Retailer July 2017

Paid Family Leave takes effect January 1, 2018

Employers can start taking weekly employee contributions now

New York’s new mandatory paid family leave (PFL) law – the nation’s most comprehensive and inclusive for employees and employers alike – goes into effect on January 1, 2018. Employers will pay the PFL premium to the insurance carrier but, thanks to Retail Council advocacy, employers have the option to recoup the cost through employee contributions. We also won language that requires an employee to work for 26 consecutive weeks before he or she is eligible to receive benefits (as opposed to working only for four weeks in the original proposal).

As an employer, the law gives you the option to collect the weekly employee contribution beginning July 1, 2017, for coverage beginning on January 1, 2018.

You are required to provide PFL if you provide statutory disability insurance (DB), and you must get your PFL coverage through the same provider from which you purchase your DB coverage. You will see the PFL premium added to your DB invoice as of January 2018.

The good news is the Retail Council can make sure you’re covered both for disability insurance and paid family leave! We offer multiple carriers so we can match you to the best program with the best rates for your business. Visit our Paid Family Leave page for more details about New York State Paid Family Leave and contact Ken Rutsky for more details or questions and to make sure you’re covered properly with PFL. You can also visit our partner Shelterpoint’s PFL web page for more information.

>>Read the Paid Family Leave Q&A with Steven Ruffino, Payroll Division Manager at Heartland Payment Systems.

2017 Legislative Session comes to a close

The regularly-scheduled 2017 Legislative Session adjourned on June 22nd, and the Retail Council is pleased to report that on balance, the retail industry faired extremely well.

The Retail Council during the 2017 session successfully defeated legislation that would have:

(i) prohibited businesses from charging a price for goods on the “basis of gender”;

(ii) established requirements for stores attempting to settle civil actions deriving from larceny prosecutions;

(iii) established new and confusing consumer notification requirements in the event of a security breach;

(iv) required stores with an online presence to post additional product recall information on their websites;

(v) required stores selling over-the-counter drugs and cosmetics to follow additional labeling standards;

(vi) prohibited pharmacies from selling tobacco products;

(vii) established a paint stewardship program, and an associated “assessment” that retailers or distributors would have to add to the purchase price of architectural paint, among several other problematic issues distilled below.

Our proactive work, however, is far from over. The final 2017-18 FY State Budget did not include language that would have required certain online marketplaces to collect and remit sales tax to the state. The reasons for this particular outcome are many. This was despite the Retail Council’s strong and consistent message: state lawmakers should remove the more than eight percent competitive advantage that online marketplaces currently have over stores in lawmakers’ Districts. While we do not think – at this time – that the Legislature will have the appetite to consider similar (re: tax) legislation in the 2018 election year, the Retail Council will continue to fight for equity vis-à-vis sales tax policy on behalf of the brick-and-mortar stores we represent.

Other issues the Retail Council worked on this session, include:

  • Restrictive scheduling
  • Payroll cards
  • Plastic bag regulations
  • Pharmaceutical drug disposal
  • Mattress transport and storage
  • Salary history inquiries
  • Non-compete agreements
  • Credit history in hiring and employment decisions
  • Chemical regulation/Children’s products
  • Product stewardship for primary batteries
  • Warning labels on lithium batteries
  • Raincheck requirements for sale items in stores
  • Crib bumper pads

Stay tuned for the Legislative Summary due out in Fall 2017, that will give a comprehensive look at every retail-related bill the Retail Council worked on in the 2017 session.

Tips from a Millennial ShopperCarly Brentini

By Carly Brentini, Assistant Director of Member Development

As a member of the millennial generation, there are things I expect when I walk into a business. There are also things I expect when it comes to interacting with my favorite stores online. Since millennial shoppers (generally in their 20s to early 30s) spend approximately $600 billion a year, according to Accenture, it may be a boost for your business to understand my generation’s shopping needs.

When I’m shopping in a brick and mortar store I want the ability to sign up for email updates so that in the future I receive email or mailed coupons or discounts. I expect to sign up for a loyalty program so that when I return to the store, they remember me. If I’m shopping at a clothing boutique I want them to remember everything I’ve purchased in the past, what size I am and what my taste is or is not. I especially want them to remember how often I come to the store if I’m a frequent visitor.

