THIS Wednesday, June 8 | 2:00-3:00 PM (ET)

NRF will host a members-only webinar on the U.S. Department of Labor's recent overtime regulations. As a VRF member, you have exclusive access to this webinar.

The webinar will include a panel discussion moderated by Ogletree Deakins, a leading labor and employment law firm, and featuring panelists from Macy's, Express, QVC and other companies. The panel will discuss the practical implications of the new regulations for retailers and what you should be doing to prepare for the changes moving forward.

Participants will have an opportunity for Q&A towards the end of the session. Please register and join for an insightful discussion on this major development!

To register, please email Mike Epstein at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Eileen Pryor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


More information >>

2016 NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION RETAIL ADVOCATES SUMMIT
Your VRF team just returned from a successful trip to the 2016 National Retail Federation Retail Advocate Summit in Washington, D.C. last week. There we met with many of Virginia's representatives, including Representative Bob Goodlatte, Senator Tim Kaine's staff, Representative Dave Brat, Representative Scott Rigell'€™s staff, and Senator Mark Warner's staff.

TOPICS OF DISCUSSION
During this Summit on Capitol Hill, we discussed several issues that impact the retail industry. Most frequently discussed were the new Overtime rule issued by the Department of Labor and the E-fairness issue.

- New Overtime Rule
The Department of Labor set the new salary threshold for full-time salaried workers at $47,476 ($913/week). This is more than a 100% increase from the current salary threshold of $23,660 ($455/week).

This means...
Employees making below the $47,476 threshold will now have to be converted to hourly and be paid overtime for any time they work beyond the 40-hour workweek.

The impact...
We explained that this not only will have a negative impact on our members, but it will also negatively impact employees of our members. This new rule reduces workplace flexibility, damages employee morale, and limits career advancement opportunities. In addition, many employers may be forced to reduce a current employee to part-time and hire a second part-time employee to do the job of one person, in order to avoid paying overtime. It is important to note that the new Overtime Rule is going to negatively impact many industries, not just retail. For example, it will have a harmful impact on non-profits, universities, public sector governments and many others serving our communities.

- E-Fairness

We continued to drive home how huge e-fairness is for our members; emphasizing that with the constant growth of online sales, the disadvantage to brick and mortar retailers will continue to increase.

Best option...
While there are three different Congressional proposals for addressing the inequity in the tax treatment of online versus brick and mortar retailers, we believe that Representative Chaffetz'€™s bill is the best for our members. The Remote Transactions Parity Act permits states to authorize a collection of sales tax by remote sellers if the state is either a member of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement or if it adopts certain minimum simplifications.

What it will require...
RTPA requires that states fund the provision of free software to remote sellers. This software would calculate and remit sales tax, file sales tax returns and respond to audit request from state and local governments.

Taking matters into their own hands...
We also noted that many states have decided to take the matter into their own hands and enacted legislation on this issue. In fact, 22 states have passed or are considering enactment of legislation creating nexus so that they can require remote sellers to collect taxes.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY -€“ coming soon
NRF is hosting a webinar on the Overtime Rule in the coming month. Please make sure to participate in this webinar in order to have a better understanding of the impact the new rule will have on your individual business. Stay tuned for more details.

VETO SESSION

The 2016 Virginia General Assembly reconvened this Wednesday, April 20, 2016, to review Governor McAuliffe’s proposed amendments and vetoes to legislation from this year’s session.

IMPACTING RETAILERS

House Bill 18

The veto was sustained for Governor McAuliffe’s veto House Bill 18 (HB 18), which allowed local franchisees to maintain management of their employees, rather than turn that control over to the corporate franchisor.

VRF supported HB 18, proposing that the bill supports the best interest of retailers by continuing to allow individual operations to make decisions regarding their employees’ needs and their right as the owner of the franchise to hire or fire their own employees. Governor McAuliffe provided the explanation that the bill would undermine business by exempting franchisors from their obligations to Virginia business.

Budget

During the Veto Session, VRF was successful in removing the Governor’s proposed budget increase, that would have allowed increased audits and investigations on misclassified workers, youth employment inspections, and wage payment claims. It also would have allowed increases in order to issue citations for potential Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Program violations.

VRF opposed these budget increases because of that added regulations, inspections, requirements, and burden for small businesses.

 

VRF SILENT AUCTIONS

Please consider a donation for our silent auctions, as they provide the VRF Political Action Committee the opportunity to share the retail message with our decision-makers.

Retail Merchants Association | Richmond, VA | May 11

Retail Alliance | Norfolk, VA | December 8

ANNUAL RETAIL ADVOCATES SUMMIT (Washington, D.C., May 24-25)

The Retail Advocates Summit rallies retailers of all sizes, national and local brands, to Washington to advocate for issues that are critical to a thriving retail industry.

Please consider joining the VRF team, Retail Merchants Association members, and Retail Alliance members we take the retail message to our representatives in the US Congress and the US Senate.

Details are available on the NRF website: https://nrf.com/events/retail-advocates-summit-2016

 

The 2016 Virginia General Assembly adjourned this past Friday evening March 11th, one day ahead of schedule, for the second year in a row. Virginia Retail Federation’s team was present the entire Session to ensure retail’s business positions were represented. The 60-day session included over 3,200 pieces of legislation, with over 100 pieces potentially impacting retailers. The session also included Virginia’s 2-year budget.


THE BUDGET


The budget proposal included many issues of significance:

· education initiatives
· strategic investments in economic development
· healthcare proposals


The most significant for Virginia retailers is the Accelerated Sales Tax (AST) threshold.
VRF worked diligently with Governor McAuliffe’s administration in 2015 to increase the threshold for AST from the current $2.5 million, to $10 million in 2017, and $25 million in 2018. At the end of the day, both chambers supported the AST language and left it in the budget.


Finally, the budget proposed a provision for businesses in 2014 with income of $50 million, or more, in and out of Virginia, to be required to submit tax information using the market-based sourcing model. This model collects the tax in the state where the customer receives the service benefit, rather than in the state that a service is performed. Failure to file this information by June 1, 2016, included a $5,000 penalty. VRF worked with budget conferees to remove this item from the budget, protecting retailers.


THE BILLS

The outcome of over 100 bills was favorable for retailers, including:

· Felony Larceny Threshold
· Minimum Wage Increase
· Plastic Bag Ban / Tax
· Paid Sick Leave
· School Calendar
· Gift Certificates
· View all the bills here.

 

Throughout the session, VRF was successful in sharing the retail message with legislators and the importance of the retail impact on the economy, community, and employment.