August 2019 Print


WELCOME BACK!  We hope everyone had a funfilled summer and we are looking forward to seeing everyone at our upcoming September 3rd meeting.    

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HR Leadership Conference was a HIT!

A huge thank you again to everyone who took time out of their busy schedule to support us.  We hope you all had a good time and learned something new to take back to the real world!

A very special thank you to our guest speakers: Susan Burroughs Carter, Wynn Godbold and Molly Cherry; to our sponsors and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Conference for their continued support and to the Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes who provided outstanding service throughout our event.

Thank you!

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Compliance Compass: Healthcare Reform Outlook for 2019

September 03, 2019
8:30 AM to 10:30 AM
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Pine Lakes
5603 Granddaddy Drive
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

Join us!

Compliance Compass: Healthcare Reform Outlook 2019

Over 9 years after implementation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) continues to make headlines. With a renewed focus on healthcare in advance of the 2020 elections, high performing employers must be prepared to navigate the potential changes on the horizon for group health plans. Attend this session to learn more about the latest legislative and litigation trends affecting group health plans, including an overview of the healthcare-related bills working their way through Congress, updates on the status of Employer Shared Responsibility enforcement, evolving wellness program requirements, and more. The session will end with a rundown of the most critical compliance challenges facing employer plan sponsors today and tips on how you can stay ahead of the compliance curve.


  1. Learn about recent legislation and court cases that may impact employee benefit plans.
  2. Review IRS penalty assessment process for penalties associated with deficient offers of health insurance coverage by employers.
  3. Learn about recent changes to wellness program regulations that may impact wellness programs offered to employees.
  4. Discuss practical recommendations and solutions for maintaining the compliance of your health and welfare benefit plans.

Presented by:

Danielle Chanat

Danielle assists in keeping Gallagher staff and clients current on regulatory issues as well as informed on the tools and resources available in Gallagher’s expansive compliance database. Her activities range from fielding day-to-day questions to conducting compliance reviews. Areas of specialty include:

  • PPACA Employer Shared Responsibility rules
  • IRS Section 6055/6056 Reporting requirements
  • Wellness program compliance obligations


Prior to joining Gallagher, Danielle worked in various roles with third party administrators. That experience allowed her to develop a thorough understanding of self-funded group health plan operations and compliance obligations such as plan documentation, eligibility, COBRA, HIPAA portability and HIPAA privacy/security.

Danielle earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Masters in Business Administration from Appalachian State University. She also holds a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) designation.

Your COHR Annual Credit Card Fee Sponsors:

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2019 SC SHRM State Conference

SC SHRM in association with SC Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 - Friday, September 27, 2019

Join us in Myrtle Beach for South Carolina's Biggest and Best HR conference!

SC SHRM is teaming up with the SC Chamber of Commerce to plot a journey for learning, networking, and fun.

Last Day to Book: Friday, August 23, 2019
Hotel(s) offering our special group rate:
Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes for $155 USD per night


Click Here to Book your group rate for 2019 SC SHRM State Conference

See 2018 highlights on Twitter @SCSHRM and Facebook, don't miss out on the education, fun, food and networking

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WE ARE GROWING! Welcome our NEW COHR members!

Sarah Dorman Human Resources Coordinator Interfor
Melissa Abercrombie Director People Department Spectrum Catering Concessions and Events
Danielle Toddy HR Consultant Danielle Toddy
Kersondra Pritchett Human Resource Specialist Grand Strand Health and Wellness
Sherry Dye HR Manager Lowes Home Improvement
Josh Murchison District Coordinator Aflac
Ashley Johnson Human Resources Manager Aramark - CCU Food Crew


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Employee Leave Eligibility and Natural Disasters

Hurricanes and other natural disasters raise questions about leave-taking under the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act 

By Jeff Nowak

Hurricanes and other natural disasters raise a host of issues for employers: how do you pay your employees during suspended operations? Whether and to what extent should health benefits and other benefits be offered?

The aftermath of a hurricane also raises questions about an employer's obligations under laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and in particular an employee's right to take FMLA during a natural disaster.

The FMLA does not, in itself, require employers to give employees time off to attend to personal matters arising out of a natural disaster, such as cleaning a flood-damaged basement, salvaging belongings or searching for missing relatives.

However, an employee would qualify for FMLA leave when, as a result of a natural disaster, the employee suffers a physical or mental illness or injury that meets the definition of a "serious health condition" and renders them unable to perform their job, or the employee is required to care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition who is affected by the natural disaster.

Some examples include the following:

  • As a result of the natural disaster, an employee's chronic condition (such as stress, anxiety or soaring blood pressure) flares up, rendering them unable to perform their job. Where the medical certification supports the need for leave as a result of the natural disaster, FMLA leave is in play.
  • An employee is required to care for a family member with a serious health condition for a reason connected with the natural disaster. Take, for instance, an employee's parent who suffers from diabetes. If the event took out power to the parent's home, the employee may need to help administer the parent'smedication, which must be refrigerated. Similarly, the employee may need to assist a family member when his/her medical equipment is not operating because of a power outage.

