IRS Issues Guidance on Tax Credits for Coronavirus Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Small and midsize employers may begin using two new refundable payroll tax credits to obtain reimbursement for the costs of providing coronavirus-related leave to their employees, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced on March 20, 2020.
This relief is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act), which was enacted on March 18, 2020. The Act provides funds for employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid leave, either for their employees’ own health needs or to care for their family members. The Act aims to help employers keep workers on their payrolls while ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Highlights of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Paid Leave Requirements

The federal coronavirus relief law requires employers to provide paid sick and family leave for COVID-19-related reasons, including lack of child care.
Employer Tax Credits
Eligible employers may claim two tax credits based on the COVID-19-related paid leave that they provide between April 2 and Dec. 31, 2020.
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M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D:  (925) 295-2506
M:  (925) 330-1151
Email brantw@heffins.com

Commercial Insurance renewal creates an excellent opportunity

When your commercial insurance renewals comes due keep us in mind. Heffernan’s access and service platforms are exceptionally unique.
This creates an excellent opportunity for you to explore multiple coverage, cost and service options in the changing marketplace, especially If you have not shopped outside your current brokerage relationship recently.
Would you be open to updating me on your current placement and interest level in a brief conversation or email exchange?   10 minutes or so should be enough time for us to determine if next steps are mutually beneficial.

Contact me today to learn more about the best possible insurance for your needs.

Best Regards,
M. Brant Watson
Senior VP

Health Care Providers Insurance

Because You Are Different
With health care reform, a booming older population, industry consolidation, cyber risk, and evolving technology, there are a lot of exposures to consider in the health care industry.
Growth. Disruption. Innovation.
Times are changing in health care. Are your insurance and risk management programs keeping up?

M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Email brantw@heffins.com
Office 800-234-6787  Mobile  925-330-1151

Social Inflation: A Concerning – and Costly – Trend

Social inflation generally refers to the rising costs of insurance claims that are a result of societal trends and views toward increased litigation, broader contract interpretations, plaintiff friendly legal decisions, and larger jury awards.
What is causing social inflation?
There are four major factors that are driving social inflation in the United States today. They are litigation funding, the erosion of tort reform, negative public sentiment toward larger businesses and corporations, and desensitization to large jury awards.
There are four major factors that are driving social inflation in the United States today. They are litigation funding, the erosion of tort reform, negative public sentiment toward larger businesses and corporations, and desensitization to large jury awards.
Leverage your insurance partners. This means working with an independent insurance agent to make sure he or she understands your business and associated risks, and assists you in updating your insurance coverages and limits accordingly.

Just Contact me.
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Office 800-234-6787
Mobile  925-330-1151

Careful Hiring Practices: An Essential Step in Reducing the Incidence of Workers’ Compensation Claims

The home health industry needs workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase of 1,208,800 new home health aide and personal care aide positions between 2016 and 2026.  Finding workers to fill those positions may be difficult, leading to worries of a major worker shortage. But despite the need for workers, there’s also a need for smart hiring practices. To keep workers’ compensation claims down, employers must take precautions.

Workers’ Compensation Claims

Home health workers face risks that can lead to injuries, and these injuries can lead to workers’ compensation claims. These risks include:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries, often the result of lifting or maneuvering patients
  • Automobile crashes, which can occur when workers drive from one patient’s home to another
  • Assaults, which can occur if patients or others become violent
  • Other accidents, such as tripping and falling, which can occur because workers are constantly visiting different homes with unique layouts and risks

These risks can be made worse if workers are not physically capable of performing essential duties, such as lifting or maneuvering patients, or if they use poor techniques when doing heavy lifting. Dangerous driving habits and criminal tendencies – including filing fraudulent claims – can also result in expensive workers’ compensation claims.

Although these risks cannot be eliminated entirely, careful hiring practices can reduce them.

Want more information contact me.
Best Regards,
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D: (925) 295-2506
M: (925) 330-1151
Email brantw@heffins.com

Careful Hiring Practices

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Remote Work Policies and Resources for Employers

Whether or not employers want it, remote work might be here to stay. A Prudential survey found that 68% of American workers think remote work will become more common after the pandemic, and about one in five are seriously considering finding a job that allows remote work.

It’s a big transition, and there are some serious issues to consider. The following resources and policy tips can help employers make the most out of the new normal.

If employees are using their own computers and networks for work, those computers and networks need to be secure. Remote work can also leave workers vulnerable to business email compromise schemes and other types of phishing and fraud.

Don’t just assume that employees are being cyber smart. Create cyber checklists and policies make sure they’re being followed.

Employee Workplace Safety

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Risk Management

Welcome, we provide periodic emails witch includes training short(s) The COVID-19 Coronavirus is having a major impact on organizations throughout the world. During this challenging and uncertain time, we are here to support you, now more than ever.

