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How to Create an Account with Employ Florida

Looking for a new place to post your job openings?  Employ Florida Marketplace is a free workforce resource for employers, as well as a way for job seekers to find a job and post resumes.  Employ Florida is Florida’s official online portal where employers can post job listings, search to find and view qualified employees, evaluate labor market information, and locate business services. Labor market information is also offered as employers can view job market trends, labor market facts, and employment and wage data. 

Here are the directions to create your Employ Florida account:

  1. Go to www.employflorida.com
  2. Click “sign in” and go to “Option 3 – Create a User Account”
  3. Click “Employers and Agents” and agree to the terms and conditions.
  4. Select your “Representative Type” and click next.
  5. Enter Employer Identification including the company FEIN or Social Security number and the UI Employer Account Number (not required). Click continue.
  6. Create a username, password, and develop security questions.
  7. Enter the Employer identification, location information, mailing address, contact information, company information, company profile, special characteristics, and benefits offered. The company profile is what job seekers will see which includes a summary of your major products and services.

Note: If there is already an account for the company and you cannot access it anymore, you can bypass this error by pressing continue and create a new account. This might happen if the company previously had an employee who created an account and left.

If you have any questions or need further assistance setting up your Employ Florida account, please give us a call at (727) 350-0370! We are always happy to help!

Employee not responding to FMLA notices, loses FMLA protection

Good news for employers! A recent Oregon court case demonstrated the importance of following the required FMLA notices to eligible employees and the consequences to an employee that ignored the notices to his detriment. Employees that fail to follow the employer’s usual and customary notice requirements for requesting FMLA leave, will ordinarily not be eligible for the law’s protections. Read why the court granted summary judgment for the employer.

What are the important lessons for Florida employers?

  • Implement absence notification policy.  Employers may require an employee to call or email their supervisor, a third-party administrator or report to the human resources department.  Having a standard notification process assists with administering FMLA.
  • Inform employees about the absence notification policy.  Whether the policy is contained in the Employee Handbook, or provided to employees electronically, maintain written documentation showing that employees received notice of the policy.
  • Require sufficient absence detail from employees.  Employees should not be allowed to submit vague requests without sufficient information to determine if FMLA is implicated.  It should be standard practice to follow up on vague doctor’s notes and leave requests.
  • Ask employee about unusual circumstances.  The FMLA regulations contains a loophole for employees to bypass employer usual notice policies in unusual circumstances.  So, employment lawyers recommend that employers ask employees why they ignored the employer notices and standard procedures.   According to the Employer’s Guide to the FMLA (DOL) whether the employee’s notice of unforeseeable leave is timely will depend upon the facts of the particular case.  No examples are given.

Bottom line. The court made clear that the FMLA does not prohibit employers from disciplining employees, up to and including separation from employment, for non-compliance with notice requirements.  FMLA is not violated if an employee is required to take an additional step to contact a third-party administrator managing FMLA.  In Oregon, the employer prevailed because it had a customary notice policy and the employee did not follow it.  The employee had actual notice of the policy and failed to submit sufficient information (he called off work and submitted 2 doctor’s notes) about his need for FMLA.  Since the employee could not show that he provided proper notice to the employer, he lost his case.

OSHA Posted a New ETS Regarding COVID-19

On June 21, The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an expansive new emergency temporary standard (ETS) for those who provide healthcare services or healthcare support services. Effective immediately, the new standard was created to protect health care service workers from COVID-19.  Some of the major requirements Included in the ETS is developing a COVID-19 plan, patient screening and management, physical barriers, and vaccination rules.  There is an exception to the written COVID-19 plan requirements, if you are a non-hospital ambulatory care setting who screens out all patients (non-employees) who may have COVID-19.

Non-hospital ambulatory care settings include community clinics, vision clinics, dental clinics, and mental health clinics.  Those facilities are required to screen all non-employees prior to entry and not allow people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to enter.   Review this workflow to find out if your workplace is covered by the COVID-19 Healthcare ETS.

Additionally, OSHA issued an updated guidance (June 10, 2021) for employers who are in other industries that are not healthcare related.  According to OSHA, except for healthcare workplaces covered by the ETS and mask requirements for public transportation, most employers no longer need to take steps to protect their workers from COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.

