How do Employers Stay Compliant: Covid-19 Crisis
(5 min read)
During uncertain times, employers need to have all their boxes checked so they are not penalized even further. This is how employers can stay compliant during the Covid-19 crisis.
Raise awareness to your Workforce
All employers have the basic obligation to provide employees with a safe and healthy workplace. Employers should communicate with workers to underscore that commitment, including with respect to epidemics and disease outbreaks. U.S. employees should be directed to the CDC Coronavirus Website for the most current updates and should be encouraged to consult the following:
- Know the Facts About Coronavirus and Help Stop the Spread of Rumors
- Prevention and Treatment
- Frequently Asked Questions
Avoid Discrimination Claims
Commentators have noted the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 and how it has caused some consumers to avoid certain ethnic restaurants or engage in other exclusionary behaviors based on irrational fear. In the workplace, employers should avoid workplace discrimination or harassment due to cultural biases or racial perceptions that particular workers are more likely to be exposed to or infected with COVID-19. On a parallel front, employers should recognize the potential ADA implications of the virus, assess any accommodation obligations, and monitor whether any circumstances pose a “direct threat” to the workforce that might justify enhanced precautions such as otherwise unlawful disability-related inquiries and/or medical examinations (which could include measuring an employee’s body temperature) or enhanced OSHA precautions. In compliance with the ADA, employers must also ensure that they protect the confidentiality of any medical information they receive from or about individual employees.
Require Employees to engage in preventative Workplace behaviours
The precautions listed in the OSHA Employer Guidelines remain prudent. Employers should, at a minimum, require that employees not come into work sick or, after a known exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19, for at least 14 days. Employers should also explain expectations of proper hand-washing and coughing etiquette and distribute/display CDC Posters and Factsheets (including “Stop the Spread of Germs” poster) (available in English, Spanish and Chinese). Many employers are providing additional hand-washing instructions, hand sanitizer stations, work-space sanitizing wipes, and also requesting employees engage in social distancing to the extent possible.
Establish leave administration and accommodations guidelines
For employees in jobs not suitable for telework, employers face more difficult decisions. Employees who have a medical condition that places them at heightened health risk could potentially be entitled to job-protected leave (under ADA, FMLA or state law). Employers should also determine whether to provide job protection to employees who are not sick but who seek leave to self-quarantine after exposure to the virus or to avoid infection. Even younger, healthy employees may have legitimate interests in taking heightened safeguards against contracting COVID-19 so as not to jeopardize the health and lives of household members—even if those concerns do not qualify for ADA protection. Try to gather this data from employees that have existing records if you have not done so already. If employees are unsure about their health use a resource like this.
Where an employee is required to self-quarantine but has no remaining paid leave available, difficult questions arise as to pay policies, retention of exempt status, and employee morale. Forcing employees to choose between taking measures to protect their colleagues or loss of pay or of accrued leave could lead employees to withhold information from employers. Employers should proceed carefully before requiring an employee to take leave if the employee is not sick, has not recently traveled to or from areas of known high outbreak (“Level 3” and “Level 2” locations per CDC designation), or has not been exposed to a known case. That an employee has recently returned from a U.S. destination that has reported a handful of COVID-19 cases does not appear at this point sufficient reason to prohibit an employee from performing work, unless other symptoms are present or if the employer is prepared to place the employee on paid administrative leave.
Employers should also be mindful that they may only require employees to use statutory paid sick leave if the reason for the absence is covered by the relevant statute (typically, the employee’s own illness or the employee’s request to care for a sick family member).
SWARMHR & COMPLIANCE
SWARMHR is at the cutting edge when it comes to HR compliance. SWARMHR customers may reach out to us for templates, advice, or strategies concerning COVID-19 or anything compliance related. Please reach out to Ramesh Thumu or Justin Jassal to coordinate any involvement regarding these concerns. We hope that all employers can remain compliant during the COVID-19 crisis.
Top Technology trends to learn in the year 2020
The year 2020 is promising year for Technology and innovations around the world. In this article we discuss the Top Technology trends to learn in the year 2020
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is within the first place of the Top Technology trends in the year 2020. Nowadays, computers have brilliant skills to think, examine, and study with none human intervention.
In this current technological world, numerous contributions of AI are often seen, for instance , Google Assistant and Siri.
Artificial Intelligence is used to schedule trains, forecast maintenance and production costs, evaluate business threats and hazards, and recover energy productivity. AI is deemed to be mounting fame and demand has protected the highest place in 2020.
IoT (Internet of Things)
On learning IoT, you’ll easily get the talents on data analytics, device knowledge, cloud computing, automation, embedded systems and lots of more.