New & Updated Training Courses
The following courses have been updated in the Risk Management Center:
  • Valley Fever Training Short (updated – California construction employees affected by AB 203 must train employees by May 1, 2020)
  • Personal Protective Equipment Awareness (formerly called Personal Protective Equipment Training for Employees)
  • Anti-Harassment for Connecticut Managers (this training meets the 2 hour requirement and complies with SB3)
  • Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Classification (complies with the new 2020 Fair Labor Standards Act)
HR Regulatory Content
We’ve rounded up the latest HR-related state regulatory content (not related to COVID-19) you need to know for April and May. Check the state regulatory updates.
Learn more about the Risk Management Center, a unique web-based software suite of safety and risk management tools designed to empower your organization’s risk prevention efforts. The Risk Management Center is right for any organization that wants to.

You’ll learn:

  • Proactively manage risk exposures
  • Develop effective workplace safety programs
  • Reduce claims, losses, and associated costs
For more information Just Contact me.
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Office 800-234-6787
Mobile  925-330-1151

AB5 Update: California Rideshare Drivers Must Be Classified as Employees

According to a June order from the Public Utilities Commission of the State of California, Uber, Lyft and other Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers are now presumed to be employees in California. This is the latest development in an ongoing battle over the classification of gig workers, and the ramifications may not be limited to the two ridesharing companies or even to the state.

AB5 and Worker Classification

In explaining the justification behind the new order, the Commission described the impact of AB5 on TNCs. AB5 is a new California law that went into effect on January 1, 2020. It says that a worker should be considered an employee, and not an independent contractor, unless three conditions can be met:

A. The worker is free from the direction and control of the hiring entity.

B. The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.

C. The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business that is of the same nature as the work being performed.

Some TNCs claim that they meet the three requirements of the so-called ABC rule. However, on May 5, 2020, a suit was filed against Uber and Lyft over misclassification.

According to the order, Uber and Lyft have gotten a measure that would exclude app-based drivers from AB5 on the November 2020 ballot. Nevertheless, the Commission asserted its right to enforce the current law, which it interprets as classifying TNC drivers as employees.

 

Continue reading “AB5 Update: California Rideshare Drivers Must Be Classified as Employees”

The Reality of Long-Term Care: Why You Should Plan Ahead for Your Parents and Yourself

People talk a lot about the high cost of medical care, but fewer people mention the expenses associated with long-term care. In some cases, this may be because they don’t realize there’s an important difference.

Long-term care involves help with daily tasks of living, such as getting dressed and eating. While long-term care can be made necessary by advanced age or health conditions, it is not limited to medical care, and people are sometimes surprised to learn that it is often not covered by health insurance. Then they may be shocked again when they see how expensive long-term care is.

There is a good chance that you will need long-term care services at some point – for yourself, for your spouse or for your parents – so it is important to plan for the expense.

Many people need – and struggle to pay for – long-term care.

The majority of people who enjoy a long life will need long-term care at some point. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, today’s 65-year-olds have a 69 percent chance of needing long-term care during their remaining years. People who need care typically need it for an average of three years, although women tend to need more care than men.

Care can be received at home, in an adult health care center or at a residential facility. In 2016, average costs in the United States were as follows:

  • $68 a day for an adult day health care center. At this rate, care for five days a week for three years would cost $53,040.
  • $20.50 an hour for a health aide. At this rate, care for 20 hours a week for three years would cost $63,960.
  • $3,628 a month at an assisted living facility. At this rate, care would cost $130,608 for three years.
  • $6,844 a month for a semi-private room in a nursing home. At this rate, care would cost $246,384 for three years.

Caregivers often suffer from burnout.

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Why Business Should Prepare Now for Insurance Market Hardening

You might not realize it, but times have been pretty good for insurance customers. Although there have been some exceptions, for the most part, premiums have been steady or even reducing for years now. This may be about to change.

Why are market conditions changing? Because insurers are experiencing higher than expected losses. According to the 2019 A.M. Best Market Segment Report, the reported combined ratio for the P&C insurance industry has been above 100 – indicating an underwriting loss – since 2016. In 2017, the combined ratio reached 104.

If these losses continue, rate increases will follow. Securing coverage may become more challenging. Essentially, we may be looking at a hard market.

What’s driving higher-than-expected losses?
With property insurance, natural disasters are mostly to blame. The A.M. Best report says that Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria contributed to near-record high U.S. catastrophe losses in 2017, with net catastrophe losses of $53 billion. Then in late 2018, the U.S. was hit with Hurricane Michael as well as the California wildfires, resulting in net catastrophe losses of more than $37 billion.
How can you prepare for a hard market?
Brant Watson
Senior VP
D: 925.295.2506
C: 925.330.1151
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