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International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

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Throughout history, noted people such as Martin Luther King and Kofi Annan have spoken out against racial discrimination and have highlighted the need for people to work together to bring about true equality. There are many ways that people can be categorized and, in some respects, categorizing people is necessary. For example, medical studies are only effective when people are separated based on criteria that serves the study. But when people are separated in the workplace based on the color of their skin, then that is a situation that needs to be addressed.

Elimination of Racial Discrimination Day was created to highlight the advances that have been made in creating racial equality in the workplace and to point out the work that still needs to be done. As more companies and people join together to explore ways to eliminate racial discrimination in the workplace, it becomes possible to develop a sense of equality that is beneficial to everyone.

Statistics On Racial Discrimination In The Workplace

One of the ways to examine how prevalent racial discrimination is in the workplace is to look at some statistics regarding charges of discrimination. According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there were 45,395 reported cases of racial discrimination in the United States workplace between 2011 and 2014. That makes racial discrimination the most common type of workplace discrimination reported in the country.

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The Importance of Equality in the Workplace

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International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an opportunity for businesses to promote more inclusive workplaces and practices. On 21 March employers can play an important role in eliminating racial discrimination, racism and other intolerance in society.

Racism in the UK continues to be a reality for many people. According to NatCen’s 2014 British Social Attitudes (BSA) Survey, the number or people who consider themselves to be prejudiced against other races has generally been on the rise since 2001. Approximately three per cent of survey respondents described themselves as very prejudiced, while 27 per cent said they were a little prejudiced.

Racial discrimination involves the unfair treatment of others because of their race or the race of someone they are connected with, such as a parent or partner. In addition to colour, race includes citizenship or nationality and ethnic or national origin. The Equality Act 2010 outlines when discrimination based on race is against the law and provides protections against discrimination. Racial discrimination is illegal in many aspects in daily life, including in education and housing settings. Discrimination based on race is also illegal when public authorities carry out their activities and when a business provides goods and services. For example, a business cannot refuse to provide someone with goods, services or facilities based on race or provide these things on terms or conditions that are less favourable than what is provided to people of other backgrounds.

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3 Cheers for Happiness Day 2015

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Happiness Day does just what it says on the tin, celebrates what makes for happiness in 2015. Promoted by the UN General Assembly since 2012, International Happiness Day on March 20th is celebrated each year all over the world.

An Injection of Fun
As with most UN days, businesses, governments, non-government organisations and charities are encouraged to invent a way to celebrate the theme of happiness. How much a business buys in to International Happiness Day depends on how clever the PR department can be!

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The Importance of a Happy Workplace

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A happy workplace has such a significant effect on workers that it simply cannot be overlooked. The International Day of Happiness falls on the 20th of March, which is dedicated to ‘the pursuit of happiness as a fundamental human goal’. There are a lot of benefits in keeping your staff happy including financial returns. While it is great to dedicate a day to being completely happy, it is imperative that every company does what it can to create a happy and content workplace throughout the year if it wants to find success.

Happy Workers Are Productive Workers

When you do research on Happiness Day, you will find data that backs up some of the oldest corporate cliches around. For example, it is statistically true that happy workers are more productive workers. A staff that feels content with its company and work is much more likely to achieve, or exceed, productivity goals, which puts a lot more money on the bottom line.

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International Women’s Day: What does it mean to be a woman in today’s business world?

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Each year on March 8, it’s International Women’s Day, and a good time to reflect on progress made in the workplace towards female equality. Many events, held all around the world, discuss the challenges the future brings when considering: women’s empowerment in the workplace, women’s human rights, issues of poverty, and the role of women as agents of innovation and development. This year’s theme is: “Equality for women is progress for all”.

How can a business support International Women’s Day 2015?

Each year, organisations, including non-government organisations, charities, businesses and governments, are encouraged to adopt a more personal theme relevant to their business area to mark the day. For example, British Petroleum have chosen the theme; “make it happen”, which showcases the achievements of women in the oil and gas industries. The United Nations encourages businesses to measure progress, celebrate “acts of courage and determination” by women in their individual countries and put in place policies to support women managers.

How do women help grow the economy?

