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R&R Insurance Blog

Restaurant Revitalization Fund: Who is Eligible and How to Apply

Posted by R&R Insurance

Chef garnishing salads in the kitchen with others garnishing their salads

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act signed March 11, 2021, $28.6 billion is allocated to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund program.  Monies from this fund are to be paid as tax-free grants to restaurants, bars, and associated food and beverage related businesses in order to provide them with compensation for their reduced revenues of 2020.

Generally speaking, restaurants can apply for grants that are equal to 2020 gross revenue minus 2019 gross revenue. For businesses in operation for all of 2019 and 2020, the maximum grant size will be $5 million for restaurants and $10 million for restaurant groups. Grant funds will not be taxed like income.

According to Forbes.com, "In addition to qualifying as an eligible entity, a business must also show that they have suffered a pandemic-related loss. In order to do so, an entity only needs to show that they had less gross receipts in 2020 than they did in 2019, but PPP loan proceeds are considered to be revenues for purposes of this calculation.

Therefore, under this new law, if your business kept the same pricing, sold one less side order of fries in 2020 compared to 2019, and received no PPP loan, your restaurant has suffered a pandemic-related loss."

Quick takes for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund:

  • Amount given to restaurant in form of grant, not a loan. Does not need to be paid back if used for operating expenses. Grant is nontaxable.
  • Definition of restaurant as follows: “Food stand, food truck, food cart, caterer, saloon, inn, tavern, bar, lounge, brewpub, tasting room, taproom, licensed facility or premise of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample or purchase products, or other similar place of business which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink.”
  • Does not qualify if:
    1. State or local government operated business
    2. As of March 13, 2020 owns or operates more than 20 locations regardless of whether the location operates under same or different names
    3. Has a pending application for or has received a Shuttered Venue Operators gram
    4. Is a publicly traded company
  • Determining amount of grant for existing restaurants:
    1. Gross receipts of restaurant in 2019
    2. Less gross receipts of restaurant in 2020
    3. Less amount of any PPP loan from first or second draw
  • Apply at SBA.gov. No guidance yet on the application process from the SBA
    1. Priority in awarding grants (1) Women owned (2) Veterans (3) socially economically disadvantaged small business. Grant process will be open for 21 days.
    2. Max grant of $10,000,000 per application and grant limited to $5,000,000 per physical location.
    3. Eligible entity makes good faith certification that uncertainty of current economic conditions makes necessary the grant request to support its ongoing operations.

Is your restaurant still looking for tips on opening safely?  Download our complementary re-opening checklist for restaurants.Restaurant-Icon

 

Sources: Forbes.com, USChamber.com

National Nutrition Month - the Value of Food Labels

Posted by Taylor Hahn

food labels

March is National Nutrition Month; the purpose of this theme is to help the public remember the importance of good nutrition and a healthy eating plan. Understanding food labels is the key to leading a healthy lifestyle. It is good to keep the following aspects in mind when shopping and consuming to have the most beneficial impact on your lifestyle:

  • Food labels provide key information such as serving size, calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, protein, carbohydrates, and vitamin content.
  • Food labels also contain the list of essential ingredients that may be crucial to utilize if you follow a diet or have food restrictions.
  • They can help you cut back on a certain component such as knowing the acceptable amount of sodium or sugar to not exceed for a day.
  • They can also help keep you safe with the storage and cooking instructions they provide and detect ingredients that could cause a harmful reaction.
  • Food labels can also aid in helping support local food producers based on the food’s origin.

For more information about serving size, calories, percent daily values, and nutrients as well as how to get the most out of your food labels, click here. Feel free to share this infographic with anyone else who would value the information.

Topics: Wellness

American Heart Health Month | February

Posted by Taylor Hahn

heart monthFebruary is recognized as American Heart Health Month. Your heart is one of the hardest-working muscles in your body and all of that work can take a toll. Not treating your body right can escalate your risk for serious health issues, like heart disease.

Heart Disease is one of the leading killers in the United States for both men and women, accounting for 1 in 4 deaths annually. That is about 647,000 deaths a year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Key ways you can help prevent heart disease:

  • Eat foods that are low saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium
  • Get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Click here for three suggested workouts to improve heart health
  • Keep an eye on your cholesterol
  • Reduce your stress levels
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption

While in many cases heart disease can be prevented, there are certain uncontrollable factors that increase your risk, including age, as well as sex and family history. For more in-depth information on heart disease and prevention, read more here, and always consult with your doctor.

To learn more about how you can help spread awareness within your community, click here.

