Posted February 8, 2017 in Uncategorized
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Posted February 8, 2017 in Uncategorized
Get a special treat for your loved one with a discount from 1800Flowers.
Go to www.1800flowers.com or call 1-800-FLOWERS (1-800-356-9377).
Information from Philadelphia Insurance regarding new overtime laws go into effect Dec. 1, 2016.
Please check with your legal counsel if you have any questions.
Guidance for Employers, Including Non-Profit Organizations, on Paying Overtime Under the Fair Labor Standards Act in Light of New Rules Extending Overtime Coverage
Highlights (as shown below)
“Enterprise” coverage: All employees of any for profit or not-for-profit employer with $500,000 in annual revenue.
“Individual employee” coverage: All employees of any for profit or not-for-profit employer engaged in interstate commerce.
Certain “named enterprises”: See the Guidance for Employers above for details.
No; however, “non-business” income (such as donations) does not count toward the $500,000 threshold.
Professionals, administrators, and executives are exempt from overtime required under the FLSA.
The minimum salary rises from $455/week ($23,660 per year) to $913/week ($47,476 per year), effective December 1, 2016.
It is estimated that 4.2 million currently exempt employees will become overtime eligible due to the new rules.
Up to ten percent of the new minimum salary amount may be satisfied by the payment of certain nondiscretionary bonuses, incentives, and commissions.
The minimum salary for “highly compensated employees” rises from $100,000 to $134,004 (ten percent rule does not apply). This category applies to those highly paid white-collar employees who are subject to a streamlined-duties test to satisfy the exemption.
See the Guidelines for Employers for employer options and strategies to minimize the effect of the new rules.
Only a few weeks into the New Year and the regulatory landscape is continuing to evolve at a rapid pace. From the IRS extending select Affordable Care Act reporting deadlines to a delay of the debated Cadillac Tax, 2016 is gearing up to be another active year for government regulations impacting business. Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services, has identified the top regulatory issues.
Business owners have been inundated with proposed regulations that will affect how they pay employees in 2016,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “Paychex will continue to monitor these regulations—and others that emerge—to ensure employers understand how these issues impact their business.”
According to Paychex, the top regulatory issues are:
#1 Affordable Care Act
On December 28, 2015, the IRS extended the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting deadlines for the 2015 tax year to give businesses more time to meet the requirements. The deadline extension impacts certain forms mandated under the ACA, notably Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. The new deadlines are March 31, 2016, to deliver the 2015 Forms 1095-C to affected employees; May 31, 2016, to manually file the 2015 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS—for employers who’re eligible for paper filing; and June 30, 2016, to electronically file the 2015 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS. Applicable large employers (i.e., employers with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalents) who fail to file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and/or provide 1095-C informational returns to employees may be subject to penalties for failure to file correct information returns and/or failure to furnish correct statements, similar to the penalties for not filing Forms W-2.
#2 Overtime Regulations
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its proposed Overtime Rule to revise the salary thresholds for federal overtime regulations for the Executive, Professional and Administrative white collar exemptions in June 2015. The DOL also proposed changes to the Highly Compensated Employee exemption and an annual indexing of the applicable salary thresholds. After receiving close to 300,000 public comments, the agency is expected to release the final rule as early as this spring, creating the need for employers to take immediate action to prepare for compliance.
#3 Employee Pay
Across the country employers will be adjusting pay practices to accommodate minimum wage increases, equal pay laws, and paid sick time laws. This includes an industry-specific minimum wage increase for fast food workers in New York, and the most stringent equal pay law in the country for employers in California. Businesses in the state of Oregon and in the cities of, Tacoma, WA; Jersey City, NJ; Montgomery County, MD; Elizabeth, NJ; and New Brunswick, NJ will all be implementing new paid sick leave policies in 2016 and complying with the mandatory notice and recordkeeping requirements.
#4 Worker Classification
The very active DOL enforcement initiative with regard to worker misclassification continues, while changes in the economy, such as the rise of companies like Uber and Airbnb, present even greater challenges for employers attempting to accurately classify workers. Employers need to examine third-party relationships and monitor state and federal agency developments to assist in the efforts to appropriately classify workers.
