New Employer Notices and Increased Minimum Wage for 2016 in California

Give-me-a-raiseIn continuing the increase the minimum wage at a steady pace, California will increase the minimum wage again to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2016.

However, certain cities and counties will have higher minimum wages.  For example, As of July 1, 2016, the minimum wage in the City of Los Angeles will increase to $10.50 per hour, with annual increases from up to $12 (2017), $13.25 (2018), $14.25 (2019) and $15 per hour by 2020.

The minimum wage in San Francisco will increase to $13 per hour on July 1, 2o16, and will increase by a dollar per year thereafter.  San Diego will hike its minimum wage to $11.50 by 2017, a measure it passed last August despite a veto from the city’s mayor.

With the new laws, California requires that employers update their mandated employment notice, even if they have only one employee. Employers are required to post two (2) notices to their employees:

  1.  A poster containing State and Federal Labor Law Information, available for purchase here; and
  2. An industry-specific wage order, available for free.

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California Cities and Counties “Ban the Box” That Asks About Criminal History on Job Applications

jobapplicationIt’s a familiar box on any job application. “Check here if you have ever been convicted of a crime in a court of law.” But is it legal?

Recent US Census results illustrate that as many as 70 million American adults have a criminal record of some kind. In California, as many as 1 in 4 adults has an arrest or conviction in their history. Employers are reluctant to hire individuals with such a background, even though they may otherwise be well-qualified. Supporters of the so-called “Ban the Box” movement, which would remove application screening questions pertaining to an individual’s criminal history, aim to level the playing field between job-seekers. Continue reading

The Grady Firm Participated in Vancouver Startup Week and Spoke to the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs

Equity Crowdfunding Panel & Networking with FrontFundr

Equity Crowdfunding Panel & Networking with FrontFundr at The Profile Coworking venue

From September 21-24, 2015, The Grady Firm bridged connections between the US and its northern neighbors at Vancouver Startup Week.  Now in its second year, the week-long Startup Week brings entrepreneurs, local leaders, and friends together over five+ days to build momentum and opportunity around Vancouver’s unique entrepreneurial identity.  Established companies, investors, service providers, incubators, talent developers, and of course innovation companies themselves participated in panel discussions, awards ceremonies, showcases and parties in an attempt to foster the Startup community in Vancouver.

Jennifer Grady, the firm’s founder, met with innovative entrepreneurs at the following events throughout the week:

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The Grady Firm Joins the Roster for LA Innovation Week as Presenter on Startup Legal Issues & Solutions #LAIW2015

Los Angeles Innovation Week 2015 Launches With More Than 100 Events, Exhibiting LA’s Global Leadership in Innovation

LAIW#The Grady Firm, PC has been selected as a presenter at Los Angeles Innovation Week, a countywide celebration of the breadth of innovation and creativity within Los Angeles sponsored by LA Metro, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), and the Los Angeles Times. From clean tech, to gaming, to aerospace, digital media, and beyond, Los Angeles is a leading global center for innovation and entrepreneurship rooted in boundless creativity and diversity.  Other hosts of Innovation Week events include Cross Campus, Microsoft, WeWork, Apple, ExpertDojo, and YouTube Space LA.

On Tuesday, October 20, Jennifer Grady will be addressing entrepreneurs with ways to protect their innovative small businesses thorough The Top 10 Tools Business Owners Need to Know From a Business and Employment Law Attorney.”  The presentation will take place from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. at The Grady Firm headquarters in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles. Continue reading

$11 Million Awarded in Job Training Funds to Employers by California Employment Training Panel

California-State-Capitol1SACRAMENTO – On September 25, 2015, the State of California’s Employment Training Panel approved more than $11 million to train more than 12,880 workers throughout California.  In total, the panel approved 42 training contracts aimed at supporting job creation and retention while increasing opportunities for workers through the development of job skills and training. The Employment Training Panel (ETP) provides funding to employers to assist in upgrading the skills of their workers through training that leads to good paying, long-term jobs.

