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  • 09 Apr 2020 10:14 AM | Kate Nolin-Smith


    Under DOL regulations, employers may require certain information from employees to verify the need for FFCRA leave. More importantly, under IRS guidance, to take advantage of the payroll tax credits, employers are required to obtain and retain (for four years) certain information. The following enumerates all categories of information discussed by the DOL and IRS.

    Initial Information from Employee

    Initially, employers should memorialize the following information, which may be provided orally by the employee. If provided orally, according to the DOL/IRS, the employer should document the oral statements.

     Employee’s name

     Dates for which leave is requested

     Qualifying reason for leave

     Statement that the employee is unable to work or telework because of the qualifying reason.

    Additional Information from Employee

    The regulations further specify forms of additional documentation based on the reason for leave. In each instance, the information may be provided by the employee and does not require any further certification, such as by a health care provider. The nature of the additional information depends on the reason for leave:

    For leave requested pursuant to an order to isolate or quarantine -- identify the government entity that issued the order.

    For leave based on advice of a health care provider to self-quarantine -- the name of the healthcare provider; and, if the leave is to care for another individual, the identity of and relation of the individual to the employee.

    Although not mentioned in the documentation rules, the DOL regulations define an “individual” as someone with whom the employee must have a personal relationship. Examples: an immediate family member, a person who regularly resides in the employee’s home, or a similar person with whom the employee has a relationship that creates an expectation the employee would care for that person if quarantined.

    For leave due to a school closure or unavailability of childcare -- (1) the name of the child; (2) the name of the school, place of care or childcare provider that closed or is unavailable due to COVID-19; and (3) a statement that no other suitable person is available to care for the child during the period of requested leave.

    In addition, under IRS guidance issued on the same date as the DOL regulations, an employer can require that, if a child is over 14 years and care is during daylight hours, the employee provide a statement of “special circumstances” requiring employee to provide care.

    IRS Required Documentation

    Additionally, the IRS requires that employers maintain documentation related to the following:

     How the employer determined the amount of EPSL or FMLA-PHE Leave paid to employees, including records of work, telework and leave

     How the employer determined the amount of qualified health care expenses allocated to wages

     Completed Forms 7200 submitted to IRS (Advance of Employer Credits)

     Completed Forms 941 (Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return) submitted to IRS

    Track Documentation

    Employers should set up a system to gather the information from employees seeking leave. If the employee does not respond or provide all required information, notify the employee of the deficiency and give them a reasonable period (7 calendar days) to cure the issue. If the employee fails to cure the issue, even after being notified, the employer is not required to provide paid leave under the FFCRA.

    Sample Form

    Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response act (FFCRA)


    To request Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) or paid FMLA Public Health Emergency Leave as provided under the FFCRA, please complete the following Request and Documentation Form and submit to the Human Resources Department as soon as possible, but not later than five (5) working days after the first workday missed. 

    For FMLA Public Health Emergency Leave, only leave required for reason No. 5 below applies, and notice of the request for leave must be provided as soon as the need for leave is foreseeable.

    Employee Name (Print):


    Manager Name:

    Requested Start Date:

    Estimated End Date:

    The reason for this leave request is (check the appropriate reason below):

     (1) I am subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19.

    Name of governmental entity ordering quarantine:  ______________________________________

     (2) I have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19.

    Identify the health care provider’s name, specialty, and address:  ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

     (3) I am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis Identify the health care provider’s name, specialty, and address:  _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

     (4) I am caring for an individual who is subject to either Reason 1 or 2 above. Identify the name of the individual and relationship to you:  _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Does the individual reside in your home?  _______________________________________________

    For Reason 1, Name of governmental entity ordering quarantine:  _______________________________________________

    For Reason 2, Identify the health care provider’s name, specialty, and address:  _________________________________________________________________________________________________

     (5) I am caring for my son or daughter disabled and needing whose primary or secondary school, or place of care, has been closed, or my childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.  My son or daughter is under age 18 (or over 18 and incapable of self-care due to a disability. 

    Name and ages of all children needing care:  ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Name of school, place of care, or child care provider that is closed/unavailable due to COVID-19: 


    By checking here, I am representing that no other person is available to provide care to the child(ren) listed above during the period for which leave is requested: 

    For any child ages 15, 16, or 17 who needs care during daylight hours:  I hereby represent that there are special circumstances requiring me to provide care, as follows:  ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

     (6)  I am experiencing another substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.  This condition is:  _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    If you have used EPSL while working for any other employer since April 1, 2020, identify the total number of hours of EPSL you have used:  __________________________________________________________________

    Additional Documentation regarding my request is attached.

