Small Business News
Small Business News

Office & HR News

State Employment Law Update, December 2013

Recent changes in state employment laws may affect you and your business.

Three Ways To Show Your Employees You Appreciate Them

As the holiday season approaches, make plans to show your employees that you appreciate them. Doing so will build morale and loyalty during the holiday rush and into the coming year.

State Employment Law Update, October 2013

Recent changes in state employment laws may affect you and your business.

Feds Issue Health Care Reform Employer Shared Responsibility Information Reporting Rules

The Internal Revenue Service has issued proposed regulations to provide guidance to employers required to report information regarding their compliance with the health care reform shared responsibility mandate.

Health Care Reform Update: Exchanges Won't Offer Small Businesses Plan Choices for 2014

Small businesses looking forward to health plan choices for their employees promised as part of health care reform will be disappointed to learn that most will have only one available option for 2014. The requirement that the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchanges provide small businesses with a choice of health plans for employees is delayed for a year. In addition, online enrollment for federally-facilitated SHOP exchanges is unavailable for 2014 plan years.

State Employment Law Update, August 2013

Recent changes in state employment laws may affect you and your business.

Health Care Reform Update: Feds Issue Transition Relief for Employer Mandate Delay

Health care reform’s employer shared responsibility mandate, scheduled to go into effect beginning in 2014, is postponed until 2015. On July 9, 2013, the IRS provided transition relief for information reporting requirements and employer shared responsibility provisions for 2014.

Health Care Reform Update: What Employers Must Offer in 2015 and the Penalties If They Don’t

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees to offer full-time employees and in some cases their dependents, minimum essential health care coverage that meets affordability and minimum value requirements or face a potential penalty. This mandate, originally scheduled to take effect in 2014, is delayed until 2015.

ABC’s of Summer Energy Savings

In many areas of the country, summer means higher energy bills due to increased consumption and energy surcharges. Now is the time to take action to stop your energy bills from getting you hot under the collar.

State Employment Law Update, June 2013

Recent changes in state employment laws may affect you and your business.

Health Care Reform Requires Employers to Provide Insurance Exchange Notice

As a result of health care reform, health care coverage for certain individuals and employees will be available through health insurance exchanges or marketplaces beginning in 2014. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended the federal Fair Labor Standards Act to require employers to provide employees and new hires with written notice of the existence of the exchanges and information about health care coverage through them. The Department of Labor has issued guidance for employers regarding the content of the notice, which is required effective October 1, 2013. The Department also revised its model COBRA continuation coverage election notice to include health care exchange information.

Are Your Company's Criminal Background Checks Against the Law?

Hiring employees requires employers to use various qualifications and screening to determine which applicants are best-suited for the positions being filled. Recent scrutiny of employers’ criminal background policies for discriminatory practices by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission make it clear that employers must examine their own practices to avoid claims based on disparate impact. Update: District Court dismisses EEOC suit alleging disparate impact.

Mandatory Workplace Posting of Employee Union Rights Delayed by Courts

The National Labor Relations Board has postponed its employee rights posting rule pending the resolution of court cases denying the agency's authority to issue and enforce the posting requirement. In an appeals court decision on May 7, 2013, the posting requirement is vacated because it violates employers’ free speech rights. On June 14, 2013, another appeals court invalidated the posting requirement, stating that the NLRB exceeded its authority.

Your LLC and Spring Cleaning - Which Records to Keep or Toss?

State Employment Law Update, April 2013

Recent changes in state employment laws may affect you and your business.

Let Your Business Do the Hiring and Protect Yourself from Liability

Establishing a formal entity structure for your business makes it possible to have the company do the employee hiring, protecting you from the legal liabilities that can arise during the hiring process.

Health Care Reform Alert: Are You Subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate?

Beginning in 2014, employers of 50 or more may be required to offer employees health care coverage or be liable for an assessable payment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Act. Because the 50-employee threshold calculation includes part-time employees and the mandate’s application is based on 2013 data, employers must act now to assess their options regarding health care benefits and their workforce. Update: The employer shared responsibility mandate requiring covered employers to offer full-time employees health care coverage or be subject to penalties is delayed until 2015.

