Welcome to the Human Capital Minute,  

the official newsletter for RKL’s Human Capital Management practice. Today’s business owners and executives must navigate a ton of complexity and wear many hats to manage their HR function. We’re here to help with the latest updates, reminders and insights you need to maximize your most important asset – your people.

We hope you find this newsletter valuable and enjoyable. Your feedback is important to our continued education and engagement efforts – drop us a line and let us know what you think!

Here are the trends and hot topics we’re tracking this quarter.

  • COVID vaccines: There’s a lot of employer chatter around how to handle vaccinations for employees. A best practice is to encourage, but not mandate, employees to take this or any other vaccine. Read more on this nuanced topic below in Around the Watercooler.

  • Compensation planning: The start of a new year is typically prime time for employers to assess their compensation approach and plan for raises and bonuses. We have seen an uptick in interest and inquiries around compensation analysis in January and February. Learn more about RKL’s approach to compensation analysis.
What’s on the minds of your HR peers? Take a peek at some of the recent FAQs we’ve received from our clients.
Q: How do we prepare to welcome all of our employees and/or clients back into our physical locations safely? 
A: We don’t know exactly when things are going to get back to normal, but now is the time to plan. With many jurisdictions still mandating telework and imposing capacity limits, many workforces are primarily remote. For team members and clients who must be on-site, implement a daily self-reporting and building capacity tracking system. Enforce all safety requirements, including masking and social distancing, and clearly and routinely communicate behavioral expectations to your employees. As more employees are able to come back on-site, develop a priority reentry system and consider whether other positions can stay fully or partially remote. 

Q: How should we handle our workforce getting the COVID vaccine?
A: Our recommended approach is not to make any vaccines mandatory or take punitive measures. Instead, focus on educating your team about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and share trusted and verified public health resources (like this CDC webpage). That way, when your employees become eligible to receive the vaccine, they will have enough information to make an educated decision.  
Submit Your Questions
March 2: Forms 1095-B and 1095-C due to employees (extended from January 31)
Now available: IRS Draft 2021 Publication 15-B, Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits – download now
Get organized: The start of a new year is a perfect time to check your record retention schedules and purge what you no longer have to keep. Remind employees to update their personnel record (i.e. address, contact number, life changes). Review employee handbooks on an annual basis, too. 
Pro tip: Consider whether any emergency policies adopted during the pandemic need to become permanent. For example, OSHA recently issued recommendations to help employers provide a safe and healthy workplace amid COVID-19. Read OSHA’s January 29, 2021 guidance.

Last month, the City of Philadelphia clarified its wage tax policy amidst COVID-19. Generally speaking, non-residents employed in Philadelphia can claim a refund on wage tax paid for days worked outside the city. During the pandemic, however, wage tax refunds are only available to employees who were required to work from home outside the city, not to those who opted to due to childcare issues or safety concerns. The city’s Department of Revenue broadened the refund petition process to allow employers to request a refund on behalf of their employees. Refund petition forms as well as an online option are available on the department’s website. Read the full Q&A regarding Philadelphia Wage Tax and COVID-19.
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