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Office Closed 02/03/2022

Due to the weather, our office will remain closed today, February 3, 2022. We will resume normal operations tomorrow, February 4th at 8 am. 

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Nearly 300 new Illinois laws take effect Jan. 1. Here's some of the ones you should know about

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WREX) — When the clock strikes 12:00 a.m. Saturday morning, hundreds of new laws will go take effect in Illinois.

According to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, the new laws include a wide variety of topics; including minimum wage going up, criminal justice reform, excused mental health days for students and more.

In total, there will be nearly 300 new laws going into effect next year. The beginning of 2021 saw just three new laws go into effect after the coronavirus pandemic shut down majority of the legislative session in 2020.

 

Here's a look at some of the new laws you should know about:

 

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Illinois is set to increase another dollar on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. The new wage will be $12 an hour.

The raise in minimum wage is part of legislation Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed back in 2019 that increases the state's minimum wage to $15 by 2025. There have been three increases in the minimum wage since the governor signed the wage hike legislation.

SB 817

Prohibits schools from issuing policies on hairstyles historically associated with race or ethnicity. The legislation addresses injustices in dress code polices and protects Black youth in Illinois facing hair bias in schools.

The governor signed the legislation in the summer.

HB 576/SB 1577

Gives students at Illinois Public Schools up to five excused absences to prioritize their mental health. No medical note is required. 

HB 3922

Recognizes June 19 – Juneteenth – as an official holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S.

The legislation clarifies that Juneteenth will be a paid holiday for state workers and public education professionals when June 19 falls on a weekday. Given that June 19 falls on a Sunday in 2022, the first paid state holiday for Juneteenth will be in 2023.

Gov. Pritzker signed the legislation in June. 

HB 3653: Criminal Justice Reform 

A bill that brings sweeping criminal justice and police reforms, including the end of cash bail in Illinois.

The governor signed the controversial bill back in February

Provisions of the bill, which include several elements opposed by law enforcement and victims’ advocacy groups, take effect at different times. One provision of the law taking effect at the beginning of the new year includes the start of the phase-in requirement that all law enforcement officers in the state wear body cameras by 2025.

 

Click here to take a look at some of the other changes of the bill. 

HB 168

Those who have been convicted of two or more animal abuse offenses will no longer be allowed to own a pet. 

Click here to learn more about the new law. 

SB 122

Bans police from lying to kids and teens during interrogations. The bill was signed as part of a package of bills back in June

FOID Card Changes:

• Encourages but does not require fingerprinting. Those who agree to fingerprinting are granted a streamlined process for renewal of FOID Cards and CCL licenses.

• Allows for the Illinois State Police to issue a combined FOID Card and concealed carry license to qualified applicants.

• Requires the Illinois State Police to establish a public database of all firearms that have been reported stolen to be checked prior to the transfer of any firearm to prevent the inadvertent transfer of stolen firearms.

• Tasks a new Violent Crime Intelligence Task Force to conduct enforcement operations against those with revoked FOID Cards.

 

HB 605

Requires state agencies and institutions to only purchase Illinois and American flags made in the U.S.

SB 58

Lowers the registration fee for trailers weighing less than 3,000 lbs. from $118 to $36.

SB 0160

Requires a restaurant or truck stop to provide its employees with training in the recognition of human trafficking and protocols for reporting observed human trafficking to the appropriate authority.

SB 0161

Allows the Secretary of State’s office to accept electronic signatures and delivery of records.

SB 1677

Amends the Stalking No Contact Order Act to include electronic communication in the definition of “contact.”

 

SB 0505

Provides members of the Illinois National Guard serving on State Active Duty, federal duty or training status with a state flag presented to their next of kin upon their death.

HB 310

Creates the Feminine Hygiene Products for the Homeless Act, which ensures that feminine hygiene products are available for free at all homeless shelters providing housing assistance to women and/or youth.

To learn more, click here

HB 376

Requires every public elementary and high school to include in its curriculum a unit of instruction studying the events and contributions of Asian Americans in Illinois and the U.S.

Pritzker signed the bill back in July

HB 226

Allows Illinois students to choose whether to submit a standardized test score when applying to Illinois public universities.

SB 0512: Teen Vaping

Creates the Preventing Youth Vaping Act by placing additional restrictions and regulations on e-cigarettes.

SB 119: Hayli's Law

Allows a lemonade stand to be operated by a person under 16 without regulation and without the need to apply for a temporary food permit with the local health department.

