The Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act

Have you or a family member fallen seriously ill? Are you pregnant and/or expecting a new addition to the family through adoption or foster care? Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you could be entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, protected leave from your job. What is the FMLA? Established in 1993, the FMLA was designed to help workers bridge the gap between the need to financially provide for their families and the more pressing desire to be there for their loved ones, by giving eligible employees the right to an extended period of time off, without the risk of losing their job. Offering up to 12 weeks of leave per year to eligible employees (26 weeks for military or military caregivers), situations covered by the FMLA include: The care and birth of the worker’s newborn child; The addition of a new child to the household through adoption or foster care; The care of an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious medical condition; Medical leave for the employee’s own serious medical condition. An equal opportunity act, the FMLA applies to all genders, all races, and all eligible employees, while to accommodate this belief, a recent 2015 Department of Labor ruling changed the definition of an employee’s “spouse” to include same-sex partners as well. What Makes an Employee Eligible? Law requires all elementary and secondary schools (both private and public), public agencies, and companies with over 50 employees located within 75 miles of the business to uphold FMLA standards. As such, any employee that has worked at least 12 months at any...
California Sales Tax Prepayment Deadline

California Sales Tax Prepayment Deadline

After years of operating your rather successful retail business, steadily rising in profits, suddenly you receive a letter from the California Board of Equalization (BOE) (as of May 2018 now called the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA)) stating that your account is switched from a quarterly filer only to a monthly prepay account. First of all, congratulations, as this means that you’re making at least an average of $17,000 in taxable sales per month! Secondly, you may be wondering what a sales tax prepayment is and how to pay it. Well, worry no more! Here’s everything you need to know on prepayments and the deadlines. What is a Prepayment? While every business operating under a seller’s permit is required to pay sales taxes, as mentioned above, only businesses surpassing a threshold of $17,000 in monthly sales are required to pay through prepayments. Even then, eligible businesses should only submit prepayments if they are notified by the tax agency directly via mail. For the first, third, and fourth calendar quarters – as well as the first prepayment of the second quarter – all prepayments must be either 90% of the month’s tax liability, or 1/3 of the tax liability measure for the previous year’s quarterly period multiplied by the effective tax rate when the prepayment was made (provided you and/or your predecessor were in business during that quarter). For the second prepayment falling within the second quarter (based on sales from May 1st – June 15th), prepayments must equal either 135% of the tax liability in May, 90% of May’s liability plus 90% of the first fifteen...
What’s the Difference Between Cash and Accrual Accounting?

What’s the Difference Between Cash and Accrual Accounting?

You can have the same amount of money flowing in and out of your business, but did you know that the way you choose to account for that cash-flow in your books can affect the tax due on your return? Beyond the obvious financial decisions a company must make regarding their accounts, like budgeting, every business should take a careful look at their method of bookkeeping and decide whether the accrual or cash method would be more suited for their business. To do that, however, you must first understand how both work. The Cash Method The cash method, as the name suggests, is a form of bookkeeping that simply accounts for income and expenses as they happen. For instance, if a product is sold, the income would only be recorded after the money has been received, while expenses are counted only after the bill has been paid. Commonly used by individuals or small businesses, the cash method is a great way to have a grasp of a company’s financial state in real-time. However, one disadvantage to cash accounting is that it can be deceiving in the long-run, as it can show that a company has plenty of cash coming in, when in reality, the long-term expenses far outweigh the revenue. The Accrual Method The favored method by many large companies, accrual accounting focuses on recording all income and expenses, even before the money ever changes hands. As this offers businesses a broader financial picture in the long-term, accrual accounting can often help companies plan for growth and avoid potential pitfalls down the road – though it can be difficult...
California Meal and Rest Period Law

California Meal and Rest Period Law

Earlier this week we discussed the federal regulations for meal and rest periods, but did you know that many states have requirements that differ from federal law? As a majority of our clients, as well as AB&P’s main office, are located in California, we wanted to share CA regulations with you as well. Meal Periods While federal law claims that employers are not required to provide their employees with lunch breaks, California’s law says otherwise. Demanding employers to provide their workers with a 30-minute meal period for every 5 hours of work done (two breaks for 10 hours of work, and so on), employees must be completely relieved of all duties while on a lunch break or the employer will otherwise have to compensate them for additional time spent working. If the employee is only set to work for a total of 6 hours, they have the right to waive the lunch break if desired, while the same thing goes for waiving the last of the two breaks within a 12-hour shift. For employees who cannot be relieved completely of duty due to the nature of their job (i.e. emergency or on-call workers), paid on-duty breaks must be provided by the employer with written consent from the employee. Rest Periods Similar to meal periods, though not mandatory by federal law, California requires all employers to provide their workers with paid, 10-minute rest periods after every 4 hours of work. If practical, law demands that the breaks fall within the middle of the workday, while employees must be also be completely relieved of duty throughout their rest period. Legal Rights...
Federal Requirements for Meal and Rest Periods

Federal Requirements for Meal and Rest Periods

According to federal regulations, it is not mandatory for employers to provide employee rest breaks or meal periods. However, as scheduled work breaks tend to greatly increase employee efficiency and happiness, most employers encourage one or two meal and rest periods throughout the workday. If you’re one of those employers, here are the few regulations you are required by federal law to fulfill… (Note: the following are federal requirements only – not state. As some states have additional meal and rest period regulations, one should always research their state rules as well.) Rest Periods For example, if a worker is allotted a rest period of 20 minutes, but takes a 30-minute break instead, the employer is only responsible for adding the 20 minutes to the worker’s pay. Meal Periods Typically 30 minutes long, like rest periods, breaks in the workday for meals are not mandatory. If an employee is granted a meal period, however, law requires that the employee be relieved completely of all work-related duties while on their break, and as such the employer need not compensate them for their time. Should, in the event of an emergency, a worker be needed back on duty during a meal period, time spent working is billable time, until the employee is able to resume their break once more. Additional Considerations In the case of disabled persons or nursing mothers, the Americans With Disabilities Act and Fair Labor Standards Act require employers to modify workplaces as necessary to accommodate such persons. These modifications can include longer break periods, altered work assignments, wheelchair accessible workspaces, private nursing areas that are not bathrooms,...

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