When and How Must an Employee Be Compensated for Travel Time?

businessman at the airport

There are various factors that influence whether an employee must be compensated for his or her travel time to a new work site, or for off-site employment activity. One of the main factors to consider is whether the employee is actually engaging in travel as part of the employer’s principal activity or, whether the employee is engaging in travel for the convenience of the employer.

At the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the primary law governing travel pay. The standard asks whether the employee’s time is spent primarily for the benefit of the employer. It also includes time spent, even if not doing work, but under the control of the employer, such as on-site, on-call time.

Pursuant to California’s Labor Code, the standard comes down to whether the employee is

subject to the control of the employer; the concept of “control” is narrower than federal standard. While the federal and state laws overlap, California’s Labor Code is of course generally more liberal and more protective of employees.

California Law

The definition of hours worked is found in the Industrial Welfare Commission Orders, and refers to the time during which the employee is subject to the control travel-timeof an employer, and includes all the time the employee is “suffered or permitted to work,” whether or not required to do so. State law does not distinguish between hours worked during the “normal” working hours, or hours worked outside “normal” working hours, nor does it distinguish between hours worked in connection with an overnight out-of-town assignment. Continue reading

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Immigrant Entrepreneurs May Be Able to Remain in the U.S. on Parole Under New Rule Proposed by DHS

entrepreneurship-10-books-every-budding-entrepreneur-must-read

On August 31, 2016 , the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed an amendment to its regulations in an effort to increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the United States. The proposed rule would allow for the use of “parole” on a case-by-case basis for certain Startup entrepreneurs whose entry into the United States would provide a significant public benefit through “the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation.”  Once the notice of proposed rulemaking is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 45 days from the date of publication to comment. To submit comments in support of this rule, follow the instructions in the notice.

The new “International Entrepreneur Rule” would expand the opportunity for international entrepreneurs, inventors, and startup founders to receive “parole”, which is temporary permission to be present in the United States.  “Parole” is not considered an admission to the United States, and does not confer any immigration status.  In addition, once a person is granted parole, the parolee’s stay in the U.S. is at DHS’s discretion and may be terminated at any time consistent with existing regulations.  DHS has broad discretion to grant parole and may do so on a case-by-case basis. Continue reading

Minimum Wage & Paid Sick Leave Law Updates for California Cities and Counties

On April 4, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed the “Fair Wage Act of 2016,” a bill that aims to increase California’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by the year 2022. Under California law, employers must also offer employees at least 3 days, or 24 hours, of sick leave per year. This statewide law applies to all cities and counties within the state of California. However, some cities within California have chosen to add to the statewide laws with their own more expansive minimum wage and paid sick leave ordinances. As it can be difficult for employers to keep track of all these constant changes, we have taken the time to highlight some of those changes in several major California cities.

CALIFORNIA STATE LAW- ALL COUNTIES

As of January 1, 2016 the required minimum wage for the state of California is $10.00 per hour. On January 1, 2017, the minimum wage for business with 26 employees or more will increase to $10.50 an hour. On January 1, 2018 it will increase to $11.00 an hour and by $1 each subsequent year until it reaches $15.00 in 2022. Employers with 25 employees or less will have an extra year to comply with the new law, and the wage increase will not go into effect until January 1, 2018.

In addition, any employee who works in California for 30 or more days is entitled to receive paid sick leave. An employer is required to provide a minimum of 3 days of sick leave per year, and after 90 days of employment an employee may begin to accrue sick leave at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. Accrued sick leave may be carried over to the next year, however an employer may choose to cap the amount of paid six leave an employee may use per year to 6 days or 48 hours.

Notice to Employees

Employers must provide notice of these laws to employees by: (1) Displaying the state’s official poster; (2) Including paid sick leave information in the wage notices of nonexempt employees; and (3) Including the amount of paid sick leave available in the employees’ wage statements. Employers must also keep records documenting hours worked and paid sick leave accrued for the last 3 years.

These minimum statewide laws apply to all cities and counties in California, and includes the regions below.

Continue reading

Starting or Relocating a Business Within California? Check out these Little-Known Tax and Setup Incentives

california.unsplashby Jennifer Grady, Esq.

The State of California offers numerous incentives and assistance programs to  businesses of all sizes and industries that are considering expansion into the Golden State, whether they plan to have 3, 50, or 20,000+ employees.

From tax breaks, to help with site selection, to employee training, and development bonds, there are numerous government-sponsored programs in place to help small to large businesses successfully transition to opening business in the state. Below are some examples of the types of business support available in California.

Programs and Services from GO-Biz, The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development

 Site Selection AssistanceGO-Biz Logo (web)

GO-Biz will conduct a confidential site selection search on your behalf, or provide you with a broker to guide you through the local commercial real estate market.

In addition, GO-Biz will send out a Request for Information to city managers and economic development departments to obtain off-market information about city, state, and county-owned properties available for lease for discounted rates, even as little as $1.00 per year.

Continue reading

Los Angeles Employers May Soon Be Required to Provide 6 Days of Paid Sick Leave Per Year

sick leaveOn April 19, 2016, the Los Angeles City Council approved a measure that would require employers in the City of Los Angeles to provide their employees with six days, or 48 hours, of paid sick leave.  Pending an approved ordinance drafted by the City Attorney, the requirement will become effective on July 1, 2016.  This would be three days more per year than the State of California’s paid sick leave requirements which took effect on July 1, 2015.

The ordinance would apply to employees who who work for the same employer in the City of Los Angeles for thirty days or more per year , and would begin on the first day of employment, or July 1, 2016, whichever is later. Employers who contract with the city of Los Angeles will still be required to give their employees twelve days, or 96 hours, of paid sick leave. Workers in Los Angeles would not be paid for unused sick days, but accrued time could be carried over to the next year. Businesses could cap that accrued time at 72 hours, or set a higher cap or none at all.

Continue reading

Decreased IRS Mileage Reimbursement Rates for 2016

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© Jennifer Grady

The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2016 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. The rates show a significant decrease from last year’s rates.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

 

  • 54 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 57.5 cents for 2015;
  • 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 23 cents for 2015; and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

Continue reading

Starting or Growing Your Business in California? Check out these state and local tax incentives

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Los Angeles (c) Jennifer Grady

For the entrepreneur beginning the process of establishing a Startup, one of the primary considerations is its location. It is crucial to evaluate the location, incentives available to the company, and the resources available when planning for the future success of the company.

The State of California, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles County have a variety of incentive programs available to both small and large businesses. While incentives should not be the only reason why one should consider a location, incentives may be one of many factors that could help lead to a final location decision.

Incentive programs typically fall into two categories: legislated and discretionary. State and federal legislated incentives are “on the books” and available to any business that meets stated criteria. Discretionary incentives are customized and provided by certain cities and only for specific projects on a case-by-case basis. In almost every case, discretionary incentives come into play when a community is trying to attract a large business operation that brings significant investment into that community and will have a substantial impact on jobs created.

The Los Angeles County 2015/2016 Business Incentives and Resources Guide describes the federal, state and local business incentives; employee training; business assistance; financial assistance; and additional “green” resources that can help you locate to L.A. County and/or grow your business here. Read below for a sampling of the state level and local tax incentives for 2016.

To learn more about the pros and cons of moving your Startup to Silicon Valley, read this article.

Continue reading

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Passes Fair Chance Ordinance, Creating New Requirements for Employers During the Hiring Process

San Francisco City Hall. Justin Sullivan/Getty images.

San Francisco City Hall. Justin Sullivan/Getty images.

by Gayane Khechoomian

As of August 13, 2014, San Francisco businesses with 20 or more employees are required to review an individual’s qualifications before inquiring about that person’s arrest and conviction record(s) and related information.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Fair Chance Ordinance (“FCO”) requiring that employers limit the use of criminal history information and follow certain procedures and restrictions when inquiring about and using conviction history information.

Specifically, the ordinance outlines (1) which criminal arrest and conviction records cannot be used during the hiring process, (2) when employers can ask about criminal arrests and convictions, and (3) what interactive process the employer must engage in with regard to the individual’s arrest and conviction record.

In addition, employers covered by the FCO must include in all job ads or solicitations a statement that the employer will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the FCO.

The ordinance covers all jobs temporary, seasonal, part-time, contract, contingent, and commission-based. It also covers those who do work through a temporary or employment agency, and educational or vocational training.

Read more here.

The Grady Firm. P.C. attorneys provide employment document drafting and legal counsel for business owners and Human Resources Managers.  To learn how we may be able to assist you, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with our attorneys here, or call (323) 450-9010.

The Grady Firm, P.C. Expands to San Francisco and San Diego, California

The San Francisco Office is conveniently located at 555 California Street, San Francisco, CA  94104

The San Francisco Office is conveniently located at 555 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94104

The Grady Firm, P.C. is pleased to announce that it has opened offices in San Francisco and San Diego, California to better serve the needs of its clientele throughout the state. These offices are exciting additions to the current Los Angeles headquarters in the Miracle Mile/Museum District of Los Angeles, which is located across the street from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on Wilshire Boulevard in the heart of Los Angeles.

