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  April, 2017

 2nd Quarter Update 

Spring has sprung! 

I know I've said this before but once again... how did it get to be almost May? Where has the time gone? I hope you're all having a great year so far.

This newsletter highlights some changes that happened in late March and early April but mostly is meant to serve as a reminder that reporting forms are due on April 30, 2017, for several San Francisco ordinances plus Bay Area and SF Commuter ordinances.
 Updates, News and Information

DUE APRIL 30, 2017: HCSO, Commuter Benefits and 
Fair Chance Ordinance Reporting!
If you have 20 or more employees, you are subject to the Health Care Security Ordinance (HCSO) and the  Fair Chance Ordinance. The Employer Annual Reporting Forms for those ordinances are now available. You must submit the form to the Office of Labor   Standards Enforcement (OLSE) by  
April 30, 2017, to avoid penalties.  

The  link to the HCSO AND Fair Chance Reporting forms are the same: 

You start with that link, fill out a few questions and the site will route you to the next step.


The San Francisco Commuter Benefits Ordinance  requires businesses with locations in San Francisco and 20 or more employees nationwide to offer commuter benefits to employees. The reporting form for San Francisco employers is here:

If you have more than 50 full-time employees across all your locations in the Bay Area combined, you will need to register and report to the new  Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program.

If you have any other questions about the Compliance Reporting Form or need assistance complying with the Ordinance, please call (415) 355-3727 or email .

I promise these are straight forward and easy to fill out, perhaps five minutes apiece so there isn't anything to dread and we're happy to help. Please let us know if you need any help complying with these ordinances or filling out the reporting forms.

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San José's New Scheduling Ordinance is Effective March 13, 2017

On November 8, 2016, San José voters passed the  Opportunity to Work Ordinance. Under the ordinance, employers with 36 or more employees are required to offer additional work hours to existing, qualified part-time employees before hiring new employees or subcontractors or using temporary staffing services.

It became effective on March 13, 2017. Required posters can be found here:

Employers must offer additional hours to existing employees who, in the employers' good faith and reasonable judgment, have the skills and experience to perform the work.

Employers are not required to provide additional hours if doing so will put an employee into overtime hours. Employers must use a transparent and nondiscriminatory process to distribute hours to existing employees.

The ordinance does not cover exempt employees. 

Small businesses (35 or fewer employees counting both full and part time) are exempt from the ordinance.  

Chain businesses not owned by franchisees must count all employees at every location of the chain business, whether or not located within the City of San José.

Franchises must count the total number of employees at every location owned by the franchisee and operated under the same franchisee, whether or not located within the City of San José.


Landmark Federal Ruling: Title VII Prohibits Sexual Orientation Discrimination

On April 4, 2017, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals became the first Federal Appellate Court to hold that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  While California and some other states have already enacted laws protecting against that type of discrimination, and many employers have added such protections into company equal employment opportunity policies, this marks the first time sexual orientation has been deemed protected at this level under the federal Civil Rights Act.

The decision in Hively v. Ivy Tech, makes it illegal to use an individual's sexual orientation as a basis for employment decisions. The ruling applies to employers with 15 or more employees in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

The decision is groundbreaking because it overturned prior cases and also conflicts with law from other federal courts. However, it aligns with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) position. Review of the issue by the U.S. Supreme Court is likely in the future.

ACTION STEPSAffected employers should review their existing policies to ensure they do not allow discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  

Tax Credits (My Favorite Subject!) For Growth and R&D

If you're growing by even ONE employee, you can apply for these credits. I'm told that so few businesses doing less than $2M per year are applying, that the ones who do are almost a shoo-in to get the credits. I know folks who can do all the paperwork for you and just take a percentage of the credits they recover - let's take advantage!

Those of you who know me well know I'm practically delirious about tax credits. Any program that allows me to legally take money out of the IRS's wallet and give it back to my small business clients is a huge passion for me. 
Several of these credit options can be applied to AMT or payroll tax so you don't even need to be profitable! They can also be "stored" and applied down the road when you do become profitable. 

There are lots of tax credit options out there but the two which seem to be the best fit  for our clients are these:
1. The California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC):  is an income tax credit available to businesses  that want to locate in California or stay and grow in California. In short, if you're going to grow headcount at all, even by one person, you can apply for this credit. You'll ask for the amount of credit you want per additional headcount, indicate what you're going to use the money for and maintain the additional headcount number for five years. That's it. If you downsize, you don't apply credits that year.

Who Can Apply?  Any business can apply for the CCTC and there are no geographic or restrictions that impact eligibility.  In addition, 25% of the total credits available each fiscal year are specifically reserved for small businesses.  
2. R&D Tax Credits:  If your company is involved with developing new products, processes or prototypes (reinventing the wheel, or making a better mousetrap as I like to say!),  and improving on an existing product then your company may qualify for the R&D tax credit. This tax credit is one of the  most valuable credits  a company can claim and you can earn both state and federal credits.
Previously, only companies engaged in operations such as pharmaceuticals or software development could claim the tax credit for R&D. Due to the strict requirements of the credits in the past, companies have been led to take their research activities overseas. Recent legislation, a revised method of computing R&D tax credits, and the desire of the IRS to increase domestic R&D activity has made it easier for companies to claim these tax credits.
Your organization may be eligible for R&D tax credits if it engages in these areas:
  • Food Processing
  • Apparel and Textiles
  • Construction and Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Architecture
  • Distribution
  • Electrical Contracting
  • Software
  • Wine Making
  • Brewing
  • Engineering Services
  • Life Sciences
Tax credits are a speciality and you may find that your CPA can't develop them for you. We've found a group that only charges a percentage of what they recover so there aren't any upfront fees or risk to you to find out more. They will work with your CPA to make sure you get the most out of your credits. Let me know if you need a referral.

