Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Urgent Request To Sign Onto  Support Letter for AB 1230

Small Business California and Assembly member Quintana needs your help. Please see request of Assembly member Quintana to add your signature to letter below. Include your business name ,your title and the location of your business. Please also forward to others.  You can help small businesses around the state with this simple request. Note I need by 5PM today.
Scott Hauge  Small Business California

Hi All,

I wanted to thank you for your continued support of AB 1230, which will help small businesses across California become ADA compliant.

We need your assistance and are asking you to share the attached letter with as many small businesses as you can. We are asking small businesses to sign onto our coalition letter by tomorrow at 5pm. You can collect the information (Position on AB 1230, Business Contact Person, Business Name, City of Business) and pass it along to me or you can have them respond or CC me in an email and I will add them onto the list.

Thank you again for your continued support,

Freddie Quintana|Legislative Aide
Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez
Chair, Assembly Committee on Appropriations
Representing the 51st Assembly District
State Capitol Rm. 2114
Phone (916) 319-2051
Website |Facebook |Twitter |Instagram

The Honorable Edmund G. Brown
Governor, State of California
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA. 95814

Re: Enrolled Bill, AB 1230 (Gomez) – Request for Signature

Dear Governor Brown,

Small businesses across California, such as ours, need your help. For nearly half a decade, an ever-growing number of small businesses across the state have become the target of predatory Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance lawsuits. Lawmakers, business associations and disabled rights advocates agree – we need a solution that protects small businesses from predatory litigators, while ensuring compliance and increased access for disabled Californians.

Assembly Bill 1230, authored by Assembly member Jimmy Gomez, provides one of the most significant steps towards a solution that we have seen. AB 1230 creates the California Americans with Disabilities Small Business Capital Access Loan Program to assist small businesses in qualifying for loans to retrofit existing facilities to comply with the federal ADA law. That’s why we respectfully ask for your signature on this bill.

As a small business with less than $1 million of annual income and 15 or fewer full-time employees, we work hard every day to serve our communities and cover all our costs. Part of that includes making sure we are compliant with all federal, state and local laws and regulations. We have a strong connection to the communities we serve and unequivocally want to ensure our locations are able to accommodate everyone. However, as a “mom and pop” small business we have extreme difficultly qualifying for a loan specifically for an ADA compliance retrofit because of our lack of cash reserves, assets and relationships with lenders.

Currently, a handful of attorneys are exploiting our difficulty to qualify for these loans by filing predatory lawsuits seeking monetary compensation rather than actual compliance with the law. These lawsuits hurt our businesses and exploit a law intended to protect the civil rights of those with disabilities.
Lawmakers, business associations and disabled rights advocates agree that AB 1230 provides a solution that both expands access for disabled Californians and helps businesses become compliant and avoid the abusive practices of predatory attorneys.

We respectfully request your signature on AB 1230.


(Signature, if possible)
(Individual Name)
(Business Name, City of Business)

cc:        Michael Martinez, Deputy Legislative Secretary
            Nancy McFadden, Executive Secretary to Governor Brown
            Camille Wagner, Legislative Affairs Secretary to Governor Brown

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Credit Card Liability/Small Business Saturday

I hope all of you are aware that October 1 businesses that accept credit cards will become liable for credit card fraud if they do not have the ability to accept credit cards only with EMV chips.

Do you have the technology to do this? I am told the cost to implement this is around $900 but companies are giving discounts. One company I talked to  was giving a reduced price of $400.

Over the past five years, Small Business Saturday has become a fixture on the holiday shopping calendar.  Small Business Saturday will take place the day after Black Friday, Saturday, November 28th.  Over the past six years it has grown into a national movement to shine the light on small businesses around the county.  Where it is most successful in helping businesses grow their revenues over this key weekend, public/private coalitions of small business leaders have come together to provide coordination and leadership.  Click here to learn more about Small Business Saturday. The fact sheet (click here) provides additional information about the programs.

Your organization can help make it the biggest yet by participating in two complementary programs that support Small Business Saturday.

  • The Small Business Saturday Coalition, comprised of national/state/local associations and departments like yours (as opposed to individual retail businesses), helps amplify the Shop Small message.  Coalition members receive a turn-key communications toolkit to help generate awareness  leading up to Small Business Saturday and encourage  associations, merchant groups, consumers and communities to participate  in the day.   We invite you to use this link to sign up for the Small Business Saturday Coalition:

  • The Neighborhood Champion program provides the tools for local communities and individual retail businesses to host events on Small Business Saturday.  To sign up to rally your neighborhood as a Neighborhood Champion, the businesses in your area/your chambers should visit :  Neighborhood Champion enrollees receive Small Business Saturday Event Kits with Shop Small® merchandise to support community events (includes shopping bags, balloons, and other promotional items).  Depending upon how many stores are in each neighborhood, it might be a good idea for several stores to sign up for the “Rally your Neighborhood” kits.  All that is needed is to name ten stores.

