Yesterday, the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy published a fact sheet by research economist Daniel Wilmoth that indicates more small businesses are opening than closing. In 2017, the number of businesses in the U.S. increased by about 118,000 with various levels of growth depending on the region. In all, 975,000 new businesses had opened by the end of 2017. The number of businesses that closed fell from 859,000 in 2016 to 857,000 in 2017. Business openings have exceeded business closings for 28 consecutive quarters, Wilmoth noted. California accounts for nearly one-third of the net increase of businesses in 2017, with 38,000.
Source: Long Beach Business Journal
I hate to be a Debbie downer here, but the annual ranking of states by U.S. News & World Report places California last for its quality of life and 32nd overall when all categories are rated. The categories of the “Best States” report and California’s ranking among the 50 states is as follows:
- Healthcare, 11th;
- Education, 26th;
- Economy, 4th;
- Opportunity, 46th;
- Infrastructure, 38th;
- Crime and corrections, 28th;
- Fiscal stability, 43rd;
- Quality of life, 50th.
The latter was based on two elements: natural environment and social environment. Iowa is first in the overall rankings, followed by Minnesota, Utah, North Dakota and New Hampshire. To view the full report and state-by-state rankings, click here.
If the weather were a category, there’s no question that California would take the gold medal.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced last week that 84,254 workplace discrimination charges were filed with the federal agency nationwide during 2017.
The agency handled over 540,000 calls and more than 155,000 inquiries in field offices.
The FY 2017 data show that retaliation was the most frequently filed charge filed with the agency, followed by race and disability. The agency also received 6,696 sexual harassment charges and obtained $46.3 million in monetary benefits for victims of sexual harassment.
Specifically, the charge numbers show the following breakdowns by bases alleged, in descending order:
- Retaliation: 41,097 (48.8 percent of all charges filed)
- Race: 28,528 (33.9 percent)
- Disability: 26,838 (31.9 percent)
- Sex: 25,605 (30.4 percent)
- Age: 18,376 (21.8 percent)
- National Origin: 8,299 (9.8 percent)
- Religion: 3,436 (4.1 percent)
- Color: 3,240 (3.8 percent)
- Equal Pay Act: 996 (1.2 percent)
- Genetic Information: 206 (.2 percent)
These percentages add up to more than 100 because some charges allege multiple bases.
EEOC legal staff filed 184 merits lawsuits alleging discrimination in fiscal year 2017. The lawsuits filed by the EEOC included 124 individual suits and 30 suits involving multiple victims or discriminatory policies and 30 systemic discrimination cases. At the end of the fiscal year, the EEOC had 242 cases on its active docket. The EEOC achieved a successful outcome in 90.8 percent of all suit resolutions.
My question to you, do you have Employment Practices Liability Insurance for your business?
It’s that time of year when employers are required to tally the number of entries on their “Log of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses” (OSHA Form 300), and post the “Summary of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses” (OSHA Form 300A) in a prominent location.
The OSHA Summary Form 300A is required to be posted in the workplace beginning Feb. 1, 2018, and must remain posted for the entire three months of February, March, and April. It should be in an easily visible location so that employees are aware of the injuries and illnesses occurring in their workplace.
Employers that had 11 or more employees the previous year — except those in certain low-hazard establishments in the retail, professional services, finance and real estate sectors — are required to maintain records of all work-related injuries and illnesses, and post the summary of their records for the 2017 calendar year.
Many employers under Federal OSHA are required to electronically submit the summary of injuries and illnesses to OSHA. To ensure your entire management team is aware of these changes, I suggest making OSHA’s Recordkeeping Rule one of your first training sessions of the new year.
California health officials said last week that the state’s flu season could turn out to be one of the nastiest the state has seen in the last ten years. “I was flat on my back and in bed for 10 days,” said one So Cal resident. “This has been hands down the worst flu I’ve ever dealt with.”
When someone in your household comes down with the flu, there’s a good chance others in the house will catch it too based on their exposure and close proximity. The same applies to the office or workplace.
An outbreak at the office can also seriously affect your business operations. All it takes is one infected to put others at risk and spread the virus. Fewer hands on deck could potentially impact productivity and operations.
Here are Five Tips for Business Owners to Help Reduce the Potential Spread of the Flu:
Consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for additional suggestions on preventing the flu and maintaining good health habits. The more proactive you are, the greater likelihood you’ll have in decreasing the flu exposure and maintaining your company productivity and operations.
Yesterday, California State Treasurer John Chiang introduced the California Business Incentives Gateway, an online resource connecting business owners and entrepreneurs with resources to help them grow, including employee training, assistance with permitting and sales tax exclusions.
The California Business Incentives Gateway (CBIG) is a tool from the State Treasurer’s Office that brings together all of the state and local business development incentives to a single access point.
See more here:
During a quick day trip down to San Diego last weekend, I caught this billboard from the San Diego County District Attorney which kind of took me by surprise. Picturing a handcuffed jail inmate it reads “Commit Workers’ Comp Fraud, Get A New Outfit.” In addition, “don’t do it, don’t tolerate it, report it” with a phone number to call right there. As a commercial insurance professional who sees’s businesses affected by this often, it was kind of refreshing to see actually. Here’s the sign:
Taken straight from the California Department of Insurance:
In California, workers’ compensation insurance is a no-fault system. Injured employees need not prove an injury was someone else’s fault in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits for an on-the-job injury. In addition to medical expenses being covered for injured employees, some injured workers are entitled to recover a portion of lost wages resulting from an injury. Fraudulent workers’ compensation claims can be an enticing target for criminals.
Workers’ compensation insurance fraud occurs in simple and complex schemes that often require difficult and lengthy investigations. Employees may exaggerate or even fabricate injuries. At the other end of the spectrum, white-collar criminals, including doctors and lawyers, entice, pay, and conspire with others to defraud the system by creating false or exaggerated claims, overtreating, and over prescribing harmful and addictive drugs. Insurance companies “pick up the tab,” passing the cost onto policyholders, taxpayers, and the general public.
The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Program was established in 1991. The legislature made workers’ compensation fraud a felony, required insurers to report suspected fraud, and established a mechanism for funding enforcement and prosecution activities. The legislation established the Fraud Assessment Commission to determine the level of assessments to fund investigation and prosecution of workers’ compensation insurance fraud.
Funding for the program comes from California employers who are legally required to be insured or self-insured. The total aggregate assessment for the fiscal year 2015-16 was $58,862,000.
During the fiscal year 2015-16, the Fraud Division identified and reported 5,380 suspected fraud cases; (SFCs) assigned 502 new cases, made 249 arrests and referred 167 cases to prosecuting authorities. Potential loss amounted to $193,354,616.