With the continued focus on safeguarding sensitive data, many businesses will be obligated to comply with more demanding privacy and security laws and regulations. Many states have either recently enacted or are considering a wide array of requirements. These include the minimum necessary levels of encryption and security controls, as well as establishing stricter notification processes and remediation steps when a data breach occurs. Businesses should implement and maintain an information security program with privacy and security measures appropriate to their organization and in compliance with state, federal, and, as applicable, international mandates.
#6 Earlier Annual Reconciliation and W-2 Employer Deadlines to Combat Fraud
Currently, there is a gap between the time employees receive their W-2 forms (by January 31) and the date at which employers must file these forms with states—either at the end of February or March, if filed electronically. Historically, employees are issued refunds before their tax returns are matched to third-party information, such as W-2 data. Eleven states, along with Washington, DC and Puerto Rico, now require employers to file both Annual Reconciliations and W-2 forms by January 31 each year. While more states are considering this accelerated due date, the Federal government has not adopted the earlier filing for tax year 2015 W-2 forms due in 2016. However, this will change for tax year 2016, with W-2 forms due to the Federal government January 31, 2017.
The final version of the DOL’s long-awaited fiduciary standard is expected to be released mid-year. This may impact the availability of plan advisors and result in more scrutiny of a business’ selection and ongoing monitoring of its retirement service providers. Recent DOL guidance on state-based retirement initiatives has made it easier for states to launch such programs. States may mandate that employers not providing a 401(k) or similar retirement plan have their employees participate in the state plan.
In October 2015, a major liability shift took place related to credit card payments. “EMV” is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology needed to authenticate chip-card transactions. This is a better means of controlling credit card fraud verses the traditional magnetic stripe cards. With this change, liability for credit and debit card fraud shifts from issuing banks to merchants who have not yet installed new EMV terminals and processes. These businesses may face much higher fees in the event of fraudulent transactions. Businesses should work closely with their credit card processor to ensure compliance with the rules and reduce fraud risk.
#9 Online Sales Tax
Taxation of online sales will continue to be a topic of interest to businesses in the coming year. Currently, states are limited by federal mandate to only collect tax made on online purchases when the seller has sufficient physical presence in the state. To level the playing field between brick and mortar retailers and online merchants, many have pressed for passage of legislation which would allow states to collect tax, regardless of where the seller resides. This may gain momentum in 2016 due to recent changes in Congressional leadership.
#10 Workers’ Compensation and OSHA
In response to business concerns over burdensome workers’ compensation insurance costs and processes, some states have or are contemplating weakening related requirements. While workers’ comp programs are state-regulated, some in Congress believe Federal intercession may be needed to maintain worker protections as benefits erode. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) implemented new rules in 2015 on injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting. Presented in the new ruling is an expanded list of industries subject to these requirements.
To obtain a SlideShare of the Top Regulatory Issues to Impact Businesses in 2016, Click the download link for more information.
Paychex offers solutions to help businesses meet the demands of the evolving regulatory landscape – from tracking the latest information related to employer tax responsibilities to providing comprehensive solutions to address the challenges of the Affordable Care Act. For more information, visit www.paychex.com.
Note: The foregoing is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be tax or legal advice. Consult your licensed attorney, accountant, or other tax professional to discuss your particular facts, circumstances, and how these opportunities might apply to your business.
Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYX) is a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services. By combining its innovative software-as-a-service technology and mobility platform with dedicated, personal service, Paychex empowers small- and medium-sized business owners to focus on the growth and management of their business. Backed by more than 40 years of industry expertise, Paychex serves approximately 590,000 payroll clients across 100 locations and pays one out of every 15 American private sector employees. Learn more about Paychex by visiting www.paychex.com, and stay connected on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Eric Mower + Associates
CALSPro Legislative Committee recently was notified of the attached proposal from the LegalXML Electronic Filing Technical Committee that would, if the proposal is adopted as written and implemented by courts it could have far reaching ramification on the industry. Some of the proposed standards outlines the court acting as a conduit to deliver service documents to process servers and sheriffs after the initial complaint is filed. The premise is the court would set up a registry that facilitates SOP on Registered Agents and perhaps others who would opt for or consent to waiving physical service and then the court would actually handle the electronic service.
