Sunday, August 28, 2016

Construction - independant contractor v. employee

If you are a construction company with independent contractors in Illinois, you may want to rethink your strategy.  Illinois has a law that makes it difficult for a contractor to have independent contractors.  820 ILCS 185/1 sets the standard for independent contractors and employees.  If you believe that your independent contractors are really employees, you need to switch.  The IRS has a program to alleviate substantial penalties and interest.  It is called the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP).

The VCSP is a voluntary program that provides an opportunity for taxpayers to reclassify their workers as employees for employment tax purposes for future tax periods with partial relief from federal employment taxes.  

Jeffrey M. Jacobson, Attorney 331-222-9529

Sunday, July 17, 2016


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules are being changed on December 1, 2016.  You may have heard about it or thought it changed when the president signed it into law.  There have been estimates that from four million to nine million workers will be affected by the changes.

Here is a little background on FLSA.  The FLSA is the federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers.  Your state may have additional protections.  If the state laws are better for the employee, then those provisions are enforced.   For example, the current federal minimum hourly rate is $7.25 per hour.  Illinois’s current minimum wage is $8.25 per hour.  As of July 1, 2016, Chicago’s minimum wage is $10.50 per hour.  If you live in Chicago, your wage cannot be lower than $10.50.  Outside of Chicago it is $8.25. 

If FLSA applies to you, then you are labeled “non-exempt”.  If it does not apply to you, then you are labeled “exempt”.  A non-exempt employee gets all the benefits of FLSA.  A few of the benefits are overtime and a minimum wage.  An exempt employee gets no benefits of the FLSA.  As an employer, you want all your employees to be exempt.  As an employee, you want to be non-exempt. 

The law was updated once since the 70’s.  This was in 2004 to increase the hourly rate. The new rules do not change job descriptions for exempt employees.  It changes the minimum income you need to be exempt.  The easiest way to determine if an employee is non-exempt is their wages.  If they are below the standard amount, they automatically get the benefits of FLSA.   The current weekly wage to determine if an employee is exempt is $455 a week.  On December 1, 2016, it increases to $913 a week.  This is the same as $47,476 for a full-year worker.  If you make $913 or less a week, you will be become a non-exempt employee on December 1, 2016.  An employer can increase your income to over $913 per week.    However, then the law requires the employer to determine what you do and if that is exempt.  For example, certain professions are exempt, like doctors, dentists, pharmacists or administrative exemptions.   

What does the increase in minimum income mean?  If you were making $456 per week, you were not eligible for overtime.  Currently, making more than $456 per week, you could work 50, 60, 70 or more hours per week and get straight time.  On December 1, 2016, you will be getting paid over time.

Also, if you are a white collar worker, making over $100,000 you were not entitled to over time.   On December 1, 2016 you would have to make more than $134,004 a year or you would be entitled to overtime.  If you are making between 100,000 and 134,004 a year, an employer should calculate what your income will be with overtime and decide whether it is better to pay you 134,005 per year to keep you exempt.  If you are a Highly Compensated Employee, then 10 percent of the salary threshold are met by non-discretionary bonuses, incentive pay, or commissions.

The threshold for determine if an employee is exempt will be adjusted every three years.  This will start in 2020.

The changes are substantial, which prevented me from covering all of the changes here.

If you think you or your company needs more information, please feel free to contact me at, 331-222-9529 or visit my website at

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Home Owner's Warranty

The truth is,  home owner's warranties (HOW) are a waste of money if you have to pay for one.  A home owner's warranty is an insurance policy that covers you if an item breaks down.   The policies are different so an explanation of what it covers is impossible.   What consumers think they cover is usually every appliance and major systems in the house.   Like dishwasher, refrigerator,  furnace,  washer machine. ...   Also,  there is usually a copay, and what happens if the item is not repairable.   Read the policy before paying for it, or read it when someone else pays for our.

The deductible and what they cover is not worth paying for.   Read consumer reports on warranties.  NBC recently did a report on it.  However,  If you are buying a home and the seller is paying,  then it's ok.  Just don't expect to benefit from it, and do not extend it.  As with all contracts,  read before buying.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has publisher an article on home worthless an HOW can be.   People that I have heard from complain about the slow response, to the point that they want skip the HOW to have an item fixed.

Also,  like car warranties make sure that you know what it covers.

Bottom line: it is probably a waste of your money.

Jeffrey M. Jacobson

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

warranty law

At a recent family event someone thought that if a car owner installs their own trailer hitch and trailer lights that they void the warranty.   Not true.
Pursuant to Magnusson-Moss federal law,  any thing you put on your car doesn't void the warranty unless it was the cause of a problem. Only that problem is not warranted.   So if you attach trailer lights wrong and that causes the right turn signal to not function,  only the right turn signal is not warranted.   If the transmission goes,  unrelated to the trailer lights,  the transmission is still warranted.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

You know your marriage is dead. We know the law.

When you realize that your marriage is dead, all sorts of emotions start flowing.  Some find peace.  Others are depressed.  The person that you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with, is no longer the person you married.

If you feel sad, depressed, troubled, or any of the other plethora of emotions, you should seek a mental health care professional.  Jeffrey Jacobson recommends a psychologist.  A psychologist specializing in marriage would be the best.  They are trained to help you with your new beginning.

One of the first things you need to do is give yourself time to grieve.  Research shows that the end of a marriage is like the death of someone.  One of the best ways to grieve is to set aside time to be sad.  This could be the whole weekend, or a few hours each night.  Also, journaling is a great way to handle all of the emotions.  Journalling is putting down all of the things that are bothering you and make you happy.  This journal will be beneficial to your psychologist and your attorney.

Then, you should immediately contact an attorney that practices in family law.  Jeffrey Jacobson has almost 25 years of representing people that need a divorce.  He understands the trauma and the future for his clients.  You are going to need financial direction, emotional direction, and to work through the maze of the law, you are going to need Jeffrey M. Jacobson to help you.

If there is a child, then you need someone that has been representing parents to protect their rights.  Jeffrey M. Jacobson has been protecting and advocating for parent's rights since he began practicing law.

When you are ready for the divorce, yes, it is sometimes a difficult word to say, you need to focus on five issues:  (1)  custody and visitation, if there are children, (2) Child support, if there are children.  (3) division of assets, (4) division of debts, and (5) maintenance.

Call Jeffrey M. Jacobson at 331-222-9529 any time you feel you need someone on your side.

For more information, go to my web site or email me at

Real Estate changes

While the new real estate laws were set to go into effect on July 1, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) changed the date.  It is now October 3, 2015 when the new Lender Estimate and Closing Disclosure are set to be required.

Once these new rules are required, the consumer will then have an opportunity to go over the lenders information before choosing a loan.  Also, if the financial numbers change for the closing, for example the interest rate changes by more than an 1/8 of a percent, the consumer has three days to think about the new information before closing.  What if the payments are too high for the buyer?

There are a lot more changes, which I will be discussing in my future blogs.

Jeff Jacobson at

Friday, July 4, 2014

child support is not just for the custodian parent.

For many parents in a divorce, they believe that only the custodial parent can receive child support. However, the Illinios First District Appellate Court has made it clear that child support shall be paid to the parent that needs the money to ensure that the child has appropriate housing and amenities during his or her period with the non-custodial parent.   See In re Marriage of Turk, 2013 IL App (1st) 122486, or my website for more information.  When looking for a divorce attorney, consider the attorney's knowledge on relevant law.  For example, years before this case was decided, I was successfully arguing this point. "You know your marriage is dead,  we know the law."