Small Business Owner and Overtime Law
Minimum wage and overtime laws carry significant penalties when business owners fail to compensate their employees for time worked over 40 hours per week. For small business owners, failure to comply with federal and state overtime laws can be financially devastating to the fiscal well-being of their company.
Federal Overtime Laws
The U.S. Department of Labor sets the laws for overtime pay in accordance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), specifically determining which employers are mandated to pay overtime, how workers accrue overtime, and which employees will be exempt from overtime pay. It is the business owner’s responsibility to understand the law and comply with its mandates.
The Department of Labor requires employers to pay employees one and one-half times the worker’s normal pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in one week. The federal guideline for defining a work week is any seven consecutive days, or 168 continuous hours. The law does not place limits on the amount of overtime hours worked but holds employers responsible for paying them accordingly.
Employers are also responsible for keeping accurate accounting of all hours worked by employees. This can get tricky when considering the number of employees that work remotely. Employers must design an accounting system where employees can log their work hours. Many employers now rely on internet logging systems that confirm hours logged on and logged off for business purposes.
How Overtime Laws Affect Small Business Owners
Proposed changes to existing federal laws on overtime pay would increase the number of employees eligible for overtime pay. This could put a significant burden on small business owners. In addition to changes in federal standards, individual states are also coming up with their own changes that would expand the pool of employees eligible for overtime pay.
The current federal threshold for employees exempt from overtime pay is set at $23,660. As minimum wage increases across the country rising to up to $15.00 per hour in some areas, many states are increasing their state overtime threshold amounts. California has raised its threshold to $49,920 and is expected to increase the threshold to $62,400 in the year 2022 when the minimum wage across the state will be $15.00 per hour.
New York City and Washington are following California’s lead by raising their overtime threshold to $58,500 and $49,000 respectively. Washington is expected to raise its minimum threshold again to $80,000 by the year 2026. Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are also expected to raise their minimum thresholds as well.
Small business owners are responding to the new thresholds by reducing the number of employees working 40 hours per week and offering starting salaries above the minimum threshold to avoid having to pay time and a half for overtime. Some smaller business owners are actually lowering the starting salaries for new employees to offset the rising costs of overtime.
As minimum wage and overtime laws continue to increase costs to employers, consumers will eventually start feeling the effects. In California, several businesses are holding customers liable for increased wages by imposing a three percent tax on services to offset the rising costs of minimum wage and overtime. As for now, this practice is legal and binding.
West Chester Employment Lawyers at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser Provide Counsel and Representation for all Your Business Needs
If you are a business owner in need of employment law services, call the employment lawyers at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser at 484-318-7106, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our West Chester, Pennsylvania offices serve clients throughout Philadelphia and Chester County.
Law Enforcement and School Safety
In the wake of the 20th anniversary of school shooting in Columbine High School in Colorado last April and recent spate of gun violence in schools across the nation, school districts have had to institute additional school safety measures. School districts and law enforcement agencies have begun to work closely together to implement policies and school safety measures in schools nationwide. Many schools practice active shooter drills and have emergency response plans with local police.
Armed Officers and Teachers on Campus
Many schools have increased patrolling of schools by police officers. Several schools also place armed officers on their campus while school is in session. Because teachers are the first line of defense in a school shooter situation, some experts advocate arming teachers and training them in emergency response, handling and carrying guns. They argue that by the time the local police or armed officer on campus becomes aware of the active shooter, it may be too late.
Some school districts have opted for increased technological measures such as surveillance cameras, driver’s license scanners and metal detectors. Many schools have installed surveillance cameras that monitor the hallways and classrooms. In some areas, all visitors are made to scan their driver’s license upon entry and exiting the school. Visitors have to wear an ID tag that is printed after the driver’s license is scanned when they are on campus.
Various experts agree that though increased security measures are useful, intelligence gathering and sharing are critical. Schools have also tried to enhance information sharing between agencies and schools to create instantaneous lines of communications between agencies so that in the event of an emergency critical information can be shared immediately.
Increased Communications Between All Stakeholders
School districts are encouraged to hold district wide school safety meetings where all stake holders participate. Meetings include teachers, law enforcement officers, parents, PTAs, counselors, school psychologists and administrators so that information can be shared and all perspectives represented.
Detectives and law enforcement officers have a made a practice to visit schools in their district on a regular basis and cultivate relationships at these schools with teachers, students and staff. During these meetings, appointed officers can assess each school’s social climate and address issues of bullying, intimidation and harassment.
When detectives talk and collaborate with schools, they are more sensitive and aware of the well-being of the school and its students. Students often know students who are having social issues and tendency for violence. They also are first to know when a fellow student is planning a violent act. Officers can serve as mentors and role models to students. When police officers are able to win the student’s trust, it is easier for students to report issues to them.
Anonymous Reporting of Issues
School districts should make it easier for students to report issues. A confidential anonymous tip line where students can report any problems, issues or planned acts of violence is good way to stay on top of issues in the school and the individual actors. Students want to be able to anonymously report these issues without being implicated by their peers.
Attorneys at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser Advise School Administrators
Our experienced educational law attorneys at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser represent many local schools, school districts, colleges and universities. To learn more about our services and what we can do for you, contact us online or call 484-318-7106. We serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Chester County from our office conveniently located in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
FERPA and Student Privacy
After a five year battle, the Department of Education has ruled that it is a violation of the 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to require students and parents to supply personal identifiable information to third-party services as a condition of enrollment. Parents of a charter school student in Pennsylvania complained to the Department of Education in December of 2012 that their child’s rights to privacy had been violated by the school.
