The coronavirus pandemic is creating unprecedented challenges, both for public health and the economy—and those challenges are causing many businesses to lay off their employees and shutter their doors, at least for the time being.

If your business is having to lay off employees, the process can feel overwhelming and confusing. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about how to navigate employee layoffs and terminations in California—and, more importantly, the answers you need to navigate layoffs during the coronavirus:

Q: What information do I need to get my employees to ensure they have what they need to file for unemployment benefits?

A: When your employees file an unemployment insurance (UI) claim with the Employment Development Department, they’ll need the following information:

  • Your official company name (as it appears on their pay stub or W2)
  • Company contact information, including both mailing and physical addresses, direct supervisor’s name, and company phone number
  • Their last physical work day
  • Gross earnings in the last week they worked, beginning with Sunday and ending with their last day of work

If you want to make the process easier for your employees, you can provide this information at their termination meeting so they have it readily available when they apply for UI benefits. (You can access their earnings information through Hourly’s Payroll function and information on hire date on each employee’s individual W4.)

Q: How do I confirm my employee’s unemployment status with the Employment Development Department?

A: Once your employee files a UI claim, you’ll receive a Notice of Unemployment Insurance Claim Filed from the EDD through the mail. Unless you wish to dispute the claim, there’s nothing you need to do. If there is any incorrect information on your employee’s claim (for example, the time of termination), you’re required to return the form with the correct information within 10 days of receipt.

Q: Is it even legal for me to lay off all of my employees—especially suddenly and without warning?

A: Under normal circumstances, the California WARN Act requires employers to give employees and state and local representatives 60 days notice before moving forward with mass layoffs.

However, we’re not operating under normal circumstances—and many businesses are having to close their doors immediately, both to protect their employees’ safety and to comply with the current statewide shelter in place order.

In response, Governor Newsom has issued Executive Order N-31-20, which temporarily suspends the WARN Act’s 60-day notice requirement. There are still, however, a number of requirements employers have to meet in order to remain compliant with the WARN Act, including providing written notice to all affected employees, the EDD, the Local Workforce Development Board, and the chief elected official of each city and county government where the closure and/or layoffs are taking place. (For more on WARN Act requirements and what needs to be included in your written notice, visit the EDD’s COVID-19 WARN FAQ page.)

Q: When do I give my employees their last check—and what needs to be included?

A: The appropriate time to give your employee their final paycheck is at their termination meeting. Their final paycheck needs to include any outstanding money owed to the terminated employee, including any accrued PTO.

To process and print a termination check through Hourly, follow these steps:

  • Choose “Payroll” in the navigation bar;
  • Choose the employee you are terminating;
  • Ensure the direct deposit option is off;
  • Confirm all hours worked during the week are entered into the timesheet;
  • Navigate to “Manual Timesheet” and add any accrued PTO hours and/or sick pay;
  • Return to the Payroll screen;
  • Select the terminated employee;
  • Click “Pay” in the upper right of the screen;
  • Choose the “Print at Home or Office” option;
  • Click “Run” at the bottom right of the screen;
  • Confirm Payroll Run

Once you go through these steps, the check will be sent straight to your email address on file—that way, all you have to do is print and you’re ready to go.

Need compatible checks for your printer? You can order them on Amazon

Q: With social distancing in full effect, how do I make sure my employees get their final paycheck in a timely manner?

A: Under normal circumstances, you would terminate your employee and give them their final paycheck in person. But the coronavirus—and accompanying social distancing—is changing the way we interact; in order to protect the safety of yourself and your employees, an in-person meeting might not be possible. You still, however, need to get them their final paychecks in a timely manner.

Unfortunately, this is a new situation—and, as such, there’s no clear answer as to how to handle the situation and what constitutes a “timely manner.” If you’re unclear, talk to your lawyer or call the EDD or the Labor Commissioner’s Office for additional guidance.

Q: What about insurance?