When it comes to buying my items I rely on technology at the checkout counter. I have cash with me about one percent of the time, so my instinct is to automatically pull out my phone and use a mobile wallet. If I learn that a store is cash or check only, I expect them to have an ATM because that’s the only way I’ll be able to shop there. If I know a store doesn’t accept credit cards and doesn’t have an ATM, I know I’ll never go back even on the rare occasion that I do have cash.

Millennials use social media for many reasons. While the main purpose may be to stay in touch with friends and family, it is also important for us to have a relationship with our favorite brands and stores. I follow my favorite stores on Instagram and like them on Facebook to keep up-to-date on sales, new arrivals, special events, new lines, etc. Another motivation for using social media is direct interaction with stores. For example, if I post a selfie wearing a new pair of earrings that I bought from the Silver Fox Gift Shop in Cooperstown, NY, I will tag their Instagram or Facebook page in my post. I do this because I want the store to see that I’m interacting with them, and I want them to like, comment, and even repost my photo.

Millennial shoppers like me can be quite loyal to their favorite shops if all their expectations are met. I hope my insights help you plan for your future millennial shoppers.

You can reach Carly at (800) 442-3589 or cbrentini@retailcouncilnys.com.

Small Business Owners: A single Data Breach Can Devastate Your Life’s Work

By Ken Rutsky,  Account Manager

February 17, 2017: fast food chain Arby’s reveals that payment systems in a large number of their corporate locations were breached between October, 2016 and January, 2017, exposing credit card data to hackers.

March 19, 2017: reporters find that customer data from retailer Saks Fifth Avenue – including email addresses, phone numbers, and IP addresses – has been posted in an obscure corner of their website in plain, unencrypted text.

April 25, 2017: fast food chain Chipotle notifies customers that their credit card data may have been compromised if they made purchases between March and April, 2017.

May 12, 2017: clothing retailer Brooks Brothers informs shoppers who made purchases at their retail and outlet stores between April, 2016 and March, 2017 that they may have had their credit card information stolen.

Four data breaches reported in four months…and those are just four of the largest from the first half of 2017. These compromises, each of which could have affected many hundreds of thousands of people, were widely covered in the news due to their sheer scope. Because they get all of the attention, many people, including many small business owners, believe that data breaches are something only the big corporations need to worry about: why would a hacker go after a minnow when they can land a whale?

Sorry to say it, but this belief couldn’t be further from the truth.

The truth is, small- to mid-size businesses account for about 60% of all data breaches worldwide. Due to the volume of credit card and customer data they typically handle, retailers are considered an especially plum target for a cyberattack. Smaller retailers, which tend to place IT security low on their list of priorities, can be devastated by a single breach.

Consider this: over 28,000 records are stolen in an average cyberattack. The liability and monitoring costs for a single record averages $200. Do the math. Do you have $5.6 million on hand to cover the costs of a data breach? It’s no wonder 60% of small businesses that have experienced such an attack go out of business.

A general liability policy is not enough to protect your business from such a nightmare scenario; such insurance primarily covers property damage, and will leave you on the hook for first-party losses and third-party claims. You need a comprehensive cyber insurance policy for maximum coverage, one tailored specifically for retail businesses.

The Retail Council has been engaged in a search for such a solution on your behalf for many months, and we are proud to announce that our search has borne fruit: announcing ShopLock Cyber Insurance, offered exclusively to Retail Council members in association with JLT Specialty Insurance Services and Chubb Insurance.

ShopLock is a comprehensive cyber insurance program for the retail industry. Coverages include:

  • Cyber Incident Response – legal fees, notification costs, etc.
  • Business Interruption and Extra Expense – loss of profits and expenses resulting from interruption of servers, databases, etc.
  • Digital Data Recovery – recovery of lost/damaged data or hardware
  • Network Extortion – ransomware or hijacking attacks

In addition, third-party liability coverage will help pay for credit monitoring and compensation for compromised clients, assessments resulting from payment card breaches, regulatory action, and legal costs for copyright/trademark infringement on electronic, social and printed media. Cyber crime endorsements can also be added to the base policy.

The Retail Council has worked closely with JLT to ensure ShopLock Cyber Insurance is affordable. To that end, we are offering this coverage with discounted premiums available only to our members! For a relatively small price, you will be able to rest assured that your business is protected against the damage wrought by malicious actors employing malware, ransomware, phishing schemes, plain old theft, and more. Don’t let your life’s work be destroyed by the click of a mouse; get ShopLock Cyber Insurance now.