The UN research indicates “countries with more gender equality have better economic growth”. How does a business translate this, into actionable steps to, help women in their businesses?

PR heavyweights, McKinsey & Company rate the business of empowering women as extremely important when doing business in developing countries. Page 7 of their report: The Business of Empowering Women, suggests these policies form part of any business plan:

• Enabling women to develop marketable skills including education to tertiary level, vocational and technical qualifications, citizenship skills such as financial, family and household management skills.
• Helping women access opportunity for employment – free from “discrimination, harassment and violence”; gaining access to credit facilities; ease of travel, public infrastructure and quality childcare.
• In leadership, supporting women to gain responsible positions – adding the voice of your business to lobbying for equal legal, social, and economic rights for women, ownership laws of property, and the ability to control their own income.

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International Women’s Day: Equality in the Workplace

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The only way that society can advance is when the talents of everyone in the workforce are utilized equally. For many years now, International Women’s Day has focused attention on the issues that cause inequality in the workplace and has looked for ways to level the playing field for everyone.

One of the primary messages of International Women’s Day is that equality means progress for everyone. It is a powerful message that helps to highlight the challenges women face in the workplace and the benefits to eliminating those challenges completely.

What Does Workplace Equality Mean?

The underlying message behind equality in the workplace is to make sure that the person who is most qualified for the job gets that job and gets a reasonable salary as well. Equality means more than opening up more opportunities to women in the workplace; it also means making sure that a man or woman would get the same pay for a job well done.

Workplace equality means smashing through the barriers which insist that there are jobs specifically for males and females and opening up opportunity to everyone. Equality can be a very positive step towards developing a corporate workforce that is adaptable and versatile.

Why Is Workplace Equality Important To Companies?

Without workplace equality, the talents of everyone interested in doing a particular job are ignored. A company that exercises workplace equality can develop a workforce that is competitive and able to adapt to any changes that may come because the most qualified workers are doing the jobs they were trained for.

When a company hires individuals based on their qualifications, then that company can get a strong return on the investment it makes in its recruiting efforts. It costs less for a company to maintain a strong workforce and it is also easier to replace workers who leave the company.

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Tax Deadlines for Businesses in the US for 2015

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Every business has to pay taxes, but paying taxes can get complicated when you miss some of the important deadlines throughout the year. It is important to have a reliable resource you can use to help you keep an accurate calendar of tax due dates throughout 2015 to make sure that you avoid any penalties for late payments.

January 15, 2015

This is the deadline to file estimated payments for the fourth quarter of 2014 for self-employed individuals.

January 20, 2015

This the date when the IRS officially begins processing all of the corporate and individual returns it has received up to that point. This is not the deadline for filing your return.

February 2, 2015

This is the official deadline for W-2 and 1099 forms to be postmarked and mailed.

February 17, 2015

This is the final day of the month for employees to file their tax exemptions forms with their employers that determine how much is withheld from their paychecks for federal taxes. This is also the date where all 1099-B forms (income received through stock transactions) and 1099-S forms (income received from buying or selling real estate) must be issued for 2014 by responsible organizations.

February 28, 2015

By this date, all companies who utilize independent contractors must have their 1099 and 1096 forms for 2014 submitted to the IRS.

March 17, 2015

Any corporation that uses the calendar year as its fiscal year must have its corporate tax returns filed by this date. This is also the deadline date for corporations that do use the calendar year as their fiscal year to file for a six-month extension for their corporate returns.

April 15, 2015

This is a busy day on the tax calendar as it is the date for self-employed people to file estimated tax payments for the first quarter of 2015, the deadline for filing and paying all 2014 personal income taxes, and it is also the last day to file an amended return for the 2011 tax year. This is also the filing deadline for any taxpayer looking for a six-month extension to submitting their 2014 return. This is also the date that sole proprietors, LLCs, and partnerships must file their corporate taxes.

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Advice for Online Retailers in the UK

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Online retailing is rapidly expanding. Major online retailers like Amazon and eBay are achieving high sales, bringing more and more retailers online. According to The Centre for Retail Research, in 2014, online retail sales in the UK increased by 15.8 percent, whereas the estimate for 2015 is a 16 percent increase. British consumers spend on average GBP59 for online shopping, mostly on tablets (82 percent).

