Chamber Connection | March 2021
Reopening Resources & Information
A Message From Newsletter Sponsor,
Post University
Recruit Our Students: Find Your Organization’s Next Star Employee
Post University’s Center for Career and Professional Development (CCDP) creates opportunities for employers from around the state, region or country to interact with and recruit our talented and well-qualified students. Our confident and competent students possess the 21st century skills and abilities to add meaning to your organization.

While the campus is remote this semester, CCPD is supporting employer engagement opportunities virtually. We invite you to connect with Post students through virtual recruiting events and by posting job and internship listings with us. Join us on March 30, as we are hosting a Spring 2021 Career Fair. If you are hiring for full-time or part-time positions as well as internships, we invite you to join us at this event. We can connect you with University students for internship and job opportunities, and top matches for your open positions and start a conversation.

Connect with us today to learn how to hire an Eagle! We can connect you to candidates through information sessions, guest speaking opportunities, on-campus interviews, and online job postings. 

Please email Stephanie Beach at careerdev@post.edu to participate in the Career Fair or to learn how we can assist you in meeting your recruiting needs. 
HR Corner: Incentives for COVID-19 Vaccines and Extra Time for FSAs
This HR Corner is Brought to you by Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP. Written by: Attorney Timothy S. Klimpl 

As the economy and public health situation gradually move to a more hopeful phase in Connecticut, employers and HR administrators will benefit from staying on top of current legal developments and trends in employee benefits. In this month’s edition of “HR Corner”, we cover two timely topics in employee benefits: (1) incentives for getting COVID-19 vaccines; and (2) extended time for employees to use balances in their health FSA and dependent care assistance program accounts.

Incentives for COVID-19 Vaccines: How Much Is Too Much?
As the state and national rollout of COVID-19 vaccines continues, some large employers have already stated their intentions to provide employees a few hours of PTO, or modest cash bonuses, to allow and encourage employees to get vaccinated. While certainly well intended, employers and HR departments should be mindful of certain legal traps surrounding these types of incentives.

In particular, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) places strict limits on employers conducting medical examinations, or making disability-related inquiries to employees in connection with a “wellness program”. Wellness programs with incentives that include medical exams or involve questions that are likely to elicit information about disability generally must be voluntary. However, under current law, there is a lack of clarity about how generous an incentive may be in a wellness program before the program is no longer considered “voluntary”. As a result, last month a number of prominent trade groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce requested guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on this very subject in connection with COVID-19 vaccines.

Good News for People Who Like Good News: Extended Time to Use FSA Balances
In 2020, significant balances in employees’ health FSA and dependent care assistance program accounts went unused due to the pandemic. Normally, these tax-favored benefits are subject to the cafeteria plan “use or lose” rules, under which unused balances are generally forfeited by employees at the end of a plan year, with limited exceptions. At the end of last year, Congress passed relief giving employees an additional 12 months to use any unused amounts in their health FSA and dependent care accounts from both the 2020 and 2021 plan years. However, because these extensions are optional to employers, cafeteria plans must be amended to allow them. As additional relief, the legislation gives employers additional time to adopt the required amendment(s). Employers have until the last day of the calendar year that follows the end of the plan year to which an amendment applies, so for calendar year plans, essentially an additional year to adopt the amendment.

The FSA relief also includes: increased flexibility to make mid-year enrollment changes; post-termination reimbursements from health FSAs for the 2020 and 2021 plan years; and special relief relating to when a dependent “ages out” of a dependent care assistance program during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Atty. Klimpl is a Counsel of the law firm Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP. Tim has extensive experience in the area of employee benefits and ERISA. Tim also assists employers and employees with executive compensation matters including equity and incentive compensation, Section 409A compliance, and executive employment and severance agreements. 

This information is for educational purposes only to provide general information and a general understanding of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not establish any attorney-client relationship. 
Welcome New Members:
A warm welcome to our newest members!* We encourage you to connect with them soon and see where your next partnership can be.




