Avoid Hefty Fines and Lawsuits

ORDER YOUR NEW LABOR LAW POSTER NOW

Just so you know, this is my favorite site for ordering employment law posters. The reason is… they offer both the poster and update service for less than most places charge just for the poster.

It’s been years since we were able to put off getting posters each year. With new laws added so frequently, you really need a new poster each and every year. Keep your business compliant and avoid hefty fines and employee lawsuits with the new All-In-One Labor Law Poster with Update Service:

All-In-One State and Federal Labor Law Poster is fully laminated and attorney-approved.Continued compliance throughout the year with the 1-Year E-Update Service that provides updated postings via email with every mandatory federal & state change.$25,000 ‘We-Pay-The-Fine’ Guarantee protects your business against costly fines and imposed penalties.

If you haven’t already ordered your posters, do it now because the new year is here! Get the special discounted price currently available by using the code “DEAL” when ordering.

 [click to read more …]

Offer Letter Do’s and Don’ts

“I am creating an offer letter only because the candidate asked for one but I don’t know what I should put in it.”

Your HR Survival Tip

While an offer letter has not always been legally required, it has always been a good idea. Newer laws require a written offer to candidates, depending upon your hiring process. The biggest problem we see is companies trying to put too much into that letter or not using the correct language…both of which can be problematic. We prefer to keep the actual offer letter quite simple because it can be considered a legal document.

DO include the full details of the proposed position, such as “We are pleased to offer you the non-exempt, full-time position of Program Coordinator, reporting to __.” DO include the date you want the person to start in this position. Hopefully, you already discussed the date they will be available but, if not, use something like “on or before December 1st, 2020.” While you may be anxious for them to begin, you also want to appreciate the fact that they want to give their current employer notice rather than leaving abruptly. How they leave that employer is a  [click to read more …]

Parting Ways

“My business is slower to return than expected and I have too many employees. How do I reduce my headcount?”

Your HR Survival Tip

Your employee costs are often one of your highest line items, depending on the type of business you have. It’s important to know exactly how much you spend per employee overall so you can make good decisions about when you should increase or reduce the number of employees.

There are several types of terminations but they each have a specific use. Many companies like to use “layoff” because it feels softer to them. However, your choice could potentially result in legal obligations for you so you really do want to choose the type of termination that fits your scenario.

Layoff – When you use layoff as your reason, the expectation is you will rehire the employee once business picks back up or you again have need of the position. You provide a final paycheck that includes any earned, unused vacation or PTO time. The employee is eligible for unemployment. Furlough – We rarely saw this used prior to the pandemic. It is almost exactly the same as a layoff except they remain an employee on your records.  [click to read more …]

Employee Referrals

“I’d like to implement a plan that rewards employees for recommending people they know to our company. What do I need to consider?”

Your HR Survival Tip

Employee referral plans can be a huge benefit to your company and for your employees. When a current employee recommends someone to apply, they want the reward. As a side benefit to you, they often feel responsible for the success of that person and won’t recommend people they think might make them look bad.

When planning to offer a referral bonus, there are more things to consider than you might think:

What is the value of receiving a recommendation from an employee? Recruiting time and money can often cost you far more than paying a referral bonus. We see plans paying $300-$1000, depending upon the position. When does the current employee receive the bonus? Consider how long it takes a new hire to start doing well in the job. Or look at your turnover and determine when most of it happens. If you have a lot of turnover in the first three months, then you want to wait until after that to pay out any bonus. What process needs to be in  [click to read more …]

Extra Cost of Employees

“I pay my employees well but a few are mentioning I should be reimbursing them for different things. Besides wages, am I supposed to pay them for anything else?”

Your HR Survival Tip

If you ask the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), the federal Department of Labor (DOL), or the Courts, you will find they all agree you may owe your employee for more than just time worked. The answer comes down to the fact that it should not cost your employee a penny to work for you or to do their job.

Where those pennies are being spent by employees depends on the job they have, equipment/tools needed to do the job, and their workspace. When using an employee’s personal property, you will be legally expected to pay for that convenience…even if it doesn’t actually cost the employee more. Examples include:

Personal cell phone — If you haven’t provided the employee with a desk or cell phone, you must reimburse for a percentage of their monthly plan based on company use. Even if they have an unlimited plan, your company benefits so you need to calculate a fair reimbursement. However, you won’t owe anything  [click to read more …]

Upcoming Deadlines

We have a few hard deadlines ahead of us that require action. Start scheduling now to ensure everything is ready and/or done by the deadline.

