Your home care agency is bustling with employment-related activities each day. Not only are you consistently trying to recruit new staff members, but your leadership team is also working diligently to ensure you are keeping morale high to increase your retention rate. However, no matter how hard to work to keep your staff members engaged and employed, there are times when staff members will leave your agency.
Unemployment has rapidly changed and evolved since tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs due to COVID-19 precautions or shut-downs. However, your agency’s unemployment responsibilities remain crucial no matter if there is a global pandemic or not. Here are some unemployment best practices that your agency can adopt now that will make a difference in your payments and in your reputation.
Learn More About the CARES Act
Recently signed into law due to the unemployment crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the CARES Act provides more than $250 billion in expanded unemployment payment and insurance coverage for workers without a job. Changes include benefits now available for independent contractors or part-time employees who before would not be eligible for unemployment payment.
While most home care agencies are not furloughing employees during COVID-19, it is important to keep up on the important changes that arrived with the CARES Act. Currently, the CARES Act is in place until the end of 2020 but the additional weekly $600 compensation for unemployment is scheduled to end in July.
Update Your Handbook
Beyond COVID-19 related unemployment updates, it is important that your leadership team and other employees are equipped with a handbook that is thorough. Not only does a well-crafted Employee Handbook lay out your agency’s expectations and requirements, it also should outline a specific set of procedures regarding disciplinary action.
If your handbook does not include your disciplinary procedures, make that adjustment ASAP.
Train Your Leaders
You can reduce the number of your unemployment claims if you thoroughly train your leaders to follow disciplinary procedures and to document thoroughly. For example, if your policy is to treat a “no call, no show” as voluntary resignation, then your leaders need to keep up with that policy. There should not be times when your leaders or supervisors allow one employee to come back to work the next day after a “no call, no show” if it is not allowed for everyone.
For documentation compliance, ensure your leaders and supervisors have been trained by a Human Resources professional on how to document disciplinary conversations and incidents. If your agency does not have a designated Human Resources person on staff, invest in a consultant who can commit to training your team and offering advice as needed.
Invest in an Experience Human Resources Attorney
It’s hard to keep up with changing unemployment and employment laws. Fortunately, you can invest in the services of a Human Resources attorney who has experience working with home care agencies. Your attorney can be available for questions via email or telephone calls, as well as to advocate on your behalf during hearings.
Keep a Schedule
Finally, one missed email, notification, or paperwork can mean your agency will be paying unemployment. Ensure you have a person in your office who is designated as the unemployment point person and that the designee is organized. Encourage them to utilize electronic scheduling tools in order to ensure they never miss a meeting or certification notice and that they respond quickly.
Unemployment can be confusing at times and you might even find yourself feeling defensive if the person filing for unemployment benefits was fired due to misconduct. Fortunately, the more you work with HR professionals and consultants, the more confident you will feel working with unemployment filings in your agency.