Top three ingredients for a Healthy Heart:

  1. Olive oil - “4 or more tablespoons per day can lower your risk of heart disease”. Always make sure your extra virgin olive oil is labeled (EVOOs) and check out your local farmer’s market for the best bargain.
  2. Whole grains - Always check for the whole grain stamp of approval. There are specific guidelines for a product to produce that label. Whole grains include items such as quinoa, oats, barley, ect. Try replacing one of your refried grains, such as white rice, with a whole grain.
  3. Seasonings - Stop using excess salt, pre-packaged seasoning, and pre-packaged dressing. Instead, consider other options such as dry mustard, hot peppers, or citrus juice.

For a more in depth look on how to help keep your heart healthy, read here.

 

Source: https://engagementsource.go365.com/en/health-and-wellness-library/nutrition-and-weight-management/three-best-ingredients-for-a-healthy-heart

 

Topics: Wellness

What You Need to Know About the EEOC’s Latest Proposed Wellness Rules

Posted by Taylor Hahn

EE wellbeing

On January 7, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released two long-awaited proposed rules on wellness programs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Non- Discrimination Act (GINA). These Notices of Proposed Rulemakings (NPRM) have been cleared by the Office of Management and Budget and sent to the Federal Register for publication and public comment.

Back in October of 2016, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) sued the EEOC on the grounds that the EEOC’s wellness rules incentive at the time of 30% was too high a penalty for nonparticipating workers – and therefore could not be considered as “voluntary”. In December of 2018, a federal judge ruled that the EEOC failed to justify its 30% cap on cost incentives for participating in a wellness program and as a result, effective January 1, 2019, vacated the incentive limit. Employers have been waiting ever since for further guidance as to permissible incentive limits.

The EEOC’s Latest Proposed Wellness Rules

What Has Been Proposed?

The proposed ADA wellness rule imposes a “de minimis” incentive limit for most wellness programs that include disability-related inquiries (e.g. a health risk questionnaire) and/or medical examinations (e.g. a biometric screening).
  • An employer may not offer more than a “de minimis” incentive (such as a water bottle or gift card of modest value) in exchange for an employee participating in the wellness program.
  • There is an exception if the program is a “health-contingent wellness program”(subject to HIPAA’s rules and incentive limits).
    • Example: If the wellness incentive is conditioned on biometric screening results meeting health-contingent outcomes (such as having cholesterol or BMI within a certain range or improving a certain percentage compared to the prior year’s screening), then it must still comply with the ADA as a medical exam but can offer more than a “de minimis” incentive due (subject to HIPAA’s rules and incentive limits).

While health contingent programs have fallen out of popularity throughout the years, these proposed rules, if approved, suggest that wellness vendors would need to make changes to guarantee EEOC compliance to their wellness programming.

The proposed GINA wellness rule likewise “would limit wellness programs to offer a “de minimis” incentive to all family members, not just spouses, in exchange for family members providing information about their manifestation of diseases or disorders.

The proposed rule also continues to prohibit any incentive tied to employees answering questions about their own genetic information. However, there is a small exception allowing a “de minimis” incentive in exchange for family members (including spouses) responding to inquiries about their own manifestation of diseases or disorders.

What is de minimis?

The proposed rules are significantly different from the previous rules regarding wellness incentive limits. The guidance provides that a “de minimis” limit permits only nominal incentives such as a water bottle or a gift card of modest value. The proposed rules also state that a $50/month medical premium surcharge, reimbursement of annual gym membership fees, or free airline tickets would not be considered “de minimis.” Hopefully, further clarification on what will meet the definition of “de minimis” for these purposes will be provided in the final rule.

What’s Next?

These Notices of Proposed Rulemakings (NPRM) have been cleared by the Office of Management and Budget and sent to the Federal Register for publication and public comment. It is important to note that these NPRMs have not been finalized and may not be relied upon.

Comments on the NPRMs are due 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register – which as of the date of this article has not yet occurred. Once the NPRMs have been published on the Federal Register, employers having concerns about how these rules may impact their wellness programs are encouraged to take advantage of the 60-day public comment period. Members of the public will be able to submit electronic comments about the proposed rules at www.regulations.gov in the rulemaking dockets RIN 3046-AB10 and RIN 3046-AB11.

With a new Presidential Administration upon us, it is unclear what impact that may have on these proposed rules. Currently, Republican appointees hold a 3-2 edge at the EEOC until at least July 2022. There is some speculation that the new Administration may put these new rules on hold until post July 2022 or that they may change certain aspects of the final rule when issued, depending on the comments the EEOC receives. At this point, we do not know what impact this may have on moving this forward.