The complaint claimed that the school forced parents and students to accept third-party privacy policies as a condition of enrollment. The complaint further explained that the third-party servicers they were forced to accept allowed the student’s and parent’s personal identifiable information to be “used, reproduced, displayed, performed, adapted, modified, distributed, and promoted” in any way they wanted.
In the recent Department of Education decision, FERPA laws make it unlawful to require students and parents to use or agree to the policies of third-party services as a condition of enrollment into a school, educational training service provider, or any other educational institution. The decision of the Department of Education goes a long way in supporting the current efforts to clarify and enforce the mandates of FERPA law.
How the Recent Decision will Affect Schools
Now that the Department of Education has officially taken a stand to protect the privacy rights of students, a “FERPA Compliance Crackdown” is expected to ensure the privacy rights of students are being understood and enforced. Critics of the FERPA laws fault legislators for making the mandates of the legislation hard to interpret. Legislators and educational policymakers are working hard to interpret and confirm the stipulations of the law.
As technology is embraced and utilized by public, private, and charter schools nationwide, the need for clear policies to protect student privacy are becoming increasingly important. Students will continuously access websites and online educational programs throughout their educational journey, and parents need to feel that their child is safe from data breeches and hackers.
Educational technology companies have been profiting both financially and in their business development by misusing student data. Now that the Department of Education has taken a stand on the student’s right to privacy, more parents can feel empowered to enforce the rights afforded under the FERPA laws.
Educator Training is Vital to Student Privacy Protection
Technology has been exploding faster than many can keep up with, so the laws regarding protections for student personal identifiable information must evolve as well. Training of teachers, administrators, and staff of educational institutions is vital to protecting students from tech predators and avoiding potential liability for educational institutions.
Schools and educational institutions must develop clear and specific policies regarding student privacy. Teachers and administrators who are properly trained on how to protect student privacy will be able to empower students to actively protect their online data.
West Chester Education Lawyers at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser Advise School Administrators on Data Privacy
For information on data protection in schools, call the West Chester education lawyers at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser at 484-318-7106, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in West Chester, Pennsylvania and serve clients throughout Philadelphia, Chester County, and across the state.
Starting a Non-Profit Organization in Pennsylvania
Starting a non-profit organization in Pennsylvania requires a few simple steps. Incorporation is initiated by filing with the Pennsylvania Department of State Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations (“Department of State”) and payment of fees.
A non-profit organization is an organization that is formed for either a charitable, educational, religious, scientific or literary purpose. Most non-profits are formed for tax purposes and are commonly referred to as 501(c)(3) organizations because they seek to have tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
By pursuing certain steps and maintaining some formalities, a non-profit organization can begin operations and enjoy tax-exempt status. To form a non-profit organization, prepare for the following:
Choose a name for your organization. The non-profit should identify itself by a name that is distinguishable from all other names of corporations, business entities and non-profit associations already registered. The Department of State can be contacted to determine if the proposed name of the organization already exists.
Choose at least one director. The non-profit should choose at least one director to be on the board of the organization. Directors are responsible for the governance of the corporation. Though only one director is required to register the non-profit with the Department of State, in order to obtain tax exempt status, the non-profit will need at least three directors. Directors should also be at least 18 years old.
Registered Agent. The director must find and name an individual who will be appointed as the registered agent for the organization. This individual is responsible for receiving legal notices on behalf of the organization. This person must be a resident of Pennsylvania and should maintain an office during normal business hours.
Articles of Incorporation. The non-profit organization will need to draft articles of incorporation and file with the Department of State. It also provides an online form that can be used to create the articles. The articles should provide the following:
- Name of the organization
- Address of the registered agent
- Stated purpose of the organization
- When it was formed
- Statement regarding members of the organization, if any
- Address and name of the incorporators of the organization
- Statement that the organization will not seek profits
- Statement that the organization is based on the Non-profit Corporation Law of 1988
- Name and address of the each of the incorporators of the organization
- The stated term of the organization
Filing and payment of fees. Once the articles are drafted, they must be filed with the Department of State along with a filing fee.
Docketing Statement. Along with the articles and payment of a filing fee, a Docketing Statement must be filed. This statement is a form provided by the Department of State requiring certain information about the organization.
Publication of the Articles of Incorporation. Incorporators of the organization must publish the Articles of Incorporation in at least two newspapers. The organization must keep a copy of these publications in its records.
Bylaws. The non-profit organization must also prepare bylaws by which the organization plans to operate. The bylaws must also comply with Pennsylvania laws. These bylaws must be kept with the organization and utilized in conducting meetings, electing officers and define duties and responsibilities of directors and officers of the organization.
Employer Identification Number. The organization needs to apply for an Employer Identification Number with the IRS. This number can be used to open bank accounts, and file tax returns and obtain tax exempt status with IRS.
Chester County Business Attorneys at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser Offer Counsel for Non-Profit Organizations
The Chester County business lawyers at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser have facilitated the formation of several non-profit organizations for our clients throughout Pennsylvania. Schedule a consultation by contacting us online or call our office at 484-318-7106. Our office is located in West Chester, Pennsylvania. We serve clients in Philadelphia, Chester County and throughout the state.