U.S. Department of Labor Overtime Exemption Rule Changes

The topic of the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed rule change as it relates to payment of overtime to “exempt” workers has come up in a variety of meetings and discussions over the past couple of months. These changes, if adopted, could have a major impact on the personnel costs for nearly every business and organization, particularly small businesses and nonprofits.

MODC has prepared the following “Fact Sheet” in an effort to highlight the proposed rule changes for our members, and to give you some basic information on how you can prepare for them if the USDOL approves them as currently proposed. If you have any questions you should direct them to your personnel representative or legal advisor.

Ben Waldron
Executive Director
MODC
Click here for a downloadable copy  USDOL OT Changes
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How To Train A Mouse-Lessons Learned From Disney’s Corporate Training

How To Train A Mouse – Lessons Learned From Disney’s Corporate Training

As one of the most recognized names in professional development, the Disney Institute certainly encompasses a lot more than Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Many organizations have invested large amounts of money and countless hours studying the ways of Disney’s corporate training; they have a lot to learn from. Which is why we’ve put together a few lessons of our own… inspired by Walt Disney himself!

Take a Front Row SeatCorporate Training Videos

Exceeding expectations rather than simply satisfying them is the cornerstone of the Disney approach to customer service. Likewise, Shamrock Communications aims to exceed all of our client’s expectations by helping businesses of all sizes capture (and hold) their employees attention with through professional corporate training videos. Service is manifested everywhere that your organization touches the customers from cable commercials and website video to employee educational and safety videos.

Pull Back the Curtain

Disney’s organizational values drive the strategies behind their whole operation, which in turn, drives Disney’s success. Walt Disney’s message of ‘keep the place clean, keep it friendly, and make it fun,’ is embraced by everyone in management. This kind of corporate commitment approach in training videos helps to ensure that every employee understands the necessary safety protocols, company values and brand voice.

Best Cast for Corporate Training VideosRecruit the Best Cast

Disney cast members aren’t just hired for a job; they play a role in the “show.” Likewise, every aspect of the casting process is a presentation of your business’ culture. The actors must reflect your organization’s voice and values, creating an emotional connection. Research suggests that organizations that have optimized this emotional connection have significantly outperformed competitors in sales growth and profitability. Even bare-bones and budget-challenged videos will get the job done as long as hearts and minds are captured.

Capture the Moment

Disney trains every cast member in the same way, no matter what job, and goes to great lengths to ensure that cast members understand the company’s heritage and purpose. The philosophies underlying the Disney’s corporate training approach can have an application to companies of any size. Consider the employee training processes you are using and the messages you are sending. Communication is a reflection of your culture, so ensure that your training video does the same.

Make Magic Happen

If employees truly feel valued in their jobs and understand what is expected of them, they will go above and beyond to deliver great service and produce results. Convey your message clearly with a stellar script to keep viewers engaged and add in a little fun to make some magic happen.

Bringing Corporate Training Videos to LifeBring Videos to Life With Shamrock Communications

Shamrock Communications is not your average video company, our team understands the creative process and utilizes the latest equipment and techniques to bring your story to life on any screen. We work with dynamic clients looking to expand their digital outreach through corporate training films and create a presentation that conveys your company culture and messaging.

For more information on our services, visit our services page and contact our team with any questions today.

DEP, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE EXTEND ALLOWING FARMERS TO USE OPEN BURNS AND SMUDGE POTS TO PROTECT CROPS AGAINST CONTINUED OVERNIGHT FROST THREATS

IMMEDIATE RELEASE                         Contact: Lawrence Hajna          (609) 984-1795
April 6, 2016                                                              Bob Considine             (609) 292-2994
Lynne Richmond (Ag) (609) 633-2954

DEP, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE EXTEND ALLOWING FARMERS TO USE OPEN BURNS AND SMUDGE POTS TO PROTECT CROPS AGAINST CONTINUED OVERNIGHT FROST THREATS

(16/P21) TRENTON – With overnight temperatures in many parts of the state expected to continue to be near or below freezing for the foreseeable future, the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Agriculture will continue to allow farmers to conduct controlled open burning or use specialized torches known as smudge pots to protect flowering crops from frost damage.

Forecasts call for near-freezing temperatures in many parts of the state through at least the coming weekend, a situation that could affect fruit and vegetable crops, as well as flowers in bloom or near bloom. Peaches, blueberries and apples are particularly susceptible. Frost damage now can significantly reduce yields of these crops later in the season.

