Greater Mankato Growth Blog

Minnesota’s New Wage Theft Regulations and Employer Requirements: Real World Planning for Compliance

FromTheDomeThe following guest blog post is courtesy of Abdo, Eick and Meyers Workforce Solutions.

In case you missed it, on May 30, 2019, Minnesota passed the Jobs and Economic Development Omnibus Bill. Along with many other budget and legislative items, that bill included several new regulations imposing new responsibilities and recordkeeping requirements for Minnesota employers effective July 1, 2019.

These regulations, referred to as “Wage Theft” rules, are intended to ensure that all employees are provided with transparent access to important employment and payroll information and was passed in response to the large volume of wage theft complaints submitted to the Minnesota Department of Labor (DOL) each year.

CHANGES & NEW REQUIREMENTS SUMMARY

While it’s easy to get behind the overall intent and goals of the new Wage Theft regulations, employers need to understand how these requirements will affect the timing and documentation related to many of their most common HR and payroll processes. Here, we will review several key processes impacted by the new regulations: the employee written notice, commissions payment timing, payroll and earnings statement information, and employee handbook policies and recordkeeping requirements. Read More

Grassroots Support Needed to Fund Highway 14

Hwy 14The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) announced this week that it is applying for a $25 million grant from the federal government’s BUILD Grant Program to help fund Highway 14 expansion from Nicollet to New Ulm. MnDOT has committed to fund the difference between the $25 million grant and the full cost of the project if Highway 14 is selected for this federal grant.

We need your help! Public support is an important aspect of the federal BUILD grant program. MnDOT has asked Highway 14 supporters to submit as many letters of support for the project as possible.

Act Now!
Submit a letter of support for Highway 14 under these guidelines:  

Format: Here is a letter of support template.  Letters must be addressed to the US Secretary of Transportation, Elaine L. Chao.

Submission: Email your letter to Doris Degenstein, MnDOT District 7 at doris.degenstein@state.mn.us, or submit by mail at the following address:

MnDOT District 7
Attn: Doris Degenstein
2151 Bassett Drive
Mankato, MN 56001

Deadline: Letters must be submitted to MnDOT by Monday, July 8, 2019.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Patrick Baker (pbaker@greatermankato.com) with any questions.

The following article is written by Marta Berglund, Greater Mankato Growth’s marketing intern. Marta is a junior at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has majors in digital innovation, film and television (DIFT), and communications. She also has minors in French and public relations. 

“You know, the city you go to college in doesn’t really matter because you spend so much time on campus anyways.” When my high school best friend’s older brother told me this my senior year of high school, I believed him, but with a grain of salt. Here I was, one of the few people from my high school about to move more than a few hours away from my friends and family. I wanted to believe that making this drastic move would have some impact on my life and finding a job in the future. But at the same time, I wanted the comfort of knowing that no matter the location of my university, I would still be able to find good opportunities, experiences, and eventually employment.  Read More

Connecting Minnesota Manufacturers

The MN Supplier Match is an initiative of the Minnesota Chamber’s Grow Minnesota!® program, seeking to highlight and expand Minnesota’s robust supply chain, increasing business-to-business activity in the state.

MN Supplier Match creates value for Minnesota businesses who want the advantages of sourcing from local suppliers: accessibility, short lead-times, shared networks, and trusted quality. It creates value for suppliers looking for new business opportunities with Minnesota-based customers. And it creates value for the Minnesota economy by keeping more dollars in the state and making our suppliers and buyers more competitive. Read More

Network Security: “Are we doing enough?”

Operating a small business can be challenging when all you really want to do is explore your passion. That passion is what drives you, makes you work all those hours, and in the end, gives you the most satisfaction. You don’t want to spend valuable time dealing with your network or worrying about network security.

Network security is a broad term and it covers a multitude of technologies, devices and processes used in businesses today. It is a set of rules and configurations designed to protect the integrity, confidentiality and accessibility of computer networks and data using both software and hardware technologies. Every business, regardless of size, industry or infrastructure, should have some form of network security solutions in place to protect it from the ever-growing landscape of cyber threats in the world today. The question you need to ask yourself is, “Are we doing enough?”

Read More

How do you choose the holidays that your business commemorates?

The following is a guest blog post authored by Diane Dobitz and Briana Baker who are members of the Mankato Indigenous Peoples Day Committee. Their post is a continuation of Scot Zellmer’s post “On Being A Successful Business in an Ever Changing World” and speaks to the importance of commemorating (and not celebrating) Indigenous Peoples Day on October 14th, 2019.

Read More

May 2019 Greater Mankato Jobs Report

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development released the May 2019 employment figures yesterday. The Mankato – North Mankato Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) saw a gain of 157 jobs or 0.3% year over year in the month of May.  This is the 29th straight month of Mankato-North Mankato having year over year job growth.

The highest percent of growth came from the Goods Producing sectors (0.8% or 85 jobs). The Service Providing sectors added 0.2% or 72 jobs.

Hourly earnings in the private sector continue to stay above $26 an hour ($26.52). Over the last 24 months, wages have increased by 11.1%.

To see the trends in employment for Greater Mankato, visit:  https://greatermankato.com/current-employment-statistics-jobs-data

 

The Benefits of Guest Blogging

The following article is written by Marta Berglund, Greater Mankato Growth’s marketing intern. Marta is a junior at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has majors in digital innovation, film and television (DIFT), and communications. She also has minors in French and public relations. 

