Be Sure to Make These Product Changes by August 30th

Be Sure to Make These Product Changes by August 30th

There are new regulations for CA Proposition 65 standards, and come August 30th, all products and environments containing or threatening possible exposure to certain hazardous chemicals as deemed by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) must now follow the new labeling codes or face serious penalties. According to an article by CalChamber Advocacy, these penalties can be up to $2,500 per day, per infraction, as well as the possibility of injunctive relief or the cost of a lawyer. To avoid legal action or a product recall, see below for details on what your label should say by August 30th in order to act in accordance with Prop 65. The New Regulations Much like its predecessor, the new Proposition 65 regulations continue to call for “safe harbor” warnings on products or environments that contain hazardous chemicals. However, whereas the old requirements simply demanded a “clear and reasonable” warning, new Prop 65 rules contain specific instructions on what constitutes as “clear and reasonable” – most notably: listing the hazardous chemicals individually, adjusting the size and appearance of the warnings, and changing some of the wordage used. Additionally, businesses may now choose between listing the full warning on their products, or a “short-form” warning that is abbreviated, but “must be in a type size no smaller than the largest type size used for other consumer information on the product”, according to Proposition 65 code. Required Content on Warnings In order to be considered “clear and reasonable” a warning label on a product, sign, or shelf tag must contain the following alterations: Warnings must now begin with the words “This product...
“Best Practices” for Companies with Employees Using Prescription Drugs

“Best Practices” for Companies with Employees Using Prescription Drugs

With reports showing that one out of every three people in the U.S were prescribed an opioid drug in 2015, and medical marijuana now legal in 46 states, the number of frequent opioid users continues to steadily climb as the years progress. With this rising trend of prescription drug use, more and more businesses must now ask themselves whether the use of opioids is something they can tolerate in their workplaces, while yet others face discrimination lawsuits for rejecting a candidate for their drug use. As with most things in today’s changing business climate, the waters are still muddy over the specifics of what’s considered a company’s right, or mere discrimination. But when it comes to the sensitive subject of employee opioid or marijuana use, there are a few “best practice” tips to help your company stay within their rights. For Opioid Users While the law states that a candidate does not have to disclose any prescription drug use to an employer unless desired, many companies are encouraging employees and candidates alike to be open about any opioids they’re taking. The problem with this recommended disclosure? What to do if you discover an employee is indeed using prescription drugs. As demonstrated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) discrimination case against an employer who denied an applicant due to their daily prescription of Suboxone, there are a few things a court looks for to determine the validity of a company’s right to not hire an opiate-using applicant – the largest of which by far being medical evidence. To properly deny a candidate work, employers must first look at the...
5 Tips to Get Paid Faster

5 Tips to Get Paid Faster

Every business has its problem clients now and then, but when cash-flow interruptions are responsible for 29% of small business failures according to a recent poll, it’s important for businesses to have the security of quick income. So, if you’re looking for ways to get paid faster, here are five tips to help shorten the gap between invoices. 1)    Ask for a Percentage Upfront Despite what you might think, it’s not uncommon for businesses to ask for a portion of their fee upfront before completing any work. From requiring thirty to even fifty percent of the cost at the get go, an upfront fee helps not only ensure a steady cash-flow for small businesses, but also mitigate the risk should a client decide to skip out on payment later. If a client protests, simply explain that these are your usual payment terms or negotiate a lower percentage. But if they’re still unsure, consider not doing business with them altogether as this is usually a warning sign for delayed or nonexistent payments later. 2)    Get the Accounting Team’s Contact Info For many businesses, often the person you speak to about the job at hand isn’t the one who will be paying your invoice once it’s done. This is why the most effective way to ensure you get paid on-time is to insert a line into your contract asking for your client’s accounting team’s contact info. That way, when your invoice is about a week out from its deadline, you can notify your client’s accounts payable staff directly of the impending due date. 3)    Switch to Electronic Invoicing For those still...
OSHA Heat Illness Employer Responsibilities

OSHA Heat Illness Employer Responsibilities

Among many of the workplace hazards employers must protect their employees from under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), heat illness is a serious condition that can affect employees in seemingly safe work areas. To help employers understand the risks associated with working in hot weather and how to prevent heat illness amongst their employees, OSHA uses the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) heat index to measure an individual’s risk based off the combined temperature and humidity for that day – OSHA then providing accompanying regulations for each day’s risk level. For an employer with workplaces outdoors or around hot machinery and factories, it’s imperative you know how to protect your employees from heat illness. For Low Risk Levels (Less than 91°F) As most employees can work safely under these temperatures, only basic heat prevention is enforced, including: Making sure water is available; Encouraging sunscreen use; Offering worker acclimatization; and Ensuring that medical services are nearby with an emergency plan in place if the heat increases. If working in areas with direct sunlight or no breeze, follow Moderate Level precautions instead, while all workers wearing impermeable clothing should be monitored closely with additional precautions taken. For Moderate Risk Levels (91°F – 103°F) In addition to following Low Level precautions, employers should: Remind workers to drink about 4 cups/hour; Provide refresh training on heat illness prevention and treatment; Schedule frequent rests in cool, shaded areas; and Implement a buddy-system under a heat monitor’s supervision. Any signs of heat illness should always be treated immediately – whether fighting minor headaches and fatigue by providing a break in the shade,...
How to Ensure Your Officer Compensation is Reasonable

How to Ensure Your Officer Compensation is Reasonable

Throughout this year of economic upheaval, Congress and the US Treasury Department has put continual pressure on the IRS to produce additional tax revenue; the tax administration quickly responding with the intention to increase its enforcement of audits. A common theme to many of those audits, reasonable officer compensation for S corporation shareholders has always been a hot spot for tax cases. With vagueness on the law providing enough confusion for business owners to either intentionally or unintentionally break it, the high penalties at stake are simultaneously just the “additional revenue” the IRS seeks. So, if there’s no clear definition on what qualifies as “reasonable” officer compensation, how can shareholders know what to pay to act in accordance of tax law and to protect themselves from a possible future audit? Here’s a few tips to keep business owners on the straight and narrow… Shareholders Count as Employees While there’s no one-size-fits-all measurement of what constitutes as reasonable officer compensation, existing tax code does define S corporation shareholders as “employees” under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), and federal income tax withholding. As such, all compensation received by the business owner – including fringe benefits like paid-for health insurance premiums – are considered wages and are thereby taxable under federal employment tax standards. Test the Compensation with the 9-Point Rule Operating on a case-by-case basis, whenever a tax court looks at an officer compensation lawsuit to see if the amount it reasonable, they consider these 9 factors: The responsibilities of the shareholder; The time and energy spent working for the business; The experience and training...

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