Category Archives: Entrepreneur

New york City Sick Leave law in effect

The law requires employers with more than 5 employees or more to give 40 hours of paid time off for employees to use as sick time – for themselves or their Family members.  The danger here is the definition of family member:

From the NY Law journal:

“Employee Use of Sick Time

Current employees may start using sick time on July 30, 2014. Employees hired after April 1, 2014, may begin to use it after four months of employment.

The act requires employers to pay employees if they are absent for reasons that go beyond the employee’s illness. Employees can also use paid sick time: (1) for preventative care; (2) if the employer is closed for a public health emergency; (3) to care for a child whose school or day care is closed for a public health emergency; and/or, (4) to care for the employee’s “family member” who is ill or who needs preventative care.

In the act’s original form, “family member” meant an employee’s spouse, domestic partner or parent, or the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner. Under the revised act, “family member” was broadened to include an employee’s sibling, grandchild and grandparent. Id. §20-912(h). “Sibling” includes half-siblings, step-siblings and siblings related through adoption. Id. §20-912(v).

Employees can determine when and how to use sick time, subject to certain limitations. First, where the need for leave is foreseeable, employers may require advance notice of up to seven days. For unforeseeable absences, employers may only require notice “as soon as practicable.” Id. §20-914(b). Second, employers may set a minimum increment of sick time to be used, as long as the increment is four hours or less. Employers should require the maximum increment (of four hours) so employees cannot claim “paid sick time” every time they are a few minutes late.”

The Employers rights to documentation has changed also.  For the NY Law jounral again;



Many employers require employees to produce a doctor’s note in order to be eligible for sick pay. This requirement may run afoul of the act.

For absences of fewer than three consecutive work days, employers may only request “written confirmation that an employee used sick time pursuant to [the act].” Id. §20-914(d). Presumably, as the statute is worded, a note or text from the employee “confirming” that he was out for a permissible reason would be sufficient.

An employer can only require medical documentation after an employee has been absent for more than three consecutive work days. Such documentation can be signed by a “licensed health care provider” (i.e., a doctor, nurse or emergency room personnel) and may only indicate “the need for the amount of sick time taken.” Id. §20-914(c). Employers cannot require that the documentation “specify the nature of the employee’s or the employee’s family member’s injury, illness or condition, except as required by law.” Id. (emphasis supplied). Presumably, to the extent applicable, employers can require information about the “nature” of the condition under other statutes, like the Americans with Disabilities Act and/or the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Losing money in your life insurance is a red flag

First, as a rule I generally do not advocate cancelling permanent cash value insurance, especially after paying in for years.  However, in certain circumstances that may be warranted.  If your cash vaue is dropping each statement – it is a warning sign that something is wrong and you need to address it immediately.

First, understand that permanent insurance generally works this way – you make a deposit amount each (month, in your case).  The insurance company then takes out the “cost of insurance”- essentially the term insurance premium, the cost of insuring your potential death.  Then, whatever is left over goes towards the “cash value.”

The problem lies in how these were sold.  In 1992 the apparent interest rate that one insurer was paying was about 9%.  At that rate a proposal you were shown would look great – it would have more than enough money to go forever, and give you lots of cash.

The Problem- we have two crossing lines on a chart – your “cost of insurance” goes up every year as you get older, and the interest rate shown has dropped more than 4%, meaning theres less left of your premium payment to go towards cash.  In fact, if the insurance cost rises to more than your premium, they take the difference from your cash value – causing your cash to go down.  If you are ready this, you may already be at this point.

In addition, if you have taken loans against the policy, your cash value is decreased even further.

Sooooo…. the policy may no longer accomplish your goals.  What options do you have?

1)  Pay more into the policy each month to prevent yourself from losing all the cash
2)  Keep paying the premium, knowing that over time it will erode your cash value
3)  Stop paying altogether, and let it run until it expires
4)  Cancel the policy and take the Surrender Value (this could be taxable)
5)  Cancel the policy and replace it with a new term policy to give you the same death benefit for 20 or 30 years at a lower price point.
     a)  This could be taxable, see comment in 4 above
     b)  You can apply some, or all of the cash from the current policy, to pay this one.

Alot has to be considered here – your underlying health, the fact that your cost of insurance was lower when you bought the policy, etc.  You need to consult with a trusted insurance adviser before making any decisions.  Just don’t ignore that warning sign!

Coming Next – ObamaCAR

Please note that this is intended to be tongue and cheek….

Beginning in 2016, all Americans will be required to have an automobile.  Technically called the ACA- Automobile and Car Act – ObamaCAR will guarantee affordable transportation to all Americans.  “After all, if you don’t have a car, you can’t get to work.  If you can’t work you can’t pay my salary,” one administration official was quoted as saying (off the record).

Here is how it works:  You have to have a car, and if you cannot afford one, you will be fined 1% of your income, even if you don’t have any income, because you don’t have a car to get to work.