A: If you offer health, dental, vision, and/or medical reimbursement plans, you’ll need to provide terminated employees with a COBRA notice outlining their rights for continued coverage. You’ll also need to contact your insurance carrier and fill out any paperwork necessary to terminate the employee’s coverage.

Q: What other steps do I need to take when terminating an employee?

A: There are a few other housekeeping issues you’ll want to take care of when laying off employees, including:

  • Collecting any company property (cell phones, tools, company computers, etc.)
  • Terminating access to any sensitive company information
  • Cancelling or removing access to any company accounts or credit cards

Q: Is there any support available to help employers prevent layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic?

A: There is. Both the federal government and the state of California are moving forward with initiatives to help employers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rapid Response Team

If you’re considering large-scale layoffs or closing your business, Rapid Response Services may be able to help. Rapid Response is a business-focused program designed to assist companies facing potential layoffs and closures. If you need assistance, the Rapid Response team can meet with you to discuss your options—including ways to potentially avoid layoffs or closing your business—as well as provide transitional services to affected workers facing job losses.

Payroll tax extensions

If you’re experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, the EDD is allowing businesses to request an up to 60-day extension to file state payroll taxes and/or deposit state payroll taxes without interest, penalties, or fines. In order to qualify, businesses need to request an extension in writing within 60 days of the original due date of the payment or return.

Q: What should I do if I have to slow down operations or cut down on employee hours? Do I have to lay off my team so they can apply for unemployment?

A: The state of California’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Work Sharing Program is an alternative that may be able to help prevent layoffs in your business—while also making sure your employees are eligible for unemployment benefits while their hours are reduced or cut.

There are strict employer requirements for the Work Sharing Program, including restrictions on how much hours and wages can be reduced. For the full eligibility requirements and to apply for the Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance plan, visit the EDD’s website.

Q: How can I make sure terminating my California employees doesn’t result in legal action or a wrongful termination suit?

Clearly, the coronavirus is the reason behind the vast majority of layoffs at the moment. But regardless of the reason, in order to protect yourself, your business, and your employees, it’s important to make sure you follow California law, federal law, and applicable employment law (state or federal) when ending the employment relationship.

While California is an at-will employment state (which means California employers can end the employment relationship at any time, for any reason), there are certain exceptions. Moving forward with a layoff or a firing for any of the following reasons could result in an accusation of wrongful termination:

  • Discrimination, including based on gender identity, age, race, disability, citizenship status, national origin, medical status, sexual orientation, or religion;
  • Retaliation (for example, for filing a worker’s compensation claim, taking medical leave, or coming forward with sexual harassment allegations); or
  • Violation of Public Policy (for example, refusing to work in an unsafe or illegal work environment or refusing to partake in an illegal activity as part of their job responsibilities)

If you have an employment contract in place with your employees, it’s also important to ensure that you comply with the terms of your contract during the termination process.


This article by Deanna deBarai was originally published at Hourly.io


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

Racist comments are damaging, so is othering the one who said it

I want to acknowledge that I am writing this from a place of privilege. I am a straight-white-man. That said, My father is Jewish and I’ve experienced limited discrimination from being subjected to anti-semitic comments and beliefs.

By othering, I mean any action by which an individual or group becomes mentally classified in somebody’s mind as “not one of us”. We often forget each person is a complex bundle of emotions, ideas, motivations, reflexes, priorities, and many other subtle aspects. Instead we dismiss them as being categorically one thing. This diminishes their humanity and worthiness in our minds.

When someone simplifies us to a single aspect of ourselves, we usually retaliate. We respond in kind, by othering them back. We see this when someone makes a racist comment. Immediately people respond by labeling them as a racist. You might be thinking, “well of course, they are a racist.” There is a critical distinction between being called a racist vs being told your comment is racist. When called a racist, people feel they are being simplified and attacked. When called out for making a racist comment, psychologically speaking, people don’t feel so attacked and are willing to engage in a constructive dialogue about it. They may not have realized that their comment was offensive or the magnitude of hurt it caused. Labeling them a racist cuts off their ability to constructively reflect.

