TAX UPDATES

Louisiana and California Make Changes

Louisiana
For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, employers are not required to withhold Louisiana income tax from nonresident employee wages for services performed within Louisiana, unless the nonresident employee spends more than 25 days performing employment duties for the employer in Louisiana.

If, during the calendar year, the number of days an employee spends performing employment duties in Louisiana exceeds the 25-day threshold, an employer is required to withhold and remit taxes for every day in the calendar year, including the first 25 days, on which the employee performs employment duties in Louisiana. The threshold does not apply to professional athletes, professional entertainers, public figures, qualified production employees (related to the motion picture industry), and staff members of professional athletic teams.

Currently, employers must withhold for all nonresidents regardless of the number of days worked in Louisiana. Louisiana does not have reciprocal withholding agreements with any states.

California
The California Supreme Court determined the premium pay for noncompliant meal and rest breaks must be paid at an employee’s regular rate of pay, which is equivalent to an employee’s regular rate of pay for overtime calculation [Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, No. S259172 (Calif., 7-15-21)].

This means the premium pay for noncompliant meal and rest breaks must include a number of different kinds of remuneration, such as hourly earnings, salary, piecework earnings, commissions, and nondiscretionary bonuses (e.g., bonuses for hours worked, production, or proficiency, or as an incentive to remain employed by the same employer).

The court decision resolves ongoing legal disputes over whether the meal and rest break premium should be paid at an employee’s regular rate of pay or base hourly pay. Lower court decisions have been split over the matter.

For employers, this means payroll processes ensuring overtime premium payment and pay statement compliance also should be applied to meal and rest break premiums. As with overtime premiums, non-discretionary bonuses must be allocated to the workweeks during which they were earned or, alternatively, allocated evenly to each workweek or each hour worked during the period for which the bonus was paid. If the applicable period is longer than a single pay period, adjustments to pay and corrective line items on pay statements might be required.

OSHA SAFE + SOUND WEEK 2021

3 Ideas on How You Can Participate

BY TOBY GRAHAM from KPA Better Workforce Blog, edited for inVested use

Deck the halls with safety posters and leave out a plate of saltines for the Occupational Health and Safety Administration inspector, because this week is Safe + Sound Week!

On second thought, scratch the Christmas comparison.

What is Safe + Sound Week?

This year, Safe + Sound Week is from Aug 9 – 15th.  OSHA describes it as “a nationwide event held each August that recognizes the successes of workplace health and safety programs and offers information and ideas on how to keep America’s workers safe.” Think of it as Christmas season in the safety industry. But with 7 days rather than 12. And instead of warm mugs of spiced cider, umm… correctly labeled chemical containers?

Point is, this week is a great time to raise awareness about workplace health and safety—and the perfect opportunity to freshen up your safety program or launch a new initiative. By participating in Safe + Sound Week, you’ll join together with hundreds of organizations across the country, promote safety in your workplace or community, and earn a swanky certificate along with—gasp!—a virtual challenge coin. Oh, and you might also save some lives.

Here are a few easy ways to get involved:

Join the Take 3 in 30 Challenge

Leadership involvement is crucial for every health and safety program. This challenge encourages executives and managers to take 3 safety actions in 30 days. OSHA offers the following as examples:

  • Record a video about safety.
  • Host a short safety meeting.
  • Set safety and health program goals and objectives.
  • Write a company newsletter article about safety.
  • Find or become a safety mentor.
  • Tell businesses you work with about your commitment to safety and health.

These are just a few ideas. Check out more suggestions and information.

Engage in Better Safety Conversations

One of the best ways to promote safety in your workplace is simply to talk about it. The conversations you and your employees have can directly influence others’ behavior, set the tone at your organization, and ultimately grow your safety culture. Many leaders refrain from fully engaging in these conversations because they feel difficult and emotionally charged.

Fortunately, the tireless PDF creation team at OSHA has released a detailed guide to starting the conversation and avoiding the awkwardness and conflict that sometimes follow. The guide contains tips about active listening, giving the “why I care about safety” elevator speech, offering constructive feedback, and overcoming conversation “killers” like “be a team player” and “just this once.”

Download the guide (PDF).

Get Your Health and Safety Program Off the Ground

This week is the ideal time to launch or revise a health and safety program. If your business has undergone significant change or growth recently, or if you just haven’t had the time to update or formalize your program, make the most of Safe + Sound Week.

Here are some simple steps to get started, courtesy of OSHA:

  • Establish safety and health as a core value
  • Lead by example
  • Implement a reporting system
  • Provide training
  • Conduct inspections
  • Collect hazard control ideas
  • Implement hazard controls
  • Address emergencies
  • Seek input on workplace changes
  • Make improvements to the program

For full article, click here.

TRAINING SHORTS: HAND TRUCK SAFETY

Quick safety information, delivered straight to your inbox

Part of your relationship with Vested HR means free access to safety materials, curated by our Workers’ Compensation carrier.  The links below list ways to prevent strains, trips, and falls when using hand trucks.  Click the links below for a downloadable training document.

Material Handling – Hand Truck Safety – English
Material Handling – Hand Truck Safety – Spanish

Did you know?

Vested HR has a client referral program!  If you love our service, tell a friend and you’ll receive a discount.  The larger the referral, the larger the discount. Contact your Business Consultant or reach out to us at info@vestedhr.com to learn more!

HOW THE TIGHT LABOR MARKET AFFECTS PROFITABILITY: WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT

BUDGETING & FINANCE: 2020 AFTERMATH

BY MARK SINATRA from Aug 2021 PEO Insider, edited for inVested use

We know that the key to creating a successful company is to hire and develop a skilled and highly-engaged workforce. As the labor market continues to tighten up, it has become even more challenging to hire top talent across all industries. Is the best solution simply to increase wages, which can cut into your operating margins? What are the best practices to retain talent in a tight labor market?

Thankfully, companies still have a multitude of options to attract and retain the talent they need to outperform their peers. The following are three key strategies for consideration.

CREATE AN EMPLOYER BRAND

We all invest in sales and marketing and, as a result, we generate brand awareness with our prospective and current clients. However, I challenge you to consider how your brand appeals to potential new hires. How much of your website is devoted to illustrating your company’s culture, vision, career opportunities, and core values? How are your reviews on websites such as Glassdoor?

In sales, prospective clients can easily research and form a strong opinion about a company prior to even speaking with a sales rep. The same is true for prospective employees, which is why it is so critical to have a meaningful, employee-focused brand. Your best brand ambassadors are your employees, so reward them well for referrals to new hires. A-players know other A-players and want to be surrounded by A-players, so the quality of an employee referral is often unmatched. One of my best years of hiring was when we filled 75 percent of our job vacancies from employee referrals.

Measure and track metrics such as employee engagement, employee net promoter score, voluntary turnover, and overtime to ensure your workforce is trending in the right direction.

DEVELOP CAREER PATHING

Now, to create those raving fans internally, you have to consistently invest in your staff and provide them with the resources, tools, and guidance they need to be successful in their roles. Leaders need to have a clear understanding of the goals and development plan of each team member and implement an actionable plan to reinvest in that employee. The cost of employee turnover dwarfs the manageable cost of reinvesting in your team.

Another benefit of charting career paths for employees is that when a job opening pops up, it creates a great opportunity to promote an internal employee rather than hiring from the outside. This sends the right message to the staff and engenders the level of employee loyalty that all organizations strive to attain.

Lastly, promoting from within can spark a chain reaction of subsequent promotions ultimately resulting in an open position at a staff level that is easier to fill than the manager role. For example, if you promote a senior administrator to manager, you may be able to promote a junior associate to the administrator role. The junior associate role is typically easier and faster to fill from an external hire than the manager role.

TAKE IT PERSONAL

One of the most impactful business books I have read is “Who” by Geoff Smart, which outlines the top-grading methodology for assessing talent. However, my primary takeaway from that book is that as CEO, I need to spend a significant part of my time recruiting, cultivating, and assessing talent. Who better to market the company to a prospective new hire than the business owner/CEO. Recruiting is often thought of as a function that can be easily delegated internally or outsourced and I agree with that. My point is that the more involved a CEO is in the candidate sourcing and recruiting process, the more effective the company will be in attracting talent.

One practical tip is that when networking or referral partners of mine asks how they can help, I ask them if they know of any exceptional team members who I should hire. If you actively tap your network, you never know when you will be introduced to your next A-player. I even recall hiring a Starbucks barista once due to that employee’s white-glove service I saw in action on a daily basis. The employee turned out to be great and eventually went on to work for one of our clients.

There is another area of employee engagement and retention where company leadership needs to play a hands-on, active role. The culture of an organization is largely driven from the top down, so the leadership team sets the culture and is accountable for employee engagement and retention. Schedule one-on-one discussions with team members to better understand their career goals and challenges, and most important, how you can help them be more successful. Ask provoking questions and actively listen to what your team is feeling. Digest the feedback, and based on that, create an action plan that will position your organization to improve. There are too many examples of surveys where the feedback was not acted upon, so please be wary of making that mistake.

Hiring, developing, and retaining talent is the formula for success and presents a continual challenge for all companies. If a company is intentional and thoughtful about it, it will be well on the path towards creating that winning team.

Offices Closed

Vested HR offices will be closed on Monday, September 6th in observance of Labor Day.

Peach Jam

by Food Network  |  Total time: 35 min   |   Active time: 25 min   |   Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped (about 2 pounds)
Directions
  1. Put the sugar, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, vanilla and cloves in a heavy, nonreactive skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the peaches to the skillet and stir once to coat. Raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a visible simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and jam-like and the peach pieces are very soft, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on ripeness of the peaches. Check the pan midway, you may need to lower the temperature to medium if the mixture starts to brown.
  3. Crush the peaches with a potato masher, until most of the mixture is smooth and there are only a few chunky pieces left. (The longer the mixture cooks, the thicker the jam will be after it cools.) Remove from the heat, stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and let cool before refrigerating. Cool completely in the refrigerator before using. Discard the cloves before serving. The jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Click here for the full recipe link.