The group (OASIS ECF EF TC) responsible for this proposal is the same group that is responsible for the current nationally recognized electronic filing technical standards and specifications. The current version is already being used by court in the USA that serve over 1/3 of the population. CALSPro was afforded the opportunity to respond to their proposal regarding electronic standards, ECF 5.0 and outline the importance of protecting the due process rights of litigants and the role of a traditional process server.
CALSPro Legislative Committee provided a comprehensive response on October 30, 2015 to address our concerns, while providing insight on the pitfalls of electronic service and how service must be performed by a disinterested trusted third party.
For more information on the OASIS proposal and CALSPro response, please click on the links below:
We live in electronic age. It’s swirling all around us. No wonder it is inevitable we jump on the technology train to help manage our business as well. The attorney services industry is no different. It’s moving from paper to the cloud at lightning speed. With that transition comes change and subsequently, the search begins. What are the best case management tools for process servers and investigators to use that will improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction?
Why Case Management Software?
Data & Security Software helps to protect your data and keep it safe. It manages permissions and access to your data, as well as data archives. By using software to manage your data, you eliminate manila folders laying everywhere with stacks of paper getting lost. As a business owner, you want a solution that will ensure the safety of your client’s data as well as your own. When you have physical files, you have to purge them at some point to make space for new files. With your data stored on a server, there is really no reason to purge data. Instead you can have it archived in a safe and secure place for years. With software you no longer need to fear losing jobs in stacks of tangible files. Take action and clear clutter to make for a more organized environment all the while knowing data is digital, safe and secure.
Document Generation and Invoicing with Automation Many software programs currently available can generate customized documents that include affidavits, subpoenas, statements and invoices, and even investigative reports. They are customized and professional with the individual company logo as needed. Having a software program available and able to generate your documents as the job is followed from start to finish is an unbelievable opportunity cost, adds professionalism to your business and makes your job light years easier. This means you fill in fields of information and the software program generates the specialized forms based on the courts your select, by state. Look for a program that offers a dynamic movement through the work order entry process. Same with Invoicing. You set up an integrated billing structure of items, rates and/or commissions and the program is able to auto bill based on billing parameters set. This fully integrated software solution allows a streamlined approach to your business workflow every step of the way, from start to finish. Documents can be dynamically created for your business.
Client Communication and Increased Satisfaction Interesting data shows you can increase client satisfaction while reducing the amount of time spent on customer service. Find a full solution to your business needs that includes a field smartphone app for your servers, a client web portal and essentially, a virtual office. Offering the ability to have your servers send communications directly to your software in real time provides not only instant gratification to your clients, but also a professional appearance. Think about your business future and how to not only attract, but also retain your clients.
Consider a client web portal for allowing clients to empower themselves to check status online as well as enter orders online> There are smartphone apps for work in the field, dispatch work-in-progress task management solutions with quick overviews, and automated emails that following the job from start to finish with real time status. These are the kids of features that make life easier. Have you heard of Smarty Streets Verification or “Suggest a Server” functionality based on zip codes or a rating system? How cool! Having the ability to aggregate information into a centralized workflow is the key to ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.
Going Paperless A digital dispatch board vs paper folders everywhere equals a higher level of organization. Across the board, companies encourage an electronic workflow. Paper is becoming a thing of the past. Ease of use and the security knowing it is stored electronically provides peace of mind. Even though you still serve tangible papers, managing that workflow electronically is the future.
Additional Time and Cost Savings What is your time worth? Case Management software can reduce data entry errors and double entry. Status results can be real time, eliminating wait time for getting status on a job. Reporting becomes an automated breeze with built in report functionality and imaging
What to Consider When Shopping for a Software Program?
Here are a few sample suggestions. By no means is this an all-inclusive list. Your business is unique to you. Make sure you do your research and evaluate your business needs as step one so that you know what you are, in fact, looking for. Security, as we mentioned, is a big one.
Take this new found knowledge and empower yourself with education!
Written by Irina Nordstrom, Tristar Software LLC
Information compiled from Optimizing Case Management with Technology Panel Discussion at AALPI & APSA 2015 with Honorable Mentions – Trent Carlyle, Irina Nordstrom, Jeremy Church, Ian Ricketson & Kyle Propes.
