April 2021
HR & Safety News, Insights and Updates
Consultstu LLC delivers fractional human resources services to small/mid businesses.
Our monthly newsletter keeps keeps clients and friends up to date on important
law updates, news and trends. 
New Florida Law Gives Businesses and Healthcare Providers Protection from COVID-19 Related Lawsuits
On Monday, March 29, 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law legislation that provides Florida businesses and healthcare providers with substantial protections from COVID-19 related lawsuits. To file a lawsuit, a plaintiff will need to allege and show that the business did not make a good faith effort to substantially comply with public health standards, and there is a short 1 year statute of limitations for claims. Read more.
How to Fix I9s Created for Remote Employees during COVID office closing
Since March 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has given employers flexibility when completing I9 forms for employees that are working remotely because of COVID-19 safety precautions. The physical presence requirements associated with the Form I9 (it is required to physically review the original employee identity and employment authorization documents) were relaxed to accommodate employers that were not physically meeting with new hires due to COVID-19. Read how to fix the I9s created without the physical presence requirement. Blog post.
Claim the Employee Retention Credit for the 1st Half of 2021
The IRS recently explained the changes to the employee retention credit (ERC) for the first two calendar quarters of 2021 in Notice 2021-23, which amplifies Notice 2021-20. The credit was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The changes include:
  • Increase in the maximum credit amount from 50% to 70%;
  • Expansion of the category of employers that may be eligible to claim the credit to include colleges and universities and entities that provide hospital or medical care;
  • Modification of the gross receipts test threshold to 80% and changes in how the decline in gross receipts is calculated;
The maximum ERC available is $7,000 per employee per calendar quarter, for a total of $14,000 for the first two calendar quarters of 2021. If business is down, check to see if your company is eligible. Read more.
EEO-1 Reporting Opens April 26, 2021
The portal for private-sector employers to submit equal employment opportunity (EEO-1) workforce data from 2019 and 2020 will open on April 26, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced March 29, 2021. The agency also announced that the deadline for submitting 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 data is July 19, 2021. Companies with over 100 employees and federal contractors with 50 or more employees must file EEO-1 reports annually.
Employers Offer COVID-19 Vaccine Incentives to Employees
Companies are starting to offer incentives to employees who choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Before you design your incentive plan, there are some important legal issues to think about. The EEOC had originally published some guidance, but it was withdrawn by the Biden Admin.
  • Do not make vaccines mandatory.
  • To avoid coercion, legal experts recommend that the incentive payment not be too high. A $50 or $100 payment should be okay.
  • Let employees read the CDC vaccine guidance and talk to their health care provider, do not give medical advice about their situation.
Some employers are also offering paid time off. Remember, Biden's ARPA (which expanded the voluntary FFCRA sick days) allows for paid time to get a vaccine, and to recover from any illness that happens after a vaccine. Read more.
HR Question: Is it illegal to make a fake COVID-19 vaccination card?
Answer: Yes, according to a recent FBI Special Alert, the unauthorized use of an official government agency’s seal (such as HHS or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) is a crime, and may be punishable under Title 18 United States Code, Section 1017, and other applicable laws.