News & Events

Friday, September 10th

Ten Creative Ways to Strengthen Your Compensation Package

If your company is looking to be more competitive in the hiring market, you might begin by revisiting your current compensation package. Consider these “small acts with big impacts” that strengthen your company’s perks without increasing wages.

Read the full article here.


Friday, September 3rd

COVID-19 Information Toolkit

With the growing rate of COVID-19 cases across the nation and the ever-changing regulations put in place as a result, it can be difficult to know what to do and when. To help you navigate through it all, we have put together a resource that outlines what you need to know to keep your employees safe and your workplace compliant with current mandates and safety standards.

View or download the full toolkit here: https://lnkd.in/gfMvFkeN


Friday, August 20th

Help Wanted: Recruiting & Retaining Quality Candidates

Businesses across the nation are experiencing difficulties in recruiting and filling long-vacant positions. What can you do to attract higher-quality candidates and get ahead in the hiring market? Morris & Garritano’s Human Resources Business Consultant, Kely Blackburn, weighs in.

Read the full article here.


Tuesday, August 10th

Webinar Recording: Recruitment & Retention

If you missed our Innovative Strategies for Recruitment & Retention Webinar last week – not to worry – we have the recording for you RIGHT HERE!

During our conversation, we discussed current data and market trends, reasons why people are reluctant to return to work, and ways companies can think differently about their hiring strategies. Expectations have shifted and the conventional recruiting approaches of yesterday are not the solution.

To recap, here are a few take-aways from our panelists:

Please feel free to contact HRConsulting@morrisgarritano.com with any questions!

Webinar Recording & Slide Deck

Download Slide Deck


Wednesday, July 28th

WEBINAR: Innovative Strategies for Recruitment & Retention

As we rebound from a tumultuous year, many employers are finding it harder than anticipated to staff their operations. Across all industries it seems that the sea of candidates has simply dried up. Is it something we did? Is it something we said? And more importantly – is it something we can change?

Join Morris & Garritano and our panel of workforce experts as we address these top-of-mind issues, discuss services and resources available to employers, and provide creative, actionable strategies to combat the struggles of recruiting, hiring, and retaining quality employees.

What We’ll Discuss:
– Current labor market trends and data
– What’s working and what’s not when it comes to recruiting new hires and retaining current employees
– Navigating employee hesitations about returning to the workplace
– Creative solutions to attract high quality candidates
– Q&A session to address your pain points


Friday, June 25th

TOOLKIT: Employee Vaccination Status Verification Process

To support our clients in navigating the revisions to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), effective June 17, 2021, we have created several tools you can use to establish a process that best suits your business needs. It is important to note that an employer is not compelled to use any specific method of documenting employee vaccination status and is not obligated to require employees to submit proof of being fully vaccinated. Documentation is required for a “fully vaccinated” employee to work without a face covering indoors.  

Employers have two (2) options:

  1. Choose to not ask employees their vaccination status and treat everyone as “unvaccinated” or 
  2. Develop a documentation process and operate based on the vaccination status employees choose to provide to you.

Should you choose to move forward with a documentation process, the provided toolkit is developed to provide a sample framework, allowing employers to make business decisions around COVID-19 prevention measures in their workplace while ensuring the wellbeing of your employees.


The video below provides additional instructions on how best to utilize the documents in the toolkit. 


Friday, June 18th

Changes to the Cal OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

Following the June 17 vote by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to adopt the revised COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to allow the revisions to immediately take effect on June 17. The revised regulations reflect the state’s latest COVID-19 public health guidance.