R&R will continue to monitor regulatory guidance and offer meaningful, practical, timely information to you. We welcome the opportunity to eventually discuss what type of wellness program and incentives will best promote good health for your employees and comply with ADA and GINA requirements once finalized.

Resources:
EEOC Proposed Rule for ADA - Proposed Rule - Amendments to Regulations Under the Americans With Disabilities Act | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (eeoc.gov)

EEOC Proposed Rule for GINA - Proposed Rule - Amendments to Regulations Under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (eeoc.gov)

Topics: Wellness

Annual Year End Recordkeeping Questions & Resources for the Public Sector

Posted by R&R Insurance

WI Skylin

Every year when the calendar changes to January, many public sector customers ask questions about requirements of recording injuries and illness that arise in the workplace.

RESOURCES


REMINDERS FOR PUBLIC SECTOR

  1. Recording Criteria - Follows the recording criteria as outline CFR 1904
  2. Recording Forms – Document use WI Dept of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) Form 10710A and 10710, found in the above SBD10710 packet link (contains the same as is found on OSHA Form 300 and 300A)
  3. Electronic Submission Requirement – Due March 1
    1. eSLA Customer Portal Login
    2. If not submitted by 3/1, orders from DSPS may be issued and may conduct safety inspection
  4. Posting – upon completion electronic submission an email confirmation with printable version for posting

For additional information and tools, check out our Downloads page.

Topics: Safety, Business Insurance

Virtual Meeting Considerations for 2021

Posted by Taylor Hahn

zoom

While many are still facing remote employment, it is important to begin and/or continue executing effective virtual meetings. One item employers are struggling with is the interaction component within virtual meetings.

Employees are reporting feeling isolated and neglected. Most of us are social creatures and rely on interaction throughout the day. It is easy to make Zoom presentations very one sided. The manager acknowledges the group, addresses the key points and the meeting concludes. Well, employees may be multi-tasking in the background and not really even paying attention. Content is getting lost in translation. However, there are several virtual meeting considerations in order to successfully engage staff in order to adopt a learning and sharing mentality.

Below are some ways you can open the meeting:

  • An ice breaker
  • Share a win or polling question
  • Play a round of trivia
  • Start with a stretch break
  • Complete a show and tell by getting a household item

There are plenty of non-traditional openers you could start a meeting with—by not going straight to business employees will begin to feel more inclusive and with any luck reduce the feelings of being neglected and isolated. Other ways to combat Zoom fatigue are by scheduling shorter meetings, having a simple screen layout, walk and talk when acceptable, rotate meeting leaders and create a theme.

Topics: Wellness

The Holiday Season During a Pandemic

Posted by Taylor Hahn

holiday pandemic

This year has been far from normal, so we couldn’t expect the holidays to be anything less. Despite how much we want to return to pre-pandemic times, there are some additional considerations to help protect our physical and emotional health this year.

In terms of COVID, in-person holiday celebrations could pose higher risk levels. So, before committing to a celebration, please consider these risks:

  • Where is the location of the gathering? We know that indoor gatherings will increase the risk of contraction and our winter temperatures don’t exactly allow for outdoors.
  • Celebrations that are longer in length and have a higher amount of people also could increase exposure risk. It is important to remember, you do not necessarily know where your guests have been or are traveling from, so guests who are taking proper preventative measures would be a smarter choice.
  • Lastly, those who have been exposed to COVID, diagnosed, have symptoms, or are at increased risk for illness should avoid in-person gatherings this year. Consider video chatting into the party you can’t physically be at.

Times are strange but your physical health and the health of those around you is much more important than attending a celebration.

Emotional health is equally important during the holidays. It is encouraged to acknowledge your feelings this season and reach out if you feel lonely or isolated. Be realistic about what your holiday celebration will look like this year and understand if other’s feel differently than you.

Stick to a budget. The holidays are much more than gift giving, so don’t try to purchase beyond your means. Take a breather, find time to relax and plan out any grocery shopping or gifting lists you need. Having a clear plan will help avoid panic later. In addition, don’t forget to seek appropriate professional help if you need it.

Don’t dread this COVID holiday season, instead take proper precautions around your physical and emotional health.

Happy holidays!

Topics: Wellness

COVID-19 Vaccination – A Work Requirement?

Posted by Pete Frittitta

coronavirus vaccineOn December 8, 2020, the United Kingdom became the first Western nation to vaccinate patients against COVID-19. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration concluded in a detailed analysis that the first COVID-19 vaccine being considered for U.S. distribution “met the prescribed success criteria” in a clinical study, paving the way for the agency to green-light distribution as early as this weekend.