Governor Pritzker signed the bill in the summer. 

HB 122

Ends early termination fees on utility contracts for deceased residents. As of Jan. 1, providers of telephone, cellular phone, television, Internet, energy, medical alert system, and water services are prohibited from charging a fee for termination or early cancellation of a service contract.

SB 346

Requires the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to put in place a school-based dental program that would allow out-of-office preventative services – like teeth cleanings.

WREX Newsroom   by Andrew Carrigan
Dec 28, 2021

See the full article here.

Wishing you a Happy and Joyful New Year

In honor of the New Year, the Tedrick Group will be closed Friday, December 31, 2021 and will reopen at 8am on Monday, January 3, 2022.  

We wish you all a safe and Happy New Year!

COVID-19 Relief Package (the American Rescue Plan Act)

Latest COVID Relief Package: What Businesses Need to Know

Emily Hartman / March 15, 2021

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act to support the American economy and provide $1.9 trillion in relief funds. We dug into the COVID relief bill and what businesses need to know and do.

FFCRA Tax Credits Continue

The Families First Coronavirus Rescue Plan Act (FFCRA) and the requirement employers provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave expired at the end of 2020. Around the same time the FFCRA ended, Congress passed an extension of the tax credit for employers who volunteered to provide emergency leave through March 31, 2021.

The American Response Act extends that tax credit to employers who opt to continue providing FFCRA leave from the end of March to September 30, 2021.

As a refresher, FFCRA-related emergency paid sick leave, and emergency paid family, and medical leave is provided for reasons including:

  • Acquiring an immunization/vaccination for COVID-19
  • Recovering from an illness, injury, disability, or injury related to the COVID-19 immunization
  • Waiting on test or diagnoses results for COVID-19

 

Additionally, there is a non-discrimination rule to ensure that employers consistently implement the leave.

Employers should also note that if they voluntarily provide sick leave, the American Rescue Act allows employers to voluntarily provide an additional ten days of FFCRA paid sick leave, starting April 1, 2021. This is not a requirement.

What Should Businesses Do?

  • Review your current sick leave and family and medical leave practices.
  • Consult with your legal counsel regarding state or local laws with paid sick leave requirements.
  • If you’re not already, determine if your business will want to voluntarily provide emergency paid sick leave to your employees.
  • Consult your legal counsel on how best to implement the leave in a consistent, uniform manner.
  • Continue to monitor for future updates about FFCRA leave through the Biden Administration.

 

Small Business Relief

Food and Beverage Businesses. The American Rescue Plan provides $25 billion to the Small Business Administration for a program targeted to support restaurants and other food and beverage businesses. The grants are available for up to $10 million and can be applied to payroll, mortgage, rent, utilities, and food and beverage expenses.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Act provides $7 billion to the PPP to help small businesses with the possibility of 100% loan forgiveness. The bill also provides an expansion to certain nonprofit organizations, and some businesses may be eligible for a second loan from this program.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance Program. Businesses with less than 10 employees will be given priority. $15 billion in funds will be distributed to the EIDL Advance program to help businesses experiencing revenue losses resulting from COVID-19. Businesses could receive assistance to help cover financial and operating costs that would otherwise have been if not for the pandemic.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Program. This assistance program, which will receive $15 billion in funding, is geared for businesses like live venues, theaters, performing arts centers, museums, etc. Those businesses that qualify for SVOG could also qualify for loans under the PPP.

What Should Employers Do?

  • Consult with your legal counsel to determine if your business may qualify for one of the above programs.

 

Unemployment Benefits

The American Rescue Plan Act extends and increases the previous unemployment benefits that were provided under the CARES Act and the previous stimulus package (expiring this month). There are a few provisions to note:

  • Unemployment benefits will remain at $300/week. The benefits are available until September 6, 2021.
  • The first $10,200 of unemployment received during 2020 will be untaxable for households that have an income of less than $150,000.
  • The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) has been extended for those who are self-employed or gig workers and might not otherwise receive state unemployment benefits.

 

What Should Employers Do?

  • Make a note of the September 6 end date and adjust your transition plans accordingly.

 

Multiemployer Union Penions

Under the American Rescue Plan Act, there are no surcharges for employer contributions, no employer PBGC premiums, and withdrawal penalties. Those multiemployer plans that are categorized as “critical and declining” will be given a lump sum by the U.S. Treasury to pay benefits through 2051. There are restrictions on how this money can be used, and the rules around this provision are subject to change.