    I hereby certify that I am unable to work or telework due to the qualifying reason identified above.

    By signing this form, I certify that the above information is truthful and accurate.  I understand that my employer will rely upon this information in filing for a payroll tax credit with the Internal Revenue Service:

    Employee Signature:  ______________________________________         Date:  ________________________

    Manager Signature:  _______________________________________        Date:  ________________________

    Human Resources Signature:  ________________________________    Date:  ________________________

  • 02 Apr 2020 12:35 PM | Kate Nolin-Smith

    Northland Healthy Minds COVID-19 Toolkit

    We've compiled some local resources for you. If you have suggestions or questions, email us at info@northlandhealthyminds.org.

    Click to Download

  • 25 Mar 2020 12:20 PM | Kate Nolin-Smith

    tHRive Law & Consulting LLC provided a recording for the webinar today titled "Covid-19 New Employment Laws."

    This webinar covered topics about:

    Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Effective date: April 1:

    - How to count employees

    - Payroll as of the date the employee takes the leave

    - How to calculate pay

    - Whether shelter-in-place orders are government quarantine orders

    - Any leave granted BEFORE April1 will not be credited

    - DOL is not enforcing if you’ve made good faith efforts to comply for 30 days

    Here is a link to the full recording:


    Additional source links:

    DOL Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers


    DOL Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights


    DOL Workplace Posters now include FFCRA notice


  • 24 Mar 2020 6:00 PM | Kate Nolin-Smith

    The National Alliance on Mental Health has provided a document with useful information and resources to deal with Covid-19.

    Content covers:

    - I’m having a lot of anxiety because of the coronavirus. Please help.

    - I’m quarantined or working from home – lonely and isolated even further – what can I do?

    - I don’t have health insurance or a regular doctor – how can I get care?

    -  What if I’m quarantined and can’t get my medication? Will there be a shortage

    - My business is suffering as a result of the Coronavirus. What assistance programs are available to help?

    - Are people who have a mental illness at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19?

    - Is there a vaccine or cure for COVID-19?

    - I lost a loved one to Coronavirus. Where can I find support?

    - I’m a smoker. Am I more likely to catch COVID-19? What should I do?

    - How does homelessness increase risk of contracting COVID-19?

    - My loved one is incarcerated, are they at increased risk for exposure to COVID-19?

    - I’m the aging parent of an adult child living with a serious mental illness. I want to be sure they are taken care of. 

    Please find the full document at 


  • 19 Mar 2020 10:38 AM | Kate Nolin-Smith

    Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) posted an article about recent legislation that includes Paid-Leave Mandate "Trump Signs Coronavirus Relief Bill with Paid-Leave Mandate". Access the article here:  


    SHRM is not only working to provide the latest tools, resources, and information to manage COVID-19 in the workplaces but also provides members access to hundreds of resources: HR Topics, Laws & Compliance, Business Solutions, Educational Programs, and Tools & Samples (templates, forms, job descriptions, etc.) This is an invaluable database of resources and support for only $219 a year. For more information about SHRM membership, please visit their website at  https://www.shrm.org/about-shrm/Pages/Membership.aspx 

    This summary of the HR 6201 Bill was shared by SHRM

    HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

    • Leave would cover employees who are unable to work (or telework) because the employee is caring for their child (18 years or younger) because the school is closed or childcare provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency.
    • Leave shall take effect 15 days after enactment of the act and sunset on December 31, 2020.
    • Eligible employee is defined as an employee who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days by the employer.
    • Employers with 500 or fewer employees would be required to provide the paid leave.
    • Employers are not required to pay initial ten days of leave; however, employees may substitute accrued vacation, personal or sick leave to cover unpaid leave portion.
    • Employers must pay ten remaining weeks of leave at a rate not less than two-thirds of employee’s regular rate, not to exceed $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate.
    • In the case of an employee whose schedule varies from week to week to such an extent an employer is unable to determine with certainty the number of hours the employee would have worked if such an employee had not taken the leave, the employer shall use the following in place of that number: 1) A number equal to the average number of hours that the employee was scheduled per day over the six-month period ending on the date which the employee takes the leave, including hours for which the employee took leave of any type. 2) If the employee did not work over such period, the reasonable expectation of the employee at the time of hiring of the average number of hours per day that the employee would normally be scheduled to work.
    • Employers that are health care providers or emergency responders may elect to exclude employees from this leave.
    • Employers with 25 or fewer employees are not required to restore an employee once leave has been exhausted if the position held by the employee when the leave commenced does not exist due to economic conditions or other changes in operating conditions of the employer caused by a public health emergency.
    • Secretary of Labor has authority to issue regulations to: 1) Exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders from the definition of eligible employee; and 2) Exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if the above requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business going forward.

    Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

    • Employers are required to provide 80 hours of fully paid sick leave to full-time employees (pro-rata rules would apply to part-time employees) on top of any other existing paid leave program of the employer.
    • Leave provided under this provision shall take effect 15 days after enactment of this act and made available to covered employees immediately. The leave will sunset on December 31, 2020.
    • Private employers with 500 or fewer employees must provide paid sick leave while a public agency or any other entity that is not a private entity or individual and employs 1 or more employees. 1) Private Employers and Public Agency are defined as those engaging in commerce.
    • Covered employees eligible for paid sick leave include: 1) Employee subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to coronavirus; 2) Employee has been advised by health care provider to self-quarantine due to coronavirus; 3) Employee is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus; 4) Employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order described in (1) or has been advised as described in (2); 5) Employee is care for their child because the school is closed or childcare provider is unavailable due to coronavirus; or 6) Employee is experiencing a similar condition specified by Secretary of HHS.
    • Employers would be required to pay employees their full wages, not to exceed $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, for a use described in (1), (2), or (3) above.
    • Employers would be required to pay employees two-thirds of their wages, not to exceed $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate, for a use described in (4), (5), or (6) above.
    • Employers are prohibited from retaliating against any employee who takes leave in accordance with the act. Employers that fail to pay required sick leave will be treated as a failure to pay minimum wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
    • In the case of an employee whose schedule varies from week to week to such an extent an employer is unable to determine with certainty the number of hours the employee would have worked if such an employee had not taken the leave, the employer shall use the following in place of that number: 1) A number equal to the average number of hours that the employee was scheduled per day over the six-month period ending on the date which the employee takes the leave, including hours for which the employee took leave of any type. 2) If the employee did not work over such period, the reasonable expectation of the employee at the time of hiring of the average number of hours per day that the employee would normally be scheduled to work.
    • Secretary of Labor has authority to issue regulations to: 1) Exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders from the definition of eligible employee; and 2) Exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if the above requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business going forward.

    Tax Credits for Paid Sick and Paid Family and Medical Leave

    • Private employers with 500 or fewer employees required to provide COVID-19 related paid leave are eligible for a 100 percent refundable payroll tax credit on the wages paid for leave.
    • The tax credits would be administered by the IRS and be creditable against employer-side payroll tax liability, with any excess refunded to the employer.
    • Tax credits for COVID-19 related pay sunset on December 31, 2020.

    Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act

    • Expands unemployment benefits and provides $1 billion in 2020 for emergency grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance (UI) benefits related to COVID-19.
    • $500 million would be transferred to the states within 30 days after the enactment of the bill upon certification by the Secretary of Labor to the Secretary of the Treasury (so long as the state complies with certain requirements, such as requiring employers to notify employees of the availability of unemployment compensation and permitting individuals to apply for unemployment compensation in at least two of the following ways—inperson, by phone, or online).
    • The remaining $500 million of the grant would be reserved for states in which the number of unemployment compensation claims has increased by at least 10% over the previous calendar year. To receive access to the second portion of the grant, states must, among other things, make it easier for individuals to obtain unemployment compensation by taking steps to temporarily ease eligibility requirements that are limiting access to UI during the COVID-19 outbreak, like work search requirements, required waiting periods, and requirements to increase employer UI taxes if they have high layoff rates.

    Health Care (Applicable to Private Health Plans)

    • Establishes requirements for private healthcare plans to provide COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related visits at no cost to consumers. This includes coverage for the cost of a provider, urgent care center or emergency room visit in order to receive testing.

    A link to the H.R.6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act can be found here https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201

  • 28 Jan 2020 12:19 PM | Kate Nolin-Smith

    2020 Vision - Helping Your Organization See Clearly

    October 12-13, 2020 | Mystic Lake Center, Prior Lake, MN

    The Minnesota State SHRM Council invites you to share your expertise and experience with our community of human resource professionals at our 2020 State Conference.

