The holidays are a time to rejoice and celebrate together. But as a small business owner, you also need to make sure you don’t put your business in jeopardy while you’re celebrating that dose of holiday cheer.
Here are some tips from the NFIB Business Legal Center to help you make sure this holiday season truly is joyful for you, your staff and your business.
- Holiday Parties – As social hosts, an increasing number of states are requiring employers to exercise reasonable care to prevent injuries by intoxicated employees leaving holiday parties. Generally, in order to avoid many of these liability issues, an employer should lessen the role that alcohol will play during the festivities.
- Holiday Gifts – Any gifts given to employees are construed as supplemental wages subject to both payroll and income taxes. However, employers can give a holiday gift, which may be excluded from payroll and income taxes if the gift is de minimis, or so small an amount as to make accounting for it unreasonable or administratively impractical. The nominal value that would fall under the exclusion has not been specifically defined, but a good rule of thumb is to limit gifts to about $25-35, and the gift should never exceed $100 in value. No matter how much the amount of the gift, however, the gift may never take the form of cash or a cash equivalent to qualify for the exception. Cash equivalents include coupons, gift certificates, and gift cards. For example, an employer may give a holiday turkey as a gift to an employee, but the employer may not give the employee a gift certificate to purchase that same turkey without reporting that gift as wages.
- Holiday Decorations – A happy business is a safe business during the holidays. Encourage employees to use stepladders when putting up any decorations, and not to attempt to substitute other office furniture, such as a swivel chair, for these tasks. Do not allow tinsel to be hung from computers or other sources of heat; and never allow any decorations to cover emergency exit signs. Christmas trees can be a serious hazard if not properly located. Make sure they are secure and won’t be knocked over by people passing by or pulling cables. Finally, be wary of any mistletoe in order to avoid even the possibility of sexual harassment.
And the holidays used to be so simple, didn’t they? Just exercise care and your holiday will be a happy one. Would you like to add a holiday tip? Please leave a comment.