What Should Employers Do?

  • If your business contributes to one of these plans, regularly request annual estimates of each plan’s withdrawal liability.

 

Other Tax Credits and Benefits

Employee Retention Credit (ERC)

The ERC has been extended through December 31, 2021, and expanded to include some start-up businesses that might not have previously qualified. Those particular businesses have an ERC capped at $50,000/quarter.

Child Tax Credit.

Individuals who earn more than $75,000 or joint returns of $150,000 or more are phased out of the law’s child tax credit. The credits are fully refundable, so those individuals or families who pay little to no tax can still take advantage of this credit either through monthly payment or lump sum.

The bill also temporarily increases the credit amount as follows:

  • Per child ages six through 17: $3,000
  • Per child under the age of six: $3,600

 

COBRA Premiums

The Act provides a 100% COBRA premium subsidy starting April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021, for employees that have been involuntarily terminated. Employers must send the subsidy along to the individual to pay for COBRA during this time.

There is a provision under the American Rescue Plan Act where terminated employees who doesn’t elect COBRA coverage by April 1, or elected for it and then discontinued it, may elect it again during a special enrollment period that starts on April 1 and ends 60 days after the COBRA notification date was sent.

The coverage could also end early for these individuals if they reach their maximum coverage period before September 2021 or become eligible for another group health plan or Medicare.

The Department of Labor will be publishing model notices within 30 days after the American Rescue Plan Act was enacted.

What Should Employers Do?

  • Review your current COBRA notification process and information.
  • Review and identify any individuals who had a qualifying event in 2020 and could be eligible and elect for COBRA during the subsidy period.
  • Consult with your legal counsel on your plan of action to identify these individuals, your notices, and procedures to ensure compliance with these changes.
  • By May 30, 2021, employers’ COBRA notices must include information about the subsidy and 60-day enrollment period for qualified individuals.
  • Whether as an amended or separate document the following information must be provided: the forms necessary to establish the individuals eligibility for COBRA premium assistance, name, address, phone number to contact the plan administrator, extended election period description, information about the option to enroll in different coverage.
  • A separate expiration notice must be sent to individuals when their premium assistance period will soon expire.
  • Notify individuals when their subsidy will end before September 30, 2021.
  • Monitor the DOL for the release of the Model Cobra Notice.

 

Vaccine Funding

Over $15 billion in the American Rescue Plan Act will go towards improving and expanding the distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine across the county. Initiatives to promote vaccination, increase access, development, manufacturing and more also fall within this effort.

What Should Employers Do?

  • There continue to be no workplace requirements regarding vaccinations.
  • Employers should review their current policies and procedures when it comes to a workforce that is partially vaccinated.
  • Seek your legal counsel to ensure that any changes you make to your policies are procedures that meet with federal, state, and local requirements.

 

Stimulus Payments

The federal government will be sending up to $1,400 in stimulus checks to individuals making less than $75,000 (or $150,000 for those filing jointly).

What is Not Included in the Relief Package

During much debate, a few provisions were eliminated from the final version of the legislation. It is worth noting what items don’t make the cut so that employers aren’t surprised if these issues come back to the forefront in future legislation.

  • $15 minimum wage
  • Phasing out tip credits were initially part of the legislation but were ultimately eliminated.

Emily Hartman, Marketing Manger at KPA
Latest COVID Relief Package: What Businesses Need to Know (kpa.io) 

Information regarding new law impacting Illinois Employers

New Law Prohibits Employers from Asking for Wage History
Pursuant to Public Act 101-0177 the Illinois Equal Pay Act now bans employers and employment agencies from asking about applicants’ past wage and compensation histories. This law takes effect on September 29, 2019. Employers can be penalized for asking the applicant or the applicant’s current or former employers for wage or salary history. If they have not yet done so, employers should review their employment applications to make sure they do not ask for salary and wage history. They should also train those involved in hiring on the new law. For more information you may contact the Illinois Department of Labor at the Equal Pay Hotline 866-372-4365.