In addition, employees who are physically or emotionally injured as the result of a natural disaster also may be entitled to FMLA leave. Moreover, their impairments may be significant enough to rise to the level of disability, resulting in potential employer obligations under the Americans the Disabilities Act (ADA). These medical conditions may arise several weeks and months after the natural disaster hits. Thus, employers should be vigilant in watching for signs of an employee who is unusually scarred by a natural disaster.

Post-Traumatic Stress

Take, for example, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition often associated with military servicemembers returning from active duty. PTSD also can arise out of a natural disaster. In this situation, an employer would not only be required to consider its FMLA obligations for such an employee, but its ADA obligations as well. Here, the employer may need to provide FMLA leave if the employee is unable to perform his or her job duties as a result of a serious health condition, and also may be required to provide reasonable accommodations for the employee, such as the option to telecommute or work from home, or provide leave to attend counseling or receive treatment for the medical condition.

Adequate Documentation

Where an employee is requesting leave as a result of the natural disaster, employers should obtain as much information as possible from the employee to determine whether the absence qualifies as protected leave. Where there is doubt, employers should provide the requisite FMLA paperwork and allow the employee to provide the necessary information to support FMLA leave. (A previous FMLA podcast of ours covers how an employer should respond to a request for FMLA leave.)

Also, employers should ensure that medical certification is sufficient to cover the absence at issue. Where more information is required, employers must follow up with an employee to obtain the information necessary to designate the absence as FMLA leave. Moreover, when an employer has reason to doubt the reasons for FMLA leave, it has the right to seek a second opinion to ensure FMLA leave is appropriate.

Calculating FMLA Leave When the Workplace Closes

If an employer shuts down because of damage related to a hurricane or other natural disaster, and an employee was out on FMLA leave at the time the office closed, is the employee charged FMLA leave for these days?

The FMLA regulations (at 29 CFR § 825.200(h)) clearly state how an employer should calculate FMLA leave when it shuts down its operations:

If for some reason the employer's business activity has temporarily ceased and employees generally are not expected to report for work for one or more weeks (e.g., a school closing two weeks for the Christmas/New Year holiday or the summer vacation or an employer closing the plant for retooling or repairs), the days the employer's activities have ceased do not count against the employee's FMLA leave entitlement.

Thus, the regulations indicate that, if an employer's business is closed for a week or more because of the natural disaster, the days that the business is shuttered could not count against an employee's FMLA leave allotment.

Keep in mind: in these situations, employers cannot count the time against the employee's FMLA allotment even if it is obvious the employee would not have been able to perform the duties of the job during the break. (Listen to this podcast for more information on how to calculate FMLA leave during periods in which the employer is closed for business.)

Jeff Nowak is a partner at the law firm Franczek Radelet P.C., and co-chairs the firm's Labor and Employment Practice. He has extensive experience dealing with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including counseling clients on compliance with FMLA regulations, conducting FMLA audits and training, and successfully litigating FMLA and ADA lawsuits. © 2012 Franczek Radelet P.C. All rights reserved. Republished with permission.


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Redefining Engagement in the New Work-Life World

Presenter: Vincent Branchesi, MetLife

View live: August 20, 2019, 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT (available for on-demand viewing through December 2019)

Program length: 60 minutes

Register now

With low unemployment and heightened competition for top talent, it’s more important than ever for employers to understand and engage their employees in today’s ever-evolving new work-life world. In this program, subject matter expert Vincent Branchesi will share MetLife’s latest research along with actionable guidance to help employers think about their benefits programs more holistically, create more meaningful employee experiences, and achieve a more engaged and loyal workforce. 

Learn about our speakerAbout the Presenter: Vincent Branchesi is an expert on the workforce and a leading voice of MetLife’s Employee Benefits Trend Study. A recognized thought-leader, Branchesi shares his thoughts and expertise on how employers can adapt and stay relevant to today’s evolving workforce, allowing them to attract, engage and retain the best talent.  Prior to discovering his passion for the evolution of the workplace, Branchesi was part of the product strategy team at MetLife that helped grow their accident & health business while improving customized plan design capabilities. He has also overseen focused marketing efforts for some of the largest employee benefits brokerage and consulting firms in the United States. 

Register now


Recertification Credit

SHRM Certification has approved this webcast for 1 PDC toward SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification. A program code will be provided at the end of the webcast. The program also meets recertification credit standards set by the HR Certification Institute and other HR certifying bodies, but candidates must manually enter their activity into their records.

Webcast Sponsor

This webcast is sponsored by MetLife


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