Six Strikes Program Could Impact Small Businesses

Small businesses that have internet protocol addresses that are drawn from their internet service providers pool of residential IP addresses may run afoul of the new Copyright Alert System designed to reduce illegal downloading of copyright protected information.

Feds Issue Long-Awaited Revised Form I-9

When making a new hire, employers must document employment eligibility by properly completing Form I-9. A newly revised version of Form I-9 was issued on March 8, 2013, which employers are required to put into use within 60 days.

Celebrate Earth Day By Taking Your Records Electronic

Earth Day serves as the perfect reminder that we can all play a part in greening our world. Reducing your reliance on paper records can be a win-win for Earth and your business, as long as electronic records are properly created, retained and destroyed.

State Employment Law Update, March 2013

Recent changes in state employment laws may affect you and your business.

Daylight Savings Brings Payroll Puzzles

Daylight saving time can impact on employers with hourly employees working at the time that daylight saving time begins and ends.

Protecting Workers During Winter Storm Season

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers tips and resources to help employers keep their workers safe from the hazards of winter storms.

Fighting the Flu

Steps every employer can take to alleviate the flu season's effect on the workplace.

State Employment Law Update, December 2012

Recent changes in state employment laws may affect you and your business.

Take Advantage of Simple Cafeteria Benefit Plan Option in Health Care Act

The Supreme Court decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act affirmed the creation of simple cafeteria plans for small employers. This option gives qualifying small businesses the advantages of offering employee benefits through a plan traditionally used by larger employers.

Social Security Administration Offers Online Access to Earnings and Benefits Statements

With online access to Social Security annual earnings and benefits statements, small business owners and their employees can review earnings records and ensure they have accurate information for their financial planning.

A Look Ahead: It's Almost Time for Year-End Employee Reviews

The end of the year is fast approaching, and if you’re an employer, it’s almost time for annual reviews for your employees. It’s critical that you take time out of your busy schedule to let your employees know how they’re doing, get their feedback and award the appropriate raises.

End of Daylight Saving Time May Require Payroll Adjustment

Turning back the clocks during the first weekend of November may affect wages and overtime pay for employees working overnight hours.

State Employment Law Update, October 2012

Recent changes in state employment laws may affect you and your business.

Employers May Continue to Use E-Verify

The federal E-Verify program, used by employers to confirm the identity and eligibility of employees to work in the United States, is extended through September 30, 2015.

Procrastination Can Be a Boon for Business: Capitalizing on Quarter-End Discounts

While the early bird catches the worm, the smart entrepreneur knows the worm sales manager may offer a better discount near quarter-end. Plan your purchases to get the most bang for your buck.

Weather the Storm by Reining in Your Data: An Overview of Business File Back-Ups

Learn the steps to keeping your data safe from natural and manmade disasters.

Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst: Planning for Disaster

September is National Preparedness Month, and the month when natural disasters of various types often strike. Every business should have some type of plan in place to deal with what Mother Nature might bring, as well as other crises and smaller emergencies that can cause big disruptions.

Expiring Form I-9 Stll Valid for New Hires

Employers should continue to use the current version of Form I-9, expiring August 31, 2012, to verify new employees’ identity and eligibility to work in the United States.

State Employment Law Update, August 2012

Recent changes in state employment laws may affect you and your business.

Guns in the Workplace

State and local laws are in place that may directly or indirectly impact the carrying and use of weapons in the workplace.

OSHA Warns: Don't Text and Drive

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is asking employers to address the dangers caused by workers texting while driving.

Fed Paperwork Increases for Health Benefit Open Enrollment Periods

Now that the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been affirmed, employers that offer health plan benefits must ensure they are in compliance with the new reporting and disclosure requirements in time for the annual open enrollment period and beyond. [Update: Additional information is required for health care plan coverage for 2014.]

Think Twice Before Saying Goodbye to Seasonal Help

If you hire seasonal workers to meet summer demands, you may be able to make these temporary help solutions work for your business year-round.