Frequently Asked Questions on Wage History Ban

  1. Can employers ask for salary history or use salary history when determining whether to offer a job or when determining how much to pay the job applicant?
    No. It is unlawful for an employer to request or require a wage or salary history from a job applicant as a condition of being considered for employment or as a condition of employment.
  2. Can employers ask about employment benefits that have been provided in the past to a job applicant during the application process?
     No. It is also unlawful for an employer to request or require a job applicant to disclose benefits or other compensation received at any current or former employer as a condition of being considered for employment or as a condition of employment.
  3. Who is covered by the law?
    Illinois job applicants. This includes applicants to part-time and full-time positions, temporary or permanent, whether hourly or salary. The law however does not cover independent contractors.
  4. Can employers use recruiters to determine applicants' salary histories?
    No. Recruiters, employment agencies, staffing agency or any other agent of an employer may not screen applicants based on their current or prior wages or salary histories, benefits or other compensation.
  5. Can an employer ask a current or former employer of the job applicant for the applicant’s wage history?
    No. It is unlawful for an employer or their agent to ask for a wage or salary history, benefits or other compensation from an applicant’s employer or former employers when conducting verification or reference checks.
  6. What if the employee already works for the company where he or she is applying?
    The prohibition does not apply if a job applicant’s salary history is a matter of public record or if the applicant is a current employee applying with the same employer.
  7. Can an employer prohibit employees from discussing their salaries?
    No. An employer cannot prohibit its employees from disclosing their own salaries, benefits or other compensation to other individuals.
  8. Can job applicants volunteer salary history information?
     Yes. Applicants may voluntarily disclose their prior wage or salary history including benefits or other compensation. The employer shall not consider or rely on the voluntary disclosures as a factor in determining whether to offer a job applicant employment, in making an offer of compensation, or determining future wages, salary or benefits.
  9. Can employers provide a salary range to an applicant or discuss with an applicant their salary and benefits expectations?
    Yes. An employer can provide information about the wages, benefits, compensation, or salary offered in relation to a position. The employer can also engage in discussions with an applicant about the applicant’s expectations with respect to wage or salary or benefits.
  10. Who do I contact if I have questions about the new law?
    You should call the Illinois Department of Labor at the Equal Pay Hotline 866-372-4365

https://www2.illinois.gov/idol/News/Documents/DOL%20Wage%20History%20Release.pdf

 

5 Ways to Spot a Phishing Email

A phishing attack is a form of social engineering by which cyber criminals attempt to trick individuals by creating and sending fake emails that appear to be from an authentic source, such as a business or colleague. The email might ask you to confirm personal account information such as a password or prompt you to open a malicious attachment that infects your computer with a virus or malware.

Phishing emails are one of the most common online threats, so it is important to be aware of the tell-tale signs and know what to do when you encounter them. Here are five ways to spot phishing attacks.

  1. The email asks you to confirm personal information

Often an email will arrive in your inbox that looks very authentic. Whether this email matches the style used by your company or that of an external business such as a bank, hackers can go to painstaking lengths to ensure that it imitates the real thing. However, when this authentic-looking email makes requests that you wouldn’t normally expect, it’s often a strong giveaway that it’s not from a trusted source after all.

Keep an eye out for emails requesting you to confirm personal information that you would never usually provide, such as banking details or login credentials. Do not reply or click any links and if you think there’s a possibility that the email is genuine, you should search online and contact the organization directly  – do not use any communication method provided in the email.

  1. The web and email addresses do not look genuine

It is often the case that a phishing email will come from an address that appears to be genuine. Criminals aim to trick recipients by including the name of a legitimate company within the structure of email and web addresses. If you only glance at these details they can look very real but if you take a moment to actually examine the email address you may find that it’s a bogus variation intended to appear authentic ‒ for example: @mail.airbnb.work as opposed to @Airbnb.com

Malicious links can also be concealed with the body of email text, often alongside genuine ones.  Before clicking on links, hover over and inspect each one first.

  1. It’s poorly written

It is amazing how often you can spot a phishing email simply by the poor language used in the body of the message. Read the email and check for spelling and grammatical mistakes, as well as strange turns of phrase. Emails from legitimate companies will have been constructed by professional writers and exhaustively checked for spelling, grammar and legality errors. If you have received an unexpected email from a company, and it is riddled with mistakes, this can be a strong indicator it is actually a phish.

Interestingly, there is even the suggestion that scam emails are deliberately poorly written to ensure that they only trick the most gullible targets.

  1. There’s a suspicious attachment

Alarm bells should be ringing if you receive an email from a company out of the blue that contains an attachment, especially if it relates to something unexpected. The attachment could contain a malicious URL or trojan, leading to the installation of a virus or malware on your PC or network. Even if you think an attachment is genuine, it’s good practice to always scan it first using antivirus software.

