As the 2020 legislative season comes to a close, we can certainly say it has been a chaotic time for employers. One bright spot for employers was AB 1731 (Boerner Horvath; D-Encinitas), which the California Chamber of Commerce was glad to support and see signed by Governor Gavin Newsom with an urgency clause, meaning it went into effect immediately on September 28.
Generally speaking, AB 1731 streamlined the application process for California’s underused Work Share Program. For those unfamiliar with the program: The Work Share Program allows employers to save on payroll costs during economic downturns — but still avoid laying off employees — by submitting a plan to the Employment Development Department (EDD) that must meet certain requirements.
Broadly, these plans allow employers to, in exchange for avoiding layoffs, reduce hours and allow workers to retain health coverage (if applicable), and access to unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to supplement their decreased wages. In other words — this allows employers the option of providing partial unemployment insurance payments and various other benefits, while simultaneously reducing hours and cutting costs during an economic downturn. Again, this is a totally optional program — but it allows many employers to find a middle path: Both saving on payroll in tough times, and also retaining employees and allowing them to access critical benefits.
Though California’s Work Share Program dates back to the 1970’s, it has long been underused. AB 1731 should help address that problem. AB 1731 accelerates the approval process (which previously could take months) through a range of measures, including providing for automatic one-year approval of all applications from September 2020 until September 2023.
Also, in order to continue improving the work share program’s appeal to employers, AB 1731 allows the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) to collaborate with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank to implement strategic outreach to employers. Hopefully, these collaborations will lead to more employer input on this program and more employers’ taking advantage of it during times of economic turbulence.
Another benefit of Work Share Programs during economic downturns is that the federal government tends to provide some aid for states’ unemployment payments. This effectively further reduces the cost for employers to utilize work share programs by making any UI payments provided to reduced-time workers essentially free money. We saw this federal aid a decade ago in the Great Recession, and we saw it previously during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though it remains unclear if additional benefits will be provided at the federal level — and we may not know until after the election — the fact remains that many of California’s employers have struggled to care for their workforce while also making necessary cuts to their payroll. And, for employers facing these tough choices, the Work Share Program may be exactly the solution they’ve been looking for.
Here’s hoping for more common-sense legislation like AB 1731 that helps both employers and employees by streamlining helpful programs.
For additional information on Work Share and to determine if it may be right for your business, we would advise you to look to EDD’s website.
Robert Moutrie, Policy Advocate, CalChamber
Read more about Unemployment Insurance Benefits and COVID-19 in the HR Library. Not a member? See how else CalChamber can help you.
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The American Staffing Association today announced the inaugural class of Women in Leadership Scholarship recipients. The Women in Leadership Scholarship program honors rising stars in the staffing and recruiting who show exemplary professional growth potential and a commitment to a career in the industry.
Nearly 70 young women leaders from across the U.S. applied for the two available scholarships. The 2020 honorees are Brenna Barnett, Carlton Staffing director of marketing, and Madelyn Varner, Randstad area director of East Carolina.
The scholarship recipients will receive complimentary registration packages to attend Staffing World® 2020, taking place virtually Oct. 19–22, and THRIVE 2020, a new virtual event that will deliver content designed especially for women who seek to grow their leadership skills and expand their professional reach in the staffing industry, on Nov. 17.
Barnett joined Carlton Staffing in 2015. Her responsibilities include the company’s social media, public relations, branding, company engagement, and digital recruitment strategies. After adopting Barnett’s strategic recruiting plan, the company experienced a 472% increase in Facebook followers and a 49% reduction in recruitment spending.
Varner started with Randstad in 2016. She is responsible for overseeing performance activities—training, mentoring, business development, candidate recruiting, conflict resolution, customer service and retention, and intra-operating company synergies—and P&L for her team of 23 employees.
“ASA is thrilled to announce the first recipients of the Women in Leadership Scholarship awards,” said Sara Luchsinger, CSP, ASA women in leadership interest group chairman and SEEK Careers/Staffing vice president of organizational development. “This scholarship program rewards young leaders with great potential, like Brenna and Madelyn, with the opportunity to attend ASA premier events at no cost to assist in their continued professional development, and also supports the advancement of women leaders in staffing.”
This scholarship program is possible thanks to support from Assurance, founding sponsor of the ASA women in leadership interest group. Additional women in leadership interest group sponsors are Anthem, Bullhorn, ClearEdge Marketing, Mee Derby, and WorkN.
Learn more about Staffing World at staffingworld.net and THRIVE 2020 at americanstaffing.net/thrive.
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How much time is an employee entitled to use under federal COVID-19 law if he needs to stay home to supervise distance learning for his children but previously took time off for his COVID-19 illness?
Recapping the specifics of your situation: One of your employees used his two weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in May when he was infected with COVID-19. He then came to you to say that he needs to stay home and watch over his children who are required to utilize distance learning for their schooling this year. You know that the FFCRA provides time off for this type of leave, but want to know how much time your employee is entitled to use.
Two Forms of Paid Leave
The FFCRA provides two forms of paid leave: EPSL and Expanded Family and Medical Leave (E-FMLA).
