Tag Archives: business advice

Sep
04

The Next Crafting Generation

This entry was posted in bath and body, bath products, business advice, candle making, crafts as a hobby, crafts for extra income, creative, Natures Garden, Soap making supplies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

excited_to_get_started[1] (1)The Next Crafting Generation

 

        Hey everyone! Are you bored just sitting around the house? Maybe just out of college searching for job opportunities? Looking for something to make some extra cash while you’re first starting your career? Sound like you? I thought it might. Ever thought about crafting? And yes, I mean like candles and soaps! The kinds of awesome things our products here at Nature’s Garden can create! Come on now, I know you’ve got a creative mind inside that head of yours. Let your creativity shine!

I know crafting may sound a little odd, but believe me. It is so much fun! And there are so many opportunities that go along with it. Oh, you didn’t think that crafting could lead to great opportunities? Well it can! I know the feeling of being bored out of your mind just sitting at home with nothing to do. Crafting is a great way to spend your time! Or maybe you’re a recent college grad who just can’t seem to find a job in your field. I know you’re probably overwhelmed with student loans right now and need a way to start paying them off. You could become an entrepreneur!

Now I know you remember making projects in Art class. Crafting is a way to keep the fun of art class in your life. There are so many possible things you can create just from our products. Put your creativity to use! We have so many great options. You can make candles, soaps, even your own cosmetics! I mean what woman wouldn’t love to be able their own makeup?! Turn off that TV, and let the fun begin! Your crafts could be awesome gifts for you to give the people you love or great additions to your own home. It is such a great hobby. Knowing you actually made that awesome candle or that delicious smelling soap will give you such a feeling of accomplishment. That isn’t a feeling you can get just from sitting around your house. Come on, I know you want the feeling. Just try it out!

Remember those college loans I mentioned? I know how overwhelmed you are trying to figure out where to start to pay them off. Take your crafting one step further and use it to help pay off those loans! Like I said, become an entrepreneur! Ah, see those opportunities people? Starting your own crafting company will be one of the easiest and most satisfying decisions you will ever make! Our products are sold to our customers with the intention for them to create the awesomeness. Sell your creations! You know what selling them means? You’re making money! And money means you can start to pay off those loans! Even if you don’t want to start a full-fledged company, sell your stuff anyway! Maybe you’re actually getting your career started, but selling your creativity will bring in all kinds of extra cash. And I know you will always have a need for or find a use for that. You’re literally helping yourself make more money using your creativity. It doesn’t get better than that!

Come on people! We are the next crafting generation! I know the feeling of not having any idea of what to do with your life. I’ve been there. Crafting is a great way to helping you figure it out along the way! And tell your friends! I’m sure some of them are in the same place you are! Here’s a start, check out our free classes and recipes in our free recipe box. And keep checking our blog for more Enlightened by Layla postings!

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Mar
28

Business Advice Unemployment Claims

This entry was posted in business advice, candle making supplies, Fragrance Oils, Soap making supplies, unemployment claims and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

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How Am I Supposed to Keep Unemployment Insurance Costs Down When the State Awards Benefits to People Who Can’t Even Show Up For Work? Argh!

One of the most frustrating aspects of managing a small business that seems to happen to the best of bosses is when that one former employee who was terminated for excessive absences or tardiness is granted unemployment benefits. We all know how chronic absenteeism can increase labor costs, hurt morale and lower productivity. Many small businesses have adopted a “No Fault Points System” as an effective way to deal with attendance problems. A well-crafted point system can be used to both reward workers for positive attendance habits, and to identify negative attendance trends and guide progressive disciplinary action for problem employees.

A “No Fault Points System” like this is intended to eliminate the uncomfortable questioning of the reason for the absence and/or tardiness. You don’t want to invade anyone’s privacy. It also serves to eliminate accusations of subjectivity and favoritism. Under a “No Fault” system, the employee receives a certain number of points for their absences as outlined in the policy, regardless of the reason for the absence. As employees accrue more points, they receive increasingly severe levels of discipline. And after a certain period of time of improvement, the points are expunged from an employee’s attendance record for disciplinary purposes.

In some cases employers have crafted the policy to be that once an employee accumulates the maximum number of points allowed as outlined in the policy the employee is terminated.

Unemployment Insurance is For Employees Who Lose Their Job Through No Fault of Their Own

Since unemployment insurance is intended to provide workers whose jobs have been terminated through no fault of their own, an employee who was terminated under the “No Fault” points system who knew about the policy should be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits, right?

You would think so, but not necessarily. When you terminate an employee for excessive absenteeism and/or tardiness, the employee is not automatically disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. This is the frustrating part. Although a violation may be grounds for termination, it may not be a reason for a denial of unemployment benefits. No-fault attendance policies by their definition do not require showing that a violation was in an employee’s control; you may have to convince an unemployment hearing judge that each violation leading up to the termination was an intentional act of misconduct before unemployment benefits will be denied.

There is a minimum amount of proof you must provide to the state unemployment office. You must prove the employee’s absences and/or tardiness were willful misconduct and this can sometimes be very difficult to do because what YOU consider to be willful misconduct and what the state considers to be willful misconduct are often two different things.

