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Employees gain a new litany of legislative benefits this year

(BUSINESS NEWS) New Year, new you, new employment laws! Check out the Employees Empowerment edition of new legislation on our j-o-b…s!

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Employees enjoying benefits

Y’all, it’s a new year, with new laws! The Man is putting his foot down, and for once, it actually looks like it’ll be making a mark on the right people in this new decade!

PS: If you need to fight me on the decade “actually” beginning in 2021 like a nerd, I’m based out of Austin, so take a number and come at me after you read about…:

Leaving past pay in the past

This is the one I’m the most excited about, even though it’s not nationwide yet.

No more scared, deep breaths over never working a salaried day in your field while you freelanced in between retail jobs!

No more anxiety over being ‘overqualified’ when you’re really just looking to start over somewhere new!

From now on, people in New Jersey, and Kansas City, MO can walk into interviews knowing they’re taking a step towards greater equity, and better bargaining! Now it’s not ‘Okay, how little will they take’ it’s ‘How much should we give them?’!

For the record, yours truly is loving how these turntables have turned.

Weed’s out as a weedout

Rock on, Nevada. From now on, having a little green in your gold when you leave a job screening urine sample will no longer disqualify you from the position! I won’t give y’all the whole spiel, and I don’t indulge myself, but considering what pot does and what alcohol does, I figure either we try Prohibition 2: Lame Ass Boogaloo, or we legalize both.

Just keep it off the worksite, and the sand peoples of the wild wild west are all set! Fingers crossed for a contact high from this new development nationwide.

Sidenote, now that 10 states and DC have legalized recreational marijuana usage, we’re faced with even more questions regarding travel. If you should sample the jazz cabbage brownies visiting Colorado, would proof of a flight be enough to secure a job you interview for later on? What happens if you road tripped instead?

Questions for our legislators for later.

Overtime pay! Yay!

It’s a dumb, weird, number, but if you make less than $35,568 per year…well first of all, SOLIDARITY, and backpats to you. Make like Tupac said and keep ya head up.

But more to the point, if you’re under that bar, your employers are either gonna need to pay you overtime by force, or you get an actual raise!
I’m not in the business of tolerance for ‘job creators’ that aren’t also ‘living-wage creators’, so while this isn’t the >$47k threshold that got overturned in 2016, it’s a hell of a step up from the 23.7k from the ‘aught years.

Definitely worth a prosecco pop.

All about AB5

As a part-time freelancer, I enjoy going from job to job, making my own hours, and being able to pick up extra work here and there as I actually want.

However, I’ve noticed a particularly disturbing trend during my job searches, and that’s full time, onsite contractor work. IE, taking advantage of someone’s need for a job without paying for the things freelancers trade in for the lack of benefits.

AB5 is forcing companies in California to pony up and do the right thing by treating independent contractors as real employees and sidestepping the de-facto 9-5 BS in favor of respecting people’s time.

Of course big companies like Vox and Uber are already being whiny babies about not getting to upgrade their yacht beasts to white tigers instead of those peasanty orange ones, and making workers pay for it by either refusing to comply or cutting jobs entirely.

My take is–the chickens came home, and now whoever’s signing the checks better figure out how to make an omelette. Bawk bawk.

Baby Crazy-Good

The west coast is where you want your womb to be apparently. Oregon expanded its Fair Employment Practices Act to require reasonable accommodations being made for even small companies (6 employees or more) to be made for complications due to the incredibly arduous task of growing and squeezing out a human being.

California has also expanded its preggo/parent protections by mandating pump rooms with accommodations including: electricity, a pump surface, total privacy, seating, and a running sink.

Congratulations in more ways than one!

Paid breakdown break time

18 weeks, 3.5 months, more than a quarter of the year is a long time to go without pay if something happens to you.

You get hit by a car, you have a premie baby, your spouse gets carried off by bats, and you have to journey to the hidden cities of MesoAmerica and defeat the death-bat god Camazotz in tests of wit and perseverance to get them back—these are just things that life can and will toss your way.

And in most jobs, in most places, you won’t have any recourse to making sure the lights stay on during all of that.

Well now, some employees in Washington state will be able to take those 18 weeks with guaranteed pay to care for their families, and themselves! DC and Massachusetts will be following suit soon, though it can’t come soon enough!

And states requiring paid leave are going up and up! Nevada now allows leave for any reason, and benefits in New York, California, Arizona, and Dallas, TX are also going to increase.
No longer having to reconcile a needed break with being able to feed your kids can only be a good thing. GoFundMe isn’t a viable path for every dang thing, and it’s good to see places stepping up their sabbatical game!