When you other another person you tell your subconscious that individual can no longer be anything except the label you’ve bestowed upon them. If you call someone a racist you are saying they embody racism, have always been racist and will always be racist. This cuts off your own ability to believe in their ability to change and to become a better version of themselves. Similarly when someone is othered, they feel their own humanity attacked, which through a perverse quirk of human psychology makes them double down on whatever they feel attacked about.

Put simply, calling someone a racist makes them more likely to say racist things.

What can be done differently?

Conversely, if you highlight the specific action that offended and tell that person how it offended you, studies have shown the individual is far more likely to empathize with your perspective, genuinely apologize and change their future behavior.

Trump’s comments towards four congresswomen of color to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” illustrates this point. His racist comment othered not only those congresswomen, but also those who identify and support them. He disrespected them and diminished millions of people’s humanity in the process. In retaliation, most of those congresswomen and their supporters called Trump a racist.

This othered Trump and all of his supporters, diminishing millions of people’s humanity to the single label as ‘a racist’. Both sides double downed, traded angry comments and feel more animosity towards each other than they did before.

The high road sucks, yet it’s our best hope

We are in a cycle of attacking, labeling and othering one another. When someone offends you, it’s hurtful, angering, heartbreaking and infuriating. It is a very human and completely understandable reaction to respond by othering them for their offensive behavior.

Yet, as Gandhi put it: “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”

When someone blinds you, you have a choice. You can other the person in retaliation. Or you can call out the specific action, tell them how it offended you and extend an offer to work with them. One furthers the cycle while the other helps break it.

You are probably thinking that it is unfair for those who are offended to be the ones to rise above — you’re not wrong. Yet truly breaking this cycle — to achieve a better society — requires those subject to offense to be courageous. It requires people to rise above and to lead by example.


Related Reads

Check out When Labeling Racism Doesn’t Work:

“By focusing on words and actions instead of on labels, you may be able to get individuals who show racial insensitivity to rethink their behavior. By calling them racist, however, you’re much more likely to get an empty apology and defensive rationalizations, all while the person who offended you remains as clueless about racism as ever…

Sometimes “racism” isn’t the best word to describe someone’s behavior because it isn’t specific enough. Rather than using a word such as “racist,” perhaps you want to point out to a friend that his behavior stereotyped [a specific race] or that the comment he made…was xenophobic.

When Is It Right to Call Someone ‘Racist’? is less clear, but has some good nuggets:

“The problem with “racism” is that it’s a personal insult, and it’s almost as impossible to prove it as to disprove it. It’s not a terribly illuminating term, either: If you call me a racist, you haven’t really described anything I’ve done that’s objectionable. You’ve just somehow designated me, and my so-far unchallenged arguments, outside the pale, so to speak.”


This article was originally published on Changeroots.com

About the Author:

Jake Sandler is a cofounder of ChangeRoots, a millennial focused startup on a mission to root out the toxic partisanship infecting our politics by enabling people to micro donate to politicians (or their future challengers) based on their statements and actions.


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

Bitcoin Mining: Chinese Man Gets 3.5 Year Sentence for Stealing Power to Mine Bitcoin

A man has been handed a three and a half year sentence for illegally tapping and stealing power from a train station in China for crypto mining purposes. According to a report published by The Paper, the sentence, which was served on September 13 by the Datong Railway Transport Court, names Xu Xinghua as the accused.

He was reportedly fined 100,000 Yuan (about $14,500) for stealing electricity from a factory at the Kouquan Railway station to power his 50 bitcoin mining machines. The offense was carried out between November and December 2017.

He was apparently able to mine 3.2 bitcoin worth about $20,000 at current market rates during this period. In addition to the fine and a prison sentence, the court ordered him to cover the electricity bill arising from his bitcoin mining activities. His bitcoin mining machines were also confiscated by the authorities.

Earlier this year, another Chinese citizen was arrested for stealing electricity to power his 200 miners. His bitcoin and Ethereum mining operation was apparently drawing about 6,000 Yuan ($866 worth of electricity) a day, something that soon caught the attention of the electric company.

