March Newsletter 2017

March Newsletter

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Fun Fact –

Due to a strange law in America, importing toys resembling humans are taxed higher than those that do not. Marvel successfully argued in court that because their X- men action figures are mutants, they should be exempt from such taxes. Wolverine


Payroll –

Proposition 206, the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act (the “Act”), gives the Industrial Commission of Arizona authority to enforce and implement the act’s minimum wage and earned paid sick time requirements. The following information is derived from the language of the act and current administrative rules found in Title 20, Chapter 5, Article 12 of the Arizona Administrative Code. (read more)

Accounting –

Lowering your tax bill is always a joy. For most taxpayers, it’s fairly easy to trim down your tax liability without breaking the rules. The simplest way to manage this feat is to reduce your taxable income. That doesn’t mean asking your boss for a pay cut — rather, the idea is to make part of your income exempt from taxation. This strategy really shines when it can drop you into a lower tax bracket, because not only will you pay less in taxes, but you’ll also reduce your tax rate for part of your income. (read more)

Human Resources-

Finding the best candidates for positions in your organization is only part of building an effective team. The process of onboarding new employees can be one of the most critical factors in ensuring recently hired talent will be productive, contented workers. However, in some organizations, onboarding is often confused with orientation. While orientation might be necessary — paperwork and other routine tasks must be completed — onboarding is a comprehensive process involving management and other employees that can last up to 12 months. (read more)

Employee Spotlight –

Alison from PayTech

Alison Brandt started at PayTech in June of 2016. She is our Implementation Specialist. Her job is to set up new companies on our system, and then train them on how to use the system.

Alison is originally from New York. Her parents and brother are still in New York. She graduated from Northeastern University in Boston with a degree in International Affairs. After graduation, Alison moved to Arizona in 2005.

Alison does not have any pets but loves animals. She is planning on adopting a shelter pet this year.

Alison loves to travel and has been to 7 other countries. Her favorite places that she has visited are London, Madrid, and Maui.

In her free time, Alison likes to go to movies, concerts, and baseball games.


Market Update

Should we allow office pools during March Madness?

It’s March Madness time again, and the annual NCAA men’s college basketball tournament is top of mind for many of your employees. You smile as co-workers exchange high-fives and friendly chatter. Your forehead wrinkles when some knock on your door with complaints. Your frown deepens when a concerned employee demands that you take action to stop the illegal gambling at work.

Is the office pool illegal? Well, yes, in most cases. While law enforcement historically hasn’t taken the time to enforce anti-gambling laws for office pools, it behooves HR to understand the laws and know the risks.

So here’s your crash course: Gambling is prohibited by three federal laws—The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act of 2006—which outlaw betting on professional or amateur sports (with exceptions for a few states) and using the Internet for interstate wagers and unlawful gambling. Since placing sports wagers is illegal in most states, allowing your employees to engage in online betting, possibly with out-of-state employees, violates these laws.

State laws vary. A few states allow small pools that limit entry fees and forbid the “house” (the employer) from keeping any winnings. But be aware that federal laws still apply.

Your risk tolerance for unlawful activity will guide your decision. However, you also should weigh the inevitable loss of productivity during the tournament against the benefits of increased employee morale and camaraderie.

Since about half the games take place during the day, employees who love March Madness will find a way to watch. They might use their personal devices or company computers, quickly changing the screen when the boss walks by.

While you can block any tournament-related activities during work time, and for some jobs, you should, a better bet might be to allow employees to choose how they use their time as long as they get their work done. Some ideas for making it through the madness include the following: Set up a company-sanctioned pool with no entry fees (thus, no gambling). The winner could receive a prize from the employer, such as a gift card, movie tickets or an extra vacation day. Or the employer could donate to a charity of the winner’s choice. Even those not interested in basketball might join in the fun.

  • If you choose to allow an office pool, insist that employees use paper rather than an online system. Don’t allow interstate pools.
  • Designate approved zones for watching the games, perhaps providing a TV. Ensure that employees who aren’t interested in the games have a quiet area to take their breaks.
  • Remind employees of the company’s anti-harassment policy. Some workers may object to gambling for religious reasons, and they should not be pressured to participate.

We hope everyone has a great month and we will be back at it next month as we will discuss all things taxes!




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