Lynn Bunim, Director – Small Business Saturday,  would be delighted to connect with you live/email to answer any questions you might have about Small Business Saturday:; 415.434.4314.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Governor signs AB 1245 sponsored by SB Cal/ Ab 525 Op Ed/Sept. 22 IIPP Workshop in Madera, CA.

Yesterday the Governor signed the bill sponsored by Small Business California  requiring all businesses to file their EDD reports online. The bill will require businesses with 10 employees or more to comply with  this requirement by 2017 and for businesses with less than 10 by 2018.  Note there is a exemption for businesses that don’t have the technology to do this. Also note Small Business California stressed the importance of a marketing plan to reach out to small  businesses around the state to help them do this. Currently only 35% of businesses file online.
We sponsored this because we believe filing online is more efficient for small businesses , cuts down on errors and will gives businesses an immediate receipt of filing.
It should also be noted it will save about $8 million for EDD and some of that money can be used for the outreach to small businesses.

In today's Chronicle I did an Op-Ed piece on why we are supporting AB525. This is the bill that gives some protections to Franchisees in negotiating with Franchisors. Please see link to Op-ED

For those of you in the Madera area please note that September 22 an Injury and Illness Prevention Program  training   session will be held.These training sessions are being held around the state. As all of you should know every business with employees is required to have a written IIPP and it must be effective meaning you cant just have the document but must remind employee at your safety meetings.

Dear Friends,

I am excited to share with you an upcoming IIPP training we have scheduled for Tuesday, September 22, 2015 in Madera, CA. Any help you can provide in helping us promote this training is greatly appreciated. Attached is the course flyer. As you know, this is a free class designed to help small business owners and managers create or improve their health and safety program that helps them into compliance with Cal/OSHA's IIPP standard.

WHEN: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 from 1-5pm
WHERE: Madera Community Hospital, Shebelut Pierini Room
1250 East Almond Avenue
Madera, CA 93637

REGISTER online at



Kelly Chan
Public Education Specialist II
Labor Occupational Health Program

School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
2223 Fulton Street, 4th floor, Berkeley, CA 94720-5120
P: 510.643.8902 | Fax: 510.643.5698




Scott Hauge
Small Business California
2311 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA  94116

Small Business California Support of AB 350

After long deliberation Small Business California has come out in support of AB 350.  See below our support letter.

                                                                                                                 July 30, 2015
The Honorable Kevin De Leon
President Pro Tempore
California State Senate
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA  95814

RE:  SB 350 (De Leon) Clean energy and pollution reduction act of 2015 – SUPPORT

Dear Senator De Leon:            

On behalf of Small Business California and its network of more than 5,000 employers who represent 3.6 million small businesses in this state, we are pleased to SUPPORT SB 350 that will set Golden State standards to spur innovation and investment in a sustainable California by setting the following goals for 2030:  Reduce petroleum use by 50%; increase utility power coming from renewable energy by 50%; and increase energy efficiency in existing buildings by 50%.

California small businesses have a major stake in seeing the successful development of sustainable transportation options and power production as well as policies that support affordably managing building operation costs.  Small Business California was a leading business organization that supported AB 32, the 2006 California legislation that has provided a successful mechanism for addressing emissions reductions that contribute to climate change, a serious threat to our overall economy. Moreover, SB-Cal’s pioneering advocacy at the CPUC, beginning in 2004, of supporting energy efficiency investments using On Bill Financing has further demonstrated why statewide investments in lowering energy costs through efficiency and renewable energy is a sustainable path forward.

California’s economy has seen a broad economic benefit created through investments in programs designed to lower petroleum use and increase renewable energy and energy efficiency. SB 535, passed in 2012, was designed to direct AB 32 cap and trade proceeds towards disadvantaged communities in California and helped to support residents and small businesses in these areas of the state where they would likely otherwise be left behind.

SB 350 will continue to grow California’s climate change leadership position by investing in policies that will improve overall productivity and support job creation. While heavily subsidized fossil fuel extraction industries will resist these changes and work to influence opposition to these policies, California will continue to prosper by investments directed towards supporting sustainable energy production, transportation and energy efficiency.

  • California’s GDP is nearly 30% higher than it was in 2006 ($2.2 trillion vs. $1.6 trillion), and our economy is now 28% less carbon intensive (per dollar of economic activity) than it was in 1990. Our GDP is growing while our emissions fall. California captured half ($5.7 billion) of clean tech global venture capital investment in 2014 – second only to the U.S. as a whole – helping to fuel the largest advanced energy industry in the U.S. at 430,000 workers and growing. California’s solar industry employed 55,000 people in 2014, more than the state’s five major utilities combined. Installation contractors, normally small business firms, make up the largest percentage of these workers with 31,470 employees. Solar companies expect to add nearly 10,000 more jobs in 2015.

  • SB 535, legislation passed 2012 designed to direct AB 32 cap and trade proceeds towards disadvantaged communities in California, helps to support residents and small businesses in these areas of the state where they would likely otherwise be left behind. These areas of California are usually where benefits from emissions reduction policies have an outsized impact. For instance, businesses providing energy efficiency and rooftop renewable power solutions in the hottest areas of the state, jobs that cannot be outsourced, reduce the peak usage of electricity statewide, reducing costs for all residents and businesses. Moreover, as the economies in these disadvantaged areas begin to align with economies in the rest of the state, costs for social safety net programs will be reduced, helping to lower the burden on California taxpayers.

  • California leads the nation in manufacturing employment, and output despite our aggressive greenhouse gas reduction policies. The state has added manufacturing jobs for three straight years. California leads the nation with $149.8 billion in annual manufacturing exports. Between 2009 and 2014, California’s manufacturing goods exports increased nearly 43%. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, California has twice the number of manufacturing companies as the next closest state, Texas, led by aerospace and advanced manufacturing.

Small Business California greatly appreciates your leadership in this policy area and we look forward to working with you and your staff to ensure passage of this very important legislation.  If you have any questions, please contact me directly at 415.680.2109 or email at Or, you may contact our legislative advocate in Sacramento, Lori Kammerer, Kammerer & Company, at 916.441.5674 or at

Scott Hauge, President, Small Business California

Health Deduction/State People and Small Business/Workers Comp Tip

I have written previously that a business who does not provide health insurance cannot give money to employees  for the payment of health insurance premiums or health cost  on a pretax basis.  My question to you is if you could give money on a pretext basis would you? Are you currently giving money on an aftertaste basis?

Once a year I ask small businesses if they have worked with anyone at the state level who has been helpful to their business or to the small business community. The can be  legislators or government employee
s..If so please give me their name ,contact information and description of what they have done. I will write a letter to them from Small Business California thanking them.

I recently  received this email from Bill Zachary at Safeway. Bill cited a piece in CFO Magazine that was a wonderful tip for business owners in managing workers compensation claims. The message is communicate with your injured employees

This article published in CFO Magazine emphasizes the need for accurate and timely communication with the injured workers.
I have heard several Judges discuss the importance of timely, and empathetic communication with the injured worker (by the employer.) Many employers cease communicating with their employees once an injury takes place.

One important challenge of the workers compensation system (claims administrator) is to design a system for their employers that allows and encourages improved communication between the injured worker and the employer.

Injured workers are an underutilized source of information on where and how to prevent accidents.

The claims administrator should encourage the employer to send get well cards, call (and visit) the injured worker.  There are limitations if the claim is litigated, but the litigation process does not eliminate the employer / employee relationship.

I believe that employers should check with their employees to make sure that the indemnity checks have been on time.  I have seen the better employers send care packages (such as holiday meals) to their employees during Thanksgiving and other holidays. All of which significantly reduced the litigation rate and got their employees back to productive work faster.

Many examiners believe that it is their job to say “no” rather than figure out how to say “yes” to their customer the injured worker.  This approach only results in increased litigation.
None of the above negates the importance of the communication between the claims adjuster and the injured worker.  If the claims examiner approaches (and treats) all injured workers as frauds you can be assured that there will be litigation.  It is the job of the examiner to make sure that the medical treatment is appropriate, that the checks are paid timely, and that the injured worker is returned to work as quickly as possible.

There are good lessons in this article.  Let’s see what we can do as an industry to deliberately incorporate these findings into our daily activities.

Bill Zachry

Workers’ Compensation and the Cost of Mistrust Research finds that a worker’s fear of being fired after an injury has a large and pervasive effect on workers’ compensation costs and worker outcomes.

