Business notes: Employment law changes
Small business owners are awash in employment law changes for 2014 and some local professionals are offering their expertise to help people find their way.
Christina Harris Schwinn, partner in the Pavese Law Firm, and David C. Raimey, managing member of Leading Edge Benefit Advisors, will present on “Employment Law Potpourri — News You Can Use” during a complimentary Lunch & Learn series at 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m on Feb. 19 at Pavese Law Office, 1833 Hendry St. in Fort Myers.
Small business owners need a chance to be brought up to date on a list of changes and to ask questions about what applies to them, said Schwinn, who also serves as a director and legislative director for the Human Resource Management Association of Southwest Florida.
“They do have a lot on their plate,” she said.
The National Labor Relations Board and the National Labor Relations Act
Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) audits, compliance, and penalties
The Department of Labor’s misclassification initiative regarding independent contractors and its agreement with the IRS
The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013
Health Care Reform
Schwinn said the National Labor Relations Act is an ongoing issue with businesses, especially in connection with social media. Employers can easily mistep when disciplining or terminating employees based on social media conversations.
“Social media is what the water cooler was 30 years ago,” Schwinn said. “But now, instead of having a handful of people hear what is going on with the business, you could have several hundred people hearing what is going on.”
Employers often don’t know that those conversations can be protected as “concerted activity.”
“We want to remind employers that, just because their workers are not covered by collective bargaining, that doesn’t mean they get a bye,” she said.
Raimey, from Leading Edge, said he will concentrate on the health care reform issues. He said he will provide an overview of requirements for businesses of various sizes, but intends to focus more on case studies so that businesses can learn real-life lessons about meeting the requirements of the act.
“We really want to get ‘real world’ about it and talk specifically about what works,” he said.
To register, call Sheila Rash at 336-6248.
Small-business optimism ended 2013 slightly higher from November at 93.9, but that remains below previous highs this past year and 6 points below the pre-recession average, according to the December index from the National Federation of Independent Business.
On positive notes, businesses said capital spending rose in December, increasing by 9 points from November. Job creation among NFIB firms was the best since February 2006.
“While there has been no sign that a real recovery has begun, we can be encouraged that the economy is at least crawling forward and not heading in reverse,” NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said.
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