Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) Signed Into Law

Yesterday, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) was passed into law and goes into effect on April 1, 2020, and stays in effect until December 31, 2020. If you are an employer with less than 500 employees, please read because this will apply to you. Employers, check out our COVID-19 Resource Guide. The Act: requires private insurance plans to provide free COVID-19 testing; requires employers to provide emergency paid sick leave to workers affected by COVID-19 and expands family and medical leave; and provides increased funding for state unemployment insurance programs, food stamp and nutritional programs and others. This post will focus on the emergency family and medical leave and emergency sick leave aspects of the Act, which will affect the vast majority of employers and employees across the country. There are two provisions providing paid leave to employees forced to miss work because of the COVID-19 outbreak: an emergency expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and a new federal paid sick leave law. Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act FMLA Coverage is Expanded to Include Most Employers – The Act … Continue reading

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COVID-19 Resource Guide for Employers

Please keep in mind that the situation is ever-developing and information and guidelines will constantly change. That being said, as of today, there are many programs available to you both on the state and federal level. Where can I get help if my business is facing financial strain due to COVID-19? The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) provides small business owners with low-interest disaster relief loans if their business is in a state and county that has been declared an “Eligible Disaster Area” by the SBA. In California, as of March 16, the following counties have been declared as eligible: Alameda, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Sonoma, Tuolumne, Alpine, Amador, El Dorado, Imperial, Kern, Lake, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Mono, Napa, Orange, Placer, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Ventura and Yolo. If your business is located in an Eligible Disaster Area, you may qualify for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) from the SBA. To qualify, an applicant must have an acceptable credit history, … Continue reading

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Three Ways to Transfer the Family Business

I’ve had clients who have had to deal with business succession issues and so I invite John L. Wong to provide some insight into what business succession planning is and why business owners should think about it.   As an Orange County Estate Planning Attorney, many of my clients own some form of small business. One of the first questions I ask is: “What’s going to happen to your business when you retire or pass away?” There are two very common responses: I’m going to transfer the business to my children; or I’m going to sell the business. I could certainly go through a bunch of hypotheticals to poke holes in these two responses, but often times, if the question was phrased differently, the issue becomes much clearer. “What would happen to your business if you died today?” After some reflection, common responses are: The business would fail; The business would be taken over by an employee. So how do ensure your business is transferred under the first set of scenarios instead of the second set? How do you ensure … Continue reading

In: Contracts, Estate Planning, Guest Blogger, Hiring a Lawyer, Uncategorized, What to Do | Leave a comment

What to Do: Employee Leaves With Trade Secrets

Losing an employee, especially a key employee, is difficult for any business. You’ve invested time, know-how, and resources in your employees and they in turn are the lifeblood of your business. Unfortunately, people leave and when they leave, it is usually to work for a competitor or even to start a competing business. If that employee had access to your company’s confidential information such as customer lists, customer preferences, pricing formulas, and any other information that gives you a competitive edge, you want to make sure that the employee can’t take that valuable information to a competitor. How do you protect trade secrets from a competitor when an employee leaves? I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news: If the first time you think about protecting your company’s confidential information is after a key employee leaves, it may be too late. One of the fundamental requirements under California and Federal laws that protect trade secrets is the requirement that you made reasonable efforts to keep that information a secret. Thus, if you haven’t thought about how … Continue reading

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What to do Before You Sign a Contract

Congratulations! You made a deal, reached an agreement, or resolved a dispute and now you’re ready to sign a contract to make it all official.  If this contract is important enough to you, pause for a minute, read it carefully, and ask an attorney to review it. Why? There are 2 reasons: Whoever drafts the contract will include terms and provisions that are in their favor. They have no obligation, duty, or interest (generally) in watching out for your interest. But your lawyer does. Every time I review a contract and explain the various clauses to my clients, there are a few clauses that my clients did not understand or was against their interest and invariably had to be negotiated and revised. You may have an engineering degree from MIT and be the smartest person in the room but unless you’ve seen the same clauses day in and day out and have seen their implications in the litigation context, you may not have an accurate understanding of the contract. Contract pitfalls to look out for. This is by no means an all-inclusive list. … Continue reading

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What to Do When a Client Doesn’t Pay

This is the first post in a new series called “What to Do” where I will discuss “what to do” in various common situations that come up in small and medium sized businesses. Feel free to send me your “what to do” question. Today’s topic is what to do when a client doesn’t pay. This is a common problem that businesses big and small face and if you’re in business, you’re selling services or products in exchange with the expectation that you will be paid for those services or products. The cost to your business of unpaid invoices is not just the dollar amount on each invoice but the opportunity cost of the investment you could make in your business from that income. Additionally, it costs your business time and money to collect on unpaid balances. Thus, the cumulative effect of multiples unpaid invoices, even for small outstanding amounts, is detrimental to your business’s viability and growth. Before starting work: For the proactive business here are some tips to help you avoid or minimize the change of having a client … Continue reading

In: California Civil Litigation, Contracts, Starting a Business, Uncategorized, What to Do | Leave a comment