April 22, 2020
Serving Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Kern, Ventura & Clark Counties
Got Family Members on the Payroll?
If yours is a family-owned and -operated business, chances are you have family members on the payroll. An important thing to keep in mind is that in the eyes of the law your family members must be treated just like any other employee . Especially now, when we’re in the midst of a worldwide crisis , it can be tempting to ask family members to put in extra hours, wear extra hats or do something that violates California’s wage and hour laws.
Our advice: Don’t do it! Never treat an employee who happens to be a family member any different than you would treat any other employee. This means, for example:

  • Hiring – No one wants to be stuck working with someone who is unqualified for the job. When this unqualified person is related to the boss, the situation is even more demoralizing. Family members’ qualifications should be evaluated on the same criteria that any other applicant would be expected to meet. If your hiring policies call for background checks or drug screens, these policies need to be applied to family members as well. Then, once hired, family members should go through the same onboarding and training processes (including signing that they agree to abide by the rules in your Company Employee Handbook) as any other employee.
  • Performance – Family members should be given job descriptions with clearly-defined roles and responsibilities. They should have regular written performance evaluations, preferably with input from non-family members, too, to avoid bias. And their level of authority (i.e. are they in a managerial role?) should be communicated to other employees as well.
  • Wage and hour law compliance – Be sure to put all compensation agreements, including wages, bonuses, etc., in writing. Be aware that, aside from some narrow exceptions for family members who are also owners of the company, it is unlawful for you to allow family members to “volunteer” their time or work “off the clock” if they are non-exempt. 
  • All other company policies – Avoid special treatment! Do not excuse behavior such as absenteeism, insubordination, harassment, etc. that you would not tolerate in an employee who is not a family member.
How to Get Started With Instagram Stories for Business

#1: Plan Your Instagram Stories Content Strategy

Instagram Stories sits at the top of the home feed and Explore page. In your story, you can post 15-second videos or image slides, which are then available for 24 hours. After this period, the content is automatically removed. If you want to extend the life of your stories, you can save them permanently to your profile as highlights so people can view them anytime.
You can post images to your Instagram Stories; however, they have a  higher tap-forward rate  than videos. Users are quicker to tap an image to move to the next slide than they are with a video. And they’re more likely to pause their scrolling to watch a video than to read a text overlay or ponder an image.
Posting video content to your story also allows you to be authentic, show viewers your brand, and engage your community. Through your stories, you can connect and engage more meaningfully with your audience.

Prior Salary History Does Not Supersede the Equal Pay Act
Under the U.S.’ Equal Pay Act, men and women must be given equal pay for substantially equal work in the same establishment. Regardless of the job titles, this applies to jobs that require “substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment.” Pay differentials are only permitted when they are based on seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production, or a factor other than sex.

In a recent court case, Rizo v. Yovino , the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that an employee’s prior salary history cannot be used to justify a wage disparity between a male employee and a female employee, because the “factor other than sex” defense is limited to job-related factors only.
Action item: Always set employee compensation based on actual job-related factors, and regularly review your employee compensation by gender to ensure that you are not running afoul of the law. 
Print Added As Essential Workplace
Printers Added to Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers by Cyber Security and Infrastructure Agency
Printers and packagers have been specifically included as essential workers in the updated Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce HERE which was released on April 17 by the United States Department of Homeland Security's Cyber Security and Infrastructure Agency (CISA). Printing Industries of America (PIA) petitioned the agency to recognize printing and packaging's essential nature along with the myriad of printed materials necessary to support the nation's other critical infrastructure sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While CISA's guidance is not law nor a binding government regulation, it serves as an important benchmark by providing a standard definition of essential workers and encourages adoption by governors, county officials and mayors. CISA estimates that approximately 75 percent of states have adopted its guidelines in order to create a more harmonious approach to determining which types of businesses remain open.

Although earlier versions of the CISA guidance implied that printing and packaging companies were essential as part of critical manufacturing supply chains, this was not explicitly stated. Now it is.
PIASC continues to work to get printing and packaging companies explicitly listed as essential businesses in California’s guidelines as well.
Qualified Health Plan Tax Credit through the FFCRA
Did you know the FFCRA not only provides tax credit for wages, but also for Qualified Health Plan costs during an employee's FFCRA leave?
If an employee is on FFCRA paid sick leave or FFCRA expanded paid FMLA, you can qualify for a payroll tax credit for the cost of the health plan during this time.
The following employer sponsored plans can qualify for payroll tax credit under the FFCRA:

  • Medical/prescription drugs
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Medical Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
  • Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), except for qualified small employer HRAs
  • Employee Assistance Plans (other than referral-only EAPs)
  • On-Site Medical Clinics
Only the employer portion of these expenses, which are not included in the employee’s gross income, can be included in the payroll tax credit.
To calculate the portion of the Qualified Health Plan that receives payroll tax credit, take the following steps:

  • Determine the employer portion of the specific employee's annual plan cost
  • Divide this amount by 260 work days per year
  • Multiple this amount by the number of FFCRA leave days taken by the employee
  • For example, if the employer pays $13,000 per year for the employee's plan, and the employee took 10 days of FFCRA leave, they will do the following calculation:

  • $13,000 annual/260 work days per year = $50 per day
  • $50 x 10 days of FFCRA leave = $500 in qualified payroll tax credit

For information on FFCRA tax credits, visit: WWW.IRS.GOV
Selling Your Printing/Direct Mail Company? A well-established Orange County marketing service provider is looking for a bolt-on acquisition to expand mailing capability. If your annual sales are over $1 million, contact, Lou Caron, 323.728.9500, Ext. 274.
Marketing Your Business During the Pandemic
A person who suffered big losses in the ’08 meltdown once said, “ When things are good, they’re not as good as they appear to be. And when things are bad, they’re not as bad as they appear to be. ” It was true then and true now. This too shall pass, and it will pass rather quickly compared to other economic downturns. Maintain a steady hand and strong leadership.
At a time when we are being asked to isolate and insulate ourselves and our businesses, it’s important to realize that the benefits of meaningful communication have never been greater.
People, businesses and communities continue to value hearing from the people and companies they have interacted with.

After every shakeup, nothing ever resettles exactly as before. There will be customer reallocation. While efforts to help defeat the virus are paramount, there are still things that companies can and should do to protect their current sales relationships and, in some cases, help promote future ones.
There is a common phrase in marketing circles over the last few years: “Marketing today is about giving, not asking.” Keep this in mind.

What can you be doing right now?

  • Communicate often. It has a ton of value. Although we’ve hit digital overload with the “COVID-19/wash your hands” messages, share something with a different message and tone.
  • Update your website and social media. This is where most are turning to for information. Keep your sites informative and up-to-date.

  • Be the leader! A steady hand and guidance will go a long way and be remembered. Offer your audience, customers and your community advice, help and compassion, in any way possible. Have faith in your community but also be that faith in your community.
  • Be helpful. Some ways to help can obviously help you win business down the road. Some cannot, but it doesn’t matter. Helping others is always the right thing to do and is always noticed, one way or another. Some examples:

  • Offer a free sign to all local restaurants that are open for take-out and delivery.

  • Offer free signage to local businesses, municipalities and health care providers with basic reminders to wash hands, practice social distancing, etc. These would be easy to produce and supply for no charge.
  • Help businesses communicate with their customers. Direct mail, signage, social media, and/or online efforts are areas where most print service providers can help.

Source: Patrick Whelan Great Reach Communications, Inc., www.greatreachinc.com
Quote of the Week
"Tough times don't last. tough people do"