Rules and laws often apply differently to smaller businesses, which are usually defined by the number of employees on the payroll. Small businesses typically don't have the same revenues to work with as large corporations. Federal law and some states recognize this. Small businesses are not required to spend as much on some mandatory operating expenses.
Workers Compensation Insurance
State laws set workers compensation insurance requirements. They can vary a great deal from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some states, such as California, offer no exemptions to small businesses. In some states, businesses with one or no employees are exempt. Other states allow businesses with as many as four or five employees to qualify for the workers compensation exemption.
Some OSHA Requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency that oversees workplace conditions that might cause injury to employees.
If your business is guilty of an OSHA violation, you'll pay a lesser penalty if your operation is small. If you have fewer than 25 employees, your penalty is cut by 60 percent. If your business has fewer than 10 employees, you're exempt from many requirements that obligate you to report workplace injuries.
Federal laws against discrimination in the workplace do not always apply to small businesses. The Equal Pay Act applies to businesses of any size. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act apply to employers with 15 or more employees. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act applies only to employers of 20 or more people.
Employee Health Insurance
Beginning in 2014, employers will be expected to pay a "shared responsibility fee" for health insurance coverage under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. Small businesses are exempt from this rule. If your company has fewer than 50 employees, you have no healthcare responsibilities.
If you do provide health insurance for your employees, and if you have fewer than 25, your business may qualify for a tax credit.
The FDA Also Offers Exemptions
If your small business is in the food industry, it's exempt from labeling requirements. The FDA requires that all food products carry labels detailing nutritional content.
Businesses that sell fewer than 100,000 units a year do not have to label their products, but they must file a notice with the FDA claiming the exemption. If you sell fewer than 10,000 units a year and have fewer than 10 full-time employees, you don't have to file the notice.
A Business Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding exceptions to the law for small businesses is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a business lawyer.