More like NAH-bitration

Imagine being wronged.

Not like ‘scuffed your brand new boots stepping on you by accident because they can’t look where the EFF they’re going, and also walk on the RIGHT, you FOOL’, kind of wronged.

But something along the lines of ‘My employer took the doors off the men’s bathrooms’ or ‘My coworkers are continually insulting my faith and no one’s doing anything about it’ wronged.

Normally, I’d say, sue. In many employment situations, I can do no such thing.

Agreeing to things like forgoing the right to take your employer to court as a condition of employment has become a matter of course, even in traditionally undervalued jobs. And considering how bad life can get when you’re unemployed, it’s very nearly coercion to require employees either sign their rights away, or hit the bricks.

California, has mandated that as of the dawn of 2020, no employers may mandate arbitration for discrimination claims, which is a great step forward. I’m hoping this spreads and moves into banning contracts that force employees to waive their right to band together in a class action suit.

All told, these changes represent a positive pro-worker step forward! And for anyone grumbling, reLAX. What’s good for your employees is good for your company, no ifs ands or buts. I suggest pulling the money out of post-Bring your dog Fridays-cleanup, and multicultural foosball tables, to start focusing on REAL benefits.

Save the quirky sprinkles for last.

You can't spell "Together" without TGOT: That Goth Over There. Staff Writer, April Bingham, is that goth; and she's all about building bridges— both metaphorically between artistry and entrepreneurship, and literally with tools she probably shouldn't be allowed to learn how to use.

Business News

ClickUp team productivity app is gorgeous and wildly efficient

(BUSINESS NEWS) Seeking to improve your productivity and speed up your team, ClickUp is an inexpensive option for those obsessed with efficiency.

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clickup

Back again to obsess over productivity apps – ClickUp, is a project management tool seeking to knock the frustration out of PM. It’s getting some good reviews, so I gave it a try for a week by setting up my current job search as a project and getting a feel for the app. And as you’ve read in my other reviews, we will address features and design.

On the feature front, ClickUp offers a pretty standard set up of tools for a productivity app. What stands out first and foremost are the status options. In general, most productivity statuses are simple: not started, started, in progress, done, etc.

But ClickUp lets you set up custom statuses that match your workflow.

For example, if you’re doing instructional design projects, you may assign projects based on where they are flowing in an ADDIE model, or if you are a Realtor, you may have things cataloged by sold, in negotiation, etc.

Customization is king and custom status is the closest you get to building your own app. And if you like it simple, you don’t have to customize it. The assigned comments feature lets you follow up on specific comments that originate action items – which is useful in team collaborations.

You can also assign changes to multiple tasks at once, including changing statuses (I would bulk assign completion tasks when I finished applications that I did in batches). There a lot of features here, but the best feature is how the app allows you to toggle on and off features that you will or won’t use – once again, customization is front and center for this platform.

In terms of design and intuive use, ClickUp nailed it.

It’s super easy to use, and the concept of space is pretty standard in design thinking. If your organization uses Agile methodology, this app is ready for you.

In terms of view, you can declutter the features, but the three viewing modes (list, box, and board) can help you filter the information and make decisions quickly depending on what role you have on a board or project. There is also a “Me” board that removes all the clutter and focuses on your tasks – a great way to do focused productivity bursts. ClickUp describes itself as beautifully intuitive, and I can’t disagree – both the web app and mobile app are insanely easy to use.

No complaints here.

And the horizon looks good for ClickUp – with new features like image markup, Gannt charts (!!!!!! #nerdalert), and threaded comments for starts.

This application is great, and it’s got a lot of growth coming up to an already rich feature base. It’s free with 100MB of storage, but the $5 fee for team member per month that includes team onboarding and set up (say you’re switching from another platform) and Dropbox/Google Docs integration? That’s a bargain, Charlie.

ClickUp is on the way up and it’s got it all – features, a beautifully accessible UI, relentless customization, and lot of new and upcoming features. If you’re into the productivity platform and you’re looking for a new solution for your team, go check it out.

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Business News

Should you alter your business travel due to the Coronavirus?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Got a business trip coming up? Worried about the coronavirus spoiling those plans? Stay up to date and safe with this cool site!

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travel coronavirus

The Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University has created a website that tracks one of the biggest trends of 2020: the coronavirus. Also known as 2019-nCoV, this disease has already spread to over 40,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with over 900 deaths (as of when this article was published, anyway.)