Poster Requirements for California Employers 2017

Your posters have to be updated every year. The good news is they aren't expensive: $35. Call us for information or to order. 

  REQUIRED! Harassment Prevention Training!   

Employers with 50 or more employees  are required by AB1825 to offer Sexual Harassment Prevention training to management staff every two years. AB2053 requires a component of the prevention of "abusive conduct" as defined in the law. All new supervisory employees must be trained within six months of promotion or hire to ensure compliance. We have made this training as fast moving and entertaining as possible so please keep us in mind when you're ready to schedule your mandated 2017 session. 

We can come onsite to your location and conduct this training for your entire management team or if you prefer, managers can attend our quarterly training at the NLS office. 
Requirement Reminders 
Important reminders about previous year's legislation:
Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) - Employers must administer and provide specific timely pregnancy-related notifications, leaves, transfers and accommodations to their CA employees as of 12/30/12. 

Detailed Written Commission Plans are required as of 1/1/13 with certain stipulations and inclusions.
Written offers of employment for all Non-Exempt employees are required as of 1/1/12 also  with certain stipulations and inclusions
Let us know if you need more information or help with either of these requirements.  

As always... call us if you have any questions or need assistance with policy development!

In This Issue
Updates, News and Information
Upcoming Workshops
Open Position Spotlight
Rent Our Space!

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Stay Ahead:  Check out Our Upcoming Workshops

Workshops offered through Next Level Strategies, 1748 Clement Street, at 19th Avenue. (Free street parking or easy bus access.) 

HR 101 Monday, June 12, from 10:30 - 1:00 p.m.  This is a great training for new managers and overwhelmed entrepreneurs. Topics include: paperwork requirements, tip laws, defining exempt and non-exempt employees, defining independent contractors, a variety of wage and hour issues such as meal and rest breaks, what you can and can't ask during an interview, harassment prevention information, safety requirements, discrimination issues, final check and termination requirements, and much more! You're welcome to bring your lunch and we'll provide beverages and snacks. $139.

Sexual Harassment "Make-Up" Training for ManagersMondayJune 12, from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.  If you have 50 or more employees and any newly hired or promoted managers, you have six months to get them trained under CA's AB1825 law. You may also have managers who missed your company-wide training. This is a great opportunity to get these folks trained and your company compliant. $125

Recruiting and Hiring 101:  Wednesday, June 14, 10:00 - 12:30. It's a candidate's market right now - there is no two ways about it. As a result, many of you are settling for mediocre employees because you don't have a lot to choose from. You're taking our Performance and Termination class in the hope that you can turn an "C" player into a "B" player. Well what if you knew the tricks and process to hiring (and RETAINING!) an "A" player? We'll teach you how to properly identify your needs, write an effective posting, ask the right questions, and hire the best without spending a ton of money. 

Performance & Termination 101: Wednesday, June 14, 1:00 - 3:30. Clients requested we create a training to assist in employee performance management and the termination process. Topics include: coaching, feedback, conflict resolution, proper termination techniques and beyond. 

You can take our, Recruiting and Hiring 101 workshop in the morning, stay for lunch, and take "Performance & Termination 101" in the afternoon (or take one or the other!). A discount will be offered if you take both. BRING YOUR QUESTIONS AND SCENARIOS!

You're welcome to call or Zoom in to the training if you can't make it in person. 

$139 per session or $250 for both sessions, including materials. Snacks and beverages provided for those attending in person. Lunch included for those attending both sessions in person.

RSVP to Taune Lima, 415.876.NEXT or to reserve your space. Space is limited to 10 attendees per training!

We are open to offering weekend or evening workshops by popular demand or be onsite at your location if you have a group to train. Let us know what works for you! 
Open Positions We are Seeking to Fill

A client specializing in windows and doors is looking for an Accounting Manager in San Francisco. 

Recruiting for Architectural positions for a firm in San Francisco. Seeking Project Architects/Project Designers. 

An acupuncturist client is looking for a part time front desk person in San Francisco.

Please let us know if you know of anyone with interest. You're welcome to forward this information along to friends and associates. 

Rent Our Deck or Conference Room!

We have a beautiful deck and conference room available for meetings or workshops.  Our space is a converted Victorian - very homey, peaceful and comfortable - in the Richmond District.  The conference room has a large table which seats eight easily around the table but there is plenty of additional room for participants within the room. There is a large white board and other tools available for your use.  The deck table seats six comfortably, with plenty of room for others, pretty plants and a view.

Call us for photos and rental details!
If any of this is news to you or you need support managing any of the changes, please call us - 415.876.NEXT.  Thank you for reading!

Julie Chendes, Taune Lima, Joy Vail, Cecilia Reynoso

This information is for general use only.  Please consult a licensed attorney for legal analysis and advice.