Richard A. Victor
July 17, 2015 | | US
Your employee was just injured at work. The worker is in pain, cannot perform regular job duties, and is unsure how quickly he or she can return to work. The mortgage, medical care, and child’s tuition payments are due next month. It is a vulnerable time, with substantial uncertainty involved.
When a football player goes down on the field and is carried off, the crowd applauds in support of the player, and the player often returns a smile. When a worker is injured on the job, what happens at the workplace before and after the injury can affect the costs incurred by the employer and the outcome achieved by the injured worker.
Twelve new state studies from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) aim to help CFOs and other stakeholders identify ways they can improve the treatment and communication an injured worker receives after an injury, leading to better outcomes at lower costs.
The studies are based on interviews with 4,800 injured workers from across 12 states who suffered a workplace injury in 2010 and 2011 and received workers’ compensation income benefits. The 12 states were Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The surveys were conducted during February through June in 2013 and 2014—on average, about three years after these workers sustained their injuries.
The research found that a worker’s fear of being fired after an injury had a large and pervasive effect on costs and worker outcomes, like when the worker returns to work. The fear of being fired may arise out of the relationship between the worker and the supervisor being one of high or low trust. If the relationship is low trust, the worker is more likely to fear firing when injured.
To describe the level of trust or mistrust in the work relationship, workers were asked to agree with the statement “I was concerned that I would be fired or laid off.” Workers were given four possible answers—strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, and strongly disagree. Depending on the state, 18% to 33% of workers strongly agreed that they feared being fired when injured.
Overall, workers who were strongly concerned about being fired after the injury experienced poorer return-to-work outcomes than workers without such concerns. Across all 12 states, 23% of those concerned about being fired reported that they were not working at the time of the interview—double the rate observed for workers without such concerns. The following are other findings from workers who were strongly concerned about being fired.
•              Concerns about being fired were associated with a four-week increase in the average duration of disability.
•              Workers who were strongly concerned about being fired had higher rates of dissatisfaction with care (21% were very dissatisfied with care) when compared with workers who were not concerned about being fired after the injury (9%).
•              Workers concerned about being fired were much more likely to report problems with access to care. Among workers concerned about being fired, 23% reported big problems getting the services they or their provider wanted. The rate was double the 10% among workers not concerned about being fired.
•              Sixteen percent of workers strongly concerned about being fired reported large earnings losses at the time of the interview predominantly due to injury, compared with 3% of workers not concerned about being fired.
What do these findings really signify? The following are some alternative possibilities:
•              Workers reporting a strong fear of being fired might know they have a difficult relationship with their supervisor. That difficulty might translate into fewer opportunities to return to work, or more active management of the nature of medical care and the selection of medical care providers.
•              The worker may be exaggerating the possibility of termination may be naturally pessimistic, and the tendency to overreact to a situation perceived worse than it is might characterize the workers’ general performance on the job—perhaps resulting in fewer return-to-work opportunities and more active management of the care by the payers.
•              The worker may be more likely to retrospectively report a fear of being fired if the worker has had a poor outcome. Poor outcomes color the worker’s view of most events in the course of the claim. Conversely, workers who have experienced excellent outcomes tend to see events in the course of handling the claim in a much more positive fashion.
This isn’t the first time we looked at trust as it relates to workers’ compensation. A study we did several years ago on attorney involvement, which was covered by CFO, looked at why injured workers hired attorneys. The character of the employment relationship, for example, was a factor for the 23% who strongly agreed that they hired attorneys because they feared being fired or laid off. Fifteen percent also strongly agreed that they needed attorneys because their employer could perceive their claims as illegitimate.
Employers Can Make a Difference
WCRI reached out to Lisa Healy, who is a manager of claims at AGL Resources, a natural gas-only distribution company in the United States. She told us that AGL has been very successful in managing and reducing its workers’ compensation costs. In part, she accounts this success to practices in which employees in the organization feel engaged with and trusting of the company. The following are five things she told us the company is doing to facilitate trust within the organization:
1.            Establishing a set of values and a code of conduct with the ability to report those who violate it without fear of retaliation. This gives an organization depth in terms of morals and standards, which appeal to workers of all ages.
2.            Holding claim adjusters accountable for treating injured employees in an honest fashion and with dignity and respect.
3.            Encouraging employees to identify possible safety hazards as well as recommend opportunities to improve safety. When workers are encouraged to point out safety issues or offer suggestions on how to improve things and these comments are taken seriously and addressed, trust is formed.
4.            Providing a 24/7 nurse triage program to speed treatment for injured employees so they get the care they need as soon as possible. The employee can contact the nurse triage line immediately after feeling a twinge of pain or sustaining an injury that doesn’t require emergency treatment. This service not only ensures the employee gets the right care immediately, it also cuts down on unnecessary visits to the physician when the employee can use such self-care treatments as ice, rest, elevation, or an aspirin.
5.            Promoting early return to work with transitional duty positions whenever possible. Research has shown that the longer a worker is out, the harder it is to for the worker to return―not to mention that the costs rise the longer that person is out. So getting him or her back quickly to work shows the worker you care – and that’s good for the worker and the employer.
Our research may be an important first step in realizing how important trust is between employee and employer in ensuring good outcomes when the employee is injured on the job. But employers can act now, in some of the ways AGL Resources has demonstrated, to improve trust while lowering their workers’ compensation costs. The keys are early intervention, putting safety first, effective return-to-work programs, and access to medical care.
Richard A. Victor is president and CEO of the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge.

Scott Hauge
Small Business California
2311 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA  94116