October 2010 Client Information Bulletin

Articles in our October 2010 issue:

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Gimme a Break!

Do you have to allow employees to take breaks? It depends.

Under federal wage and hour laws, employers are generally not required to provide breaks. However, if you decide to give employees a break, the time is treated as compensable work time. Conversely, some states specifically require rest breaks of varying durations for non-exempt employees or hourly workers.

Finally, breaks may be required for employees with special needs. Make sure your company complies with all the applicable federal and state laws.

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Facts and Figures-Timely points of particular interest

Hiring Choices—The new Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act of 2010 provides a tax benefit for hiring previously unemployed workers. An employer may avoid the 6.2% Social Security tax on a worker’s wages. Caveat: If the employer takes the exemption, the employer cannot claim a Work Opportunity Tax Credit for the same worker.

Stress at Work—Reducing stress at work can lead to greater productivity. Here are three helpful suggestions: (1) Take responsibility for improving your physical and emotional health. (2) Identify knee-jerk habits and negative attitudes that affect the workplace. (3) Practice better communication skills to ease and improve work-based relationships.

New Employee Blog

As an English major, the idea of working at a place based largely around numbers was a little daunting at first.  Thankfully, they haven’t made me decipher all those forms with various boxes and lines to add up.  I will say, though, that over the past two months, I’ve gotten used to people casually slipping “Extension deadlines” or “K-1 forms” into conversation.  Honestly, we’re all just a nerdy bunch, but those are the kinds of people you want working on your finances.

The atmosphere in our office and the friendliness and helpfulness of my fellow staff as I try to remember where in the computer to put which file is truly heartening.  Yes, I still feel like a nuisance every time I ask for a reminder on how to do something, but no one else seems to notice—they realize that this is not the simplest place to work.  I’m still learning how to help clients when they call with issues concerning tax returns or payroll, but, even if I don’t know what to tell them, there’s always a co-worker who is eager to help, not only by taking the time to talk to the client, but by explaining to me what I can do next time to help.  That’s the attitude at Weltman Bernfield: always learn, always grow.  There’s no job too small here—and I should know—because all those small steps add up to the bigger picture: serving our clients the best way we can by making complicated issues simple for them.  Every task I take on is appreciated by my co-workers, and that’s very refreshing for me.  I may not be 100% comfortable with all the new and different duties I have to do, but I’m getting there with a little help from my friends.