable tax credits for employers who are required to provide the Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Paid Family and Medical Leave described above. These tax credits are allowed against the employer portion of Social Security taxes. While this limits application of the tax credit, employers will be reimbursed if their costs for qualified sick leave or qualified family leave wages exceed the taxes they would owe.
This is a summary of some of the key provisions for employers under FFCRA. The FFCRA has other provisions such as coverage for testing for insured, self-insured and grandfathered plans. Notice to employees of their rights under this new law is also important. For assistance with information, compliance with notice and any other requirements, please contact Carol Keough at the Keough Law Firm, 713-239- 5617 or email at email@example.com.
*information submitted by: Carol Keough | Keough Law Firm
Each day brings new details about COVID-19, and the amount of information available can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, much of what you read or hear may not be accurate. Misinformation is spreading throughout communities, leaving people with false details about how to protect their families.
How do you know who to trust? Memorial Hermann-affiliated infectious disease specialist Dr. John Butler helps identify the facts and the fiction about COVID-19, based on official information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the
World Health Organization (WHO).
Here are some common beliefs about COVID-19. Are they true or false?
There’s a vaccine for COVID-19, so I have nothing to worry about: FALSE
As of now, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. Researchers are working to
develop a vaccine, but there is nothing currently available. According
to the CDC, the best way to prevent infection is to take simple steps
like washing your hands with soap and water, and avoiding contact with
people who are sick.
Wearing a face mask will protect me from COVID-19: FALSE
If you are not sick, there is no known benefit to wearing a face mask. The
only time that wearing a mask is beneficial is if you are sick with
COVID-19 symptoms, including coughing. The WHO warns that if you wear a
mask, but are not sick or caring for someone who is sick, then you are
wasting that mask.
Older and sicker people are more likely to get COVID-19: TRUE
Elderly people and those with underlying health conditions usually show more
severe symptoms than younger and healthier people. The CDC identifies
these groups of people as being at a higher risk:
Children are immune from getting COVID-19: FALSE
Although children are less likely to have severe symptoms, they are not immune.
Anyone can contract COVID-19. According to the CDC, adults appear to be
at a higher risk than children.
Younger people may only have mild symptoms: TRUE
The CDC says that children with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms.
Hand sanitizer is better than washing your hands with soap and water: FALSE
Both hand sanitizer and hand washing are helpful in preventing the spread of
COVID-19, but the CDC recommends hand washing as the first choice. The
best way to clean your hands is by washing with soap and water for 20
seconds. If soap and water are not available, you can use hand sanitizer
that is at least 60% alcohol. Soap and water are best because they can
reach areas of your hands that hand sanitizer cannot always get to.
Also, hand sanitizer cannot clean visibly dirty hands.
Antibacterial wipes and disinfectants kill COVID-19: TRUE
Standard antibacterial wipes and household disinfectants can stop the spread of
COVID-19. The WHO says that if you think a surface may be infected, you
should clean it with a simple disinfectant to kill the virus.
COVID-19 will get better when the weather gets warmer: UNKNOWN
Other coronaviruses have been less prevalent during warm weather, but we do
not know if COVID-19 will respond the same way. According to the CDC,
other viruses like the common cold and the flu spread more easily during
cold-weather months, but this does not mean it is impossible to become
sick during warmer weather.
My pet can spread COVID-19: PROBABLY FALSE
There is no reason to think pets in the United States are a source of
infection for COVID-19. So far, the CDC has not received any reports of
pets becoming sick with or spreading the virus. However, if you are
diagnosed with COVID-19, you should limit your contact with pets while
you are sick, just like you would limit your contact with people.
The flu shot prevents COVID-19: FALSE
The flu shot is specific for the flu virus, and is not effective against
other viruses, including COVID-19. The WHO confirms that COVID-19 needs
its own vaccine, and researchers are working to develop it.
COVID-19 will eventually become so widespread that everyone will contract the virus: FALSE
Dr. John Butler says that the greater-Houston region is taking containment
measures that have shown to be effective in stopping the spread of
What Should You Do Now?
The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to practice healthy habits. These
suggestions may seem basic, but they are some of the best defenses we
have against the spread of the virus:
With the spread of COVID-19, we find ourselves in a time of global uncertainty. As of now, a good handful of states and cities have even closed bars and restaurants in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus.
We realize that small business owners worried about the future of their establishments, and the servers, bartenders, cooks and retail employees are worried about how they will pay bills for the next few weeks. We encourage large businesses to shop local …printing services, equipment servicing, etc. during this time. While we have no control on the restrictions that have been put in place, here are a few things we can do to continue to support our favorite local business during this time. Visit the Chamber directory to see who you can help!
Each day will bring new details and possible restrictions to your daily routine. We will continue to stay up to date with and follow the guidance of our community leaders as well as the CDC and WHO.
To our Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Membership,
Over the past few weeks it has become clear that we are facing an unprecedented challenge. At this time, we understand there is an influx of information surrounding the COVID-19 virus. We are continuously monitoring the latest news and want to do what we can to help keep our communities and families safe and healthy. We also recognize there is a great deal of uncertainty about what to do and how to best go about our daily lives. We feel that it is best to follow community-wide developments and will be keeping you all updated on future Chamber activities. The Chamber will remain open, monitoring the evolving situation and will adjust accordingly.
March 16 – 20, 2020 All Chamber meetings and activities are postponed. However, the Chamber office will remain open to serve the needs of our community.
