Category Archives: Legal Issues

An overview of the new minimum wage and paid sick leave requirements.

Changes to the state minimum wage

The minimum wage will be $11 per hour in 2017

  • The minimum wage applies to all jobs, including agriculture.
  • Employers must pay employees age 16 and older at least $11 per hour in 2017. WAC 296-126-020(app.leg.wa.gov).
  • Employers are allowed to pay 85 percent of the minimum wage to employees under age 16. WAC 296-126-020 (app.leg.wa.gov). For 2017, this rate is $9.35 per hour.
  • Seattle, Tacoma, and the City of SeaTac currently have higher minimum wage rates. The local rate applies if it is higher than the state minimum wage rate.
  • The initiative does not change overtime pay requirements.

The initiative sets future minimum wage rates Continue reading

Ask SCORE: How can I protect my intellectual property when working with strategic partners?

One way to grow your business is by reaching out to strategic partners who offer complementary products or services or who otherwise can work with you to the mutual advantage of both your businesses. Strategic partnerships can expand your market reach and help you achieve more sales. But giving another business intimate knowledge about your company’s inner workings may make you a bit uneasy. There’s some inherent risk involved in sharing confidential information and intellectual property (IP).

According to Marc Goldberg, a SCORE mentor with business startup and management expertise, “It is very easy to steal your ideas or even your unique approach to customer fulfillment. Very quickly you could generate a competitor by sharing information with the wrong people.”

For that reason, you need to take measures to protect your ideas, information, and innovations from theft.  Continue reading

The who, what, when and why of non-disclosure agreements.

businessman signing contractYou put a lot of time, energy and effort into your business. With so much invested, doesn’t it make sense to protect what you worked so hard to build?

Various ways exist to do that, such as choosing the right legal structure for your business, installing security software on your computer, getting business insurance, etc.

And don’t forget having an NDA!  Continue reading

Will your small business have employees?

Washington State’s Department of Labor & Industries answers the top 20 small business questions. For example:

  1. I’m hiring employees for the first time. What do I need to do?
  2. Can I just hire independent contractors? They’re easier than employees.
  3. Which government permits, licenses and tax registrations do I need?
  4. I own a business. Am I required to have workers’ comp coverage on myself?
  5. What can I deduct from my employee’s paycheck?
  6. What do I do if I can’t pay my workers’ compensation bill?

You will find the answers here.

What Tax Records Should You Keep… And For How Long?

tax-records

Except in a few cases, the law does not require any specific kind of records. However, you may want to include all of these items, no matter what process of recordkeeping is chosen:

  • Business checkbook
  • Daily summary of cash receipts
  • Monthly summary of cash receipts
  • Check disbursements journal
  • Depreciation worksheet
  • Employee compensation record
  • Any financial statements

Also, be diligent in keeping these records as well, whether it be the original source documents OR electronic copies:

  • Gross receipts
  • Inventory
  • Expenses
  • Travel, transportation, entertainment & gift expenses
  • Employment taxes
  • Assets
  • Cancelled checks

Continue reading