24 Nov Is Your HR Provider Offering Your Cannabis Business COVID-19 HR Services?
Cannabis employers are working more than ever to create a healthy work environment, support a safe and productive workforce, and protect their own business from additional risk. If you’re working with an HR provider, they should be assisting your business with fulfilling the areas above and providing you with COVID-19 HR Services. HR services like hiring, benefits administration, payroll, and compliance are being impacted by the pandemic and your business deserves to have the right guidance and direction. How do you know if your HR provider is helping your business navigate COVID-19? Use the service areas below to evaluate if your HR provider is providing your business with COVID-19 HR services.
Evaluating Your HR Provider for COVID-19 HR Services
Hiring & Onboarding
Many cannabis businesses are experiencing a spike in sales and have started hiring more employees to help meet the demand and give seasoned employees a much-needed break.
During the pandemic, it is recommended that hiring and onboarding be conducted virtually and your HR provider should help facilitate the process. Having the right technology is key to conduct video interviews and complete employee paperwork online. Many HR providers also offer employee online portals, where an employee can log in and access all of their paperwork, payroll, benefits information, and onboarding training materials. Completing as much of these hiring and onboarding steps virtually can help keep headcounts minimal onsite and help make the first day at work more efficient.
COVID-19 Policies & Plans
Like all businesses, cannabis operations have had to develop and modify policies and plans to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. Your HR provider should be offering your cannabis businesses guidance on policies, not limited to the following:
- Corporate and personal travel
- Business meetings and gatherings
- Remote work (if applicable)
Your HR provider should also help your business develop a COVID-19 response plan that includes:
- A hazard assessment of your workplace
- Reopening plans if your business has been closed during the pandemic
- Health and safety protocols
- Guidance on how to manage sick employees
- A business continuity plan should your business have to shut its doors due to illnesses or government regulations.
It is critical for your cannabis operation to keep your employees informed on news and business policies regarding COVID-19. It is also important to equip them with the proper training on the health and safety measures your business is taking to protect its employees and customers.
Your HR provider should provide your business a COVID-19 toolkit that contains the following:
- Key communication messages on virus prevention practices, return-to-work procedures, and what to do if you feel sick
- Posters and signs to place in your business’ bathroom, break areas, and entrances
- Health and safety training materials
- Resources on managing sick employees according to CDC guidelines
One of the top employee stresses during the pandemic is financial. Employees need peace of mind that they will be compensated on time, every time. However, paying employees in cash and by check in today’s environment are not ideal. Paying in cash already runs the risk of theft and lawsuit if compensation lacks documentation. Paying in cash or check also requires human contact. What if an employee falls ill and cannot pick up their paycheck? What if the mail delivery system suffers a delay in their service?
Your HR provider needs to offer your business an automated payroll system to setup direct deposit options for your staff. More importantly, your HR provider needs the right banking relationships to support your cannabis business. Too often PEOs drop their cannabis clients when the bank realizes the client is in cannabis industry.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, enacted in March 2020 requires many employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick time and paid leave for childcare needs. Some states and localities also have laws requiring employers to provide paid sick time, paid family, and medical leave.
Your HR provider should be advising you on benefits packages that support your employees during COVID-19. If they’re not already having the conversation with you, ask them about the following options if they apply to your business:
- If you can adjust or add a few weeks of sick leave and paid family leave for employees to use during the pandemic
- If your business can extend paid leave protections to the workers not typically covered under these laws, such as temp and contract workers
- If your furloughed or laid off employees can maintain benefits coverage
- If your business can start a PTO/Leave donation program, so employees can donate unused vacation or sick leave to employees that need it the most
*Both the CARES Act and Families First Coronavirus Response Act also include provisions that may be available to reduce employer payroll tax liability for cannabis companies through certain deferrals and credits. Check with your PEO if you qualify for any of these credits. Provisions expire December 31.
Every cannabis business is underneath a government microscope when it comes to ensuring your business is following state laws. Cannabis businesses have to be compliant in so many areas, e.g. customer privacy, employee laws, sales reporting, and product packaging. Now there’s an added layer of COVID-19 compliance as well.
Ensure that your HR provider is able to manage your compliance overload, keep you current on state regulations, and advise you on actions to take to maintain compliance. With regards to COVID-19, you’ll want to stay compliant with government health and safety laws, as well as the ADA and EEOC when managing vulnerable and disabled employees and reporting out possible cases in your workplace.
Work with an HR Provider that Helps Your Business Navigate COVID-19
Your cannabis business is currently being challenged with the impacts of COVID-19. Therefore, you need an HR provider that can manage all of your HR workload with all of the added COVID-19 complexities.
OROleafhr helps your business stay current on regulations, adhere to COVID-19 workplace and employee law compliance, and can help you train your employees on health and safety protocols. We also recognize that you need to protect your employees during these uncertain times and that’s why we connect you with the banking and payroll relationships needed to support your workforce. We are your partner in cannabis HR. Contact OROleafhr to discuss your HR needs today.