HR Software and Reviews

HR technology is available to help you streamline and automate all HR processes in your organization. Recently we had a small client come to us to find the right HR platform for their growing business and review plenty of options on the market. We were able to dive deep into different HR software that all offered valuable tools to help businesses remove paperwork, simplify HR, and add time into their busy work schedule. We researched and evaluated Paylocity, BambooHR, Rippling, and 15Five and here is what we found.

  • Paylocity

Review: Paylocity was one of our favorites because of how easy it is to use and that it contains the necessary functions such as payroll, time keeping, PTO tracking, and performance management. They offer a user-friendly platform that remained simplistic in what is essential for an all-in-one HR software. Paylocity was responsive to our questions, our client’s needs, and in giving support. It is customizable to your requirements as a company since you can add on certain features like applicant tracking (recruiting), onboarding, and benefit administration as you grow in size. Performance reviews are also customizable for employees and easy to manage with journal entries and full-scale feedback. Overall, this is great all-in-one platform with a good price.

  • BambooHR

Review: BambooHR was also another pick of ours as it is a SaaS (Software as a Service) company that provides a cloud based HR software for small and medium sized businesses. The platform is modern with design, easy to use, and simple to navigate. BambooHR offers an applicant tracking system, employee record keeping, time-off management, benefits tracking, performance management, and a mobile app for employees. One of the downsides of BambooHR is having to add on and pay for a payroll integration with TRAXPayroll. Overall, even with the payroll integration, BambooHR remains affordable.

  • Rippling

Review: Rippling is an HR and IT software that connects with various third-party applications like Slack and Zoom. Rippling includes payroll, benefits, time and attendance, learning management, and talent management. Rippling is unique compared to others because it can also handle IT such as device management and app management if you are interested in that service. Rippling was simple to use as well and looked great in their design when we were assessing it. Rippling offers assistance with transfers from other HR software during a switch. One of the downsides we found about Rippling was that performance management must be integrated, and it was more expensive than the other platforms we researched.  Performance management can be integrated through 15Five.

  • 15Five

Review: 15Five is a human-centered performance management software that can be used on its own or integrated through Rippling, Gusto, and other HR software that does not offer any. 15Five is a modern approach to engaging employees, measuring performance, and tracking goals. The “Give a High Five” tool for employees helps build a community at work and facilitate conversations through a mobile app or on a desktop.  More and more clients are looking to move their performance discussions online to accommodate remote employees and tech savvy employees.

We know it takes time to figure out what your business needs, decide on priorities, and then evaluate which HR platform will work best for you. While exploring the different types of software for our client, we were able to learn about each platform and what they can offer. Each platform has a little different twist that can cater to your organization better, so it is important to research and select which one will work for you currently and in the future. Make sure you assess your organization size, culture, what industry you are in, and the requirements that you want the HR platform to have before deciding.

Contact us today (727) 350-0370 if you have any questions or if you want to know more about an HR software for your business!

Should Employers Mandate or Encourage COVID-19 Vaccines?

Can employers require mandatory COVID-19 vaccines? In the first case of first impression, a judge in Houston, Texas dismissed a lawsuit regarding a hospital worker who refused a mandatory vaccine (June 12, 2021).  Per hospital mandate, to continue employment with Houston Methodist Hospital, managers had to be vaccinated by April 15 and all other workers had to be vaccinated by June 7.  Most employees followed the direction of the hospital, but there were over 100 employees that refused to be vaccinated.  The unvaccinated employees sued the hospital for “unlawfully forcing its employees to be injected” or be fired.  After trial, the judge dismissed the case by stating that Methodist hospital is trying to save lives without spreading the COVID-19 disease. The judge told the unvaccinated employees that they could find work somewhere else.

As we approach July 2021, we are hearing the news, friends, family, and business owners speak about mandatory vaccines and what they should do. Small business owners are planning about how they should approach vaccines in general. Over 50% of Americans having received a COVID-19 vaccine, but there are many others that have decided not to get it, and many others have natural immunities after recovering from COVID-19.  Should employers require or encourage COVID-19 vaccines? Most businesses that are mandating vaccines are health care employers followed by food service and education industries. Construction, administrative, real estate, and transportation are industries with the lowest percent of companies that are mandating vaccines for employees.