An investigation launched by the Hanshan County police revealed a meter bypass implemented by the accused in an attempt to avoid billing.

Stealing Power to Mine Bitcoin in China

Bitcoin Mining and Power Theft in China

An absurdly huge number of cases involving stealing of power for crypto mining purposes were reported last year, especially during the months of November and December in China. They coincided with the price boom that occurred towards the end of the year.

The rapid price hike of bitcoin prices caught the attention of investors and newbies alike and led to major FOMO. A scramble for mining-hardware ranging from advanced setups to gaming GPUs soon caused a mining-equipment shortage. Subsequently, many mining companies experienced serious supply issues.

The sheer amount of energy needed for bitcoin mining purposes is immense, and so power theft is a major incentive for amateur cryptocurrency miners looking to avoid eye-watering electricity bills.

On to the number of cases involving power theft in China, authorities reported a sharp increase in crimes related to this last year, especially in Daqing City. In one case, police cracked down on a group of miners who were siphoning off power from the region’s oil production plants.

Twelve operations by the authorities in the city netted over 1,000 bitcoin mining devices over the course of 8 months, preceding December 2017. In one case, inspectors at an oil production plant were trying to find the source of an unfamiliar buzzing sound when they stumbled upon a row of iron shelves decked with mining machines.


This article by Elizabeth Gail was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Elizabeth Gail is crypto-enthusiast and a blogger. Her specialties include cryptocurrency news and analysis. When not writing about crypto, she’s out taking part in humanitarian endeavors across the world. You can reach out and engage with her on Twitter and Google Plus.

 

Blockchain may not be a panacea to the all the world’s problems but there are many areas where it shows potential. Perhaps one of the most important is human rights. According to a 2014 report by Freedom House, only 40 percent of the world live in “free” countries. These are the nations that supposedly respect basic human rights. But a lot has changed since 2014, and not for the better.

A Snapshot of Human Rights Around the World

We often take basic human rights, such as freedom of speech or movement, for granted. Many of us forget that in some countries, simply speaking your mind can land you in jail–or even get you killed. While much of the world remains under the thumb of corrupt and oppressive governments, blockchain technology could provide at least the start of a solution.

The universal declaration of human rights from the United Nations covers a score of fundamental rights that all people deserve. Yet far too many citizens around the world do not receive them. Among the list of 30 articles are the rights to equality, freedom from slavery, discrimination or torture, and freedom of opinion and information.

An Amnesty report published this year revealed that many supposedly “free” countries are failing to comply with basic human rights. The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is one of the worst in the country’s history. The ongoing state of war in Yemen shatters all basic human rights to food and shelter. Turkey’s continued clampdown on journalists and political activists and Russia’s curtailing of freedom of speech are all in direct conflict with the human rights agreement.

We often associate human rights violations with developing countries and oppressive regimes. But the US, EU, and Australia all earned a place among the worst human rights violators on Amnesty’s list.

The EU and Australia were called out for their “callous” treatment of refugees, and Trump’s controversial travel ban borderline violates the human right to freedom of movement while discriminating on religious grounds.

Blockchain and Human Rights

With blockchain technology, we could track human rights issues more easily. This could bring transparency and accountability to both developing and developed countries. Very often, though, speaking about blockchain involves hypothetical use cases for some faraway date in the future. Yet there are many practical use cases of blockchain and human rights right now. Let’s look at a few examples.

The Right to Adequate Living Standard

From Zimbabwe to Venezuela, Yemen to Syria, people all around the world are unable to access their right to an adequate living standard. This means having food to eat, water to drink and not being forced to live in a conflict zone or in fear of persecution.

In countries where hyperinflation is wiping out people’s life savings, blockchain and human rights are starting to team up. Cryptocurrency is beginning to make a dent in the deepening humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

With a national currency devaluing by 95 percent from one day to the next, more and more Venezuelans are turning to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Dash as a solution. In fact, there are now over 900 merchants that accept payment in Dash across the country. The founder of Dash Venezuela told Coin Central:

“Venezuelans have been using cryptocurrency for years now to protect their capital from inflation. But now with Dash, it has opened a new window as a means of payment. It is an easy way to receive something that is stronger than the Bolivar and is within the law.”