While the vaccine will not be available generally for citizens until 2021, employers have begun to raise the question of mandatory vaccination as a work requirement or condition of employment. At present, no law, regulation, or other guidance directly addresses whether employers may require their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination. The idea is not new; many healthcare workers are currently required to receive certain vaccinations as a condition of their employment.

The EEOC updated its Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace guidance on March 19, 2020 to address the COVID-19 pandemic advising employers to “follow guidance from the CDC as well as state/local public health authorities.” Notably, the CDC has issued guidance recommending influenza vaccination for critical industries during a pandemic.

It is likely that the EEOC will issue updated guidance to address the issue of COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace in the near future. Additionally, there are currently discussions within State government concerning how to address this issue within the State law context. Until some action is taken, it appears that employers may require employees to receive vaccinations when available, subject to the restrictions identified by the EEOC and OSHA.

As the pandemic vaccine situation develops and evolves, R&R Insurance will continue to monitor new laws and guidance from federal and state authorities and continue to keep you informed. Employers should weigh the legal exposure and other risks associated with any mandatory vaccination program, and assess whether the alternative of voluntary vaccination may be a better option based on the nature and needs of their businesses. You can read more in the client advisory made available from von Briesen & Roper.

Please visit our COVID-19: Business Recovery Resources webpage for the latest information and quick references on a variety of industries with guidelines and considerations for getting back to full operation.  And visit our R&R Coronavirus Resources webpage for future updates and resources.

Please contact your R&R representative with any questions.

Diabetes Awareness Month

Posted by Taylor Hahn

november is diabetes awareness monthNovember is Diabetes Awareness Month in hopes to bring awareness to the rise of diabetes and the risks associated with it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes costs the USA $327 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity.

In addition, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has ranked diabetes as the seventh leading cause of death for the states.

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 cannot be prevented, but type 2 can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle. Obesity, sedentary lifestyle and age increase the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Employers should consider a few programs in order to monitor employee health regarding diabetes:

  1. Make sure your health risk assessment covers a blood glucose section in order to identify those already diagnosed and sets a baseline.
  2. Implementing effective nutritional and physical activity programs should be included in wellbeing offerings.
  3. Covering diabetes screenings, coaching and management can help employees get the access they need and prevent large costs down the road.
  4. Those with diabetes are more likely to contract the flu or pneumonia, so make sure vaccinations are accessible and education is on the forefront.

Overall, taking a step towards encouraging employees to get screened regularly, educating and encouraging a healthy lifestyle can help lower health care costs and show employees you care about their wellbeing.

Do you know your diabetes risk?  Click here to find out.

Topics: Wellness

Loss Control Services Delivering Superior Outcomes

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Effective loss control begins with our experienced knowledge. R&R Insurance offers services to effectively lower the potential risk in your workplace and in your business practices. Our dedicated Resource Team does not believe in a "one size fits all" approach regarding Loss Control services.  We will review your loss experience, safety programs, and management commitment and accountability.  We'll then partner with you and your insurance carrier to provide "High Impact" loss control activities focused on reducing your costs by reducing claims. 

RRI-EP-JohnBrengosz_FeatHelping customers design effective loss prevention programs and providing safety consulting services for R&R clients has been John Brengosz’s focus for the last 15 years at R&R Insurance.  John has trained and educated thousands of employees during his career. John is a skilled teacher and presenter during these programs as well.

 

John carries with him a portfolio of skills and experience that are unmatched. Below is a listing of some recent engagements where John has created value for R&R Insurance clients:

 JB Value

 

 

RRI-EP-MaureenJoy_FeatHelping customers design effective loss prevention programs and providing safety consulting services for R&R clients has been Maureen Joy’s focus for the last 11 years at R&R Insurance.  Maureen’s strength is interacting and partnering with R&R clients in the facilities where they work, or these days, providing her loss prevention programs virtually, for our clients.

 

Maureen has delivered custom training programs and educated thousands of our clients' employees during her career.  As a licensed Occupational Therapist, Maureen is a skilled trainer and experienced presenter using a client-centered, interactive approach.  

 

Maureen’s combination of loss prevention knowledge, coupled with her medical background and training, makes her a unique resource for R&R Insurance clients. Below is a listing of some recent engagements where Maureen has created value for R&R Insurance clients:

MJ Value

 
 

For more information on R&R Professional Services, visit https://www.myknowledgebroker.com/business-insurance/risk-management.

Topics: Safety, Department of Safety & Professional Services