December 2014 Archives

My friend and I want to go into business: Part 3

As you grow your business and start to hire more employees, you will begin to face a lot of new issues. Many of these issues are addressed by having an employee handbook that provides the rulebook for your workplace. The employee handbook forces you to think about issues like paid time off (PTO), workplace reporting structures, job responsibilities. An employee handbook is also the ideal place to advise employees about what type of behavior will be tolerated in the workplace and what is not. The employee handbook is not a contract between you and your employees but rather is a guide to the company’s expectations.   If you have employees, an employee handbook is a must to avoid any misunderstandings and to ensure that all employees are aware of the company’s rules and expectations as well as what to do when facing a conflict in the workplace. Having all of these details outlined ahead of time ensures efficiency and fairness in the workplace, and may even avert potential conflicts between employees and management.

My friend and I want to go into business: Part 2

Once you have your partnership agreement, signed by all parties, in place, you should consult with a good accountant. The next most important piece of the puzzle is to ensure that your partnership books and records are set up properly and efficiently. Your goal is business is to grow and make a profit. Once you are on that trajectory, you won’t have time to deal with issues like setting up your Quickbooks account or figuring out what is deductible and what isn’t or even how to properly record expenses. Your business will be more likely to succeed if you have a solid infrastructure in place before you start.

My friend and I want to go into business: Part 1

To start a business with a partner, you should always have a partnership agreement in place. Even though you are good friends and have the same objectives at the start of the venture that may not be true later.   A partnership agreement sets out each partner’s rights and responsibilities, clarifies the ownership shares, share of profits and most importantly, what happens when a dispute arises. Without an agreement that details buy-out provisions, adding new partners, additional investments, voting rights, etc. you are more likely to fail in this business venture. The lack of clarity on these issues while result in a lot of wasted time and maybe even an irreconcilable dispute that will ruin this relationship. A partnership agreement makes sure that everyone is on the same page before the issues arise, making the likelihood of success greater.Contact us to help you with your small business in Doylestown, Bensalem, or Lansdale Pennsylvania.

Pregnant Employees

An employer must not discriminate against a pregnant worker or treat them differently that it would any other worker. In New Jersey, the 2014 enactment of the Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act (“PWFA”) imposes new obligations upon the employer, namely to provide special accommodations to employees who are pregnant or “affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, including recovery from childbirth.” The employer is prohibited from treating a woman that the employer knows or should know to be affected by pregnancy in a less favorable manner than a similarly situated non-pregnant employee.    The woman is not considered disabled or unable to do her job, but rather, is entitled to ask for certain accommodations that will allow her to do her job while pregnant. The employer is required to provide these accommodations in the work place and leave from work is not considered to be one of those accommodations. The requested accommodation must follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) standards and still be “reasonable” and are generally comfort based and relate to adding breaks, lifting restrictions, modified work schedules, less strenuous or hazardous work etc.

Can I appeal my unemployment denial?

You must appeal the denial of your unemployment benefits if you believe that you were eligible for benefits. Your eligibility will depend on a calculation of the number of weeks you have worked but also upon the reasons for your separation from employment. You must look at the reasons set forth in the Notice of Determination to figure out what the employer may have said that resulted in the denial. If you disagree with the basis, you must appeal the decision to ensure that the hearing officer is presented with accurate facts that may result in a reversal of the earlier denial of benefits. The initial determination is made based upon a telephone call and a review of the documents. At the appeal hearing, both you and the employer will have an opportunity to present testimony. The employer will have to explain why they don’t believe you are entitled to benefits and will most likely cite performance related reasons. However, the employer must show that you willfully and habitually disregarded their employment policies to justify denying unemployment benefits. You will need to prove that the employer is wrong and that you are entitled to benefits.

Do I have to pay my babysitter minimum wage?

Pursuant to the Youth Minimum Wage Law, you have to pay a minimum of $4.25 per hour to a baby sitter who is less than 20 years old for the first 90 days of their employment. This is called the Youth Minimum Wage Law. Once the sitter turns 20 or has worked for you for more than 90 days (and doesn’t displace an older worker), you have to comply with the state and federal minimum wage laws. The Federal Minimum Wage is currently $7.25 per hour. In Pennsylvania, the minimum wage is $7.25 following the Federal rate but in New Jersey, the minimum wage is $8.25.

Do I owe my nanny medical benefits?

The law does not require you, as a small employer, to provide medical coverage for your nanny. Under the Affordable Healthcare Act, an employer with 50 or fewer full time employees is not required to provide health coverage to its employees. Your nanny would be considered a full time employee but since you only employ one, you are exempt.The more practical question you should consider is whether you should use the Healthcare.gov marketplace to purchase medical coverage for your nanny. This option is worth investigating as employees who have medical coverage may be more likely to have routine medical checkups and be healthier than those without coverage.   This is likely to ensure that you have the childcare coverage when needed and planned and that your kids are exposed to a healthy caregiver.

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