Cryptocurrency further allows for micro trade and microlending. Since you can assign a value to the most minute quantity, the size of trade that is economically viable becomes smaller. Blockchain and human rights make a more compelling case as people around the world can finally access the banking system, start their own business, and buy and sell smaller amounts.

The Right to Participate in Government and Free Elections

Another of the UN’s articles is the right to participate in government and free elections. Yet this is willfully denied to many people. Electoral fraud is common around the world. Even in countries like the United States, self-proclaimed as ‘the land of the free’, significant aspersions were cast over the 2016 presidential elections.

The Kenyan elections of 2017 thrust bloodshed, controversy, and chaos front and center. There was a widespread sentiment that the election was rigged, and many Kenyans were unable to take part due to voter intimidation.

So loud was the clamor of voices crying out against the election that it led to a second one. But that was boycotted by the main opponent and the incumbent won by a surreal landslide with 98 percent of the vote.

But rigged elections and voter fraud aren’t by any means limited to Africa. They’re widespread around the world and even common in private companies and public corporations. Blockchain and human rights projects in this area are showing positive results.

People can vote from the privacy of their own homes, free from intimidation. And all votes are tamper-proof on the immutable ledger, akin to anonymous voting in a ballot box.

There are still some issues to be ironed out when it comes to blockchain voting. Verifying voter identity and making sure the same people don’t vote twice, for example. But countries like Estonia are already proving that it is possible. In fact, all Estonians have their own ID cards they can use to vote on the blockchain securely and quickly.

Blockchain and human rights

The Right to Freedom of Opinion and Information

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in December of 2017, a record high number of journalists were imprisoned around the world. The largest concentrations being in China, Turkey, and Egypt. Freedom of opinion and information is a luxury to many in these parts of the world. If a government doesn’t like a certain website, they can shut it down or monitor it. Wikipedia, for example, is censored or banned in many countries, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Turkey, and even France.

The very fact that blockchain provides us with a decentralized technology that is global and uncensored means that no one centralized entity or government can shut it down.

Privacy-focused messaging app Mainframe, and mesh networking startups Open Garden and RightMesh are working to provide censorship-resistant platforms to ensure continued, unbroken connectivity. Blockchain and human rights show endless possibilities when it comes to freedom of information.

Closing Thoughts

More and more blockchain and human rights use cases will develop over time. Of the 30 articles on the UN’s human rights list, blockchain technology has the potential to help with many.

With its correct use in identity management, we may be able to eradicate illicit slavery and human trafficking. And the ownership of land deeds recorded on a transparent ledger could put an end to the illegal seizure of land.

There are certainly many human rights problems to tackle. And it will be interesting to see how many cases blockchain technology is instrumental in.


This article by Christina Comben was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Christina is a B2B writer and MBA, specializing in fintech, cybersecurity, blockchain, and other geeky areas. When she’s not at her computer, you’ll find her surfing, traveling, or relaxing with a glass of wine.

Blockchain has already established its use cases in a number of worthy causes. Helping refugees, and reducing poverty in the developing world to name a few. Now, blockchain is also proving its value to vulnerable people closer to home. Several cities are now running blockchain-based initiatives to help the homeless gain quicker and easier access to the services they need.

The Scale of Homelessness

As many as 3.5m US people experience homelessness each year, with over 550,000 sleeping rough on any given night. More than half of those experiencing homelessness are families with children. Many are in the bigger cities, with 1 in 5 homeless people in either New York City or Los Angeles. Things in the UK are even bleaker, with more than 300,000 homeless people, but for a far smaller national population than the US.

People end up homeless for a wide variety of reasons, including tragic changes in life circumstances like the loss of a family member or a job. Mental illness and addiction are also often responsible. Among younger people, it can often be family disputes that force them to leave home with nowhere to go. Although some end up on the streets, others may be sleeping rough in cars or moving from place to place sleeping with friends.

