The interest rates for loans to family members and related party transactions are lower than they have been in several decades because they are set by the IRS each month based on U.S. Treasury rates. These rates in turn set the valuation rate used to determine the value of property transferred in certain types of gift strategies. As a result, this rate is at an all time low of 1.4% (in November). In the valuation process, this interest rate is the assumed rate for valuing the remainder interest that is the taxable gift component in some of the strategies discussed below. This rate is often referred to as the “hurdle-rate” in terms of the rate of return required for the strategy to perform as well as the valuation projection for tax purposes. While relative investment rates of return are low, the assumed rate is fixed at the time of the transfer, so when rates of return increase to more normal levels and market values increase as a result, the chance for success of these strategies should be greater than under normal circumstances.
Estate Planning Alert: Low interest rates plus low valuations create extraordinary planning opportunities
What do AT&T, IBM, the Cleveland Indi- ans, and more than 800 other employers have in common? At present, they are all openly seeking unpaid interns on Craigslist and Monster. Unpaid interns allow companies to keep costs down while continuing to provide high-quality services and products to customers and clients – all in an economic climate where employers are looking to reduce expenses. Given that the nation’s unem- ployment rate is hovering around 9%, there is a large pool of candidates willing to take unpaid internships to demonstrate their considerable skills and experi- ence in the hopes of a paid position at the company or elsewhere.
For the full article, please click here.
On October 20, 2011, the Computer Professionals Update Act (“the CPU Act”) – one of the first potential pieces of good news for employers this year – was introduced in the U.S. Senate. If passed, the CPU act would expand the computer employee exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). S. 1747.
Unlike much of the other legislation affecting employers that has been proposed or passed this year, the CPU Act would make business easier for employers and decrease the risk of employee misclassification lawsuits. If the proposed legislation passes, employers would be able to classify more employees as exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA. This would be a welcome change from the persistent drum beat of enhanced enforcement initiatives announced by government agencies and upticks in class and collective actions this year.
With the Christmas and New Year period fast approaching, employers need to consider whether they intend to shut down their business over the Christmas and New Year period or beyond, and whether they intend to require employees to take annual leave during a shut down. read more…
A recent decision of Fair Work Australia involving the dismissal of a manager for reasons of redundancy places employers at risk if they do not offer employees lesser roles before making them redundant. A failure to do so may lead to the redundancy being held not to be genuine for the purpose of excluding an employee’s ability to apply for an unfair dismissal remedy. read more…
OSHA’s recent string of hotel inspections in response to formal safety and health complaints filed by UNITE-HERE and others on behalf of hotel housekeepers is under serious scrutiny from the House of Representatives Subcommittee that oversees OSHA’s operations. OSHA leadership is defending its decision to inspect hotels, and is signaling that OSHA will not shy away from inspecting employers in the midst of organizing campaigns and/or contentious bargaining over labor agreements.
As we reported earlier, employers are challenging – and courts are taking steps to reign in — EEOC subpoena power. In a recent decision issued by a federal court in Illinois, the employer successfully challenged an EEOC subpoena that sought confidential health information that was irrelevant to the charge before it.
In EEOC v. Loyola University Medical Center.PDF, the EEOC was charged with investigating the allegations of one employee who claimed that she had been discriminated against on the basis of a disability because she was required to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination. In the course of its investigation, the EEOC subpoenaed records for all employees who had been required to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination regardless of whether the employee held a position similar to the charging party, worked for the same supervisor, or had anything else in common with the charging party that might shed light on the validity of her allegations. The employer refused to provide the records, citing their irrelevance to the charge and their confidentiality. In response, the EEOC sought court enforcement of the subpoena.
In an October 25 Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article titled “Legislators give back through pro bono,” Chicago Partner and legislator James B. Durkin was interviewed regarding his decision to take up a pro bono case that allowed a Guatemalan man to gain asylum in the United States. In the article, Mr. Durkin encourages attorneys to provide pro bono services. To view the article in full, please click here.
The concepts of “duty” and “foreseeability” figure prominently in any discussion of “take-home” toxic tort exposure claims. In an insightful article appearing in BNA Toxics Law Reporter, dated November 3, 2011, Christine G. Rolph,Arthur F. Foerster andHans H. Grong of Latham & Watkins discuss “take-home” exposure claims in asbestos litigation. The typical “take-home” plaintiff is a bystander such as the child who claims she was exposed to asbestos while playing in the basement where her father’s work clothes were laundered.
Effective January 1, 2012, the minimum wage in the State of Florida will increase from $7.31 to $7.67 per hour. Minimum wage for tipped employees, such as waiters and waitresses, will increase from $4.29 to $4.65 per hour. This $0.36 per hour increase comes on the coattails of a previous minimum wage increase in Florida in June 1, 2011. Florida employers should therefore be prepared to again increase the hourly pay of any employees on minimum wage as of January 1, 2012. For further information, please contact your labor and employment attorney at Arnstein & Lehr LLP.