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Dear HR – How to Handle an Employee’s Positive COVID Test

As restrictions continue to be lifted and “COVID fatigue” accelerates, it is important for employers to continue to manage the challenges presented by the pandemic. Here is some insight on current quarantine guidelines that may help you navigate the ongoing pandemic.

For those who may have been exposed – if they have not been vaccinated or have not had COVID-19 within the past three months and were in “close contact” with the employee, they’ll need to get tested and wait until a negative test result is confirmed before returning to their work location. If the test result is positive, they’ll…


5 Tips to Navigate Employee Benefits in the Post-Pandemic Environment

As employee benefits advisors, we have always been tasked with providing employee-focused solutions as well as cost-containment strategies that help our clients’ bottom lines. Like most things, that mission was hugely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. We were in uncharted waters and Univest clients needed our help and advice more than ever. We heard, “What now?” almost every day.

It appears the height of COVID is behind us and there may even be a light at the end of the tunnel as the vaccine continues to be administered. As we enter the post-pandemic environment, what can you do to wisely…


Dear HR – Immunity Based Inquiries for Job Applicants

Employers may be tempted to ask job applicants about COVID-19, and whether or not the applicant has contracted the virus and since recovered. This line of inquiry may be triggered by a belief that a candidate who has developed antibody-based immunity would be unlikely to be infected a second time. Seems reasonable, even responsible, right?

Well, anyone familiar with the employment law arena is likely aware that although federal agency-based rulemaking may have the best interest of our citizens at heart, it can leave employers scratching their heads, confused about intent, and concerned about compliance.

At the heart of immunity-based inquiries…


5 Tips for Creating a Business Insurance Strategy

Saying that these are unprecedented times is an understatement given the disruption to business owners, employees and customers. As a business owner, you must adapt or face the consequences for not abiding by the ever-changing guidelines. The CDC, state and/or county government, and OSHA all have a say in how your business needs to protect customers, visitors and employees. The coronavirus pandemic, rightfully so, is a major concern for all businesses.

While COVID-19 complicates the equation, the insurance industry, like any other business, has other factors to consider and challenges to remain profitable. Insurers have recently endured large property claims…


Deadline: Injury and Illness Records Due to OSHA

OSHA’s rule within Part 1904 requires the electronic reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses through their online services. Employers are required to electronically report their calendar year 2020 Form 300A data to OSHA by March 2, 2021.

Reporting requirements are as follows:

  • Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records
  • Establishments with 20-249 employees that are classified in certain industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses.
  • The size of the establishment is based on the maximum number of employees which worked at…

Joe Biden is President-Elect: What’s Next for Employers?

While the outcome of the Georgia Senate race could make much of what follows more impactful for employers, the preferences of President-elect Biden when it comes to the workplace are well-documented. Whether it’s the COVID-19 response, labor and workers’ rights, diversity or healthcare, there’s a lot of potential change in the wind for employers. Again, much of this could be tempered by the makeup of the Senate, however, business owners and HR policy owners should keep what follows on their radar.

Addressing COVID-19
Various sources suggest that addressing the pandemic will be the new Administration’s number one priority. Employers could see…


What You Need to Know About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Believe it or not, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, a staggering 33 million Americans lacked even a single day of paid time off to care for themselves or a sick family member. Most of us are familiar with the term FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) or we’ve heard of it before at some point in our life. When the pandemic hit, our government had to create a whole new kind of leave in addition to FMLA in order to help cover the gap for when individuals get COVID-19 or come in contact with someone who had COVID-19 and need…


Mandating COVID-19 Vaccinations? What Employers Should Consider

The FDA has authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use and rollout has begun. While access to the vaccine is currently limited due to prioritization restrictions and logistical challenges, we can assume that the vaccine will become available to the general public at some point in 2021. How will you address vaccination with your workforce? Have you thought about mandating a COVID-19 vaccination for all employees? Have you wondered if it would be legal to do so? Whether there may be exceptions to consider?

Generally speaking, other than in the several states that permit philosophical objections to receiving vaccines, employers…


Hardening Market Trends for Commercial Insurance

The last thing a business owner or CFO wants to hear is that their commercial insurance rate is increasing at the time of renewal. Over that past 20 years, the insurance markets have been soft, however, due to the current state of affairs and impact of COVID-19, the insurance industry is shifting into a hardening market.

The trend can be seen when reviewing the August results of the IVANS Index™ which tracks premium renewal rates. Here are the changes versus the month prior:

  • Business Owners Policy: 5.00%, up from 4.38%
  • General Liability: 3.61%, up from 3.45%

Building Culture Through Servant Leadership

What is your company’s culture and engagement strategy? The employers who embrace the power of servant leadership and have strategies in place to communicate their culture and promote employee engagement will be in the best position going forward. At Univest, we highly value our culture and truly believe it drives performance. We also realize that culture isn’t something that just happens – it has to be defined and cultivated.

The Univest Way consists of 18 fundamentals that describe the daily principles and practices that make our five core values come to life and truly serves as the foundation of our…

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