Here are just some of the key revisions:

  • Fully vaccinated employees do not need to wear face coverings except for certain situations during outbreaks and in settings where CDPH requires all persons to wear them. Employers must document the vaccination status of fully vaccinated employees if they do not wear face coverings indoors. For persons vaccinated outside the United States, a vaccine will be valid if listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Employees are not required to wear face coverings when outdoors regardless of vaccination status except for certain employees during outbreaks.
  • Employees are explicitly allowed to wear a face covering without fear of retaliation from employers.
  • Upon request, employers shall provide respirators for voluntary use in compliance with subsection 5144(c)(2) to all employees who are not fully vaccinated and who are working indoors or in vehicles with more than one person, at no cost and without fear of retaliation from their employers.
  • Physical distancing requirements have been eliminated except where an employer determines there is a hazard and for certain employees during major outbreaks.
  • Fully vaccinated employees do not need to be offered testing or excluded from work after close contact unless they have COVID-19 symptoms. This also extends to employees if they had COVID-19 within the last 90 days and have remained symptom-free.
  • Employees who are not fully vaccinated and exhibit COVID-19 symptoms must be offered testing by their employer.
  • Employees may bring a wage claim to recover unpaid “continued earnings” when excluded from the workplace. The revisions also specify that employees must be paid their regular rate of pay by the next regular pay day.
  • After providing written notice of a COVID-19 case in the workplace, employers will be required to provide “verbal notice” if they reasonably know that an employee has not received the written notice or has limited literacy in the language in which the written notice was provided.
  • Employers must review the Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
  • Employers must evaluate ventilation systems to maximize outdoor air and increase filtration efficiency and evaluate the use of additional air cleaning systems.
  • Employer-provided housing and transportation are exempt from the regulations where all employees are fully vaccinated.

In addition to the above, other revisions include modifications to key definitions, newly imposed training requirements, and other updates. The revised standard should be reviewed in detail.  

Next steps:

  • Review the revised standard
  • Register and attend a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) Update webinar hosted by Cal/OSHA Consultation. 
  • If you haven’t already, carefully determine how you are going to confidentially document vaccination status in the workplace with the help of legal counsel.
  • Evaluate your supply of N95 respirators
    • Businesses seeking assistance to provide N95 respirators for unvaccinated employees as required by the revised Emergency Temporary Standards can find distribution locations for a one month supply of state provided N95 respirators here. Distribution details are still developing. Check back regularly for updates.
    • In addition, Cal/OSHA lists some but not all vendors that sell N95 respirators in large quantities (vendors able to fulfill orders of more than 100,000 units). There are many vendors who have N95s available in smaller quantities.
  • Update your written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP), training, and internal procedures.  

We will continue to closely monitor developments and communicate any additional explanation, resources, and tools as they become available. Please reach out to our office for any questions relating to workplace safety or Cal OSHA compliance.


Thursday, June 17th

Congratulations Louise and Welcome Kely!

After more than 22 years of dedicated service, Louise Matheny will be retiring from her role as HR Business Consultant at Morris & Garritano. Louise has been an invaluable member of our team and family, providing education, resources, and a listening ear to our clients and our community. We will miss her greatly but are excited for all the adventures she has yet to come! 

Louise joined Morris & Garritano in 1999, coming from a career in healthcare. At the time the agencyonly had 55 employees and no dedicated HR department, which meant Louise was not only responsible for assisting clients with inquiries but also for managing the internal HR duties of a growing company. Through her employer-education focused approach, her dedicated involvement in our business community, and her engaging charm, Louise quickly became a go-to source for all things HR. 

As any California employer knows, these last few years have been challenging with the revolving door of labor law changes. But through it all, Louise remained dedicated to learning and researching the regulations so that she could inform and educate our clients when they needed us the most. Louise did note, “We have the best clients! They made my job easier because they always want to do the right thing and take care of their employees. It has been a true pleasure.” 

We recognize the value that Louise’s service and proficiency provides to our clients, which is why we made it a priority to find the right HR professional to fill this critical role. We are thrilled to announce that Kely Blackburn has joined the M&G Team as our new HR Business Consultant. 

Kely has built a strong career in Human Resources and Operations providing her with the knowledge and expertise to tackle important HR topics, including employee and labor relations, recruiting, and organizational development. Prior to joining Morris & Garritano, she was responsible for the management of a compensation portfolio for over 3,200 employees along with advising on compliance, HR policies and practices. She is well versed in the HR needs of various industries and remains at the forefront of the ever-changing regulations that the pandemic has brought about. 