The DEP and Department of Agriculture are extending the allowing of open burns and use of smudge pots to protect farmers’ livelihoods and to ensure that consumers will be able to enjoy an ample supply of Jersey produce later this year. The use of these practices under certain conditions is being extended indefinitely.

The DEP and Department of Agriculture last week initially announced the practices would be allowed through April 5, but forecasts call for persistent cold overnight temperatures. The use of smudge pots and controlled burns can help keep orchard and field temperatures just warm enough to avert extensive damage when frost danger is greatest. Frost threat is typically highest in the early morning hours before dawn, when there is little or no wind and skies are clear.

New Jersey is among the nation’s leaders in blueberry and peach production. Blueberry production is focused in the Pinelands of Burlington County. Peach and apple orchards can be found throughout more rural areas of the state.

Farmers who believe they will need to conduct open burns and/or use smudge pots must provide notice to the DEP’s 24-hour Communications Center at 877- WARNDEP (1-877-927-6337.) Notification to DEP does not require the implementation of either technique but ensures proper procedures are followed should they become necessary.

If a farmer does not call DEP in advance but uses either technique, the farmer may notify DEP the morning following the use of either technique but no later than 9 a.m.

Farmers must record the incident number provided to them by the Communications Center.
The following information is to be provided:

* Name of the individual making the decision to conduct the open burning/use of smudge pots;
* Name of the farm;
* Actual street address of the farm on which either technique will be used (no P.O. boxes);
* Telephone number of a contact at the farm;
* Predicted temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit) at the agricultural operation when the technique will be used;
* Wind speed  anticipated when the technique will be used ;
* Predicted hours of open burning and/or use of smudge pots;
* Materials expected to be burned.

At the time of the initial call to the Communications Center, farmers will be given an email address and incident number. Within two days, they must submit to DEP via this email address the following information:

* The DEP Communications Center incident number;
* Ambient  temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit) at the time the technique was used;
* Actual wind speed at the orchard at the time the technique was used;
* A statement verifying that all restrictions in the open burning or use of smudge pots were followed.

No open burning will be permitted unless the temperature within the orchard area is at or below the critical temperature for the bud stage for that particular crop and wind velocity is less than five miles per hour. Smudge pots must be fueled only with either kerosene or No. 2 fuel oil.

Open burning can consist only of either the following materials: clean and untreated scrap lumber, felled trees, clippings pruned from trees and shrubs, hedgerows or firewood. Absolutely no refuse, trade waste, tires or garbage of any type may be added to the authorized open burning material.

NEED TO KNOW EMPLOYER OBLIGATIONS FOR MILITARY WORKERS

AS MILITARY TROOPS CONTINUE TO BE DEPLOYED TO IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, AND OTHER AREAS, OVERSEERS NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE LEGAL ASPECTS OF THE EMPLOYER OBLIGATIONS FOR MILITARY WORKERS.

This post will provide a general overview of the laws that govern the employers obligations for military workers.

Military Workers Deploy

First, unlike many other federal employment laws, the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act of 1994 applies to employers of all sizes. The law protects service members’ reemployment rights when returning from a period of service in the uniformed services, including those called up from the reserves or National Guard, and prohibits employer discrimination based on military service or obligation.

Employer Obligations for Military Workers

USERRA prohibits employment discrimination against a person on the basis of past military service, current military obligations, or intent to serve. An employer must not deny initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment to a person on the basis of a past, present, or future service obligation.

In addition, an employer must not retaliate against a person because of an action taken to enforce or exercise any USERRA right or for assisting in an USERRA investigation.

Read more . . .

 

CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES NOAA GRANT

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2016

Contact: Caryn Shinske          (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Hajna       (609) 984-1795
Bob Considine         (609) 292-2994

CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES NOAA GRANT TO DEVELOP COASTAL RESILIENCY PLAN FOR MONMOUTH COUNTY TOWNS
NEARLY $900,000 COMMITTED TO ADDRESS IMPACTS OF COASTAL HAZARDS IN TWO RIVERS REGION OF NORTHEAST MONMOUTH COUNTY

(16/P6) TRENTON – The Christie Administration today announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded New Jersey a nearly $900,000 Regional Coastal Resilience Grant to help communities in 15 municipalities in northeastern Monmouth County develop a regional plan to address the impacts of coastal hazards and storm surge.