Field Production and Storytelling has been one of my favorite classes throughout my college career. In simple terms, the course basically tells students how to not go hungry while working in the film industry—or at least how to do their best to avoid it. One Tuesday when I walked into class, I looked up to the screen at the front of the room to see the lecture topic. “How to Network” was the title of the slideshow. My professor began class by saying, “Listen guys, everyone in the working world is going to tell you that networking is the key to success—especially in the film industry, but no one is going to tell you how to do it.” This statement struck me. “He’s right,” I thought. Networking is one of the keys to successful marketing, but what’s the secret to it? 

Read More

Greater Mankato Positioned on Global Stage

Greater Mankato was again on the global stage recently during the Select USA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C.

Image result for select usa summit washington 2019

This is a yearly gathering of leading policy experts, government officials, investors and companies from around the world looking for opportunities.

Greater Mankato was there along with the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development and a handful of other regional representatives pitching the state and our respective regions. Read More

Do You Have an Office Escape Route Planned?

The following article was submitted by guest-blogger, Sydney Lovold of Greater Mankato Growth member business, SERVPRO. June is National Safety Month, so SERVPRO is sharing tips for making and implementing an escape route in the case of a fire. Are you part of a Greater Mankato member business and have an interest in writing a guest blog for us? Send 500-800 words to media@greatermankato.com or reach out to Greater Mankato Growth with further questions.  

SERVPRO of Mankato/Owatonna hopes your home or business never has to deal with fire or smoke damage.  Sometimes, a portable fire extinguisher is not enough to save your property and the only thing you can do is escape.

A small flame can turn into a large fire in a matter of minutes. Lives are more important than objects, so get yourself and others out of danger.

SERVPRO of Mankato/Owatonna Offers These Tips for Escape:

  • Make an escape plan ahead of time. Make sure everyone knows the plan
  • Make sure that all doors and windows open easily
  • Plan at least two different ways of escaping every room
  • When you leave, close the doors and windows to shut in the flames
  • Practice the plan
  • Do not stop to pick up valuables. You can replace objects
  • Make sure your plan includes a place to meet that is a safe distance from the home
  • Do not turn off smoke alarms when you cook. You may need the warning
  • If you have to go through smoke, crawl under it

SERVPRO of Mankato/Owatonna reminds you to call the fire department once you are outside the home.

Resources and Tips:

https://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/fire-and-life-safety-equipment/fire-extinguishers

https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/Public-Education/Resources/Safety-tip-sheets/EscapePlanningTips.ashx?la=en

 

2019 Legislative Session – What Happened (And What Didn’t)?

FromTheDomeThe 91st legislative session kicked off on January 8, 2019 after a November election that saw Mankato native Tim Walz elected governor, the House flip to DFL control, and Republicans maintaining control of the Senate through the one open seat up for a special election. This made Minnesota the only state in the union with divided party control of its legislature.

The administration and legislature discovered in February that they would be working with a $1 billion budget surplus, which was slightly less than projected in the November forecast. Both Democrats and Republicans announced their session priorities early, and it was apparent compromises would have to be made. While it took a special session to finalize the budget, Governor Walz and the legislature reached agreement on a $48.3 billion biennial General Fund budget. This represents a 6% increase in state spending. The bipartisan budget agreement reached by the Governor and legislative leaders spends roughly $48.3 billion, a 6.2% increase over the previous biennium. About half this increase goes to E-12 education.

Here’s a quick rundown of what happened — and what didn’t — on key issues for employers and the Greater Mankato area. Greater Mankato Growth was actively engaged on all of these issues and more on behalf of our members. Read More

Flooded Basement in Your Mankato Home? Act Fast to Prevent Further Damage and Hazards!

The following article was submitted by guest-blogger, Sydney Lovold. Sydney is part of Greater Mankato Growth member business, SERVPRO. Here, she shares tips of how to cope with the all-to-familiar basement flood. Are you a member business and interested in submitting a guest-blog post to Greater Mankato Growth? Send 500-800 words to media@greatermankato.com or reach out to Greater Mankato Growth with further questions.  

The dreaded basement flood. We all want to pretend those three inches of water aren’t there and that the incident never even happened, but the longer you wait, the bigger the problem can become. Within the few minutes it takes you to wrap your head around what just happened, water is absorbed into your walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings. Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets, photographs, and books. Other paper goods start to swell and warp. In just the next 24 hours, drywall begins to swell and break down, furniture begins to swell and crack, a musty odor appears, and more.

Ignoring the problem for just 48 hours may cause mold and mildew to grow and spread (luckily, for those who do wait, SERVPRO’s highly trained technicians can be your best friend in mold mitigation!). Between 48 hours and 1 week, your doors, windows, and studs swell and warp, metal begins to rust and corrode, paint begins to blister, wood flooring swells and warps, and serious biohazard contamination is possible. Waiting longer than 1 week increases restoration time and cost dramatically, and structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to you and your family. Always keep safety in mind first, and make sure to evacuate when necessary.

Have A Water Damage Emergency? Call (507) 200-3700

Since SERVPRO of Mankato / Owatonna is typically on-site within four hours, calling right away can prevent some of this damage. While you wait for that bright green truck to arrive, there are a few things you can do if you have determined it is safe to remain in the house. Keep in mind that electrical and “slip and fall” hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns, and that wet materials can be very heavy. Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.

What To Do When Your Basement Floods

  • Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.

What NOT To Do When Your Basement Floods

  • Don’t leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
  • Don’t leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
  • Don’t use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don’t use television or other household appliances.
  • Don’t turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.

Basement floods can really put a damper on things, but don’t let it take control of your life, and don’t wait to get help! Instead of waiting and pretending it never even happened, let SERVPRO of Mankato / Owatonna restore your home so it really is “Like it never even happened.”