- The EPSL gives employees two weeks of paid time off for six reasons. Those reasons include being advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to reasons related to COVID-19 and to stay home to care for children whose school is closed, or for whom child care is unavailable due to COVID-19 reasons.
- The E-FMLA provision of the FFCRA provides up to 12 weeks of time off to care for children whose school is closed, or for whom child care is unavailable due to COVID-19 reasons. Only 10 of the 12 weeks of time off are paid under the E-FMLA. The first two weeks of E-FMLA is unpaid.
However, an employee can choose to use his/her EPSL paid time during the first two unpaid weeks of E-FMLA leave, in which case the employee would be entitled to only a total of 12 weeks of time off under both provisions of the FFCRA.
In your situation, the employee had previously used his two weeks of EPSL; thus, that time is not available for him to use now that he has to stay home to watch his children.
As a result, he is entitled to 12 weeks of time off to care for his children while they cannot go to school, but the first two weeks of this latest leave will be unpaid.
If he has it available, the employee can use accrued paid time off (PTO) or vacation time during the two unpaid weeks of his leave. In total, this employee will receive 14 weeks of time off — the two weeks used in May under the provisions of the EPSL and 12 weeks now under the E-FMLA.
Staff Contact: David Leporiere
Read more about COVID-19: New Federal PSL and Expanded FMLA in the HR Library. Like what you see? See what else CalChamber can do for you.
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Employment and financial worries caused by the Covid-19 pandemic differ among demographic groups, according to a deep analysis into the results of the latest American Staffing Association Workforce Monitor® online survey conducted by The Harris Poll.
People of color are more likely to be concerned about a variety of employment-related issues: Hispanic/Latino and Black/African American individuals are more worried than those classifying themselves as White/Caucasian about finding a job (68%/54%/45%), needing new skills to land a job (62%/56%/44%), transitioning careers or roles (57%/55%/42%), and the possibility of losing a job (58%/50%/40%).
Work-Related Financial Worries
|Finding a job||68%||54%||45%|
|Needing new skills to land a job||62%||56%||44%|
|Needing to transition careers/ roles||57%||55%||42%|
|Losing a job||58%||50%||40%|
These disparities extend to concerns about meeting core financial obligations, with Hispanic/Latino and Black/African American individuals more likely to be concerned than Whites/Caucasians about being able to pay their rent or mortgage (65%/58%44%), student loans (58%/53%/38%), and child care costs (51%/53%/34%).
Core Financial Obligation-Related Worries
|Paying for rent/mortgage||65%||58%||44%|
|Paying for student loans||58%||53%||38%|
|Paying for child care||51%||53%||34%|
People living in urban areas are more likely to have financial concerns than individuals residing in suburban or rural locations. City dwellers are more likely than individuals in the suburbs or the country to be worried about paying their rent or mortgage (58%/45%/45%) and their student loans (55%/38%/39%). In addition, urbanites are more likely to worry about finding a job (58%/51%/47%), needing new skills to land a job (56%/47%/46%), or needing to transition careers or roles (55%/44%/49%).
Urban Suburban Rural
|Paying for rent/mortgage||58%||45%||45%|
|Paying for student loans||55%||38%||39%|
|Finding a new job||58%||51%||47%|
|Needing new skills to land a job||56%||47%||46%|
|Needing to transition careers/ roles||55%||44%||49%|
Those employed in various industry sectors also have differing financial concerns amid the pandemic. In particular, people employed in engineering, IT, and scientific roles are more anxious about paying for child care (67%) and losing their job (62%) than those employed in other industries.
“The potential severity of the negative economic impact of Covid-19 has not been the same for everyone in the U.S. during the pandemic,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “For millions of people, temporary and contract work is a means to address their very real employment and financial concerns. Staffing agencies across the U.S. are hiring now and are ready to help get the nation back to work.”
To learn more about the ASA Workforce Monitor, visit americanstaffing.net/workforcemonitor. You can also follow ASA research on Twitter.
The Harris Poll conducted the survey online within the U.S. on behalf of ASA, June 16–18, 2020, among a total of 2,065 U.S. adults age 18 and older. Results were weighted on age, gender, education, race/ethnicity, household income, marital status, household size, and geographic region where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the U.S. population. In addition, the data were adjusted for differences between the online and offline populations.
About the American Staffing Association
The American Staffing Association is the voice of the U.S. staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry. ASA and its state affiliates advance the interests of the industry across all sectors through advocacy, research, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices. For more information about ASA, visit americanstaffing.net.
About the ASA Workforce Monitor
The ASA Workforce Monitor is a periodic survey commissioned by ASA and conducted online by The Harris Poll among 2,000 or more U.S. adults age 18 and older. The survey series focuses on current workforce trends and issues. For more information about the survey series, visit americanstaffing.net/workforcemonitor.
About The Harris Poll
The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that delivers social intelligence for transformational times. To learn more, please visit theharrispoll.com.
Michelle R. Snyder
Director, Public Relations
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