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GREATER CHICOPEE CHAMBER CORPORATE LEADERS
Dave's Truck Repair
First American Insurance Agency, Inc.
Insurance Center of New England
The Greater Chicopee Chamber thanks these companies for their extraordinary contribution.
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December 11, 2013
Human Resource and Workplace Law Developments
Sullivan, Hayes and Quinn, LLC Attorneys at Law
Visit Their Website: www.sullivanandhayes.com
1. 2014 Mileage Rate Decreased: Reminder: The IRS has decreased the allowable business mileage expense by ½¢ a mile effective January 1, 2014. The new rate is 56¢ per mile.
2. 2014 Pay Increases: Buck Consultants, according to SHRM, predicts a 3% increase in the average base pay in 2014. See SH&Q’s Client Update No. 264, dated November 25, 2013, reporting a 2.9% increase for non-union and a 2.6% increase for unionized employees, predicted by Aon Hewitt.
3. 2014 401(k) Limits: The IRS published dollar limits for 401(k) Plans for tax year 2014. Deferrals into 401(k) Plans remain at $17,500, with the catch-up contribution remaining at $5,500. The highly compensated employee 401(k) definition remains at $115,000.
4. OSHA’s Most Cited Violations in 2013: The most frequent workplace safety violations cited by OSHA in 2013 were: Fall protection, Hazard communication, Scaffolding, Respiratory protection, Electrical (wiring), Power industrial trucks, Ladders, Lockout/Tagout, Electrical, Machine guarding
5. No Love on the Job: SHRM reports its survey of employers shows that 42% have a workplace romance policy, with 99% prohibiting supervisor-subordinate relationships and 45% prohibiting relationships between employees of different rank.
6. Holiday Parties – Having a Good Time without Lawsuits: Events at annual parties have resulted in harassment lawsuits based on managers’ comments and co-worker physical contact, accidents resulting from alcohol, criminal action, fighting and assaults, and discrimination complaints based on exclusions or on being forced to participate in a religious-tradition party. Fun without litigation can be had. Do:
- Secular themes and decorations
- Annual “holiday” party event
- Voluntary attendance
- A disabled-accessible party site
- If employees may bring a guest, avoid stating “employee and spouse”
- Use positive language to advise that usual prohibited harassment policies continue to apply
- Exercise caution if serving alcohol (e.g., alternative beverages for alcohol-dependent persons, adults only, limits – no open bar (tickets or tokens), don’t serve liquor, taxi service available, supervisors told to police against intoxication, plenty of food, daytime event, etc.)
7. Quickie NLRB Union Elections: Changes to union representation rules remain on the NLRB’s agenda. NLRB rules aimed at holding quick union elections were issued in 2012 but set aside by a U.S. District Court. Now those rules and perhaps additional representation rules are back on the NLRB’s stated regulatory agenda.
8. Lawyers for Suing Employers: Legislation has been introduced in New York State’s legislature to give plaintiffs in employment lawsuits attorney representation.
9. Union Can Pay Employees to Strike: In an internal advice memorandum, the NLRB said that the UFCW Union’s offer of $50 gift cards to Walmart employees who agreed to strike on last year’s 2012 Black Friday did not violate the NLRA.
10. Machinists Union Violates Union Election Law: The U.S. Department of Labor found that International Association of Machinists (“IAM”) Union Locals violated federal labor law by not providing notice of nominating meetings, denying members the opportunity to attend nominating meetings, and denying members an opportunity to vote on candidates. There has been no opposition to incumbent IAM Union officers for over fifty years. A former IAM staff representative, fired by the IAM after he publicly announced that he would seek election in opposition to IAM leadership, said that, if elected, he would sell the Union’s private jet plane used by the IAM President and save the more-than-$1-million jet expenses that are spent by the Union.
|News to Use
English cleric Charles Caleb Colton wrote: “Commerce flourishes by circumstances, precarious, transitory, contingent, almost as the winds and waves that bring it to our shores.” Colton died in 1832, but his words are as true today as when he wrote them.
Economic uncertainty will always be a reality because no matter how strong the economy, there will always be a downshift and no matter how weak the economy, it will always find a way to bounce back.
Is the Massachusetts Tax Fairness Commission an oxymoron?
It’s difficult to conclude otherwise about a commission that appears to view fairness exclusively through the lens of redistributing revenue from the productive sectors of the economy to the government. When the primary conversation about tax fairness starts with “How progressive is the tax?” you know the analysis is fraught with bias and ready to veer from math towards politic
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While the Affordable Care Act has brought several constraints to employers when it comes to health insurance and other benefits, the United States Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service have relaxed the Section 125 rules when it comes to health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA's) somewhat as employers now have the option to allow plan participants to carry over $500 of an unused remaining balance to a subsequent plan year
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The Economic Assistance Coordinating Council (EACC) today approved 19 projects for participation in the Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP), which are expected to create 2,347 new jobs and retain 3,102 existing jobs, in addition to leveraging nearly $406 million in private investment and supporting construction projects across the Commonwealth. Click here
to read more.
Workforce Training Fund Streamlines Grant Process
The Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund Program (WTFP) today announced four policy changes that will streamline the grant process and make thousands of additional employers eligible for the Express Grant program.
WTFP officials said the fund’s advisory board voted recently to cut in half the two-year waiting period for companies that receive a grant and wish to apply for a subsequent award. The board also made companies with between 50-100 employees eligible for Express Grants; eliminated the waiting period between General Program grants and Express Program grants; and increased the allowable grant period for Technical Assistance grants from six months to 12 months.
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Published Friday, November 30, 2012
A national survey of 2,000 adults reveals that being active in a local chamber of commerce is an effective business strategy because two-thirds of consumers believe that such companies use good business practices, are reputable, care about their customers, and are involved in the community.
The study, conducted by The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based strategic consulting firm, found consumer perceptions of chamber members to be positive in many ways:
When consumers know that a small business is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 49% more likely to think favorably of it and 80% more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future.
To read the full article, click here.