You can reach Ken at (800) 442-3589 or krutsky@retailcouncilnys.com.

 

Sources:
“27 Small Business Statistic to Guide Your Growth in 2017.” iPage. http://ipage.com/blog/27-small-business-statistics/. Accessed July 14, 2017.
JLT Specialty Insurance Services, Inc.
Stiles, Garrett. “Data Breach Statistics.” Aeris Secure. https://aerissecure.com/blog/data-breach-statistics/. Accessed July 14, 2017.

Have you met Henry?Henry Johnson

Henry Johnson joined the Retail Council in January 2017 as Member Service Coordinator. Henry assists Council members with both credit card processing and insurance issues. Before joining the Council, Henry worked with Nesco Resources in customer service, and First Data as an account executive. Henry’s experience and skills with credit card processing and customer service has allowed him to start helping Council members soon after he joined us. You may have already spoken with him, but if not feel free to contact Henry at (800) 442-3589 or hjohnson@retailcouncilnys.com.

Wellness Resets for Retailers

By Lori Kelly, Executive Administrative Assistant and Office Manager

If you are reading this article, thank you! Now do me a favor – STOP reading this article and do the following: Close your eyes and take five deep breaths, mindfully counting each breath as you slowly inhale and exhale through your nose.

(Insert awkward pause here.)

Well? How do you feel? Now that you have humored me by participating in this reset exercise, please allow me to continue. I would first like to thank my President and CEO Ted Potrikus for challenging me and other Retail Council staff members to write a segment for our newsletter. He truly believes we all have a written voice. I love a good challenge…this should be interesting.

I am Lori, Ted’s Executive Assistant and Office Manager, but I am also a DIYer, gardener, mother, wife, self-proclaimed Zumba queen and all-time non-relaxer. This leads to my next personal challenge, and I’m sure you can relate – taking time to de-stress, unwind and rejuvenate. I have stepped way out of my on-the-go box and started practicing basic Yoga. It continues to be an eye closing experience and an amazing way to prepare myself for all the physical and mental tasks that lie ahead. As a business owner, supervisor, director, manager, caregiver or whatever your 10-24 hour-per-day title(s) may be, are you placing “me” time anywhere in the top five on your priority list? If you are…GREAT! If not, I’m here to make it easy for you.

My first request is that you commit to at least 15 to 20 minutes of “me” time to recharge during your workday. This time could be all at once or in mini spurts. When your mind or body tells you “I need a break” then take it! Here are some of my go-to, reset exercises throughout my workday. I hope you find them relaxing!

Lori Kelly trap release standingTrap Release and Neck Stretch:Lori Kelly trap release sitting

From a standing or sitting position, place your feet hip width apart. To make sure your spine is straight, press your shoulders back and pelvic area forward. Stretch your right arm slightly out to the side and reach your left arm over your right ear. Being mindful to keep a straight spine, gently pull your head with your left hand to the left until you feel the stretch in your neck and shoulder. Closing your eyes will help you focus on your balance, but please keep them open if you feel unsteady.

Hold this position for five deep breaths and repeat on the other side.

 

Lori Kelly forward fold standingForward Fold:Lori Kelly forward fold sitting

From a standing or sitting position, place your feet hip width apart and bend your knees as you fold forward. Place your hands on the floor in front of you. If you are unable to reach the floor, allow your shoulders, arms and wrists to relax and hang in front of your feet. Allow your head to drop into a relaxed position between your knees. Once again, close your eyes but please keep them open if you feel unsteady.

Hold this position for three to five breaths. Slowly roll back up to a seated or standing position.

 

Lori Kelly side bend standingSide Bend:Lori Kelly side bend sitting

From a standing or sitting position, place your feet hip width apart. Align your spine with shoulders back and pelvic area forward. Lace your fingers together and flip your hands outward and away from your front side. Inhale slowly as you reach your hands up over your head and toward the ceiling. Exhale slowly as you bend to the right side, turning your head and gaze toward the inside of your left elbow. Hold this position for two breaths.

Inhale as you come back to the center, hands toward the ceiling and exhale as you bend to the left side, turning your head and gaze toward the inside of your right elbow. Hold this position for two breaths.

Inhale as you come back to center and exhale as you bring your arms back down to your side.

You can reach Lori at (800) 442-3589 or lkelly@retailcouncilnys.com.