As those of us with kids and school are starting to look forward to Summer, we also start to think about vacation and vacation planning. Our operations manager recently went on vacation and, surprisingly enough, I actually got her to follow the rule of no email checking on vacation. A few things did come up, but I simply texted her. She needed something, I sent it to her personal address. Vacation shouldn’t be about business email. You don’t need to keep up with it. It will be just fine with an auto-responder, or in our case, we make sure someone else has access who can take care of anything urgent that comes in, but to also wade through the junk and make sure when we come back, we come to a nice and neat inbox. It’s just one of those things that makes vacations a little bit easier. I’m sure she rested easier knowing that someone was checking and organizing her email while she was out. Email seems, for whatever reason, to be a stress point for a lot of us. Disconnecting it for a vacation is hard. I challenge each of you to find a way to take a few days off - completely off. No email, no business calls. You come back so much more refreshed than you ever do from a “working vacation” :) Have a great Summer, everyone!
Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act
On May 18, 2016, President Obama and Secretary Perez announced the publication of the Department of Labor’s final rule updating the overtime regulations, which will automatically extend overtime pay protections to over 4 million workers within the first year of implementation. This long-awaited update will result in a meaningful boost to many workers’ wallets, and will go a long way toward realizing President Obama’s commitment to ensuring every worker is compensated fairly for their hard work.
In 2014, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Department to update the regulations defining which white collar workers are protected by the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime standards. Consistent with the President's goal of ensuring workers are paid a fair day's pay for a hard day's work, the memorandum instructed the Department to look for ways to modernize and simplify the regulations while ensuring that the FLSA's intended overtime protections are fully implemented.
The Department published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register on July 6, 2015 (80 FR 38515) and invited interested parties to submit written comments on the proposed rule at www.regulations.gov by September 4, 2015. The Department received over 270,000 comments in response to the NPRM from a variety of interested stakeholders. The feedback the Department received helped shape the Final Rule.
Key Provisions of the Final Rule
The Final Rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for Executive, Administrative and Professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the Final Rule:
Sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South ($913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker);
Sets the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (HCE) subject to a minimal duties test to the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally ($134,004); and
Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption.
Additionally, the Final Rule amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level.
The effective date of the final rule is December 1, 2016. The initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and HCE total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year) will be effective on that date. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020.
Although the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reviewed and approved the Final Rule, the document has not yet been published in the Federal Register. The Final Rule that appears in the Federal Register may contain minor formatting differences in accordance with Office of the Federal Register publication requirements. The OMB-approved version is being provided as a convenience to the public and this website will be updated with the Federal Register’s published version when it becomes available.
6/15/2016 Individuals, Farmers & Fishermen Pay 2nd Quarter Estimated
6/15/2016 Corporations - 2nd Quarter Estimate Tax payment Due
6/15/2016 Estates & Trusts 2nd Estimated Tax Payment
6/15/2016 Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of
6/15/2016 US Taxpayers Overseas Individual Personal Returns due
6/15/2016 US Taxpayers Overseas Claim Foreign Earned Income
6/15/2016 US Individuals Overseas Personal Return Extensions due
6/30/2016 File FinCen Form 114 (Formerly TD F 90-22.1) - Report of
Foreign Banks with $10,000 anytime during year (2015)
7/15/2016 Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of
See you next month!
Three Tips for Maximum Social Media Optimization
When you begin utilizing social networks and various other sites to market your business, you will need to start considering SMO (social media optimization). While SEO focuses on drawing attention from the search engines and getting to the top of the search engine rankings, SMO applies to the social media network you are on. SMO focuses on taking some of the attention from other participants on that same network and gaining popularity among the largest number of users possible. There are several ways to do that with your social media marketing. Below are three tips involving your website that are particularly critical to your success.
The first thing you will need to do when planning your social media optimization is to be sure your website is “sticky”. Creating a sticky site merely means that the visitors to your site will stick around longer and return more often. Ways of doing that include adding fresh content on a regular basis by posting new blogs, conducting polls or surveys and anything that adds an element of interactivity with the audience. Those are things that people want to share. Give them what they want and you will be rewarded.
The next thing to do on your site is to make it very easy for visitors to share your content on their favorite social media network. Most social media sites provide buttons you can utilize like Tweet This, to ensure that readers can simply click that button, login to Twitter, and instantly publish your content. There are a number of applications, both free and paid, that can be added to your site to make this even easier to give your visitors a wide variety of sharing options, even if you do not make use of all the social sites yourself.
The last idea that we’ll cover for maximum social media optimization on your website itself is to make it very easy for your audience to connect directly with you on the networks you are trying to build your presence on. Even though we said to provide them a broad choice of sharing options, you do not have to be on all of the social networking sites. There just isn’t time in the day to be an active participant in too many. Nonetheless, for the ones that you are active on, include a widget or button that allows them to become one of your followers or fans, whatever your chosen site calls your network, directly from your site.
Have you ever received a newsletter that you know you didn't subscribe to?
Did you know that you can use the “+” sign followed by any word to track how your email address is used? For example, if you purposefully subscribe to a certain store's website newsletter, you could type “firstname.lastname@example.org,” and you’ll still get the emails. Later, filter your emails using that address and you can see if the website has shared your email address with anyone else.
The OffAssist newsletter is made possible by the the coding talents of Next Level Digital Solutions.
Much of the advice in this newsletter is based upon the research, professional and personal experiences of the authors. If the reader has any questions concerning any material or procedure mentioned, the publisher and authors strongly suggest seeking the advice of a qualified CPA or other professional.