Furthering Your Employees' Education is Good for Business

Picking up the tab for your employees’ education offers a unique opportunity to provide an employee benefit that can add real value to your business with the added bonus of tax breaks for both you and your employees.

State Employment Law Update, July 2012

Recent changes in state employment laws may affect you and your business.

Health Care Reform Survives Constitutional Challenge, Marches Forward

The U.S. Supreme Court rules that penalizing individuals who fail to carry minimum essential health insurance is constitutional under Congress’ taxing power, upholding a key component of health care reform legislation.

Impact of ObamaCare Ruling

Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act moves forward for now, with some delays and the debate continuing. This complex and far-reaching federal law will certainly impact how health insurance is bought and how health care is delivered. The BizFilings Toolkit team is offering comprehensive coverage of what the ObamaCare law means to the small business community.

Giving Employees Vacation Time Off

Planning for your employees' vacations can minimize disruptions to your business.

Alternatives for Hiring Summer Help

Summer is a great time to hire your children or students interested in your business to fill your seasonal hiring needs.

Protecting Workers From the Heat

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is offering tips to help employers reduce the risk of employee heat-related illnesses.

Employee or Independent Contractor? Feds and States Join Forces to Fight Worker Misclassification

Correctly classifying your workers as independent contractors or employees is more important than ever now that the DOL, the Internal Revenue Service and several states are partnering to enforce compliance.

Managing Risk in the Workplace

'Managing Risk in the Workplace' offers advice from risk managers and safety experts for improving conditions at your business.

Consider Hiring Your Children This Summer

Hiring your children during the summer can keep them productively occupied and provide you with some significant tax savings.

Don't Let Temporary Workers Leave You with a Permanent Problem

'Don't Let Temporary Workers Leave You with a Permanent Problem' reports on the trouble many are having finding good help, the dangers of negligent hiring and steps you can take to avoid this problem

How the Unemployment System Works - Part 1

'How the Unemployment System Works -- Part 1' reports on the ins and outs of the unemployment compensation system, including how your tax rate is assessed and the eligibility requirements for employees.

How the Unemployment System Works - Part 2

'How the Unemployment System Works -- Part 2' reports on the ins and outs of the unemployment compensation system, including which factors can make one of your employees disqualified for benefits

Paying Tipped Employees

The federal minimum wage rate may affect the amount you have to pay your tipped employees

Lesser-Known Parts of the FLSA

"'Lesser-Known Parts of the FLSA' reports on some of the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act that you might not be aware of."

When is a Minimal Fringe Benefit Not So Minimal?

An Internal Revenue Service ruling--revoking a prior decision that clothing and accessories provided by an employer to employees constituted de minimis fringe benefits--highlights the fuzzy lines regarding the definition of such benefits.

Developing Work Rules

'Developing Work Rules' reports on various topics to consider when devising, implementing and enforcing workplace rules.

Feds to Require Posting of Employee Union Rights in the Workplace

The National Labor Relations Board has postponed its requirement that employers post a notice of employee rights regarding union activity in the workplace pending the resolution of court cases denying the agency's authority to issue and enforce the posting requirement.

Good Faith ADA Effort Protects Employers

'Good Faith ADA Effort Protects Employers' reports on the process by which business owner's can comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and protect themselves from employment-related lawsuits.

Helpful Hints for Hiring Your Children

There are many benefits to hiring your own children, but don't run afoul of federal or state child labor laws.

Job Qualifications Can Contain Legal Traps

'Job Qualifications Can Contain Legal Traps' reports on the correct way to determine job qualifications for an vacant position, thereby avoiding liability in discrimination suits.

Electronically Complete and Store Forms I-9

Employers are allowed to electronically complete, sign, scan, and store Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Smartphone Smarts

Smartphones offer a wonderful convenience, but carry the risks of ID theft, viruses, and malware.

Home-Based Ergonomics

There are many steps you can take to improve the quality of life in your home office.

Keeping Your Workplace Healthy

There are steps every employer can take to reduce the risk of exposure to the flu and in the event of a pandemic.