You must show that the employee willfully disregarded your business interests and you must present specific information on the final incident, the straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak. It needs to be focused and identify how that incident was willful and most importantly how the employee knew his or her actions would result in termination.

A common employer’s mistake is to state that the company has a no-fault attendance policy and believes that an attendance points’ violation is enough to result in a denial of unemployment benefits when it is not. The legal standard of willful or intentional misconduct is tougher than a policy violation.

The Difference Between Being Sick and Willful Misconduct

“Misconduct” under the law of unemployment compensation is basically something that the claimant did or failed to do that

  1. Caused a problem for the company, (certainly not showing up for work causes your company problems)
  2. Was in violation of a rule, a policy, or a law, (assuming all small businesses have an attendance policy, this is a slam dunk too ) and
  3. Was within the claimant’s power to control or avoid. (This is where it gets sticky.) Being sick isn’t their own fault. Since unemployment insurance is for employees who lose their job through no fault of their own, being sick isn’t misconduct and they may be awarded benefits. However, when the employee fails to follow policies that indicate the steps they must take when they are going to be absent, (most of the time this is in their control) they could be denied benefits. Make more sense now?

Good Reasons To Miss Work?

The law of unemployment compensation says you are guilty of misconduct if you are absent or tardy from work, only when you both FAIL TO GIVE ADEQUATE NOTICE for the absence AND you did NOT HAVE A GOOD REASON for the absence or tardiness.

Some examples of such good reasons include:

  • Illness
  • Accident
  • Lack of child care
  • Serious illness
  • Death of Close relative

So as you can see, the above would result in points but under the law of unemployment compensation, they would not be considered “misconduct.” Those aren’t incidents where you can assign fault to the employee.

However, incidents of absenteeism or tardiness could involve misconduct if the employee violated a part of the policy within his/her control, and you can show documentation of progressive discipline proving the employee knew that if they did it again, they would be terminated. For example, if the employee claims he was ill, but fails to call in advance as instructed but COULD have, AND fails to furnish required medical documentation as outlined in your policy, that’s misconduct. You’d still need to show that you gave the employee a final warning that knew the employee knew his or her failure to do what he could control would result in termination.

Having a Well-crafted “No Fault Points System” for Managing Attendance Can Be a Wonderful Tool But

You still need to do the hard work, the face-to-face progressive discipline for misconduct if you want to avoid paying unemployment claims when discharging someone for poor attendance. Simply assigning points until they hit a magic number may not count as progressive discipline that can justify termination in the eyes of the state unemployment office. Just make sure you outline in your policy what is considered willful or intentional misconduct. The difference is in what the employee could control. Absent due to illness, they can’t control. Failing to call (providing they’re physically able) and provide medical documentation IS within their control and is misconduct.

Make sure you give a final written warning for misconduct prior to discharge and don’t let time lapse between final incident of misconduct and the termination.

There are some additional risks. If you have 15 or more employees, you must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) If you have 50+ you must comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA),

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA), was amended effective Jan. 1, 2009, under which most absences due to any type of physical or mental impairment are now covered by the ADA. In the past they were not serious enough to constitute a “disability” under the ADA. Thus, many more plaintiffs than previously can now claim that they were terminated because of their “disability,” because of absences due to their disability. They will argue that a no-fault attendance policy does not meet employers’ obligations to reasonably accommodate their disability.

Pitfalls to Avoid:

The most common mistakes employers make that cause difficulty in unemployment claims based upon a discharge are:

  • Failing to give a final warning prior to discharge;
  • Inconsistent discipline between two similarly-situated employees;
  • Failing to follow the stated disciplinary policy;
  • Telling the Unemployment Office official that the employee was terminated for an “accumulation” of incidents, instead of a specific final incident;
  • Letting too much time pass between the final incident and the discharge;
  • Telling the Unemployment Office that the claimant was “unable” to satisfy performance standards
  • Allowing the impression that the termination was really based upon a personality dispute; and
  • Failing to present firsthand witnesses and proper documentation when needed.

Keeping the number of unemployment insurance claims filed by former employees to a minimum can produce significant payroll tax savings.

Also, you should monitor all unemployment insurance claims made against your account and should be prepared to contest any claims you believe to be improper. While contesting an unfavorable claim against your business requires more of your time, particularity if you have to drive some distance to appear, don’t hesitate to ask the hearing judge if you can appear by telephone. Make sure you have your witnesses with you. Any employer who participates in the claims process has a better chance of keeping unwarranted claims and charges against the account at bay.

Last but not least be picky when hiring. Your employees count on you to be picky so they don’t have to pick up the slack of someone who just really doesn’t want to work. And they also count on you to be understanding and fair when something happens that’s not within their control. And your customers count on you to be picky when you hire too!

The better the employee you hire, the better your customer service, the better your employee morale, the greater likelihood your workplace is safe, and the lower the chance is that you will have to let someone go and ultimately wind up paying unemployment insurance. The liability process begins from the day you hire. If an employee starts having attendance problems early, in the introductory or probationary period, address the problem immediately.

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About the Author:  Beryl Coder, of Eco Musings,  has over twenty years human resources executive experience in large multi-state corporations with over 5k employees as well as small family owned businesses with less than 15. She now owns her own small business. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice.