5 Reasons Why Last Week Was A Bad Week For Business Owners

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

Sometimes you have a good week. Sometimes you have a bad week. If you’re a business owner, then last week was a bad week. Why?

The NLRB ruled against you.

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board modified its definition of an employer. If you have subcontractors on staff or if you use a staffing firm, you may have to share the responsibilities of an employer when it comes to their compensation, benefits and rights. Franchise owners are concerned that they could lose their autonomy if they become joint employers with their parent company, who can therefore have more say in their hiring and management practices. The National Federation of Independent Businesses believes that many other small businesses can also be affected,contending that a company that hires a subcontractor to do work could be considered a joint employer with the subcontractor and be responsible for their subcontractors’ employees too. According to this report “The ruling was also criticized by the National Retail Federation, which said it unnecessarily blurred the distinctions between companies that are independent of one another and the National Restaurant Association said the ruling would have a negative impact on franchisees’ decisions to expand and hire more workers.”

Health rates in 2016 look to be much, much higher.

Do you run a business in Tennessee? Your health insurance premiums may be going up as much as 36%. Kentucky, Oregon, North Carolina and Maryland have also approved 25%-plus increases. Michigan, New York, Rhode Island and Ohio will have more than 10% rate increases. And we’re just getting started. Last week, health insurance regulators in many states approved rate increases requested by the largest insurance companies. Not all states have made their rate decisions, and some decreases are below 10%. “Many of the most popular plans in the country offered low rates for the first and second year of the law’s rollout, unsure what to expect but eager to snap up the new business,” the Wall Street Journal found. “That was especially true in Tennessee, which had some of the lowest premiums in the U.S. initially. Now, insurers have found that business has been more costly than expected. Some have said they’ve incurred steep losses. The American Academy of Actuaries also said in a recent paper that some programs designed to cushion insurers against high-risk enrollees are ending.” Budgeting for next year? Then you’re probably going to need to budget much higher than you thought for your company’s healthcare premiums.

The FTC can now take you to court if you suffer a data breach.

As I reported last week, a new Federal Trade Commission ruling now opens up the door for the government to come down hard on any business in which consumers are subject to “unfair and deceptive trade practices.” That definition has been stretched to include consumers’ data on companies’ servers. So if you are found to be at fault for not taking the right measures to secure your customers’ data, particularly credit card data, then your company could be liable to big penalties from the FTC. In the wake of recent high-profile data breaches, such as the Ashley Madison site’s, and many others, including at Harvard University and Anthem Insurance, cybersecurity has become an issue that Washington feels the need to do something about.

The stock market added to our uncertainty.

In the course of a week we saw the market drop and then bounce a thousand points. We watched from afar as the world’s second largest economy seemed to implode. We heard warning signs of another financial collapse in the wake of a China recession, an oil price decline and a bubble in stocks. The Fed seems to be holding to its plan to increase interest rates. And although the markets have steadied, we once again got a reminder of the uncertainty and vulnerability of our economy, our financial systems and our infrastructure. For many of us, it was all too familiar. And for some business owners I know, their plans to take a few more risks and invest a few more dollars have been shelved for just a little longer. Someone on Wall Street definitely made a lot of money last week, but it wasn’t me and it wasn’t any business owner I know. Although the market recovered, most of us are feeling less comfortable then we did just a few weeks ago.

Finally, in a post on its website last week the University of Tennessee is now recommending the use of gender-neutral pronouns like ze, hir, xe, xem and xyr. The guidelines are not considered compulsory, but a guide for inclusive practices: The administration is not mandating nor is there an official policy to use gender-neutral pronouns. “We do not dictate speech. Most people prefer to use the pronouns he and she. However, some don’t.”

Life is just getting too complicated. I think it’s time to sell.

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