If you earn less than $44,000 as a single, you will be entitled to a subsidy.  The government will pay for the monthly payment, at the Silver KIA level.  You can “buy up” to the Gold Cadillac or the Platinum Mercedes level for additional expense.  For those under 30, a Moped is available, but you have to provide your own helmet.

For families of 5 or more, a special “WallyWagon” level will provide you with the wood-paneled minivan of your choice.

There will no longer be any pre-existing exclusions to owning an automobile.  It won’t matter if you are in jail, blind, have 12 DWI’s, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, or homeless.  Everyone is required to have a car.

“…and, our commitment to you,” said the spokesman, “is that you can keep your car if you like it.”  However, certain Minimum Accessory Requirements have to be met.  All cars must get more than 30 miles per gallon, City, and have enough torque to pull a 4000 pound trailer.  Heated seats and mirrors are required for safety.  “As long as you meet these simple minimum requirements, you can keep your car.”

American Indians with horses, Alaskan Eskimos with Dog Teams, and anyone living on an island with less than 500 people will be exempt.  Those over 75 will get the new MediCAR, where free transportation will be provided, and we will take your car away and give it to someone who can actually see from behind the wheel.

Employers with more than 50 employees must provide either automobiles or free CARpool transportation to all employees beginning 2016.  In Massachusetts, employers must also provide a fuel card to cover gasoline.  In California, any person who applies for a job, even if not hired, is required to be lent an electric car for a period not to exceed 90 days, or the next time they apply for work at any employer, whichever comes first.

Employers that do not comply can choose to pay a $3000 fine per year per person, or decrease all employee wages below the subsidy levels, thus allowing them to get a car.

Business Owners that have a car valued at more than $50,000, a helicopter, Pullmann car or a private plane of any type will be required to pay the “CadiJET Tax” – a surcharge of 10% of the value they received above and beyond the value normally received at the Silver KIA level.   As an example, the value of the Learjet ($7,800,000) – the value of the KIA ($10,000) = an excess value of $7,790,000.  That is spread over the life of the plane (10 years = $779,000) and you would pay a 10% tax ($77,900 a year) for the abusive non-green technology you have chosen.

“The ACA will provide affordable, employer-sponsored transportation to many Americans, and guarantee affordable access to all Americans regardless of their checkered past.  This bill will also pay for itself, between the employer penalties, reduction in greenhouse gases, CadiJET taxes, and individual mandates.  It is expected that  the parents of 16 year olds  will prefer to purchase a car on the exchange, rather than pay the 1% penalty on their childrens allowances.”

To Apply for your ACA benefits, simply go on the website which should be running no later than June 2019.



3 Priorities for Leaders Who Want to Go Beyond Command-and-Control

As your business matures, and especially if you think you might sell it one day, leaders have to get away from the old”my way or the highway” approach.  Here are some alternatives.

In the Harvard business Review, by John Coleman and Jim Whitehurst published an article  10:00 AM May 28, 2014:

“It’s cliché to say that “command and control” leadership is no longer relevant in most organizational contexts. But — especially in large, global, diverse organizations — what should it be replaced with? Leaders increasingly need to model traits that reflect the values and culture of the organization in which they operate. It’s nearly impossible to capture all those traits — every organization will have a different set of norms and customs. But there are at least a few essential leadership traits that we find common in many firms today.”

Click here for the full article

Your employees are in search of a “better job”

The economy increased unemployment in this country to a U6 high to over 16% from mid 2009 through the third quarter of 2011.  What is the U6 figure?  It represents the unemployed, and those “marginally employed”- those working part time because they cannot find full time work, and those that want to work but have given up hope.  To me, it is the truer picture of employment, and it tells a different story than the politicians and the press tell.  Today it stands just above 12%.

This helps explain a couple of phenomena I have come across recently.  The U3 unemployment rate (the one you hear about) has dropped from a high of 10% to just above 6% nationally.  In some areas, like Charleston where I live it has dropped to 4.3%.  There is an old joke that when you get below 4% you are interviewing the chronically unemployable.  When you reach that point, there is upward wage pressure.  You are competing for the better employees, and you will have to pay them more.

Indeed we are seeing some wage pressure – wage trends for nonsupervisory personnel have risen to annual increases of 2.3% (up almost a full percent) in the last year.  interestingly, the trend for management is 1.3%.

How do you explain, then, the more than 100 applications received at my friends Chiropractic office for one position as an assistant?  Easy – U6. There are ALOT of people looking for a better job, now that companies are again hiring.  People who gave up are throwing themselves back into the arena.  Many people, unable to find a job, have gone for technical training to improve themselves- and are now looking for work in those fields.

How does this affect your business?  There may still be plenty of qualified applications coming in the door, and wage pressure is still low.  You might want to think about this – how are you treating your employees?  Are they happy?  Paid a competitive wage?  OR- are they in someone else’s pile of applicants looking for a “better job.”

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Reeve Conover is a Registered Representative. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/dealer member FINRA/SPIC. Cambridge and Conover Consulting are not affiliated. Licensed in SC, NC, NY, CT, NJ, and CA. - SIPC - Brokercheck