*Joined 2/1/2021- 3/11/2021
Upcoming Opportunities
Watertown Oakville Legislative Forum
March 18th @8:30 AM

Engage directly with the elected officials making decisions on the state level on behalf of Watertown and Oakville.
CT Paid Leave Webinar: Get Your Questions Answered
March 23rd @ 12:30 PM

Learn all about the CT Paid Leave measures that have gone into effect and ask your questions.
131st Annual Business Meeting
March 31st @ 3:00 Pm

Hear from our keynote speaker from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as we celebrate longstanding members and our 131st year.
Thank You for Your Support
Our sincere thanks go out to the following members who have supported our virtual event efforts over the past month through attendance donations. We could not do what we do without your support. THANK YOU!
Margret Warner
Litchfield Bancorp

Maria Joy
Above Target HR Consulting, LLC

Brian Emerick
Access Rehab Centers

Robert LaBonne Jr.
LaBonne's Markets

Sheila M Powers
L.F. Powers Company, Inc.

Barbara Kalosky,
North East Transportation Co., Inc.

Mariette McCourt
All About You Home Care Services

Justin Golden
Golden Technology Services, Inc.

Jack Traver
Traver IDC

Timothy Carr
Down to Earth, LLC

Gregory Zupkus
Wind Colebrook South, LLC

Sarah Elizabeth Carabetta
Acts 4 Ministry Inc.

Semina DeLaurentis
Seven Angels Theatre


Young Professionals of Waterbury Region
Young Professionals Connect with Maria Sanchez of Sweet Maria's
The Young Professionals of Waterbury Region present their 9th Annual CEO Speaker Series with a twist- and is celebrating Entrepreneurs!  

As we move through COVID-19 we have seen more small business innovation in ten months than we may have seen in ten years. Many dedicated and committed individuals are working towards their dreams of becoming a business owner and setting out on their entrepreneurial path. Join us as we celebrate our 9th series focused on local entrepreneurs.

Our first speaker was Maria Sanchez, Owner/Founder and Baker at Sweet Maria's Bakery. The viewers signing in were able to submit questions directly to Maria after getting some insight on her journey to sweet success as one of the region's best-known sources of great cakes and cookies.


Stay tuned to discover interviews with more local entrepreneurs!

Rebuild CT
The Waterbury Regional Chamber, has signed on to support an advocacy effort launched by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association called the Rebuild CT campaign. It consists of a package of 11 policy proposals that, if enacted, will help create a more positive climate for growing jobs and driving investment in our cities and infrastructure. You can read the 11 policy proposals here.
 
The act of rebuilding our state demands a change in thinking, and a bipartisan approach. We believe these forward-thinking proposals meet those goals and are a good first step in positioning our state for economic recovery.
 
Last month, CBIA mailed a copy of these proposals to every state and local lawmaker or candidate for office, asking them to take the Rebuild CT pledge. CBIA has already received signed pledges from a bipartisan group of over 70 current legislators and legislative candidates, with more coming in each day. Its next statewide digital ad will discuss various aspects of the pledge with the public, and ask viewers to question whether their public officials have signed on. You can view the video here.
 
We want your help! We need to show broad-based support across our state for these policies. We ask you or your business to take the pledge to demonstrate that support. Organizations or individual businesses that sign the pledge will appear on the RebuildCT.com website. Together, we can hold lawmakers accountable and make sure they live up to their pledge in the coming years. We hope you will join us in this effort by supporting the pledge.
Staples Advantage Program
Hiring & Training Programs Available
Do you need help finding qualified workers for your business? Could you use some financial assistance to offset the cost of hiring and training new workers, or training your existing workforce?

The Waterbury Regional Chamber is working with the Northwest Regional Workforce Investments Board to help businesses in Greater Waterbury learn more about the available hiring and training programs and whether they qualify for them. This includes providing information on posting jobs on the states CThires.com website, as well as information about Manufacturing Innovation Fund Incumbent Worker Training, the apprenticeship program, hiring veterans and on-the-job training programs.

For more information, visit http://www.nrwib.org/
PLUS: Need a Job Now?

NeedAJobNow.usNLx.com contains over 400,000 job openings and continues to grow daily. While many employers are downsizing their staff, others are significantly increasing their hiring efforts due to current demands. Through this initiative, DirectEmployers and National Association of State Workforce Agencies offers a way to bridge the gap between job supply and demand by offering an easy way for job seekers to gain access to current open positions and for employers to fill positions quickly and efficiently during these difficult times.
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