Not to mention, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that we still don’t know exactly how the virus spreads from person-to-person. In fact, there’s quite a bit we don’t know about this disease and although some people are reported as recovered, it’s only a small fraction compared to how many are sick.

So, what’s so great about this tracker? Well, first of all, it updates in real time, making it easy to keep track of everything we know about confirmed cases of the coronavirus. It’s chock full of statistics and visuals, making the information easy to digest. Plus, with a map front and center, it lets you know exactly where there have been reported outbreaks – and how many people have been diagnosed.

Because the site sticks to cold hard facts like statistics and maps, it also means you can avoid the racism and general panic that’s accompanied news of this outbreak.

This is a great tool for staying informed, but it’s also extremely helpful if you’re going to be traveling for work. As the virus continues to progress, you’ll be able to see just how many cases of coronavirus there are in the areas you’re planning to visit, which will allow you to plan accordingly. Even if you don’t feel the effects, you can still risk passing it to other people.

(In fact, the CDC recommends those traveling from certain areas in China practice “social distancing” when they return to the US, avoiding public spaces like grocery stores, malls and movie theaters.)

Of course, if you have something planned several months from now, don’t cancel your conference plans just yet. A lot can happen in that amount of time, so avoid the urge to check the website every couple hours. It’s supposed to be a tool for staying informed, not staying stressed out.

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Business News

New startup curates resources to simplify any remote job search

(BUSINESS NEWS) Finding a remote job that supports travel has never been so easy with this new remote friendly job-finding website, Remote Planet.

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remote.io finds a remote job

Have you ever wanted to travel the world only to have your boss completely reject your request to work remotely? Or maybe you’re not working right now and you’re having a hard time finding a job that will allow you travel? Well, let me tell you, you’re not alone!

As 2020 begins, it’s pretty clear that remote working is not only an option; it can be a way of life that can not only empower an employee, but also increase efficiency and production for their company.

15 years ago, finding a remote job was almost like spotting a unicorn. It was an extremely rare opportunity – one that very few had the pleasure of experiencing. But with technology growing so quickly, and with the benefits being so clear (for both employer and employee) companies are quickly making changes that allow their employees to live and work almost anywhere they’d like – as long as there’s a good Internet connection.

Because of this, working while traveling has never been so easy, and with a massive uptick in dedicated remote workforces (we’re up to 18% of the U.S. workforce being remote), it only makes sense why websites like RemotePlanet.io are becoming so popular.

Remote Planet is an online platform that allows you to search for a job that is 100% remote. Their goal is not only to help find you a job that meets you needs, but also to provide “Curated Data for Remote, Digital Nomads & Travellers”.

J.P. Aulet is the freelance web developer who created Remote Planet. In an interview with him, where I asked him about the website, he said “RemotePlanet.io helps digital nomads (DN), remote workers, travelers and others to find the best resources in different categories, like remote companies, articles, insurances, housing and co-workings, among other things.”

When asked why he created his website, he said “Since I quit my job 2 years ago, I’ve been traveling and working as a [digital nomad], and since then, I curated a lot of interesting and helpful websites that help me with my travels, and I wanted to share with others to make it easier to start their remote journey.”

The website takes a Pinterest-like approach to helping its users find jobs, too, making it a very visual experience. What I mean by this is, the platform appears to aggregate data from 3rd party sites, like Remote.co and Remote.com and filters through their data for remote jobs. Whether it’s automatic or manual is unknown, but the important thing is that Aulet then publishes this data to his site in a sort of board that allows you to click the link, share it on Facebook or Twitter, or “like” it.

In addition, it looks to pulls in data that remote workers should stay on top of, like various tools, and companies that fully endorse the “work from anywhere” lifestyle.

remote job tools

But the coolest thing about this site is that it takes a lot of the searching work away for people who already otherwise have busy lives. After all, given the nature of the lifestyle and the level of importance travel is to those who seek this type of work, looking for a remote job and traveling at the same time can keep one pretty occupied.

So, whether you’ve been looking for a remote job for a while, or you’re just getting started, we highly suggest checking out Remote Planet for, at the very least, their tools and resources.

Now, with all of that said, their website won’t be any help to those who still have difficult bosses or work for companies who are adamantly against work from home situations, so if this scenario sounds familiar, we suggest checking out this guide on how to convince your boss to let you work remotely. We wish you the best of luck in convincing your boss to loosen the reigns.

On the chance the meeting doesn’t go so well (hey, let’s face it, it happens), and you’re considering another job that has much more flex, we also recommend reading this recent story on “How to crush your next remote job interview.”

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