|What is a Human Resource Compliance Audit?
Comparable to a financial audit, an HR compliance audit is a diagnostic tool for practices to assess the health and compliance of their human resources policies, procedures and protocols. Whether a practice employs 5 or 500 employees, this comprehensive review can help owners and managers avoid the significant legal and/or financial penalties for not complying with the vast array of complicated employment laws while ensuring their procedures are adequate and effective. In essence, an HR audit involves identifying issues and finding solutions to problems before they become unmanageable. It is an opportunity for a practice to determine what it is doing right and what needs to be corrected. An effective human resources compliance audit will identify, assess and analyze those areas that may cause legal headaches if challenged in a court of law. (see entire article)
On Wednesday, October 14, 2009, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention will conduct the third national pet obesity study. The Association's mission is to obtain real-world data concerning pet obesity in the United States. The first two studies included approximately 100 veterinary clinics, schools and pet-related organizations.
In order to better understand the growing pet obesity epidemic and trends in overweight dogs and cats, they need your help. Based on experiences from the previous two studies, participating in the study should add no more than 2-3 minutes to a normal physical examination. If you would like to learn more about this study (click here)
Q & A:
Q: Can I avoid paying overtime if my employee agrees?
A: Unfortunately, no. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is crystal clear when it states that overtime must be paid to a nonexempt employee at a rate of at least one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of forty (40) in a workweek. Of course, hours for which the employee received pay but did not work (e.g., vacation, CE, etc.) need not be counted towards the 40. Given these tough economic times, employers who wrongly classify workers as exempt are at an even greater risk of being audited by the Dept of Labor or sued by disgruntled employees. Studies indicate the number of litigated overtime cases has tripled and the average verdict award continues to increase. Please contact us if you're unsure as to whether any of the jobs at your practice are required to receive overtime.
Congressman Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan has introduced the "Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years Act (HAPPY)" that would allow for individuals to enjoy yearly tax deductions of up to $3,500 for "qualified pet care expenses". Qualified pet care expenses are defined as "amounts paid in connection with providing care (including veterinary care) for a qualified pet other than any expense in connection with the acquisition of the qualified pet." The Act further defines a qualified pet as "a legally owned, domesticated, live animal" and excludes those animals owned in connection with a trade or business as well as those used for research. Of course, IRS rules regarding itemized expenses must still be satisfied.
Providing the opportunity to deduct pet care expenses is an important step towards ensuring that pet owners provide adequate veterinary and other necessary pet care. It encourages responsible pet ownership and will hopefully reduce the abandonment of pets by people struggling as a result of the economic downturn. Take time to review this legislation and let your representatives know that you appreciate their efforts to support responsible pet ownership and encourage them to consider H.R. 3501 favorably. Proper usage of the tax code can encourage positive pet owner behavior and improve the health and well-being of companion animals.