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 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,...
OSHA Requirements for Injury and Illness Recordkeeping

OSHA Requirements for Injury and Illness Recordkeeping

For many employers with more than 10 employees, the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) has issued a requirement that all work-related injuries or illnesses must be properly reported and recorded by the employer to OSHA. Established to help OSHA, employers, and workers alike all stay informed on workplace safety and industry hazards, the rule only applies for serious injuries or illnesses that require treatment beyond minor first-aid. Each qualifying case must be documented and stored within the workplace for at least five years, while accident summaries should be submitted by employers every year by February through April. In addition, all workers, their representatives, or authorized authorities have a legal right to request copies of the reports at any time. Work-related injuries or illnesses that OSHA consider to be “serious” fall under the following categories: Work-related deaths. Any injury or illness that requires hospitalization or medical treatment beyond basic first aid. Sickness or injury that causes unconsciousness, restricted work, days away from work, or a job transfer. Any work-related diagnosis of cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, cracked or fractured bones and teeth, or punctured eardrums. Work-related injury and illness cases involving needlesticks and sharps injuries, medical removal, hearing loss, and tuberculosis (see links for specific recording requirements). All workplace deaths must be reported within 8 hours, while all amputations, hospitalization, or loss of an eye should be reported within 24 hours to OSHA by calling (800) 321-6742 or through online reporting. All other injuries or sicknesses can be reported through standardized 300, 300A, and 301 forms, or through electronic submissions – the filing deadline for 2017’s cases falling on July...
Payroll Support to End for QuickBooks 2015

Payroll Support to End for QuickBooks 2015

Per Intuit’s (the creators of QuickBooks) yearly tradition to retire an older version of their QuickBooks software, Intuit has announced that on May 31, 2018, QuickBooks Desktop 2015 will be discontinued, and as such all current 2015 users are advised to upgrade to Intuit’s newer 2018 software. Are you currently using QuickBooks 2015 for your payroll and taxes? Here’s everything you need to know about the changes and what to expect come May 31. Why Is QuickBooks Discontinuing Service? Application sunsetting happens for a number of reasons, but in the case of QuickBooks, the answer is simple: Intuit regularly discontinues their older products to ensure that all users run off of the same data – thereby eliminating the incongruent hassle of maintaining an outdated service. Plus, with so many new features and user-friendly upgrades to their latest version of QuickBooks, the change is sure to be beneficial for all involved. Which Features Will Be Affected? While an unsupported version of QuickBooks will continue to work, as of May 31st, all users still operating off of QuickBooks Desktop 2015 will find access to their Payroll, Online Banking, and Merchant Services denied. All paycheck and tax calculations – whether using Basic, Standard, Enhanced, or Assisted Payroll – will be inaccurate, as well as automatic tax filing ceasing to process. Access to Intuit’s services or online support will also be canceled and users will be unable to submit information such as direct deposits, filings, and payments. Customers with the Annual Support Plan, however, will continue to have full access until their yearly subscription expires, at which point they must upgrade to a...
Small Businesses Could Start Paying Their CPA’s More

Small Businesses Could Start Paying Their CPA’s More

According to Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden, the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, ever since the introduction of the new Republican tax law, small businesses are predicted to spend more on their accountant fees this year than on growing their own business. Placing the blame firmly on the complexity of the bill, Wyden reasons that small business owners will be needing the assistance of their tax professionals now, more than ever, just to learn how to comply with their 2018 taxes – claiming that “Main Street job creators will be lucky if they figure out how to calculate their deduction any time soon”. According to the new tax law, there’s a 20% deduction to be had, but only for certain professionals falling within specific income brackets. For instance, engineers, architects, and bakers qualify, but only receive the full deduction if their net income falls below $157,500 for singles, and $315,000 for joint filers. Eligibility ceases altogether when a single taxpayer earns $207,500, or $415,000 for married couples. “Republicans claim to want less government intervention, but with their new tax law they picked winners and losers—architects are in, accountants are out; engineers made the cut, doctors did not—leaving business owners wondering whether or not they were blacklisted,” says Wyden. “What good is a deduction if money spent in annual fees to your accountant far exceed the tax break?” A report done by the Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform found that recent polls place small businesses under apprehension regarding whether or not the tax code will actually help them. When asked: 69% of business owners said they would not hire a...

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