Kely is a Central Coast native who is active in our business community, is a member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and volunteers with the Kiwanis Club of Pismo Beach. Louise and Kely will be working closely together over the next month to provide you with a seamless transition of services. We have full confidence that Kely will grow and thrive as our HR Business Consultant, ensuring that the education and care you have come to know and love from Louise will continue on. 

Please help us in congratulating Louise on her retirement and welcoming Kely to Morris & Garritano. 

Should you have any questions, please reach out to your Account Manager or email HRConsulting@morrisgarritano.com


Friday, April 30th

Webinars & Updates | April 30, 2021

This week we’re sharing opportunities to learn more about your local government and how you can excel at customer service in our new hybrid virtual/in-person world.

Other updates include:

  • How to apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund
  • IRS fact sheet on tax credit for PTO used for COVID-19 vaccinations

Check it out here.


Friday, April 30th

Blue Cross Blue Shield Settle Antitrust Lawsuit

In October 2020, the national Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) healthcare association entered into a tentative settlement in a class action lawsuit that alleged violation of federal antitrust laws. The settlement will result in the dismissal of the case and a finding of no liability against BCBS for the claims, which BCBS continues to reject in their statement regarding the litigation.

The settlement provides that BCBS will make operational changes, as well as payments to class members involved in the case from a $2.67 billion dollar fund.

Individual subscribers and employer policy holders have started receiving communications from the Settlement Administrator – JND Legal Administration.

Here’s what employers need to know.

Summary

Policy subscribers alleged that the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association violated several provisions of the Sherman Antitrust Act by entering into an unlawful agreement that interfered with competition in the healthcare market by:

  1. Limiting subscriber choice by allocating geographic territories among members.
  2. Placing unfair business and competition rules on Blue member plans.
  3. Restricting sales of Blue plans to non-BCBSA members.
  4. Agreeing to other constraints of fair competition.

The subscribers alleged that these anti-competitive practices led to inflated premiums and sought monetary damages as well as changes in business practices (injunctive relief).

The Settlement

After nearly five years of negotiation, the parties agreed to a proposed settlement of $2.67 billion payable to qualified policyholders and employees of insured groups (including self-funded plans) covered by a Blue-branded policy between February 2008 and October 2020. This may include medical, pharmacy, and dental and vision services, regardless of whether the individual contributed to the cost of coverage.

Settlement Classes

Class members who submit valid claims may receive a cash payment from the Settlement Fund (after attorney fees and expenses) and are referred to as the Damages Class.

The Value of Monetary Awards

Individual payment amounts are difficult to determine at this time and will depend on several factors such as the numbers of claims filed, the premiums paid during the class period, and whether the health plan was fully insured or self-funded. It is anticipated that individual claims payments will be relatively small.

Key Dates

Spring 2021: Notices to Individuals and Employers

July 28, 2021: Deadline to Object to Settlement

July 28, 2021: Opt-Out Deadline (Damages Class Only)

October 20, 2021: Fairness Court Hearing

November 5, 2021: Claims Filing Deadline (Damages Class Only)

Action Items

There is no immediate action to be taken by individuals or employer groups until receipt of an official notice from the Settlement Administrator. That notice may come by way of email or postcard. Once official notice is received, the recipient must determine if they will opt out, object, or file a claim for payment. If you do nothing, you will remain a member of the Settlement Class and will be bound to the terms of the Settlement but will not receive a payment.

The easiest way to file a claim is through the Online Portal at the BCBS Settlement Website.

To file a claim, an employer will need the following information:

  • The Unique ID contained in the email or postcard received.
  • Demographic information
  • Name of Blue-branded entity (i.e. Blue Cross of California)
  • Group #, coverage start and end dates.
  • Information regarding premiums charged to employees if choosing the Alternative Option

Premium information is not required if choosing the Default Method (refer to the BCBS Settlement Website for further information for employers).

To file a claim, an employee will need the following information:

  • The Unique ID contained in the email or postcard received.
  • Demographic information
  • Name of Blue-branded entity (i.e. Blue Cross of California)
  • Group #, Subscriber ID #, coverage start and end dates.

Additional Information

The Court has appointed JND Legal Administration to administer settlement claims. Information regarding claims processing and additional details can be found as follows: