In an age of technology enabling new ways to conduct business anywhere on a smartphone and work-from-home opportunities for many workers, it can be difficult to disconnect and get away from your business or job. If you are trying to open a new business or keep a small-business going, it can be especially stressful to even think about taking time off or having employees take time off. The worries about who will pick up the slack or how can the business afford it are powerful concerns.
Recently, there have been some federal and state proposals to mandate that employers provide their workers with more opportunity to take job-protected paid time off that would essentially expand the Family Medical Leave Act. Simply put, FMLA already provides workers with job-protected leave that is unpaid for a personal or family member illness or after a baby is born.
Here in Colorado, there is a proposal that would have every worker pay several dollars a week from their paycheck to fund a program that would allow workers to apply for all or a portion of their wages to be paid by the program if they need to take time off for maternity/paternity leave, an illness, or other similar circumstance. The program would pay a portion of the workers normal income that would be higher for low-wage workers, and a lower portion for higher-wage workers. The idea is that it would be a way for more employees to get access to paid time off, without burdening businesses, especially small-businesses, with the cost of paying the worker while they are gone.
However, it seems that most businesses and business groups oppose the measure, citing the administrative costs in managing the deductions and payroll with such a program and the challenges associated with finding temporary replacements for employees on job-protected leave. Businesses also fear that if the paycheck deductions are insufficient to fund the program, that businesses will end up covering any deficits.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are many companies and small-businesses that say that their workers already have access to these kinds of benefits. They say that they make sure that their employees get the time they need through a time off plan that suits their employer-employee relationship on a more individualized level.
Another interesting approach is one from a Denver-based tech company, FullContact. They have an extraordinary vacation policy that they call “Paid, PAID Vacation.” With this approach, they give their employees a minimum of 15 days of vacation with full pay every year, but they also give each employee $7,500 to pay for the vacation itself. The only catch for getting the bonus is that employees must actually go on vacation, they must “disconnect,” and they cannot work during this time off. Part of the inspiration for this program came when the CEO and founder was on vacation in Egypt. He was riding on a camel, in Egypt, with the Pyramids in view, and he was staring at his smartphone. There is a framed photo commemorating this moment at the company’s office. The company has called it a “giant experiment” that is designed to reward their employees and also help the company through benefits like increased productivity and employee retention. FullContact has had this program since 2012, so it looks like the company is satisfied with the results of this experiment.
If your business has questions about laws covering employee time off or about having an employee handbook or policies drafted with legal issues in mind, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Business Attorney, Elizabeth Lewis, at 720-258-6647 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the Day of the Dead approaches, it is a time that business owners need to be thinking about what will happen to their businesses if something happens to them. Without the proper planning, everything you dreamed and built for your family can crumble as quickly as a row of dominos. Proper planning helps ensure that your family can be supported and that your business can continue to provide for them when you are gone.
All business owners need to have an estate plan. When you are discussing your estate plan with a professional estate planner, you need to make sure they know that you have a business. The estate planner will need to know what type of business you have (i.e. LLC, corporation, sole proprietorship, etc) and how the interest in the business is titled. If you co-own the business with someone else, the estate planner will want to know if you hold the interest in the business individually or if it is as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Depending on how the interest in the business is titled, your estate will deal with the interest differently.
When you are coming up with your estate plan for your business, there are a lot of questions you will need to ask yourself. Who is going to take over the business, if anyone? If you have a business such as a law firm, it may be that no one in your family can take it over unless a family member is a licensed attorney. Even if you have someone in your family that can take over your business, you may find that no one wants to. You want to make sure that your business is a gift to your family members and not a burden.
If you do have someone that wants to take it over, or even just need someone to take it over in order to dissolve or sell it, you need to make sure that person has a basic understanding of how the business is run. Where do you bank? Who are your vendors? Who are your main accounts with? Do you have employees? Who does your taxes? These are just some of the questions that you want to make sure that there are answers to.
When you have a business, it can be rewarding. However, just as you plan for the day to day growth of your business, you must also plan on what will happen if something happens to you. If you have any questions about running a business or need information about business estate planning, please call me, your Denver business attorney, Elizabeth Lewis, at 720-258-6647.
Recently, I came across an article about wayward ice cream truck owners. Most of us remember these trucks from our youth – they brought us frosty treats on warm afternoons while toons played throughout the neighborhood. However, this article showed the darker side of the ice cream truck business.
In something that sounds like a bad tv show script, CBS reported that Sno Cone Joe pushed Mr. Ding a Ling out of the market. The dispute had been ongoing, but this year it really heated up after Sno Cone Joe was accused of trying to lure customers from Mr. Ding a Ling. The turf war between ice cream trucks ended in in the arrest of two ice cream truck operators after multiple incidents, including a heated meeting that resulted in one person yelling “This is my town!”
After Googling the dispute, come to find out this isn’t an isolated incident. In 2006, a man murdered another man after a dispute over the building of an ice cream truck. Two men died after a dispute over a family ice cream truck in 2009. And in 2011, a California legislator accused a 73 year old ice cream truck operator of trying to run him over.
So, the lesson from these incidents? Think long and hard before purchasing an ice cream truck business. And if you do, make sure to advise your business attorney that you may need a criminal attorney on speed dial before you sell your first cone!
If you are thinking about starting an ice cream truck business, or any other business, call me, your Denver business attorney, Elizabeth Lewis today at 720-258-6647.