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So Much to Do and Know




(January 2020) The Awards and Personalization Association exists to help your business thrive. Everything we do ties back into that one goal. We’re always thinking of ways to provide you with the education, connections, products, equipment, and information you need to be successful, no matter what your business goals are.

If January is not a busy month for your business, I urge you to take this time ahead of the 2020 International Awards & Personalization Expo to close out your financials for 2019 and to create your 2020 business plan, social media calendar, and e-mail schedule. While you’re at it:

Register for the expo if you haven’t already!

Set up autorenew for your Awards and Personalization Association membership. We’ll notify you a month in advance before automatically renewing your membership via the payment form you pre-authorized us to use. Then, cross this off your annual to-do list.

Sign up for webinars at Free to member companies, these webinars offer training for you and your staff from the comfort and convenience of your own office.

Now that you’ve made your life a little easier, we want to make sure you’re aware of some time-sensitive changes that could affect your business:

Microsoft retires Windows 7: Starting January 14, Microsoft will no longer support Windows 7. If your Windows 7 computers are part of your payment system, you need to upgrade immediately. Why? When Microsoft abandons an operating system, it becomes well worth hackers’ time to work on breaching the system since no one will issue fixes for the flaws they exploit. To be Payment Card Industry (PCI) data compliant, your business cannot have customer payment data stored on or passed through a retired OS like Windows 7. If you aren’t PCI compliant and a data breach occurs, you’ll be held liable and be on the hook for additional penalties and fines.

Minimum wage changes: Twenty-one states increased their minimum wage January 1: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington state. Look into this before busy season if you are in one of these states.

Update your W-4s: A new W-4 form, which drastically changes how withholding is calculated, must be used as of January 1 for new employees and existing employees who want to change their withholding in 2020.

New overtime laws take effect: New overtime laws took effect January 1 in the US. Check employee classifications against the law now to avoid expensive misclassifications.

Some noncompetes voided or limited: Washington state, Maryland, Oregon, and Rhode Island have joined states like Massachusetts, Utah, and Idaho in restricting noncompete agreements. Some laws void noncompetes for employees who make under a certain amount of money—even if the agreements were signed before the law took effect—and others specifying how the agreements are enforced.

Giving staff time to vote: Check your state’s requirements for giving employees time off to vote. More than half of U.S. states have voter-leave laws, all with varying requirements and time periods. Many states mandate employees be paid for this time once they have met certain requirements.

Pay history restrictions: Check local laws before asking prospective employees about their pay history. New laws take effect this year in New Jersey, New York, and Cincinnati, OH, that limit employers’ ability to make hiring decisions based on salary history. Some laws forbid asking; others say a prospective employee’s decision not to share pay history can’t be used against him or her. These states and city join 15 states and 18 locales with restrictions.

Your new January to-do list might look intimidating, but it will benefit your business. The implications of these changes are easy to mitigate now but expensive to fix later. Consider this another service to help your business thrive!

Awards and Personalization Association

The Awards and Personalization Association is the organization for retailers and suppliers of personalized and customized items. By providing education, meetings, and access to a vibrant network of professionals, the Awards and Personalization Association is the one place to ensure the growth of your talent, your business, and your professional community.

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Awards and Personalization Association
8735 W. Higgins Road, Suite 300

Chicago, IL 60631
(Fax) 847.375.6480

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