If you decide to mandate or encourage vaccines as a small business owner, there is some information to help guide you in this process. Ensure that you do not ask for too much information from the employee. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that you are allowed to ask about vaccination status and require proof such as a vaccine card. However, employers should not ask follow up questions regarding the vaccination status such as why they are or not vaccinated.  Answers to these questions may result in uncovering medical issues that implicate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  All questions should be job related and necessary for business without asking about general medical health. If employees provide vaccination status, make sure that the data remains confidential on the same level as employee medical information.

Employers that want to encourage vaccinations should educate and provide their employees with factual information about the injection. Learning about the vaccination can help reduce misunderstanding and answer any questions regarding whether they should or should not receive the vaccine. Making it easier for the employees to obtain the vaccine, such as providing information about vaccine locations and how to receive one, also boosts the number of vaccinated workers in your business. Other employers have decided to provide incentives to employees who get the vaccine or provide time off to deal with potential symptoms and side effects. Read more information about the vaccine here.

Form I-9 Audit for Publix

ConsultStu is a qualified independent third party that can complete your Publix mandated Immigration Review and Audit, whether it is your first one, or the annual compliance certification.  We have been hired by many Florida companies to complete their Annual Law Certification.  Our last Publix Immigration Review and Audit was performed for a central Florida based company.  The company had recently contracted with Publix and needed the immigration audit performed promptly.  With a quick turnaround, our client thanked us for our “awesome support” and “guidance during the process”.

We reviewed over 55 Form I-9 forms (both paper and electronic version) for employees hired since 1980.  The Company had been using E-Verify for about 3 years.  Some of the I9 forms contained correctable mistakes, and we provided guidance from the M-274, Employer Handbook for Completing the I9 Form.  Common errors include:

  • I9 form was created late (employee completed Section 1 after 1st day of employment)
  • Issuing Authority was incorrect for an out of state drivers’ license
  • Hire date on I9 form was different than hiring date in payroll system
  • Employee start date was missing

According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, corrections to an I9 form should be initialed and dated so it is clear who and when the correction was made.  Once our client made the corrections, the company was able to obtain its certificate of compliance.

When completing an audit, ConsultStu provides you with valuable notes and recommendations regarding your Form I-9s, how to correct any errors, and best practices to improve your knowledge and overall compliance.  This extra service has been greatly appreciated.  Our service reviews your company’s Form I-9s, supporting documents, and E-Verify documentation thoroughly and accurately while staying remote.

Have any questions? Call us today at (727) 350-0370 to discuss or schedule an annual (new or updated) Publix Immigration Review and I-9 Audit.

Flexibility Policy for I-9’s Extended

The ability to inspect Form I-9 documents virtually has been extended through August 31, 2021 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While this policy was implemented in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies who are completely remote or transitioning employees back into the office can still inspect and review Section 2 Form I-9 documents virtually by video link, fax, or email.

It is important to note that virtual review is not mandatory, and employers can still follow the standard Form I-9 guidelines. However, if you continue inspecting I-9 documents remotely, ensure you are following the Form I-9 documentation correctly and maintain a list of all employees who were verified virtually. Remember that the timelines for completing the I-9 form remains the same where Section 1 must be completed by the employee’s start date and Section 2 must be completed within three business days of the start date.

Even though employers are still able to document I-9’s virtually, it is recommended to switch to in person verification as soon as possible to prepare for the termination of this flexibility. When normal operations resume, the employee’s documents who were verified remotely must be reviewed within 3 days of the return to the workplace. Read the Form I-9 extension here.

Has COVID lowered employee morale?

Last year was a brutal year on all of us as we went through a global pandemic and experienced drastic changes to our typical lives. People’s lives changed, how we do work changed, and the way we see the world has changed. Specifically, the workplace has been changing continuously to fit the needs of safely working, so we would not spread the virus, while employees had to become more flexible and accommodating. Working from home has become more common, face covering mandates implemented, and social distancing are all situations we have become familiar with as a society. Now that we are almost halfway through 2021, we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel for COVID as we watch live events return, vaccines become readily available, and COVID cases lowering every day.