Please find attached the most recent backlog sheet from the San Diego Superior Court-Hall of Justice. The Chart shows the current timeline for processing Civil, Family and e-Filing type documents. Click the link: SDSC Chart for more information.
Skip-tracing, the industry term for finding someone, is a natural service that can be offered by process servers. This is because as the process server, you are typically the one who finds out that the last known address is no longer valid, and if you already have a good relationship with the firm that sent you the service, it’s easier for them to have you do the skip trace than to go and find someone else to do it. There are no silver bullets and no one size fits all approaches to skip tracing. The key to being a good skip tracer is having and utilizing multiple tactics and methods, depending what your particular case requires. This article aims to provide an overview of some of the most common tools and hopefully give you some insight as to how you can grow your business by offering a new service or how to refine your skills as an experienced skip tracer.
Databases are great. They have absolutely revolutionized the skip tracing industry and are a must have tool in your toolbox. Full versions of databases are often available only to Private Investigators or Attorneys however, most will have versions available to process servers that contain much of the same information. Databases will often search information from billions of public and private records and combine them into one spot. Records will typically include information from phone companies, credit bureaus, county property records and many other sources. There have been many debates about which databases are “best” but the truth is that all databases have their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. The best way to find which databases are right for you is to try them out. Most will provide trial periods that will allow you to “test drive” their product before signing up long term.
While databases are great, the most common mistake in skip tracing amongst Attorneys, Private Investigators and Process Servers alike, is the tendency to rely too much on them. As great as they are, it’s important to recognize that computers are the ones pushing out the information and they do not have the same ability to interpret data as a live person does. Databases can sometimes provide outdated or inaccurate information, so it’s important to try and verify the information you get from a database with as many other sources as you can, before acting on it.
Any real property bought or sold in the United States must be documented at the recorder’s office in the county where the property is located. These records are usually free to view and oftentimes can be accessed online. These records typically contain very useful information including the name of the owner, when they bought or sold the property, an indication if the property is listed as owner occupied or not and the address where the tax bill is being sent. This is all invaluable information to the skip tracer, especially when you’re dealing with a subject who owns multiple properties because often times, the address where all of the various tax bills are being sent, is where they actually live.
In this day and age, people put their entire lives on their internet, it’s actually quite ridiculous- but it can be a gold mine for skip tracers. In our investigations, we have cases blown wide open all the time by information that the subject, or the subject’s family and friends post on social media. Invest some time in setting up some decoy accounts and keep in mind that you will usually be able to see more of a subject’s information if you are already connected with one of their existing connections. So Johnny defendant might not accept your friend request, but his attention hungry sister with 2,000 “friends” probably will. If their information wasn’t already public, then the second level connection may open up access to recent places or events that they may be attending, or you may be able to locate work information. For the tech savvy server and under the right circumstances, some apps are available to help pull metadata out of photos so you can see when and where a picture was taken. *Note that under certain circumstances, sending a friend request or other type of communication to a subject involved in a lawsuit. You should consult with your attorney before making any attempts to contact a subject directly.*
Post Master Locates
This is an oldie but a goodie and it doesn’t cost you a dime. Basically, there is a form you can fill out and submit to the post office wherein the post office is required to tell you if a person is receiving mail at an address, if they are having their mail forwarded, or if they are not at the address provided. Usually you would need to fax or mail the form in, but some post offices will allow you to walk it in and handle it the same day. In addition, that same form can be used to obtain the physical address the post office has on file for a P.O. box holder. A copy of this form can be found by clicking here.
Asking Good Questions
Usually, after a person has moved, the new occupants or neighbors will have some kind of information about where the person went. The question is, how do you get it? They key is in asking good questions. More often than not, people will give up all kinds of information if you just ask. If someone tells you that the subject has moved, ask when, where, if they have a cell phone number, if they had kids, if they had any friends in the neighborhood who might know where they are at. Get the phone number for the landlord and call him, because he probably has a forwarding address for returning the security deposit. Sure, some people are a pain and won’t provide any information, but it doesn’t hurt to ask and often, if you’re diligent in your questioning, you’ll find nuggets of information that can be used to help locate your subject.