Some of the IoT wearable devices which may be seen within the market in today’s trend are Fitbit Smart Watch, Sleep Tracker, Smart Bracelet, and Activity Tracker. Few experts have mentioned that there are very fewer people trained within the trending technology IoT and hence, the necessity for IoT specialists in today’s market is high. It is extensively used in Automobiles sector, Health and Retail businesses.
AI features a subset called Machine Learning. With the assistance of Machine Learning, you’ll program the computers to learn and do something that they’re not programmed to perform such things.
Networks, and Deep Learning. of these domains are very specific to a career offering various opportunities to grow in Machine Learning technology. The trending technology
Machine Learning is quickly deployed in many industries and hence producing a huge demand for experts in 2020.
DevOps may be a viewpoint that mixes processes with development and various tools to enable cooperative change.
DevOps growth has already made momentous progress among numerous industries within the past few years, and this is often getting to continue in 2020 extensively. The transformation to DevOps needs an entire application re-architecture or be able to adopt the technology replacement.
DevOps is predicted to succeed in to subsequent level with server-less architecture. On successful implementation of server-less architecture, you’ll easily reduce the prices, guarantee robust workflow and save time.
Angular is fastest growing Front End Framework developed by Google, used in developing Single Page Applications (SPA’s) for both Web and Mobile platforms. It is used to develop high performance applications, In 2020, on completing the Angular study, you’ll be allowed to create extremely sensitive, stunning, high-performance UIs in an intentional manner.
Instead of writing instructions on the method of manipulating the DOM, you’ll simply define the finishing state, add the specified business logic and now you’re done. There would be some minor changes and enhancements done to the Angular in 2020 in comparison to the 2019 versions.
Video Streaming apps, Travel apps, content websites are getting excellent demand within the future and that’s where Angular works out. 0.5 % of internet sites are using the technology Angular and approximately .93% market share are often seen.
Blockchain technology may be a technology to remain in and one among the Top Technology trends to learn in the year 2020. It is fundamentally a digital record utilized to record transactions but protected due to its encoded and regionalized nature.
To explain in simple words, blockchain are often defined as data that you simply are going to be ready to only add, but impossible to vary or deduct . you’ll not be ready to modify the previous blocks and that’s how your data is secured through this excellent technology.
In 2020, Blockchain would assist you in sharing the records safely, upgrading the availability chain management, fraud prevalent, and streamline accounting.
What’s New in Form I9: 2020 I-9 Compliance
(3 min read)
In case you forgot, Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers are responsible for completing and maintaining Form I-9 for each individual they hire. This includes citizens and non-citizens. But you already knew this. What’s new in form I-9? Learn how to stay I-9 compliant in 2020.
What are the new changes?
As per the USCIS, the changes are as follows:
Revised the Country of Issuance field in Section 1 and the Issuing Authority field (when selecting a foreign passport) in Section 2 to add Eswatini and Macedonia, North per those countries’ recent name changes. (Note: This change is only visible when completing the fillable Form I-9 on a computer.)
- Clarified who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer
- Updated USCIS website addresses
- Provided clarifications on acceptable documents for Form I-9
- Updated the process for requesting paper Forms I-9
- Updated the DHS Privacy Notice
Clarification on who can act as an authorized representative.
- Employers may designate anyone to be an authorized representative to complete Section 2, but the employer is still liable for any violations committed by the designated person. At the City of Aurora, a SWARMHR customer, Michael Pegues (CIO) explains the difficulties completing I-9 forms for remotely hired workers. The USCIS needed more specific instructions which clarify who may serve as an authorized representative when completing the form.
Clarifications pertaining to acceptable documents.
- Writing N/A in the identity document columns is no longer necessary. When entering document information in the List A column (or alternatively in the List B and C columns), you will not need to enter “N/A” in the columns which are not being used. “The requirement to enter N/A in certain portions of the form could be burdensome and unclear,” Fay said. “Now for example, if you have an employee present a U.S. passport which is recorded in the List A column, you do not need to write N/A in all of the fields in the List B and C columns.”
SWARMHR Keeps You 100% compliant.
Now that you are prepared with the changes on the new I-9 form, download our new templates today! Our customers receive hundreds of constantly updated templates in immigration and HR so that they can stay 100% compliant. We want to make sure that all of our partners thrive and practice strong business ethics. If you’d like to receive these templates, or find more about SWARMHR click here.
What is an LCA? (Labor Condition Application)
(3 min read)
The Labor Condition Application (LCA) is a form employers must file with the United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (ETA). Employers apply on the behalf of employees applying for a nonimmigrant H-1B, H-1B1 (Singapore and Chile) or E-3 (Australia) work visa.
Employers must submit Form ETA 9035/9035E to apply. If approved, the LCA is valid for up to three years of employment (two years for E-3).
What are an Employer’s Requirements for an LCA?
