DEAR CARRIE: I sold my business at a loss. I was also an employee of the business. I have applied for unemployment benefits and have been asked to supply the last three years of tax returns for the business, which I did. But since it was an S corporation, the state also wants my last three years of personal income tax returns and a copy of the sales contract for the business. (Owners of these companies report their share of profit and loss on their individual income tax returns.) The personal tax returns would also include the taxes my husband paid. Why would it matter what my husband’s income was? I am the one who is unemployed. — Benefits Confusion
DEAR BENEFITS CONFUSION: Because you owned an S corporation, the state Labor Department said it would generally ask for personal income tax returns to verify the information in the corporate tax returns.
“These issues can be complex and require a thorough review,” the department said. So it suggested you call 888-209-8124 to discuss your specific circumstances.
DEAR CARRIE: My 17-year-old son has been working at a local supermarket for the past several months as he gains experience and becomes accustomed to what it’s like to be a working member of society. He began working around the time of the store’s grand opening and was getting a lot of hours. Since he is a full-time student, his hours by law are capped. Recently his schedule has taken a dramatic turn. Now he is receiving no more than 12 hours a week. I understand that businesses dictate employees’ hours. but it doesn’t seem right that he would be receiving fewer hours than some newer associates. Is this a violation of the law? — Concerned Parent
DEAR CONCERNED PARENT: Companies can generally set the hours that their employees work, unless a union contract comes into play. Maybe your son could politely ask a supervisor for more hours. Perhaps, the boss is being overly careful in trying to limit your teenager’s hours.
DEAR CARRIE: I assume that an employee’s work schedule, including overtime, is generally at the employer’s discretion. Is that correct? Also, what are the rules for an office employee’s lunch break during an eight-hour workday? — Who Rules
DEAR WHO RULES: As I said in the previous question, employers generally can determine the hours their employees work, unless a union contract is involved. As for a lunch break, state law says that employees who work for more than six hours a day must receive an uninterrupted meal break of at least a half hour. Other than for meal times, state law doesn’t require breaks.
DEAR CARRIE: My workplace switched from offering us paid holidays, sick time and vacation days to general paid-time off. Many of us are confused. Since everything is now lumped together, how will we be paid for unused time when we leave? What are the rules? — Time Keeper
DEAR TIME KEEPER: Since paid-time off isn’t mandated by labor law, your employer can decide how that time is used, unless a union contract comes into play. And often companies’ policies state that once you leave for any reason, all accrued paid-time off is forefeited. So you should check the company handbook to see what the policy is.