The SBA has released an announcement regarding disaster assistance loans. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail) Read more…
|Our members are the heart of this organization and we will remain committed to serving our community throughout this time of uncertainty. If possible, please continue to patronize and support our local business community. Please take care of yourselves and each other.|
Cindy DeWease, IOM President/CEO
You are likely familiar with the old saying, “If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb.” Well I am hoping that the weather we have been experiencing means the winds of change are blowing great spring weather to our area for the chamber’s 31st Annual Spring Fever Golf Classic at Bay Oaks Country Club to be held Monday, March 30, 2020. Teams and sponsorship opportunities are still available.
In March, we are blessed to witness one of Mother Nature’s greatest works with the blooming of Texas wildflowers. Turning our landscape into a masterpiece of colorful artwork. Spring is also the time the chamber hopes to bloom its membership base thru its annual membership drive. I hope you will assist by planting a seed with those in your circle of influence about joining the chamber. During this drive, the chamber will also be announcing a potpourri of new membership packages that will deliver added value for both existing and new members.
March is also the month of one of my favorite holidays, Saint Patrick’s Day which honors the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. Recently, the chamber also recognized some of our local saints with the formulation of ONE (Organization for Nonprofit Engagement) Clear Lake. This group’s first meeting was a huge success and the chamber is looking forward to continuing the support of these important members of our community.
No discussion about the month of March would be complete without bringing up one of the biggest, most exciting and most fun events in all of sports, March Madness. As you cheer on your alma mater or Cinderella team, I encourage you to check out the Chamber blog for news and tips on developing your own professional game plan. You can also receive some great coaching by attending the upcoming Business Development Seminar: Business Credibility to be held on March 3rd and/or signing up for the 2021 Leadership Clear Lake Program.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
2019/2020 Chairman of the Board
AMOCO Federal Credit Union
by Maggie Martin, GHP
Texas and Houston were among the national leaders in month-over-month growth of IT job postings in January.
That’s according to the latest findings from CompTIA, one of the IT industry’s trade associations. It also reported Texas was the second-leading state in total IT job postings last month.
Houston continues to rise as a national leader in technology with about 150,000 tech workers, many of which are outside traditional tech industries. In fact, Houston has the highest share of tech workers at non-tech companies of any top 20 U.S. metro. Nearly two-thirds of Houston’s high-tech workers are employed in industries other than computers and software. Overall, Houston has the 12th largest tech sector in the U.S. with a $28.1 billion impact to the regional economy.
The CompTIA findings are part of the association’s broader report. It said employment in the U.S. technology sector grew by about 16,000 new positions in January, and companies added some 370,000 core information technology workers last month.
“Employers continue to signal the need to expand their base of tech talent to meet short and longer-term business objectives,” said Tim Hebert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA.
CompTIA’s report comes just a day after a different study ranked Houston the sixth-best city for women in tech.
SmartAsset’s annual study examined four factors: gender pay gap, earnings after housing costs, women’s representation in the tech workforce and four-year tech employment growth. Women make up nearly 26% of tech jobs in Houston, and Houston has the eighth-highest average earnings amount for women tech workers at almost $64,500. And while researchers concluded the biggest cities aren’t always better for women in tech, Houston was the only one of the five most-populated cities to make it into the top 15.
We are excited to celebrate HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake and their 50th anniversary as a member of the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. For their 50th we asked them a series of questions so we could get to know them better as a member.
What do you love most about your industry? “I love that we get to help people on a daily basis in the healthcare industry” – Jim Russell, COO
How do you define success? “I define success as self-satisfaction in seeing your work improve patient care outcomes.” – Sherry Camacho, CNO
What is your ‘Tip for Sucess’? “Trust your team – you cannot do it alone.” – Dr. Carl Vartian, CMO
What/Who Inspires you? “Jim McIngvale – Hanna Gelbs, VP of Operations
What is a ‘fun fact’ people don’t know about you? “Auditioned for the ‘Miss Saigon’ show on Broadway.” – Angelo Carambas, ACNO
What is the last book you read? “Love Does, by Bob Goff” – Brad Gerke, Assistant Administrator
What is your favorite local restaurant or boutique? “Perry’s Steakhouse” – John Armour, CFO
HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake, thank you for your dedication to the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. Here’s to 50 more! Happy 50th Anniversary!
#clacctx #chamberofcommerce #happyanniversary #hcahoustonhealthcarecl #buyintobayarea #biba
“Buy into Bay Area has allowed Robinette & Company Caterers to grow and prosper as the Bay Area has continued to grow. Shop Local! Support Local!”
Health: Without it, nothing else matters!
Maintaining your health is required for all other achievement and progress in your life. You will not have the capabilities to use your time and attention for anything else if you are not healthy. Think back to the last time you were sick. Did you achieve great things at work? Did you set out on the adventure of a lifetime? Were you planning a big get together with friends and family laughing and playing? No, you were working on getting healthy and healed so you could return to your life as you knew it. Everything in life is put on hold when you are sick, so it is crucial to keep health at the top of your list of priorities.
Healthy Business Habit Example: Be 100% Where You AreWhen you decide something is important enough to deserve your time and attention make sure you are completely focused on that 1 thing to ensure you are as efficient and effective as possible.
Healthy Body and Mind Habit Example: Slow Down and Breathe Deeply and Slowly has been proven to lower blood pressure and stress response in the body. It is so effective that the FDA actually recognizes it as a treatment for both High Blood Pressure and Stress Management. It’s is part of our natural instincts to breathe so, why not sit still occasionally and provide the most effective and optimal environment for improving this natural relaxation process.
STAY ACTIVE, STAY HEALTHY AND STAY HAPPY!!
Jake Trione Certified Master Fitness Trainer & Functional Aging Specialist, Co-Owner, TriFitness Gym
“LyondellBasell and our Clear Lake Area employees Buy into Bay Area because it helps drive local growth and continued success of our community and we all benefit from the quality of life that comes from a strong and vibrant business climate.” – Ben Hoff