A pretext is a fancy word for a lie. The purpose with pretexting is to get someone to divulge information to you that they wouldn’t otherwise provide. More than one unsuspecting defendant has unknowingly provided a skip tracer with their own address. We know of drug dealers that have given up their home addresses, children who have sold out their parents with the hope of getting something for free and neighbors that have dished details on each other thinking they were helping their friend get a new job. There are many different pretexts that can be quite effective and if you think you can get someone to believe it, you may want to try it out. You may even try doing the pretext on a random phone number just to work the bugs out. A good pretexter many times can also obtain information from businesses who may have information about your subject (i.e. their work, utility company, local pizza delivery places etc…).
A few cautions about pretexting. Don’t impersonate a law enforcement officer, don’t pretext to get info on any protected records (i.e. phone & bank), don’t do anything too outlandish and always use a phone that can’t be traced back to you. There are plenty of apps that let you spoof your phone number or set up an untraceable number that rings to your phone. Just test them out before using them. *Note that under certain circumstances, having any kind of contact with a subject involved in a lawsuit without their attorney present could be a violation of law. You should consult with your attorney before making any attempts to contact a subject directly.*
Have anything you’ve done that you’ve found to be effective? Have any good skip tracing stories you’d like to share? Comment below.
Joseph Jones is a licensed Private Investigator and the Vice President of Bosco Legal Services, Inc.
SSD or HDD: Which is best?
When searching for a new desktop or laptop computer, most people have certain criteria they look for besides just a good deal. Does it have ample storage, RAM (random access memory), touchscreen, USB 3.0 ports, HDMI ports and so on. What most people aren’t aware of is the importance of picking the right type file storage. For years now, the standard has been the HDD or Hard Disk Drive. Overtime, the capacity of the traditional HDD has grown significantly, from gigabyte drives to the now common terabyte drives. Newegg (www.newegg.com) sells a 12 TB HDD for a mere $1,700.00! Obviously, the more capacity you purchase, the greater amount of storage you have to save files, pictures and movies. The cost of the HDD has also significantly dropped and is still the most common drive, but with the benefits of an SSD or Solid State Drive, the HDD will eventually become obsolete.
There are considerable performance advantages of SSD over the traditional HDD that most consumers should consider. For starters, SSD’s are substantially faster…up to 100x faster than HDD’s.
With an SSD installed, computer boot up time can drop to a mere 7 seconds, users can achieve near instantaneous access to data and quicker file transfers. SSD’s provide an overall snappier and more responsive computing experience. SSD’s consume less power, which extends battery life and allows for a cooler computing environment.
HDD’s have various moving parts, that require more power but more importantly can fail or become damaged. With a non-mechanical design, SSD’s offer silent operation and superior durability. Although higher priced at the frontend, SSD’s offer long term cost savings for consumers by allowing for greater productivity and less energy consumption. One SSD can deliver the performance of 100 HDD’s.
Of course there are still a few perks to the HDD that some consumers will appreciate. Since the HDD has been the traditional and most common type of storage device, availability is far more abundant. The HDD currently has the largest capacity at 12 TB and counting. Since the HDD’s are more plentiful, they are also cheaper to purchase. So if you are looking for a large capacity, readily available and economical storage device…the HDD wins. If you are looking for speed, longevity, quiet and efficient computing, assuming price isn’t an issue…the SSD is for you.
Then of course there is the cloud…we’ll touch upon this next time!
Esteban Pujol, Vice President of Commercial Process Serving, Inc.
Tips on what to do if attacked while serving papers in the field:
Do not put yourself in the above predicament without any type of self-defense training. Enroll in a class as soon as possible to learn rudimentary skills and gain experience. It can make all the difference. There are a wide array of martial art disciplines to choose from including Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing, Karate, Judo, and Tae Kwon Do. Self-defense classes are regularly offered at many gyms, community centers, and community colleges. Perhaps take an early evening class during the week before going out serving? Remember we are never too old or too young to start training!
Commercial Process Service
(Speaking from experience and from being physically attacked while serving)
CALSPro – Process Server Assault Guide and Checklist.
A complete guide on what to do if assault, while serving process:
For more information, Click on the CALSPro Process Server Assault Guide to download.