Here is some online retail advice.

Tips for online retailers

a) The basics
An online business does not have a physical address. You should not neglect to list some basic information like your phone number and/or an email address. Customers should feel that they can contact you anytime with questions about your products or services.

Write straightforward, accurate and easy to understand product and/or service descriptions, including prices and any extra fees. Over-complicated descriptions will confuse your customers, who, most likely will prefer another online retailer.

Include nice, colorful pictures of your products so that customers can actually see what they are buying. Don’t forget that your business is not brick-and-mortar, so customers trust your product descriptions, but they also need a visual communication of what they are shopping for.

Create a user–friendly website where visitors can navigate with easiness. Check out eBay or Amazon to see what makes them so easy to function. Don’t forget that your website is, in fact, your shop window, the entrance to your business. Make it attractive, but, above all, efficient.

b) The Marketing
Send a promotional newsletter to your current or prospective customers to promote your products and/or services. Promotional letters seek to get your customers to take an immediate action using a persuasive process that may result in a sale, including new sign-ups, downloads or registrations. In fact, this marketing strategy seeks to turn prospects into customers and customers into repeat customers.

Join LinkedIn, the great professional network for brand promotion. LinkedIn is a powerful business resource, which currently hosts more than 332 million members in 200 countries. By creating a complete and descriptive company profile you increase your target audience and have a unique opportunity to exponentially grow your customer base. Additionally, you can connect with your competitors and perform a competitive research.

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Small Business Support Guide for the UK

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Managing a small or medium sized enterprise (SME) in the UK can sometimes feel financially restrictive. While many may struggle to access private funds, there are government backed schemes available. Although some are available throughout the UK, others are restricted to England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland respectively.

Starting a new business
The government offers advice for those who are starting a new business. This includes researching the market and developing a business plan, both of which are essential when seeking funding from private or public schemes. After this, new entrepreneurs need to find partners and suppliers, then register the business, before looking for funding.

Business funding schemes available throughout the UK
There are several lending programs supported by the government throughout the UK.

Enterprise Financial Guarantee Scheme
Under the Enterprise Financial Guarantee scheme, the government backs up to 75 percent of the business’ loan, and a private lender covers the remaining 25 percent. It is available to businesses with an annual turnover under £25 million, and they can borrow between £1000 and £1 million over a 10-year period.

There are some restrictions businesses should be aware of. The coal industry is not covered, and some areas of agriculture, forestry, finance, and transport are excluded.

Enterprise capital funds
Rapidly growing SMEs can access a £1 million investment over a 10-year period, which is partially backed by the government. There are no restrictions, but most of the successful applications have been granted to high-tech businesses. This scheme transferred to the British Business Bank in 2014.

Funds for England only
Local Enterprise Partnerships
Local Enterprise Partnerships are largely available in areas where local employment is dependent on the public sector. For example, the North East. Businesses that can meet employment deficits in a local area may be able to access grants under the partnership scheme.

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Business Tax Changes for the USA 2015

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Each new year means another new set of tax rules for businesses across the country. There are some major business tax changes for 2015 and then there are also some smaller ones that are still very important to note and implement.

Even if you have a tax accountant take care of your business taxes, it is important to know the business tax law changes so you can alter the way you collect information throughout the year. The more you know about the pending changes, the more you can help your tax accountant to maximize your deductions and save you money on your taxes.

Affordable Care Act

If your small business is below the 50-employee threshold for the tax implications of the Affordable Care Act, then your concerns in 2015 are no different than they were in 2014. But if you do have 50 employees or more, then the ACA could affect your taxes at the end of the year.

One of the changes that 2015 brings with the ACA is an increase in tax penalty for people who do not have coverage. Along with stiffer fines comes the requirement that employers offer adequate insurance for a reasonable price. A professional tax expert can explain to you exactly what constitutes adequate insurance and reasonable prices.

If you are planning an expansion in 2015 that will force you to hire more employees, then the ACA could become an issue for you in 2016. With the ACA, it is always best to plan at least one year in advance to avoid tax problems.

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