Franchising World’s Legal Update at a Glance

Franchise business executives, franchisees and franchise suppliers must always be keenly aware of the pulse of the industry.  The March issue of Franchising World presents leading industry executives who will guide you through some of the issues facing a “Regulation Nation.”

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This month’s authors walk you through the maze of compliance issues, enforcement standards, data breaches, financial performance representation, state legislative activities in Massachusetts and getting franchisees financed.  So not only will you gauge the pulse of the industry, but a quick click on your mobile device will help you prepare for the some of the challenges facing you in the regulatory forefront.

IFA Pres. & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE, explains in this month’s column the significance of IFA members’ participation as grassroots advocates.  He advises that “legislators are very interested in hearing from our members, whose personal experiences and insight make them the ultimate authority on the challenges facing the industry.”

In the coming days, follow franchisingworld.com for more articles from the March magazine that will build on your expertise in management and operations, multi-unit franchising and trends affecting the franchise industry.

CKE Restaurants’ Puzder advocates for immigration reform in Washington

 

 

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As the immigration debate continues on Capitol Hill and across the country, ImmigrationWorks, a national organization advancing immigration reform that works for all Americans, held an event in Washington D.C. today at the American Enterprise Institute to help lawmakers and voters understand the most important elements for creating a better legal system for the future.

Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, provided insights on how the immigration reform bill would affect American businesses and the consequences of not addressing key issues in the debate.  With 3,300 restaurants throughout 48 states and approximately 70,000 workers employed by Carl’s Jr. and Hardees Restaurants, Puzder believes a bill like the one before Congress would spur economic growth and advance consumption.

“A rational, enforceable and practical immigration policy is something that would reinforce the idea that the U.S. is the land of opportunity,” said Puzder.

What American businesses like Puzder’s really need is the comfort that a person his restaurants have hired is here legally and that the system for legalization is easier for those involved to understand.

“E-verify has been very helpful for businesses who really want to comply with the law,” explained Puzder.  “If we had reform and were able to hire people without concern, we would have a better and more diverse workforce in this country.”

According to Puzder, the most important thing is economic growth and businesses have been fighting to survive since 2008.  “A bill like the one before Congress could really be a benefit to the U.S. economy and it would be nice to participate in an economy that was constantly growing,” he said.

 

 

IRS issues employer mandate details

IRS issues employer mandate guidance (REUTERS)

IRS issues employer mandate guidance (REUTERS)

The IRS yesterday (December 28, 2012) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the employer requirements under the Affordable Care Act (Internal Revenue Code §4980H), many of which will take effect on January 1, 2014.

The mandate will require “applicable large employers” to either offer full-time employees (and their dependents) an “affordable” health benefits package that meets a “minimum value” standard, or face possible penalties. Applicable large employers are defined as employers with 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees. IFA is reviewing the extensive 144 page rule, which was accompanied by a Q&A document, and will have a full analysis soon. The full rule is available here.

Also, IFA is offering franchise system webinars for IFA members interested in learning about the details of the law’s requirements, penalties and other implications for franchise businesses. To request a webinar, please email Kevin Serafino (kserafino@franchise.org).

In yesterday’s rule, the proposed regulations put forth are organized as follows:

· Definitions

· Rules for determining status as an applicable large employer and applicable large employer member

· Rules for determining full-time employees

· Rules for determining assessable tax payments under IRC §4980H(a)

· Rules for determining whether an employer is subject to assessable tax payments under section IRC §4980H(b)

· Rules relating to the administration and assessment of assessable tax payments under IRC §4980H

· Rules relating to transition relief in certain circumstances

The notice of proposed rulemaking is scheduled for publication in the January 2, 2013, Federal Register, and comments are due by March 18, 2013. In addition, the IRS announced a public hearing on the notice of proposed rulemaking for April 23, 2013, at 10 am. IFA will be submitting formal comments building upon the extensive comments already submitting regarding the law.

In Case You Missed It: What You Need to Know About Social Media & the NLRA – PAC 2012 #FranchiseJobs

In the increasingly digital world we live in, businesses must adapt to changing technologies and institute workforce policies that effectively manage how such technologies can be used in the workplace. There is a fine line between establishing company policies regarding social media use and infringing on the individual rights of employees according to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). To help franchise owners understand this fine line and how to better navigate it, Michael Pires from Public Affairs Conference sponsor ADP, Inc. spoke on how to develop a social media policy that protects one’s business as much as possible while respecting all the established rights of their employees.

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Amendment to Stop Micro-Unions Fails in Committee

Yesterday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) proposed three amendments to the 2013 Labor / Health and Human Services appropriations bill that would overturn recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decisions involving union elections.  Most notably, one amendment would have prohibited NLRB from using funds to enforce the Specialty Healthcare rule, in which NLRB opened the door for the creation of micro-unions.  The amendment failed by a vote of 15-15, while amendments to prohibit “ambush elections” and card-check elections also failed by votes of 13-17 and 14-16, respectively.  Read the press release from Sen. Graham’s office here.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

On Wednesday, Sen. Graham joined several associations on a media call to discuss how the NLRB micro-union decision will create division in the workplace and undermine job creation.  Saying that “The NLRB is the Grim Reaper of job creation”, Graham discussed the amendments he would introduce the following day in the Appropriations Committee to restrain the NLRB.

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, of which IFA is a member, submitted an amicus brief to the National Labor Relations Board regarding a representation case involving the department store Neiman Marcus, where a bargaining unit of sales people in the women’s shoe department was found to be appropriate by an NLRB Regional Director.  This is a perfect example of how the new micro-union standard in Specialty Healthcare is being applied to representation cases.  Read the amicus brief here.