To: Our Valued Employees
As global concern about the current COVID-19 outbreak grows, we're doing our best to keep everyone healthy and safe in the workplace while also minimizing the disruptions to our day-to-day operations. We understand the current outbreak is worrying, and we want to take a moment to share ways we can all help keep the workplace safe, as well as the steps we'll take as an organization if and when necessary.
Since the virus is HIGHLY contagious and there's currently no vaccine, we all need to:
Stay home if we are sick
If you experience cold, flu-like symptoms, or simply a running nose, please stay home. The Coronavirus produces cold-like symptoms in 80% of infected individuals, it's important to remain at home when ill regardless of how mild your symptoms are.
Refrain from visiting the workplace after travel to an infected city or high-risk country
Please do not come into the workplace for 14 days if you've visited a city with a high number of confirmed cases. Additionally, if you've visited any city-with or without confirmed cases- in the countries of China, South Korea, Italy, or Iran, please refrain from entering the workplace for 14 days.
Stay at home if we've had contact with a potentially infected person
The virus spreads easily from person to person. Please stay home if you've been in contact with a confirmed case or potentially infected person. This includes persons returning from high-risk countries.
Refresh ourselves on self-hygiene
Cover your nose or mouth with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing. Proper hand washing remains the best way to prevent transmission of the virus. Wash your hands or use sanitizer after using the restroom, touching your face, eating, drinking, coughing, or sneezing, and at regular intervals throughout the day.
Of all these measures, we cannot stress enough the importance of staying home when you're sick Please do your part to keep everyone safe and healthy by refraining from coming into work with symptoms even if you "feel fine".
Considering today's difficult time, we want to share some important information with you about our retirement plan:
1. We are continuing to work in your best interests closely with our professional service providers in managing our retirement plan and in monitoring the plan's investments.
2. The U.S. Congress is working on a bill in response to the current COVID-19 crisis (hopefully, it will become law very soon) which would offer some more flexibility, relief, and options with respect to our retirement plan. Here are the currently proposed (not finalized) relief measures in the Senate bill:
Would expand your early withdrawal options for financial hardship reasons and would waive the related 10% additional income tax.
Would allow you to pay the income tax due on an early withdrawal over 3 years.
Would allow you to repay the amount of an early withdrawal within 3 years in order to avoid any income tax.
Would double the current amount you could borrow from the plan (on a tax-free basis) to 100% of your vested balance but with a loan limit of $100,000.
Would allow you to delay your loan repayments to the plan for up to 1 year.
3. Here are reminders of some important features of our plan:
When can I change my 401 (k) deferral contribution election; i.e. the amount that I am contributing from each pay check to my account in the 401 (k) plan? You may reduce your 401(k) withholding amount to zero on any pay check if you make a written request with sufficient advance notice to our payroll department. Otherwise, you may increase or decrease your 401 (k) withholding amount with sufficient advance written notice to our payroll department.
Currently, what is the Employer's contribution and will it be changed? No change at this time.
When can I change the investments in my account? On a daily basis, you may change the investments related to your current account and to your ongoing contributions.
May I borrow from my account? Yes. You may borrow up to 50% of your vested account balance but with a loan limit of $50,000. Please see our loan policy for more details.
May I withdraw from my account while I'm still employed here? Yes, as follows:
i. If you're age 59 ½
ii. From your rollover account if you rolled any amounts in to the plan
iii. If you've had a qualified financial hardship
When may I withdraw my account after I've terminated employment here? If you terminate employment, you will have the option for your vested account balance to be paid to your or rolled over to an I RA as soon as administratively feasible following your termination and following your request for a distribution payment.
How may I access my plan account to review it or make changes? You may access your account via website or phone-in call center.
4. Here are some words of wisdom from thought leaders in the investment and retirement fields:
a. Stay calm, know that market downturns are normal and markets have rebounded throughout history.
b. Avoid paying any attention to the short-term volatility of your retirement plan; it is a long-term investment.
c. Market downturns may be unsettling, but history shows stocks have recovered and delivered long-term gains.
d. Don't make decisions based on emotions.
e. Strong investors stay invested through ups and downs.
f. Focus on time in the market-not trying to time the market.
g. Some of the best times to buy stocks have been when things seemed the worst.
h. Increase your 401(k) deferral contribution rate. You're buying in now at much lower levels, perhaps at bargain levels.
i. Consistent investing can give you the discipline to buy stocks when they are at their cheapest.
j. Make a plan and stick to it for the long haul.
k. Be in close communication with your financial advisor. A good, trusted advisor is always a great option. You might find it useful to look into a solution that is professionally managed all the time-such as target-date fund.
I. "We view this crisis as a short term hurdle, like a natural disaster, though the scale is unprecedented. After the Great Recession (2009) the Dow Industrial regained their pre-plunge levels in approximately 14 months. The long term outlook for the economy is strong. Our country has overcome natural disasters and world wars. We will get through this together. The policy makers are making the correct moves in a rapid fashion. We know it sounds trite; but keep calm and the markets will rebound." - Pinnacle Investment Advisors, March 17, 2020
5. Concluding thoughts:
For all investment-related questions, please contact our plan's
financial/investment advisor or your personal advisor. Our plan's advisor contact info is: Felix Jones 918-510-3578
Construction Deemed Essential
Here is an excerpt from Gov. Stitt's Memorandum issued 3/25/2020:
"Construction Workers, including residential and commercial, and workers who support the construction, operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction and heavy and civil engineering construction)
Businesses and workers that support the supply chain for commercial and/or residential construction and development
Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, construction material sources, and essential operation of construction sites and construction projects (including those that support such projects to ensure the availability of needed facilities, transportation, energy and communications; and support to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste)."
For more information please see the full Executive Memorandum 2020-01
COVID-19 Notification Protocol
If an employee experiences a cold, flu-like symptoms, or simply a running nose or is exposed to a personal that is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 it is important to remain at home when ill regardless of how mild your symptoms are. Below is the listed protocol step to following if this is to happen:
The employee must notify their direct supervisor immediately of what symptoms they are experiencing or why they are unable to attend work.
The supervisor will notify office personnel that includes- Project Manager, Vice President, and HR.
Effective April 1, employee will be eligible for paid sick leave under the guidelines of EFCRA.
HR will do the necessary paperwork and contact the employee if needed for addition information.
This is in the best interest of our employees; we are here to keep everyone safe. If you have any questions, please contact Whitney Loggin (918) 378-6301 or Shannon Corter (918) 520- 2943. · If at any time that you are off work, you must keep in contact with your employer.
Please review this quick fact sheet regarding Employee Rights per the FFCRA:
The link below is a release from John Hancock regarding how they are helping clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please review:
The below link is an update from Blue Cross regarding insurance enrollment. Please review:
Please review the most updated information below from the US Department of Labor regarding updates to FFCRA as of 4/1/2020
Please contact Whitney with any questions regarding the above releases.
Please review the following document regarding updates to COVID-19 testing policy.
Please review the following documents from the CDC on mask recommendations and updated safety practice guidelines.
Please review the following documents from the CDC on homemade mask and the proper guidelines for wearing a face cover.
Please review the following recommendations from Oklahoma Department of Health.
Please review the following information from Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Please review the following information regarding Insure Oklahoma coverage. Use the links below to provide feedback regarding these changes to your legislator.
Please review the update information regarding handling of COVID-19.
Please review these COVID-19 FAQs.