At the San Francisco location, The Grady Firm, P.C. offers Startup/business advising, employment law, criminal law, family law, immigration, and Intellectual Property services.

The San Francisco office building is centrally located in the downtown Financial District on 555 California Street.  As the fifth tallest building on the west coast of the United States, it is a monument to San Francisco’s bold natural landscape and one of the most recognized buildings in the country.  Also known as the “Triple 5,” the building has starred in several classic movies, including Dirty Harry (1971), The Towering Inferno (1974), and in the Chuck Norris film, An Eye for an Eye (1981).  The building has easy access to public transportation, including BART and the Muni Metro.

The San Diego office is located at 964 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

The Granger Building at 964 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

At the San Diego location, The Grady Firm, P.C. offers services in immigration law, business law, and employment law.  The San Diego office is located in the Romanesque-style, turn of the century Granger Building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, the gateway to the world-famous Gaslamp Quarter and Core/Civic District.  Throughout its hundred year history, the Granger building served San Diego as a bank, office space, and even hosted animals for the San Diego Zoo.  The building is close to public transportation.

The Grady Firm, P.C.’s Los Angeles Headquarters at 5900 Wilshire Blvd, 26th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90036.

At the Los Angeles, California headquarters, The Grady Firm, P.C. continues to offer services in Startup/business advising, employment advising, business litigation, employment litigation, immigration, estate planning, and Intellectual Property.

The Grady Firm attorneys are able to serve clients throughout California and the globe through in-person meetings, phone calls, and Skype calls.   To best serve its international clientele, The Grady Firm attorneys are fluent in Spanish, Chinese, French, Hindi, Punjabi, Armenian, Swedish, Hungarian, Korean, and Russian.

Schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation today with The Grady Firm attorneys by calling (323) 450-9010, or submitting a contact request form.

 

What Types of Lending Options are Available to help Entrepreneurs Start and Grow Their Businesses?

PERSONAL LOANS, BANK LOANS, AND SBA LOANS

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Tristan Younghaus, Esq.

Starting a business can be an exciting, yet costly endeavor. Entrepreneurs need startup capital to cover the cost of living expenses, salaries, overhead, legal fees, filing fees, marketing/advertising, shipping costs, and even production costs. There are numerous funding options available, from interest free loans to venture capital. In this two part series, we will explore the various options that are available for small business owners and entrepreneurs. In this blog, we will discuss loans/gifts from family and friends, bank loans, and Small Business Administration loans. The next posting will explore government grants, venture capital, and crowdfunding.

1. Loans/Gifts From Family and Friends

ImageOne of the most common places entrepreneurs begin when searching for funding is by soliciting loans from family and friends. These personal loans are not considered to be a “loan” by the Internal Revenue Service unless the terms of the agreement are stated in writing, (i.e. by stating the loan amount and the interest rate to be paid). Otherwise, after January 1, 2013, the IRS considers the money given to be a gift, and subject to the Federal Gift Tax, if the loan amount is over $14,000.

For borrowers, it may be most advantageous to have the terms of the loan written loosely, and to set proper expectations for all parties involved. For example, in order to preserve the integrity of the personal relationship, the borrower should make it clear that the loan should actually be considered a “gift” in the lender’s mind, and that the lender maintain the expectation that it may never be paid back. This is due to the high likelihood that the money will not be recouped. The borrower may want to avoid memorializing a specific date of repayment, with terms such as, “borrower to pay back loan when monthly income is greater than $10,000.00,” or whenever a reasonable amount is reached. Continue reading

How Do You Save Your Marriage from Your Startup? Who Gets the Company in the Divorce?

Excerpt From Inc. Magazine

Image“Maintaining a marriage is hard enough as it is. The national divorce rate is at an all-time high, and it has doubled for Americans over age 35 in the past two decades, according to an April report by researchers at the University of Minnesota. Nearly half of all people who have been married undergo a divorce or separation by their late 50s. Though there has been scant research on the topic of entrepreneurs and divorce, many founders say that the overwhelming pressures and demands of launching a company have wreaked havoc on their marriages. What’s worse, a failed marriage can all too easily destroy even a thriving entrepreneurial business.

Even some of the most successful entrepreneurs have experienced marital failure. Last year, Google co-founder Sergey Brin separated from his wife, Anne Wojcicki, the co-founder of DNA-testing company 23andMe. In 2010, Wynn Resorts founders Steve and Elaine Wynn got divorced–for the second time. And Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has been divorced twice since 2010.

Nine states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin) have community property laws that dictate all assets accumulated by the couple during the marriage be split down the middle. That includes company stock. In some cases, companies have been sold to raise cash to pay off spouses. In others, brawling exes have been forced to become business partners.

Even if you try to shield your spouse from the daily travails of running a company–the nearly missed payrolls and the personnel problems–those pressures have a way of following you home.”

Read the full article here.

The Grady Firm, P.C. is a full-service law firm catering to business owners and their families. As the “pre-nup attorney for businesses,” founder Jennifer Grady, Esq. and her team of attorneys in the Business Advising Department draft Bylaws, Operating Agreements, Buy/Sell Agreements, and Shareholder Agreements to protect their entrepreneur clients from their partnerships going awry.  The Grady Firm’s Estate Planning Department protects business owners’ assets through trusts and asset protection methods.

To find out how to protect your family and your business, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation today, or call (323) 450-9010.

How to Obtain a Raise or Promotion

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

Everyone wants a raise, but not everyone gets one.  Earning a promotion often coveted, but not always achieved.  In order to achieve a raise or promotion this year, you need to think about what sets you apart from the competition and puts you in good graces with your employer.

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Think of the value you bring to the table when asking for a raise

In order to obtain a raise or promotion, frame your thinking in terms of what value you bring to your employer.  Rather than tell your boss you want a raise because you need more money (and thus making your problem your employer’s problem), think back on what you have contributed to the company.  Revisit your prior performance reviews to determine whether you are meeting the mark or continue to fall short of what your boss asked of you. Dust off your job description to see whether you are completing all your tasks or going over and above the original scope of your position.

If you never had an annual review, you may want to request one and ask your boss what concrete steps you would need to take to earn a raise or promotion. Then talk about what steps you need to take to earn that position, and outline short-term, midterm, and long-term goals so that you can be sure to get there.  Keep track of all important tasks you did to reach those goals, and provide them in written form to your employer before your next review. That way, when it’s time for your employer to evaluate you, he or she will see the tangible steps you took towards earning a promotion. Continue reading

4 Ways to Reach Your Health, Wellness, and Relationship Goals in 2014

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

smart goal setting concept Now that 2013 is coming to an end, it’s time to reflect on the last year.  Did you achieve the goals you established for yourself?  If not, did you come close, or totally miss the mark?  The best part about the New Year is that you can leave behind the bad parts about 2013, and focus on getting it right next year.

If you notice, the gym is always crowded in January with people who resolve to achieve their fitness goals.  But how long does this last?  The key to success is to keep your goals in front of you throughout the year, and to revise them as the year progresses.

Last year was the first time I outlined my goals for the year in a more concrete way.  On January 2, 2013, I made a list of eight goals for the year, and I taped it to the wall next to my desk so they would be there to motivate me throughout the year.  If I read the goals literally (and thus generously), I achieved five out of the eight, and started on the other three.  What I learned from this exercise is that you have to be very clear and the specific in the goals you set for yourself if you expect to achieve them.  If you put an item in the last position on your list, it is likely that is going to receive the least amount of attention.  If you phrase it in a very general way, it might get lost in the shuffle.  If you only focus on the professional, your personal life may suffer, or vice versa.  In June, I revised the list by removing the goals I already achieved, adding new ones, and moving others up the list. Continue reading

Changes to the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

For tax years 2010 through 2013, the maximum tax credit for payment of health care premiums is 35% for small business employers, and 25% for small tax-exempt employers such as charities. In general, on January 1, 2014, the rate will increase to 50% and 35%, respectively.

Here’s what this means for you. If you pay $50,000 a year toward workers’ health care premiums – and if you qualify for a 15% credit, you save $7,500. If you save $7,500 a year from tax year 2010 through 2013, that’s total savings of $30,000. If, in 2014, you qualify for a slightly larger credit, say 20 percent, your savings go from $7,500 a year to $12,000 a year.

Even if you are a small business employer who did not owe tax during the year, you can carry the credit back or forward to other tax years. Also, since the amount of the health insurance premium payments are more than the total credit, eligible small businesses can still claim a business expense deduction for the premiums in excess of the credit. That’s both a credit and a deduction for employee premium payments.

There is good news for small tax-exempt employers too. The credit is refundable, so even if you have no taxable income, you may be eligible to receive the credit as a refund so long as it does not exceed your income tax withholding and Medicare tax liability.

If you can benefit from the credit this year but forgot to claim it on your tax return, there’s still time to file an amended return.

For examples of how the credit applies to different employer circumstances, click here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/small_business_health_care_tax_credit_scenarios.pdf

Please click the following link for more information on tax credits at the IRS website: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=223666,00.html