With this shift back to normalcy, we need to remember that we are overcoming a very difficult year and unique situation. As employers, we need to ensure our employees are staying committed, engaged, and satisfied in the workplace. Recently, we had a client express that her employee’s morale has been down since COVID began, and it would not be surprising if other companies have experienced the same thing. Have you noticed a morale change in your employees due to COVID?

What is employee morale and why is it important? Employee morale is the satisfaction, mindset, and the overall outlook of employees while they are working for your company.  Employee satisfaction increases their engagement at work, and high morale tends to lower turnover, increase productivity and create a comfortable working environment.

Here are some ideas to shake off COVID fatigue and boost employee moral:

  1. Give Employees a Voice

Make sure that you are listening to your employees with their comments, questions, and concerns. Boosting morale could be from simply letting them have decision making opportunities, like event planning for giving back to the community. Letting the employees take over holiday decorating, non-work fun events, or gathering food for a food drive is a perfect way to engage employees and have fun while doing so.

  1. Employee Recognition

Employees love to be recognized for their hard work and commitment. Treating employees to a surprise lunch, throwing an employee recognition party, or a simple shout out can brighten the mood. One of the main ways to appreciate your workers, that is often forgotten about, is to just say thank you! Saying thank you is a short and straightforward way to show your gratitude for their effort and dedication.

  1. Survey Your Employees

Employee surveys can be a beneficial way of finding out if there is something that is not working in your company. Seeking to measure employee satisfaction can help you figure out if you need to work on boosting morale. It also involves your employees and demonstrates that their voices are being heard.

  1. Be Creative!

Think outside of the box when you are trying to find ways to improve optimism and satisfaction at your workplace. Ideas can include creating custom crossword puzzles for employees, have a day where you allow the employees to dress casually, or create meetings where donuts and coffee are provided, and allowing the employees to speak about their favorite topics. It does not take much to make your employees smile!

Consultstu Welcomes New Team member!

We are excited that Sara Hinton is joining our team at Consultstu as a Human Resources Coordinator starting Monday, May 10. Sara will be graduating from Santa Fe College with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science in Human Resource Management. She will provide human resource services and support to our clients. She can be reached at the main office number (727) 350-0370 and her email is [email protected] Please welcome Sara to the team!

2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Data Collection is Now Open

The Employer Information Report EEO-1 Component 1, or the EEO-1 Component 1 Report, is now open (April 26). The deadline to submit and certify the EEO-1 Component 1 Report is Monday, July 19, 2021. Organizations can file their information through the new EEO-1 Component 1 Online Filing System. The new website is easier to use and contains more information for employers.

Previous filers will receive their company’s annual notification letter by U.S. mail. The letter will include your company ID and passcode, which are required to create your company’s account in the new Online Filing System. All companies will need to create an account in the EEO-1 Component 1 Online Filing System.

Eligible companies are required to first file and certify the 2019 EEO-1 Component 1 Report, then file and certify the 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 Report after the 2019 report is submitted. Companies must file the EEO-1 Component 1 Report for 2019 and 2020 if they were in business and met the filing requirements for that year.

Click here to answer 4 questions to determine if your company needs to file.

What information do you need to file an EEO-1 Report?

  1. Company ID and passcode (provided via U.S. mail for previous filers or at registration for new filers)
  2. Company EIN, NAICS Codes, and DUNS Number
  3. Address and EINs of all establishment locations
  4. Count of all full and part-time employees during the workforce snapshot pay period selected by the employer
  5. Sex and race/ethnicity of all employees
  6. Job categories of all employees

The EEO-1 Component 1 Filer Support Team is available Monday-Friday 9:00AM-8:00PM EST. You can contact the Filer Support Team at [email protected] or toll-free at 855-EEOC-035 (855-336-2035).

Have questions about Human Resources, or think your company might be interested in fractional HR services, give us a call at (727) 350-0370.

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