Preventing Violence in the Workplace - What You Do Can Make a Difference

Employers are facing an increased incidence of workplace violence and need to take steps to prevent it, or to minimize its impact if it does occur.

Workplace Safety Rules

'Workplace Safety Rules' offers a step-by-step analysis of how to determine your obligations under OSHA's workplace safety rules and then how to comply with them.

Permanent Resident Card Redesigned

The Permanent Resident Card, used by employers to verify employees' identity and eligibility to work, has been redesigned by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to combat fraud.

Tips for Hiring Your First Employee

Hiring your first employee can be a challenge, but thinking through the process in advance can ensure a good experience.

Making the Job Offer

'Making the Job Offer' reports on what to do and not do when offering employment to a prospective employee.

New Health Care Reform Information Resources Are Available

The government has created online educational resources to assist in understanding specific provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Controlling Energy Costs

'Controlling Energy Costs' explains some common ways to reduce energy consumption and save money over time.

At-Will Employment - Part 1

'At-Will Employment -- Part 1' reports on the typical employment relationship and how to avoid running afoul of state and federal wrongful discharge employment laws.

At-Will Employment - Part 2

'At-Will Employment -- Part 2' reports on the typical employment relationship and how to avoid wrongful discharge claims in state and federal court.

When is an Intern an Employee?

The Department of Labor has provided the general criteria employers should use to determine whether an unpaid intern is an employee subject to the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

States May Get Early Opportunity to Opt Out of Health Care Mandate

President Obama has thrown his support behind an amendment that would allow states to opt out in 2014 from the requirement that individuals and businesses purchase insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Is Time Off To Vote Required By Your State?

Employers need to be aware of various state laws and penalties regarding employees' right to vote during working hours.

Revised Version of Form I-9 Issued

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has released a new version of Form I-9 to verify individuals' identity and U.S. employment authorization.

The Dressing-for-Work-at-Home Dilemma

'The Dressing-for-Work-at-Home Dilemma' gives tips on how best to increase productivity and comfort by properly dressing yourself for your home-based business, including what issues to consider for your particular circumstances.

When Your Business Needs Staffing Help

Is an employee or an independent contractor the better choice for your small business?

Zoning for Home Occupations

'Zoning for Home Occupations' recaps the common issues of concern for home-based businesses and how best to craft zoning laws that protect the neighborhood as well as the businesses in it.

A Leasing Lexicon

'A Leasing Lexicon' helps the reader answer whether to buy or lease office space and gives a definition of terms and jargon used in leasing arrangements.

Home Office vs. Leased Office Space - Reasons to Get Out of the House

'Home Office vs. Leased Office Space -- Reasons to Get Out of the House' reviews the challenges of working from home and the reasons many businesses need to have separate office space.

Understanding and Remedying Employee Turnover

'Understanding and Remedying Employee Turnover' reports on the various reasons for employee turnover, as well as ways to address the problem and its costs.

What Compensation Is Taxable?

'What Compensation is Taxable?' reports on the many types of compensation and how they are treated under payroll tax law.

Bed Bugs Could Be Big Problem for Small Businesses

Bed bugs can cost small businesses big bucks in potential losses of business, customers, productivity, employees, and morale.

Complying With GINA's Nondiscrimination Rules

Employers can find themselves in trouble with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act when requesting medical information about an employee, unless they follow new, specific rules.

Setting Up the Home Office

'Setting Up the Home Office' lists the numerous considerations and advantages to setting up a functional and low-cost home office for your small business.

Website Provides Comprehensive Disaster Assistance Information

DisasterAssistance.gov, a federal government website, provides comprehensive information for those affected by a disaster with access to a wide range of assistance.

Don't Ask Job Applicants the Wrong Questions

It's important to understand what you can--and can't--ask a job applicant.

Measuring Employee Productivity

'Measuring Employee Productivity' reports on different methods to measure your employees' output and ways to improve the results.

OSHA Provides Advice on Protecting Night-shift Retail Employees

An OSHA publication provides suggestions for increasing worker safety at retail businesses open during nighttime hours.