    Our conference has a terrific history of dynamic and insightful content and we are excited to hear from you as we plan for this year’s conference. Speaker selections will begin on March 15, 2020.

    The MNSHRM State Conference anticipates an audience of approximately 800 human resource professionals who are truly excited about our emphasis on providing professional development resources that they can take back to their workplaces. Our diverse attendees include: generalist, employee health and  wellbeing, employee relations, recruiting, organizational development, total rewards/compensation, benefits, and training and development. 

    Please click on this link for additional information and to submit your proposal.

  • 20 Sep 2019 8:18 AM | Deleted user

    UPDATE: Deadline extended to Monday, November 4th!

    Veterans Memorial Hall, a program of the St. Louis County Historical Society, announces its 2019 Mike Colalillo Medal of Honor Scholarship.  The $1,500 scholarship is open to any full-time student, who is enrolled in a higher education institution in St. Louis County, or a resident of St. Louis County, Minnesota, who is a full-time student enrolled in a higher education institution outside of St. Louis County, Minnesota.

    Scholarship applicants are required to submit a 3 to 10 page double-spaced research paper on a topic relevant to veterans of St. Louis County, Minnesota.  A minimum of one resource from the Albert J. Amatuzio Research Center must be referenced.  Research papers may address a historical event in St. Louis County, Minnesota, related to a conflict, a war, the homefront, or tell the story of a county veteran.

    Application Form: 2019 Colalillo Scholarship Application v0.2.docx

    Application deadline: Thursday, October 24, 2019.  The scholarship will be awarded at the Veterans Remembrance Dinner on November 15, 2019. 


    Jay Hagen

    Veterans Memorial Hall Program Assistant

    St. Louis County Historical Society

    506 West Michigan Street

    Duluth, MN 55802




    About Mike Colalillo and Veterans Memorial Hall

    Mike Colalillo was the last living Medal of Honor recipient in St. Louis County.  Mr. Colalillo received the Medal of Honor for his actions in World War II.  A brief biography of Mike Colalillo can be viewed online at http://www.vets-hall.org/stories/world-war-ii/mike-colalillo.  Veterans Memorial Hall displays Mike Colalillo’s uniform and a replica of his Medal of Honor, as donated to the Society by the Colalillo family.  Entrance to the Veterans Memorial Hall exhibit is free to the public, during regular Depot hours. 

    Veterans Memorial Hall was established in 1909 and is a program of the St. Louis County Historical Society.  It is the mission of Veterans Memorial Hall to preserve and collect veterans’ stories and artifacts and to educate the general public about the history of veterans from northeastern Minnesota.

  • 30 Aug 2019 3:40 PM | Deleted user

    NHRA is currently accepting proposals for our 2020 Monthly Educational Meetings. Programs are typically held on the second Tuesday of the month during the lunch hour at the Holiday Inn in Duluth, MN.

    See RFP and Instructions here: NHRA Request for Proposals 2019.pdf

    Send submissions to Melissa Williams by November 1st, 2019.

    We are seeking topics that are timely and important to HR and business professionals in the community.


    1. Provide high quality educational presentations.

    2. Commit to being present and speaking at the event for which a proposal is submitted.

    3. Avoid any “sales” or “marketing” techniques.

    4. Provide all handouts, if any, for NHRA members.

    5. Bring a laptop to present from, along with the necessary cords, adapters, clicker, laser pointer, etc.


    The following criteria will be used to select NHRA presenters:

    1. Presenters must have expertise in the topics being presented and demonstrate their ability to tailor their session to meet NHRA member needs.

    2. Presenter qualifications–must have experience in presentation and workshop facilitation.

    3. Program design and materials must be high quality and clearly organized.

    4. Presenter must be willing to volunteer his/her time and resources to design and deliver the presentation.

  • 29 Aug 2019 12:27 PM | Deleted user

    Calling All SuperHeRo Volunteers


    The success of each year’s conference is 100% due to the volunteer resources across the SHRM community of Minnesota. It could not be done without each of you!

    Volunteering at the MNSHRM State Conference is a great opportunity to network with your peers, meet new friends, share ideas and increase your skill set. 

    Volunteering offers a variety of leadership opportunities that will bring great rewards AND enhance your resume.

