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Illinois business law attorneyWith the winter holidays fast approaching, many business owners have started thinking about gifts for their employees. If you were to ask your team what they wanted from you as a holiday bonus, most of them would probably say cash. Unfortunately, not every business owner is in a financial position to offer cash bonuses—especially those running newer businesses or non-profits. As it turns out, studies suggest that cash rewards often do very little to improve worker morale and performance. Non-monetary gifts seem to have a larger and long-lasting impact on employee satisfaction.

If you are struggling with ideas on how to show your employees you appreciate them but you cannot afford lavish gifts, you may want to consider:

  • Closing on slow days around the holidays: If you run a retail business, you probably cannot afford to be closed in the days leading up to Christmas. In other industries, however, closing for a day or two could be a good way to allow your team to rest and relax without worrying about vacation time. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are often viable options, with some business even shutting down for the entire last week of December;
  • Giving extra paid time off: Even if you do not close, you could probably find ways to allow your employees to take an extra day or two off. During the holiday season, even an extra half-day off could be helpful in finishing shopping and preparing for guests;
  • Finding tangible gifts: One of the appeals to giving cash is that it is one-size-fits-all, but other gifts may also have fairly wide appeal. Wellness items like activity trackers or a gym bag could be appropriate, and items such as inexpensive personalized coffee mugs could show that you appreciate your team;
  • Work-related ideas: Some business owners use the holidays as a good time to encourage personal and professional development. You could give your employees the chance to attend an industry-related seminar, listen to a speaker, or even take a training course that may help them achieve their long-term career goals; and
  • Remembering the family: It is easy to think of your employees as individuals, but many business owners tend to forget their workers’ families. You may think about giving rewards that include spouses, children, and other family members such as movie passes, event tickets, or gift baskets sent to the home.

Of course, any holiday gift or bonus will lose much of its impact if you do not remember to express your gratitude and appreciation directly to your team. They have helped you get where you are and deserve recognition for their efforts.

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Arlington Heights business law attorneySmall and medium-sized businesses represent the backbone of the American economy. Such companies, in turn, rely on various types of business contracts to keep them running properly. Contracts are used to formalize purchase agreements, loans, employer-employee relationships, and a wide variety of other applications.

When you sign a contract, you do so with several expectations. First, you expect that you will comply with the terms and provisions of the agreement. Just as importantly, you expect the other party to do the same. If he or she fails to do so, you may be able to file legal action for breach of contract. Assuming your case is valid and the court rules in your favor, there are several remedies that may be applied to address your concerns.

Money Damages and Restitution

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Arlington Heights business law attorneyWhen you own business that operates in a highly competitive industry, it is understandable that you would want to protect your investments, including your time, money, and efforts. If you rely on proprietary systems or recipes, you may require your employees to sign non-disclosure agreements which contractually forbids them from sharing your secrets. Similarly, if you employ a team of skilled employees, you may want to protect that investment as well by using non-compete agreements. According to the law in Illinois, non-competes may be an option, but only if your employees’ wages also represent how much you value your workers.

New Limitations

The Illinois Freedom to Work Act was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner last August and went into effect on January 1, 2017. The Act prohibits the use of non-compete agreements for employees who make less than $13 per hour. The measure was prompted, in large part, by complaints from employees of the sandwich chain Jimmy Johns. Workers at the Illinois-based chain were routinely required to sign non-compete agreements that prevented them from working for another sub shop during their employment with Jimmy Johns—and two more years after that!

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Illinois business law attorneyIn recent months, at least seven states—including Illinois—have been vying for the attention of Foxconn, a Taiwan-based technology company looking for a new foothold on American soil. Illinois lawmakers and industry leaders believed that landing a Foxconn plant could have been a major boost to the state’s economy and would have created thousands of new jobs.

This week, however, an announcement by Foxconn dashed the hopes of Illinoisans by confirming that it plans to build a 20-million square foot facility in Wisconsin. The new plant will produce LCD panel screens and is expected to employ 3,000 workers when it opens. The company also said that its Wisconsin plant could eventually employ as many as 13,000 as it continues to invest in the region.

A Questionable History

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Posted on in Business Law

non-compete clauses, low-wage employee, non-compete agreements, nondisclosure agreement, Arlington Heights business law attorneysOn August 19, 2016, Illinois state Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law referred to as the Illinois Freedom to Work Act. The law took effect on January 1, 2017—a law which will notably impact the private business sector.

Is a Non-Compete Clause Enforceable?

It is common for private business owners to require their employees sign and adhere to non-compete agreements. However, the Illinois Freedom to Work Act specifically prohibits a business owner from entering into a contract that denies a low-wage employee the ability to find employment elsewhere that competes with his or her current company.

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