By 12/31/2020 — Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

If your company has 5+ employees anywhere, including owners, all your California employees must complete their sexual harassment prevention training by 12/31 of this year. This is paid time for the employees so schedule it accordingly. We have had two years to get this training completed so it’s highly unlikely the state will accept any excuses for not meeting the deadline. There are several resources for this training available online, including our training.

On 1/1/2021 — New Minimum Wage

On January 1st, the CA minimum wage increases again for non-exempt (hourly) employees. Companies with 25 or fewer employees must pay $13/hour, while companies with 26 or more employees must pay $14/hour. These numbers will continue to increase by $1 for the next two years. Please check the law in your area because most have a higher minimum wage. For example, the city of San Diego’s minimum wage will be $14/hour on 1/1 for companies of any size.

On 1/1/2021 — New Minimum Salary

Whenever the state’s minimum wage  [click to read more …]

New COVID Rules

“I’ve heard my workers’ compensation insurance is now going to be hit when employees get COVID. Will this make my rates go up?”

Your HR Survival Tip

We aren’t yet sure just how SB1159 will affect workers’ compensation insurance rates, if at all. Regardless, we have no choice but to implement the changes required by this new law. Originally, there was a short-term law in place from 7/6-9/17/2020, that presumed anyone working for you might have caught COVID while working and was eligible under your workers’ comp. The new law made this presumption official and extends the time period for more than 2 years…to January 1st, 2023.

If at any time between 9/18/2020 and 1/1/2023 you can answer yes to all the below questions, you must file certain paperwork:

Your company has 5 or more employees (including owners, etc.).An employee tested positive for COVID within 14 days of working at your facility or job site.The employee provided you a positive test result.

If you did (or do in the future) answer yes to the above, provide your employee with a DWC1 workers’ comp claim form. Then ask your employee for more details so you can complete Form 5020. Now you have 3 business  [click to read more …]

Driven

“Our admin will run errands for us on occasion. I just heard she received a DUI last month. Should I have any concerns?”

Your HR Survival Tip

Yes, you should definitely be concerned. Whenever you allow an employee to drive for any reason related to their work or your company, you are taking a risk. If anything happens while an employee is driving, it’s your company that will be sued.

Companies don’t always consider someone running errands as an actual driver for the company, but you should. Even a quick, one-time run for sandwiches for the boss’ lunch is considered work time and puts the company at risk. It doesn’t matter if they are using their own vehicle or yours, it’s the activity that will count against you.

Before allowing any employee to drive on company time for any reason, you really need to do your due diligence:

Do you get a copy of their personal auto insurance for your files?Do you get a copy of their driving record from DMV on a regular basis?Do you do post-offer drug/alcohol testing?Do you have a policy about driving for the company that mentions safe driving, the need to report any  [click to read more …]

Employees 1, Employers 0

Governor Newsom signed SB1383 and dramatically changed protected time off as we know it. On January 1, 2021, companies of 5 or more employees will be subject to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The CA Chamber of Commerce had declared this a job killer bill and it definitely proves politicians don’t understand the challenges smaller employers face.

CFRA is very similar to FMLA (Federal Medical Leave Act) but includes a few more benefits for the employee than the Federal law. Starting 1/1/2021, the following differences will be in effect:

Affected companies:FMLA = companies with 50+ employees;CFRA = CA companies with 5+ employees. Employee’s employment:Both = employed at least 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours during that period. Location size:FMLA = 50+ employees within 75 miles;CFRA = 5+ total anywhere. Amount of time off:Both = up to 12 weeks of unpaid, protected time off. Reasons:Both = care for yourself or a family member with a serious health condition, pregnancy, new baby bonding (or foster or adoption), and various military reasons. Family member:FMLA = child (minor or a dependent), spouse, and parent;CFRA = those listed under FMLA plus siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, domestic partners, adult children, and  [click to read more …]

How Unemployment Works

“I just don’t understand how unemployment works when I’m able to offer a little part-time work for employees.”

Your HR Survival Tip

We have been exposed to just about every combination of work versus unemployment this year. One of the questions we get most often is how unemployment is affected if you only give the employee a few hours each week rather than full-time work.

When a worker is on unemployment but also works part-time, they are required to report those earnings every two weeks to EDD (California’s Employment Development Department). EDD then does a calculation based on those earnings versus the worker’s unemployment benefits, based on one of two ways:

Method 1 — This is used when that paycheck is more than $100. The first 25% doesn’t count but the other 75% is subtracted from what the employee would have received in unemployment benefits that period.Method 2 — This is used when that paycheck is $100 or less. The first $25.00 doesn’t count but the rest of the paycheck is subtracted from what the employee would have received in unemployment benefits that period.

We appear to be at the end of the Federal add-on to unemployment. However, knowing these calculation  [click to read more …]