American Staffing Association Staffing Law Conference Overview
This was the second consecutive year of American Staffing Association‘s virtual Staffing Law conference but – based on the COVID-19 progress outlined in this post – hopefully the last fully virtual conference! Like last year, there was an organized landing page on the ASA website which included all the session times & dates as well as an overview of the session topics. A dedicated resource page contained all the presentation information for easy access to review the PowerPoints utilized within each session. The biggest difference in structure from 2020’s Staffing Law conference to 2021 is the attendee & exhibitor interaction between the main sessions. 2020 consisted of exhibitor landing pages to mimic a virtual booth for attendees to visit as is done in a typical in-person conference.
For 2021, there were no exhibitor landing pages for interaction, rather automatic breakout sessions were initiated via Zoom after the main sessions concluded consisting of pre-determined topics with Q&A. The breakout sessions were moderated by sponsors, and Avionté assisted with facilitation of the “Negotiating Client Contracts” Q&A breakout. These breakout sessions were not necessarily associated with the main session topics; however, they did produce strong participation as the groups were pulled together all through attendees logged into Zoom.
2021 Staffing Law Compliance Topics
Here are the highlights of the overarching topics covered in this year’s Staffing Law conference. Along with each topic, we have provided details of how Avionté staffing software can help you manage the regulations.
Workplace Safety: COVID-19 Vaccinations & Return to Work Plans
- Employee Vaccinations – The EEOC says employers can mandate vaccination companywide under the following guidelines: Employees receive vaccination from a third-party & Comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (religious) accommodation requirements. Review the Pros & Cons of a Mandatory Vaccination Policy.
- OSHA Guidance on Returning to Work – The most effective COVID-19 prevention programs engage workers and their representatives in the program’s development and implementation at every step, and include some the following elements:
- Assignment of a workplace COVID-19 coordinator.
- Identification of where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work.
- Identification of a combination of measures that will limit the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
- Consideration of protections for workers at higher risk for severe illness through supportive policies and practices.
- Establishment of a system for communicating effectively with workers and in a language they understand.
- Educate and train workers on your COVID-19 policies and procedures using accessible formats and in a language they understand.
- Performing enhanced cleaning and disinfection after people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 have been in the facility.
- Implementing protections from retaliation and setting up an anonymous process for workers to voice concerns about COVID-19-related hazards.
- Making a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccination series available at no cost to all eligible employees.
- Not distinguishing between workers who are vaccinated and those who are not.
Status of Virtual I-9 Review/Completion Flexibilities
- Policy extended through May 31, 2021. Extensions have been continually granted since May of 2020.
- Remote I-9 – If employees hired on or after April 1, 2021, work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions, they are temporarily exempt from the physical inspection requirements associated with the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) until they undertake non-remote employment on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis, or the extension of the flexibilities related to such requirements is terminated, whichever is earlier.
- Designated Agent – Anyone can physically review the documents. Employers can designate anyone to review the new hire’s documents and complete and sign Page 2 of Form I-9. Employers typically rely on notaries, attorneys, or local workforce agency staff to do this. “Under the circumstances raised by COVID-19, USCIS will consider ‘any person’ even to include a family or household member,” said Diane Butler, an attorney in the Seattle office of Davis Wright. “The employer must take steps to ensure that the person understands the obligation and takes the responsibility seriously.
Utilizing Avionté with Adobe I-9 for Remote Verification – The Avionté AERO & BOLD platforms allow for the remote completion of the Form I-9 utilizing Adobe Sign. Per the new DHS guidelines involving remote verification of Section 2 of the I-9, clients can send the I-9 as a talent task to the employee for section 1 completion from the application, then (via video, fax or email) inspect the section 2 Identity & Work Authorization of the employee.
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
- Provides $1.9 trillion in mandatory funding, program changes, and tax policies aimed at mitigating the continuing effects of the pandemic.
- Extends Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (benefit amount $300 per week) through Sept. 6, 2021 / Extends through Sept. 6, 2021, the 75% subsidy for costs incurred by employers that provide unemployment benefits on a reimbursable basis rather than via tax contributions
- Extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit through Dec. 31, 2021 and expands eligibility for the credit to (1) new startups that were established after Feb. 15, 2020, and (2) companies if their revenue declined by 90% compared to the same calendar quarter of the previous year / Extends tax credits for employer-provided paid sick and family leave established under the FFCRA through Sept. 30, 202
Utilizing Avionté to track COVID-19 Sick Leave Wages & Credits – Avionté provides standard Transaction Types & Paid Leave Banks to assist with tracking paid leave hours allotted within the ARPA, as well as produce reporting for tax credits earned on employer paid leave.
We hope this recap serves as cliff notes for those of you who attended this year’s conference or who were unable to make it. Avionté truly enjoyed sponsoring the American Staffing Association (ASA) Staffing Law conference this year. We look forward to next year’s conference and gathering with others in person again.