The ETP was created in 1982 by the California State Legislature and is funded by California employers through a special payroll tax.  There are millions of dollars in this account accessible to employers each year. The ETP is a funding agency, not a training agency; therefore employers can determine their own training needs and who provides their training.

“These training contracts are significant economic development tools for businesses and their employees,” said Stewart Knox, the Employment Training Panel’s Executive Director. “Workers receive job training for well-paying jobs, and businesses can grow their workforce and revenue.”

Apply Now for the Diversity Visa Lottery for the Chance to Obtain a Green Card (Lottery Open Oct. 1 to Nov. 3, 2015)

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

Lottery BallsStarting October 1, 2015, and until November 3, 2015, applicants from eligible countries can apply for a chance to win a Green Card through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.

The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered annually by the Department of State. Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For Fiscal Year 2017, 50,000 Diversity Visas  (DVs) will be available.
There are no USCIS filing fees to register for the DV program. (*Be weary of potential scams from “notarios” or immigration agents and consultants).

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Can’t Afford a Green Card Just Yet? How to Obtain Permanent Residency by Transitioning From the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa to EB-5

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Anthony Mance, Esq.

American Visa (XL)The E-2 treaty investor visa can be a great way for a foreign entrepreneur to open a business and live and work in the United States legally. What’s more, it is relatively affordable in that it only requires a “substantial” capital investment in a bona fide U.S. enterprise (usually in the amount of $100,000 to $250,000). The investor must be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.

The E-2 visa allows the status holder from a treaty country, and his or her family, to come to the United States to open and operate a personal business; the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are able to attend school and work as dependents of the visa. Unfortunately, however, the E-2 treaty investor status does not offer a direct path to Permanent Residence. This means that unless the status holder, or the status holder’s immediate family, has a separate path to Permanent Residence, the visa holder and family will not be able to obtain Permanent Residence status, regardless of how long they maintain their E-2 status. This is further complicated by the fact that the E-2 status is temporary and must be regularly renewed with no guarantee of success.

Furthermore, because the E-2 visa is only available to member of treaty countries, it is not available to everyone. For example, citizens of mainland China, India, Russia, and Brazil are ineligible for the E-2 visa. Continue reading

Nearly 40% of F-1 Student Visa Applications are Rejected. How Can You Increase the Odds That Yours Will be Accepted?

by Jennifer Grady, Esq. and Anthony Mance, Esq.

American Visa (XL)In speaking with students in the international community, we discovered that nearly forty percent (40%) of the international students who are fortunate enough to be accepted into the graduate schools of their choice at American universities are unable to attend those schools because their F-1 student visas are rejected. Many of the students prepare the applications themselves, and are consequently missing the information needed to prepare a strong application.  We discuss the reasons for these rejections, and ways to overcome those objections, below. Continue reading

What’s the Difference Between the E-2 and EB-5 Investor Visas?

handshakeFor foreign investors wishing to obtain a visa to live, work, and attend university in the United States with in-state tuition rates, there are two options available through the E-2 and EB-5 investor visa programs.

The E-2 Visa requires less startup capital (around USD $100,000 to $250,000) and is the fastest way to obtain a visa, although it is not a path to Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card). The E-2 is a temporary visa based on a reciprocal commercial treaty between the United States and the individual’s country of nationality.  The visa is only available to treaty countries, for which citizens of China, India, Russia, and Brazil are not eligible.  Its processing times are generally 2 weeks to 90 days. Continue reading

City of San Francisco Announces its 2016 Increased Employer Healthcare Spending Rates

San Francisco increases healthcare spending law Photo © Jennifer Grady

San Francisco increases employer healthcare spending law rates. Photo © Jennifer Grady

The City of San Francisco has announced the 2016 rates for its employer health care spending law, under which employers must either contribute a specified amount toward their employees’ health care costs on a regular basis, or pay into a city health care fund for San Francisco residents.  Employers with workers in San Francisco will have to pay more next year to comply with the city’s health care spending law.

