Blakeman & Associates Newsletter
February | 2016
Good Afternoon!
Blakeman is pleased to provide you with our February newsletter to help keep you up to date on important changes and new regulations within HR, DOT, safety and more. If there is any topic you would like more information on, feel free to call us or simply respond to the e-mail. We are here as a resource -- to increase your compliance, productivity and efficiency.
Open Carry Q/A
We have received a number of questions regarding the recent policy change regarding Texas Open Carry laws. Based on the interest expressed, we have provided the more commonly-asked questions and answers for your benefit. 

When Does Open Carry Go Into Effect? 
The Open Carry rule went into effect on January 1st, 2016. 

Where Can We Find Open Carry Signage? 
Blakeman & Associates does not currently offer Open Carry Signage but we do provide referrals. As a note, open carry signs should be available in both English and Spanish. 

What Wording Should I Include In A Gun Policy? 
A written policy should outline the mandatory restriction of employees from carrying or possessing firearms while on the job and state that policy violators will be dealt with immediately with appropriate penalties, including termination and possible criminal prosecution. Blakeman can provide assistance with developing a gun policy for your workplace. 

Can I Prohibit My Employees From Carrying Guns?
Employees may be legally prohibited from possessing a firearm on company property except if the firearm is kept in the employee’s personal vehicle. Signage and policies should be clearly visible and understood to clarify the company’s stance on the open carry policy. 
More Info

Early Voting
Early voting begins on February 16, 2016. If employees are able to take advantage of the early voting period, allocating time off will not be necessary. Assuming that an employee has not already voted in early voting, the employee is entitled to take paid time off for voting on election days, unless the employee has at least two consecutive hours to vote outside of the voter's working hours - see the following two provisions of Chapter 276 of the Texas Election Code:

Texas Election Code, Section 276.001. Retaliation Against Voter.

Texas Election Code, Section 276.004. Unlawfully Prohibiting Employee From Voting.

If you have any questions regarding voting time off or other employee management concerns, please contact Blakeman & Associates.
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Extended Tax Deadline
Emancipation Day in Washington DC falls on April 15th this year. Because of this, the deadline for filing 2015 taxes for most people is pushed to April 18th, 2016. (Exceptions apply for residents of Maine and Massachusetts.)

It is important to note that estimated tax payments are due on Monday, April 18, 2016 – whether or not you’re a resident of Maine or Massachusetts.

We would also like to remind Applicable Large Employers (ALE) that they have until the end of February to file their 1095-C, or end of March if filing electronically. (Employers with 250 or more forms are required to file electronically.)
More Info
In This Issue 

Open Carry Q/A 

Early Voting 

Extended Tax Filing Deadline

Ask The Experts 
Helpful Links
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SafeLand/SafeGulf Training in English/Spanish
OSHA 10/30 in English/Spanish
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