The Necessity of ID

With virtually no means of personal security, homeless people can struggle to secure their belongings. Documents that prove their identity and social security status can quickly become damaged, lost or stolen. Without valid ID documents, homeless people cannot access the everyday services that we usually take for granted.

One US study showed that of homeless people without an ID, more than 53 percent were denied access to food stamps, and more than 51 percent were denied access to social security benefits.

Additionally, even if a homeless person who has lost their ID goes to get a replacement, the horrible irony is that they usually need to provide some form of ID to get a replacement ID. So they are stuck in a bureaucratic Catch-22. The services that can help them get off the streets are inaccessible to them.

How Blockchain Can Help the Homeless

MyPass Project in Austin, Texas

Blockchain is revealing its potential in the area of self-sovereign identity. Identity documents can be verified and stored digitally on the blockchain, which negates the need for individuals to carry physical ID documents. A new project in Austin, Texas is now putting this blockchain use case to work in service of the city’s homeless population.

MyPass stores digitized documents for homeless people. The system stores ID papers, but may also store medical records, which means someone could receive treatment from different clinics. The individual is provided with a secure login so that they can access their document store from any computer, smartphone or via SMS. So if they use a clinic they can use the computer at the clinic to enter their details. They can then provide any documentation needed for treatment or evidence of medical history.

Austin, Texas

Although this is still in the pilot stage, hopes are high that it can be replicated on a larger scale. The project received funding from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge. Now, a number of charities and other organizations in Austin are trying to work out some initial problems, such as how to handle lost login details. But given the potential of the project to help the homeless in Austin, these are not significant hurdles to overcome.

Fummi Project in New York City

New York City has also been trialing a similar project in partnership with the organization Blockchain for Change. In 2017, the organization handed out smartphones to three thousand homeless people in New York. The phones were already loaded with an app called Fummi.

Working in partnership with other service providers, the group created digital identities for the phone recipients. With the digital record, individuals also had access to an account to receive digital Change Coins. The phones contained a preloaded balance of the coins. Recipients could earn more coins through activities such as referring new users and buying services through the platform.

Smartphone and Blockchain

Taking It Further

These two projects are currently the only documented examples of blockchain being used to help the homeless. Nevertheless, members of the blockchain community are speculating about next steps. Digital identity seems a natural progression, mainly since it has already been deployed with success by the World Food Program in feeding refugees.

Registering the identity of homeless people on a blockchain has other benefits for the service providers that are helping them. A permanent shared record brings efficiencies for providers such as shelters. With a shareable digital record, they no longer need to spend time and resources on-boarding someone each time they move.

Particularly, using secure digital wallets for distributing funds to homeless people creates a safer alternative than actual cash. Carrying cash makes homeless people easy prey to theft. Digital currency expenditure is also traceable, so that homeless charities could demonstrate where funds are spent.

Homeless people are among the most vulnerable in society. If blockchain can help the homeless to get better and quicker access to the shelter, medical, and financial services they so desperately need, then so much the better for the world.


This article by Sarah Rothrie was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Sarah ran away from a corporate job so she could travel the world. After doing that, she found herself a much-loved new career as a freelance blockchain technology writer. She is now a full-time digital nomad, who travels the world while working on her laptop. In addition to writing and researching, she also runs her own websites – find out more at sarahrothrie.com. You can usually locate her somewhere near the food.

 


Clickbank Promo Tools
Advertisements
E-books and Software
Internet Marketing Product Reviews

Popular Posts

What People Love

Company Info

This website is a project by:

TNZ Web Solutions, Tauranga, New Zealand

TNZ Web Solutions is part of ZedBee Limited
NZ Companies registration nr. 5397562 (records)

Menu

Contact

3/12 Cypress Street
Tauranga 3110, New Zealand

Email

© Artisynq Content Network 2020

‌ As an Amazon Associate we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.