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Ideas to Help Local Businesses

Shuttered businesses are realizing that lifting lockdown restrictions doesn’t mean a return to business as usual. Social distancing guidelines and a public wary of venturing into crowded environments means light customer traffic for many businesses. Here are several ideas to help local businesses financially as they re-open their doors: Continue buying gift cards. For many small businesses, positive cash flow is the primary factor whether they survive this economic downturn. Buying gift cards is a great

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The New Face of Banking

It suddenly got a lot more difficult to buy a home The banking sector is the latest industry to dramatically change how it operates in response to the current economic environment. The most visible change for consumers are new requirements for taking out a mortgage. Here are some tips for working with banks and other lending institutions in the midst of tighter lending requirements and a heightened awareness of staying healthy. Save more for a mortgage

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Be Prepared for Pandemic Tax Surprises

Numerous new laws provide economic relief to individuals and businesses hardest hit by this year’s pandemic. This much-needed financial assistance, however, comes with a few strings attached. Here are three potential surprises if you use the available economic relief packages: • Getting a tax bill for unemployment benefits. While the $1,200 economic impact payments most Americans received does not have to be reported as taxable income on your 2020 tax return, there is currently no such

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Think Before Tapping 401(k) as Emergency Fund

Do you need a quick infusion of cash? Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, you may be able to take money out of a qualified plan, like a 401(k), or an IRA, with favorable tax consequences. But should you do it? You might view withdrawing money from a retirement account as a last resort. Background Among other changes in the CARES Act relating to qualified plans and IRAs, a participant can withdraw

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Have an attorney review your arbitration agreement

If you’re like a lot of employers, you have incorporated arbitration agreements into your hiring process because you like the efficiency they bring when it comes to resolving disputes with your workers. Arbitration is a much cheaper and faster process than going to court, and it’s certainly less unpredictable. But a decision last summer from the National Labor Relations Board suggests that it might be a good idea to have an employment lawyer look over your

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Employer unaware of medical condition couldn’t be sued

A worker who took opioids for his chronic pain couldn’t bring a disability discrimination suit against his employer after being terminated by directors who were allegedly unaware of his medical condition, a federal judge in Rhode Island recently ruled. Employee David Saad went to work as an assistant marketing manager for a tech company and was soon placed on a “performance plan” with several specific issues that he needed to address. Within a couple of months,

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‘Long-shift’ workers could recover for unpaid ‘sleep time’

If you’re an employee who works long shifts (for example, seven days on and seven days off, in which you’re technically always on duty), or if you’re an employer with such workers, it’s important to know that sleep time must be compensated. Federal regulations allow for certain arrangements under which sleep time is unpaid, but the regulations can be complicated, which is why employers need to run their policies by an employment attorney to make sure

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Worker’s comp bar not always impossible barrier

If your employee is hurt at work, he or she typically can’t bring a personal injury suit against your company in court. That’s because of the “worker’s comp bar.” In other words, the employee needs to file a claim in the worker’s compensation system, where the payments obtained may be less than the damages that might have been recovered from a jury or in a settlement. But don’t assume you’re safe from all suits for workplace

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Documenting performance issues can save employers headaches

One of the biggest traps an employer can fall into is failure to document employee performance issues. If an employee who has been demoted, disciplined or fired decides to sue you, claiming that you were motivated by impermissible prejudice, or that you acted in retaliation for something they did that is protected by the law, it will be very difficult to defend yourself without a solid, consistent record of all the legitimate problems the employee caused.

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Be sure to have ‘the talk’ with your kids before they leave home

When children turn 18 they are adults, regardless of how mature they actually are. As parents, you’re no longer entitled to access their medical records or make legal decisions for them without their permission. It’s unlikely they will have the real-world experience at that age to handle all medical and financial decisions on their own. This can feel scary, especially if they are leaving home to go to college or to work. It might feel scary

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