The planning project, called New Jersey Fostering Regional Adaptation through Municipal Economic Scenarios (NJ FRAMES), partners the Department of Environmental Protection’s Coastal Management Program with the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JC NERR), the Louis Berger Group, the Rutgers Climate Institute and the Borough of Oceanport as the representative of the Two River Council of Mayors.

Project partners will use a scenario-based approach to help the Two Rivers Council determine and understand the range of costs and benefits of planning resiliency decisions in communities surrounding the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers. Using a vigorous public stakeholder process that includes the visions of the involved communities, the NJ FRAMES project is expected to produce a plan identifying independent and regional measures that maximize efforts to improve resiliency.

“Addressing flooding hazards for New Jersey’s coastal communities is a critical component of the Christie Administration’s plans to enhance flood resiliency statewide,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “The expertise of coastal scientists, combined with the input of affected communities and residents will help us identify these important next steps to be taken to protect this region from the effects of devastating floods.”

Since Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, DEP’s Coastal Management Program has worked with an extensive network of partners to assist New Jersey coastal communities to reduce vulnerabilities to coastal hazards. That work further highlighted the need to focus on comprehensive regional planning as a vital strategy for building coastal resiliency.

“The challenges confronting our nation’s coastal communities are incredibly complicated  – effective solutions are going to require strong science, ingenuity and collaboration if they are going to safeguard and ensure the future vitality of our economy and valuable natural resources,” said Dr. Jeffrey Payne, Acting Director of the NOAA Office for Coastal Management. “The projects that have been approved for funding represent opportunities to do just that. We are excited about what these partnership projects will accomplish at the local level and the positive impact this program will have on our nation.”

Projects recommended for funding by NOAA improve coastal risk assessment and communication, promote collaborative approaches to resilience planning, and better inform science-based decision making and implementation.

The Two Rivers Council of Mayors works to solve common issues in their communities located along the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers. NJ FRAMES will build upon the cooperation of 15 communities in eastern Monmouth County, which comprise the Two Rivers Council of Mayors and other adjacent communities.

The mayors of these communities seek to take a regional approach to hazard mitigation by coordinating regional projects that build on existing protections in each of their towns: Eatontown, Fair Haven, Highlands, Little Silver, Long Branch, Middletown, Monmouth Beach, Ocean Township, Oceanport, Red Bank, Rumson, Sea Bright, Shrewsbury Borough, Tinton Falls and West Long Branch.

“This project is an outstanding opportunity for all of our towns to coordinate and directly engage local residents and business owners in order to create a regional plan that will allow us to become physically, economically, and socially more resilient,” said Oceanport Mayor Jay Coffey. “I am thrilled to lead this project on behalf of the Two Rivers Council of Mayors in partnership with Commissioner Martin and the other Two Rivers municipalities.”

“This award is thrilling for the Two Rivers Council of Mayors,” said Two Rivers Council Chairman Donald Burden, who also is Mayor of Shrewsbury. “As we are faced with the increasing likelihood of severe weather and repetitive flooding within the Navesink and Shrewsbury River Basin, these are the type of projects we need to implement in order to make informed decisions when planning for the future.  Undoubtedly, our taxpayers will be the primary beneficiaries of this critical regional planning effort.”

For more information about NOAA’s Coastal Resilience Grants Program, please visit: https://coast.noaa.gov/resilience-grant/

For detailed descriptions of the six projects nationwide receiving NOAA Coastal Resilience Grants, including NJ FRAMES, please visit: https://coast.noaa.gov/resilience-grant/projects/

Supreme Court Stay of EPA Power Plan

Supreme Court Stay of EPA Clean Power Plan

 

Greetings

 

Late on Tuesday, the US Supreme Court issued a stay of the EPA Clean Power Plan. As a result, the EPA cannot take actions to implement the rule until legal challenges are heard and resolved. This means that states most likely do not have to file their preliminary plans with the EPA in September.

 

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and NJ Board of Public Utilities have both had staff working to evaluate the steps for New Jersey to take and what type of plan to submit, even though we were one of 29 states seeking the stay.

 

Wednesday morning, the Clean Air Council was briefed by DEP staff on the issue.

 

Why this is good for NJ:

The Clean Power Plan would have required states to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by a specific percentage over the next several years. But New Jersey has already been reducing its greenhouse gases; in fact, it’s a leader in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The Clean Power Plan didn’t provide the state any credit for many of the actions of our businesses and utilities.

 

When looking at the different states, New Jersey was given some of the most stringent goals. In fact, it was the most stringent in the entire PJM region (electric grid). Ironically, power plant emissions are not the state’s biggest problem. While power plant emissions account for the majority of GHG emissions in the country, the biggest emitter in New Jersey is transportation.