Beginning January 1, 2016, the health care expenditure rate for employers with 100 or more employees will be $2.53 per hour, and the rate for medium-sized businesses with 20-99 employees will be $1.68 per hour.
The health care expenditures must be made on behalf of employees employed for more than 90 days and who regularly work at least eight hours per week in San Francisco. Businesses with 19 or fewer employees and nonprofits with 49 or fewer employees are exempt.

The Grady Firm, P.C. attends the 4th Annual EB-5 Conference in Los Angeles

Jennifer Grady, Esq. with Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

Jennifer Grady, Esq. with Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

The Grady Firm, P.C. attended the 4th annual EB-5 Conference in Los Angeles hosted by EB5 Investors Magazine on August 2-3, 2015 at the sold out Hyatt Century Plaza in Century City. Five hundred regional centers, attorneys, and EB-5 program stakeholders attended the event.  The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5), administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), provides opportunities for qualified foreign nationals to achieve permanent legal residency in the U.S. through an investment in an USCIS-approved project that will generate at least ten full-time jobs in the United States.   Continue reading

Startup Genome Report Reveals Top 20 Startup Ecosystems in the World- Los Angeles and Silicon Valley Retain Top Spots

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

TodWorld webay, Compass revealed the 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking.  With this report, Compass hopes to “accelerate the development of startup ecosystems around the world by answering critical questions for entrepreneurs, investors, and policy makers that are difficult to answer without the data [it has] gathered and analyzed in this report, as well as to raise the general populace’s awareness of the increasing socioeconomic importance of startup ecosystems.” The index is produced by ranking ecosystems along five major components: Performance, Funding, Talent, Market Reach, and Startup Experience. Continue reading

Changes to California Paid Sick Leave Requirements on July 13, 2015

sick leaveBy Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

The new Paid Sick Leave law that went into effect in California on July 1, 2015 was already amended less than two weeks after it took effect on July 1, 2105. This means that employers may have to revisit, and most likely update their paid leave policies and Employee Handbooks.

An employer must individually notify all employees hired prior to January 1, 2015 of changes to terms and conditions of employment that relate to paid sick leave within 7 days of the actual change. Information concerning any new or previously existing paid sick leave program that includes information required to be given to each employee by Labor Code section 2810.5(a), must be provided to all employees. A revised DLSE notice form may be used for providing individual notice to these existing employees unless the employer chooses an authorized alternative method. Continue reading

July 2015 Updates to California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and Posting Requirements

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

On July 1, 2015, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing made significant amendments to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Now, all private employers with 50 or more employees in at least 20 workweeks in a year and within a 75-mile radius will have to update their leave policies and posted notices, as well as train supervisors and managers in order to comply with the regulations. Employers also include government entities and joint employers or successor in interest to a covered employer.

The purpose of the amendments is to incorporate those of the federal regulations in the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), but there are still some differences in the state law. Continue reading

July Ushers in New Paid Sick Leave Requirements for California Employers

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

sick leaveOn July 1, 2015, a new law affecting millions of Californians went into effect requiring that employers – both public and private – provide paid sick leave to all their employees. Under the new law, employers will have to modify or update existing paid sick leave or time off policies, as well as payroll, recordkeeping, and employee notice procedures.

The “Healthy, Workplace, Healthy Families Act” (AB-1522) signed into effect by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. applies to all employees who work in California for thirty (30) or more days in a year. The law defines “employer” as any person employing another under any appointment or contract of hire” regardless of how many (or few) employees they have, and covers employees whether they are full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temporary. Specifically, the new provision provides that employees who work thirty (30) or more days within a year from commencement of their employment will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty (30) hours worked.

Employees become entitled to their sick leave beginning on the ninetieth (90th) date of employment. However, an employer may limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours—or three (3) days—in each year of employment, which results in no carryover requirements. Click HERE for the full text of the new law. Continue reading