Compliance Sanity Check

It has been a tough time for many companies, thanks to the pandemic and the never-ending changes it has caused. Between remote workers refusing to return to the office and the difficulty in finding workers, most companies are still struggling to find their balance. We wanted to remind you not to ignore compliance when your focus is elsewhere.

Do all employees have the required access to employment law poster information? — While you don’t need to send each employee their own poster, you are required to make the information on the poster available to all employees. This might be a specific location at a job site or a shared drive, whatever works best if you have field or remote employees.

Are you providing CFRA (CA Family Rights Act) paperwork when someone is taking medical time off that lasts more than 3 days? — Even if an employee is only going to be off 1-2 weeks, you are required to provide CFRA paperwork to them within 5 days of the company becoming aware of an employee’s need. It doesn’t matter whether they plan to use sick or PTO for the time off, the paperwork is still required. It provides the employee legal protections, notifies them of their rights and eligibililty, and starts the clock ticking for the amount of time you’ll need to keep their job available.

Does your PTO (Paid Time Off) policy meet the conditions of paid sick leave laws? — While California doesn’t care what you call the paid time off used for sick leave, it does care that your policy meets the legal requirements. The accrual must be at least 0.0334 hours per hour worked (including overtime) and the plan must accrue at least twice the minimum sick leave required for that locale. The basic CA law requires accrual of 48 hours, with 24 hours usable (the other 24 carries over). If your plan stops accruing at 40 hours, you are not in compliance with any of the (accrued) sick leave laws. You may need to consider a front-loaded plan instead.

Are you providing paid sick time in accordance with the local laws where each remote employee resides? — Many companies are allowing employees to continue working remotely rather than bringing them back to the office. That adds a bit more work for you. Confirm the actual location of each employee and whether they live in a location with a local paid sick leave law. There are at least 30 local laws throughout California and every one of them requires more paid sick leave than the basic state law. Make sure you are providing the correct amount for each employee’s work location.

Do you pay your sales reps hourly because they work primarily from home or your office? — Technology allows sales reps to have virtual meetings, which has been great during the pandemic. However, as attorneys often remind us, the laws have not kept up with technology. The only sales rep who can be salaried (or commission only) must be going to client locations at least 51% of the time. That doesn’t include the time they spend setting up the meeting by phone or email. If your sales rep doesn’t meet that requirement, they must be paid hourly.

A tough couple of years or not now is not the time to relax your compliance. The compliance laws for these issues haven’t changed in a while so your processes and practices should already be compliant. Things will only get tougher if you lose focus and leave yourself open to claims.

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