 

Clean Air Council Public Hearing:

The Clean Air Council will take up this topic at the annual public hearing, April 28, 2016. More information can be found here.  There is a wealth of information related to the CPP as well. The DEP also has a breakdown on the rough accounting for a hypothetical NJ rate based program (in 2030 based on 2012 electric generation).

 

 

Market Based Sourcing for Services

State Tax Trends – Part II

Market Based Sourcing for Services

 

Many states have recently been trending to changing corporate tax laws to shift the tax burden to out of state businesses in an attempt to attract corporations to open locations in the state and therefore create jobs.  States are accomplishing this shift in tax burden in a number of ways including adjusting the formula they use to allocate and apportion income, updating their income sourcing rules and providing tax credits and other incentives to in-state businesses.  We will explore some of these common law changes in a three part series continuing with our discussion on market based souring for sales of services.

 

Most states have historically sourced sales for services based on where the services were actually performed.  This can result in a service corporation having a significant amount of their sales allocated to the state where the corporation’s main offices are located.  For example, under this approach a New Jersey corporation which provides services in NJ for a New York customer would treat those sales as taxable in New Jersey.

 

In order to become more tax friendly to in-state corporations, many states including New York and Pennsylvania have now changed to sourcing corporate sales of services to the state where the customer will benefit from the service.  New Jersey, however, continues to utilize the performance based method.  To go back to the earlier example, the sale by the NJ corporation would continue the be subject tax in NJ since that is where the work is performed but would now also be subject to tax in NY as the customer will benefit from the service in NY.  This difference between New Jersey and New York’s tax law effectively creates double tax on the sale.  Now let’s change the example to a New York corporation performing services in NY for a New Jersey customer.  Under this scenario neither state would tax the sale since the services are performed outside of New Jersey and the benefit from the services is received outside of New York.  As these examples illustrate, market based sourcing rules can provide a great advantage to an in-state company by only taxing sales to in-state customers rather than souring based on where the services are performed.

 

Len Nitti, CPA, MST

Principal

Wilkin & Guttenplan, PC

1200 Tices Lane

East Brunswick, NJ 08816

(732) 846-3000

lnitti@wgcpas.com

 

NJ Bans Additional Loans for Companies in Default Status

NJ Bans Additional Loans for Companies in Default Status

Recently, Gov. Chris Christie announced that he signed a new bill into law that would prohibit the state of New Jersey from subsidizing low-income property developers who defaulted on state loans. According to a report by the Washington Times, the bill was initially proposed after a company received several millions of dollars from New Jersey while in default status for previously secured loans.

For the full article please visit its original source at,  http://taxtrustestatenews.com/new-jersey-bans-additional-loans-for-companies-in-default-status/

2016 Standard Mileage Rates

2016 Standard Mileage Rates for Business, Medical and Moving Announced

 

The IRS has released the 2016 optional standard mileage rates to be used by taxpayers to compute deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, medical, moving and charitable purposes. These rates, which are effective January 1, 2016, reflect the recent decrease in the cost of gas.

 

Business Mileage Rate

The standard mileage rate for business mileage will be 54 cents per mile, decreased by three and a half cents from the 2015 rate.

 

Medical and Moving Mileage Rate

The standard mileage rate for medical and moving expenses will be 19 cents per mile, decreased by four cents from the 2015 rate.

 

Charitable Mileage Rate

The standard mileage rate for charitable purposes remains at 14 cents.

 

The use of these optional mileage rates are subject to specific rules issued by the IRS.

 

Len Nitti, CPA, MST

Principal

Wilkin & Guttenplan, PC

1200 Tices Lane

East Brunswick, NJ 08816

(732) 846-3000

lnitti@wgcpas.com

 

Smart Hiring: More Than A Gut Feeling Revisited

Pixton_Comic_More_Than_a_Gut_Feeling_by_BillAccordino (click image)

Behavioral Interviewing:

At the heart of effective behavioral interviewing is the belief that past performance is the best predictor of future behavior.  A word of caution is in order.  Past performance will only be a predictor of future behavior if the position that the candidate is being considered for is the same as their past position(s).  Let’s assume that is the case for the balance of this discussion.  Behavioral-based interview questions are open-ended questions or statements that are designed to elicit detailed responses. . .

For the full article please visit its original source at, https://billaccordino.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/hiring-the-right-people-more-than-a-gut-feeling-revisited/