  1. The message is designed to make you panic

It is common for phishing emails to instill panic in the recipient. The email may claim that your account may have been compromised and the only way to verify it is to enter your login details. Alternatively, the email might state that your account will be closed if you do not act immediately. Ensure that you take the time to really think about whether an email is asking something reasonable of you. If you’re unsure, contact the company through other methods.

Ultimately, being cautious with emails can’t hurt. Always remember this tip-
STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ tip:

When in doubt, throw it out: Links in emails, social media posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to steal your personal information. Even if you know the source, if something looks suspicious, delete it.

 

Author Bio

Mike James is a Brighton based writer and cybersecurity professional who specializes in penetration testing, ethical hacking and other cybersecurity issues facing businesses of all sizes

To see the original article, click here.

Tedrick Group Recognized for Solar Installation


FROM LEFT, Andrew Verderber of Springfield Electric; Gener Eyre of Springfield Electric; Roger Tedrick, owner of the Tedrick Group; Chad Brandon, President and Certified Risk Architect of the Tedrick Group; Pam Allen, president of Clinton Electric and Owen Allen, vice president of Clinton Electric.

A ceremony was held Wednesday, February 27, 2019 to recognize the Tedrick Group for being the first commercial solar array system installed within the city.

Pam Allen, president of Clinton Electric based in Ina, said that February 4th was the date where the system got energized at the Tedrick Group.
"We are really recognizing two things today: the solar array being energized and the fact that the Tedrick Group is the first commercial solar array in the city of Mt. Vernon," Allen said, "That is really no surprise to me at all.  We are a customer of theirs and we have been with them for many years for our insurance."

Roger Tedrick, owner of the Tedrick Group, discussed the decision to have the solar array installed.
"We like to be on the cutting edge and the first one in the community to have solar on our building," Tedrick said.  "We think it is the right thing to do.  When we first approached it with Clinton Electric, we had that discussion and cost was a factor of course, there are tax credits."
"It's still a leap of faith.  You still have to feel like it is the right thing to do," Tedrick said.  "I hope it is a catalyst for other people to look into it and go down this path."

The total cost of the system was $70,369, with some tax credits helping to offset the cost.

Darren Volle, energy team leader of Springfield Electric, which has a branch office in Mt. Vernon, discussed their involvement with this project.
"Springfield Electric is a distributor of electrical equipment. We have a team that Andrew [Verderber] is a part of and he designed and engineered it," Velle said.  "That team goes around and puts together all of the bills and materials, the design of the system, consults with structural engineer on the roof to make sure it is structurally sound to hold the array.
"Then we go in and we apply for all the rebates, speak with the customer about the tax credits, what the payback is going to be," Volle said.  "That is what our team focuses on for the solar.  Then we partner with Clinton Electric, who does all the installation and who has the relationships with the customers."

The new system will require minimal maintenance, as Verderber shared some of the specifications of the panels that were installed on the roof of the Tedrick Group Building.  The size of their solar array is a 22.7-kilowatt system.
“They are 360-watt panels and there are 63 of them,” Verderber said.  “They are American made from Mission Solar out of Texas. So that was something that Tedrick and Clinton really liked about that panel, just the American made aspect.”

Allen commented on Clinton Electric’s relationship with the Tedrick Group.
“They are a leader in the insurance industry,” Allen said.  “They are on the cutting edge of what is going on in the insurance world.  They are a leader. They are not catching up, they are leading the way and it is not surprising that they are doing that with the solar array as well.”

Allen gave her reaction to Clinton Electric being the installer for the system for the Tedrick Group.
“We are really proud that we got to be the installer on their solar array, and as soon as we get some nice weather it will really start producing energy,” Allen said. “You will have about 62 percent of your energy needs supplied by this array.  That is the estimate with the type of system that was put in.  Over 25 to 30 years, the projection is that you will save a little over $100,000 on your electric bills.”

A plaque was presented to the Tedrick Group recognizing them for being the first commercial system array in the city, along with the date the system was energized.

Written by Josh Jones, Sentinel News Staff and published in the February 28, 2019 edition of the Mt. Vernon Sentinel

COVID-19-Eight articles that contain answers to help you navigate the complexity of the issues.

The Tedrick Group Celebrates Lisa Champlin and her 20 Years of Service

The Tedrick Group office was closed October 1st from 12:00PM to 1:30PM in order to honor Lisa Kay Champlin and her 20 year anniversary with the Tedrick Group with a staff luncheon.  Congratulations and Thank You to Lisa for her long time of service!

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