    Our volunteer opportunities include:

    • Conference set up on Saturday, October 12th
    • Introducing Breakout Speakers
    • Answering questions at the Direction and Information Table
    • Answering questions in the Exhibit Hall
    • Conference teardown and clean up on Tuesday, October 15th.

    Please share with your chapter members to both encourage them to register for the conference and also assist by volunteering!

    Attendees can sign up for a volunteer slot by using this link.

    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

    Thank you,

    Rebecca Rowe, SHRM-CP
    2019 State Conference Volunteer Chair

  • 29 Aug 2019 12:25 PM | Deleted user

    See this great ATD development opportunity. Note that NHRA members can attend for the ATD member price!

    Register Here

    (NHRA Members register with code "NHRA")

    Legacy of Leadership

    A panel of four leadership experts share their experiences, knowledge and strategies in a speaker showcase format.

    Enhance your leadership skills, increase your confidence and build your influence at this fun and fast-paced session. Mingle, network with colleagues and enjoy appetizers and a cash bar prior to the session at historic Fitger’s, on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior.

    Leadership Showcase Speakers and Topics:

    Kathlynn McConnell, Chief Refueling Officer

    "What's A Trailer Full of Mis-Matched Socks Got to Do With Visionary Leadership??"
    Learning Objective: Discover three tools that will help you create a strong vision - built with innovative ideas that inspire others to follow.

    Stacy Johnston, HR Solutions

    Mindful Leadership
    Learning Objective: Three simple tools to increase your leadership capacity, based on real life experiences and the latest in neuroscience research.

    Pam Solberg-Tapper, Executive Coach, Speaker, Adventure Marathoner
    Don’t Let the Pressure Derail You!
    Learning Objective: Learn actionable tools that tomorrows leaders need to know today to perform well under pressure.

    Rob Stenberg, President
    Influential Leaders Tell Great Stories! 
    Learning Objective: Learn the importance of finding, creating and sharing great stories. 



    uesday, September 24th

      Fitger's Spirit of the North Theater
      600 E. Superior Street


    Networking, Appetizers and Cash Bar 5:00 - 5:30 pm
    Program 5:30 - 6:30 pm


    • $20.00 for Members   
    • $30.00 for Non-members    
    • $10.00 for Students
    • $20.00 for NHRA Members

    Speaker Bios:

    Kathlynn McConnell. Kathlynn holds a B.A.S. Degree from the University of MN Duluth, is a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP), Chief Refueling Officer (CRO)/president /owner of Lifestyle Consulting Services, and full time Director of Learning and Development for Members Cooperative Credit Union.

    Focusing on the “human side of business”, Kathlynn works with her MCCU team members and partners with businesses and organizations of all sizes, giving them tools to inspire and engage their team so that they can provide exceptional customer service, communicate well and play nicely with each other in the sandbox (which we call the workplace).

    Pam Solberg-Tapper. Pam is the, owner of Coach for Success specializes in leadership development training and coaching. She holds an MBA Degree, serves as an Executive Coach with Ken Blanchard Companies and Tony Robbins International and is Faculty with The Coaches Training Institute. Pam is a co-founder of Aim High Network, a regional women’s leadership organization. She also is a contributing leadership writer to the Duluth News Tribune and holds a monthly professional development segment on ABC TV’s Good Morning Northland program. She is a member of the National Speaker’s Association, Association for Talent Development and Northland Human Resources Association.

    Stacy Johnston. HR thought leader, Stacy Johnston, provides innovative HR solutions with a mission to support organizations in understanding and engaging their biggest competitive advantage… their employees. Johnston is a licensed attorney and holds the SHRM-CP and PHR credentials. In addition to being the founder of HR Learning Lab and Audacity HR, she is an instructor at the Labovitz School of Business and Economics at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), where she teaches in the Human Resource Management Department.  As a certified yoga instructor (RYT 200), Stacy brings a unique perspective and passion for integrated workplace health and wellbeing as an essential component to strong HR practices.  

    Stacy is on the Board at the Lake Superior Chapter ATD (Association for Talent Development), is a member of NHRA (Northland Human Resource Association), SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and NSA (National Speakers Association).

    Rob Stenberg. Rob is Founder and President of Stenberg & Associates - Sales & Leadership Academy. He has been in the sales training and enablement profession for many years and is a Mike Bosworth Leadership Affiliate and teaches storytelling as an influence strategy to leaders and sales professionals. He is also a John Maxwell Leadership Certified Speaker, Trainer and Coach. 

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