The main purpose of an LCA is for employers to attest to the employment details of H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 applicants. Furthermore, The Department of Labor requires employers to maintain documentation that considers that following four labor conditions:
Wages and benefits.
Employers must provide nonimmigrant workers the same (or better) wages and benefits that are provided to other company employees doing similar work. Additionally, they must provide nonimmigrant workers the prevailing wages and benefits for similar jobs in their geographic area.
Nonimmigrant employment must not negatively affect the working conditions of employees doing similar work. The working conditions for nonimmigrant employees must also be similar to those of native U.S. employees.
There must not be “a strike, lockout or work stoppage” at the employment location when the LCA is signed and submitted. If a labor dispute arises after the LCA is submitted, employers have three days to notify the ETA. Therefore, the LCA cannot be used to obtain a work visa until the ETA confirms the labor dispute is over.
LCAs are a matter of public record, and employers must notify any employee bargaining representatives of every application submitted. If there is no representative, the notification must be clearly posted for 10 days in two locations at the workplace. Copies of the applications must be provided to each nonimmigrant employee as well.
In addition to attesting to these labor conditions, employers will also have to declare the job titles, the wage rate, the length and location of each nonimmigrant employee. Also, they will have to provide the total number of nonimmigrant employees.
After online submission, the Department of Labor reviews the Labor Condition Application within seven working days. If there are errors, employers may correct and resubmit the form. If approved, nonimmigrant employees can move on to the next steps of their work visa process. For more on the process, and on how to obtain an H-1B/H-1B1/E-3 work visa, visit this Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration guide. Employers submit Form ETA 9035/9035E to apply.
What Are the Requirements of H-1B-dependent Employers and Employers that Willfully Violate the Attestations?
Here’s what the Department of Labor considers an H-1B-dependent business:
|What is an H-1B-dependent business?|
|Number of Full Time Equivalent Employees||Number of H-1B Nonimmigrant Employees|
|1 to 25||8 or more|
|26 to 50||13 or more|
|51 or more||15 percent or more of the workforce (U.S. and H-1B workers)|
Additional attestations and supporting documentation are required for H-1B-dependent employers and companies that the ETA has charged with “willful misrepresentation” on an LCA within the past five years.
Employers cannot displace a similar U.S. employee 90 days before or after filing for a nonimmigrant work visa.
Employers must be able to prove they’ve done their best to ensure that their nonimmigrant employees at the same worksite will not displace a similar U.S. employee 90 days before or after filing for a nonimmigrant work visa (e.g., staffing agency, contractor).
Recruitment and hiring.
Employers must first make the effort to meet industry standards to recruit similarly or better qualified U.S. worker before filing an LCA. Additionally, they must also offer the job to a U.S. worker first as well.
However, H-1B-dependent employers can exempt themselves from these extra attestations if all nonimmigrant employees have master’s degrees or will receive wages at a rate equal to at least $60,000 per year.
What are Public Access Files?
Public Access Files
With the compliance mandates around public access files (PAF), they continue to be a point of worry for recruiters and staffing agencies. Recognizing this, SWARMHR released a feature that not only automates this for you, but also relieves you of the constant run to be compliant.
What are Public Access Files?
As we all know, public access files are a consolidated list of the below documents of a consultant:
- LCA Cover Page
- Labor Condition Application Wage Rate Statement Benefit Summary
- Notification Documents for Posting of the LCA & Job Posting List of “exempt” H-1B employee
- Actual Wage Rate Memorandum
- Copy of Prevailing Wage Determination
Companies filing H1Bs (extensions, amendments, new jobs etc) , are mandated to have Labor Condition Application (LCA), as well as public access files. These LCAs are filed with the Department of Labor. As per US labor laws, companies filing for LCAs are mandated to have a PFA for the LCA within 24 hours of filing.
SWARM HR’s Public Access Files
SWARMHR enables instant PAF creation for you, taking away the worry of compliance and procedure.
It all starts with a checklist of necessary documents ensuring no mistakes. Along with this, there are additional options to upload any desired documents. There is also an option to register and store multiple signatures of required approving authorities. The automation and standardization of fields within a seamless procedure make this process of PAF creation and uploading error-proof.
Benefits you Reap:
You save 100% of the time spent in creating a Public Access File – the system automatically does it for you.
Automate creation and hosting of a PAF with a single-click.
The system auto-generates the defined public access file, thus ensuring you are always compliant.
Eliminate the need of an FTE with a robust system that guarantees error-free results.
Maintain all data in a centralized, secure database.
Avoid penalties by making the PAF available within 24 hours of an H1B being filed (A cover letter is automatically hosted on SWARMHR which ensures compliance until the PAF is published).
Integrated with the DOL website allowing users to import LCAs directly from the source.
To learn more about SWARMHR, click here.