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‘Unlimited’ Vacation Policies, California Court Addresses

2020-07-08

In recent years, “unlimited” vacation policies have gained traction in California, becoming increasingly popular for providing employees with limitless paid vacation or paid time off (PTO). A recent California Court of Appeal decision gives employers some guidance on these policies — it held that an employer’s supposed “unlimited” vacation policy wasn’t unlimited; it actually had an implied cap, and the employer violated the Labor Code when it failed to pay out the unused vacation. (Read More)...

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Justices Uphold Expanded Religious Exemption to Contraceptive Mandate

2020-07-08

The Trump administration lawfully exempted religious objectors from Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations that require health plans to include contraceptive coverage, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled July 8.  (Read More)...

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Team Angst and Brokering Peace in the COVID-19 Era

2020-07-08

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague the world, the nation and the workplace. People are tired and anxious, and it's inevitable that those frustrations and fears will make their way into the workplace. (Read More)...

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EDD Announces Up to 20-Week UI Extension

2020-07-08

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has taken action to further assist people who are unemployed due to the economic impact of COVID-19. (Read More) ...

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Departments Issue Further Guidance on COVID-19 Testing Coverage

2020-07-07

On June 23, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury issued an additional set of FAQs to supplement earlier FAQs that provided guidance to group health plan sponsors on implementing the COVID-19 diagnostic testing coverage mandate. (Read More)...

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California Issues Statewide Guidance for Mandatory Cloth Face Coverings

2020-07-06

On June 18, the California Department of Public Health issued a statewide "Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings." Although the guidance is not an executive order and does not refer to any authorizing legal authority, Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted, "NEW: Californians are now REQUIRED to wear face coverings in public spaces." California's COVID-19 webpage also states that Californians "must wear face coverings in common and public indoor spaces and outdoors when distancing is not possible." (Read More)...

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DOL Provides Guidance on FFCRA Leave Relating to Summer Camp and Program Closures

2020-06-29

On June 26, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provided guidance for its Wage and Hour Division (WHD) Investigators relating to when employees may be eligible to take paid family leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when they are unable to work because they are caring for a child whose summer camp or other summertime place of care is closed. (Read More)...

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What to Do If an Employee Is Arrested During a Protest

2020-06-26

As protests continue around the country over racial injustice, employers may be unsure about what to do if workers are arrested. What if employees don't show up for work? Can employers enforce or relax their attendance policies, support employees who participate in protests, or monitor off-duty conduct? (Read More)...

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Worksite Immigration Enforcement: What You Need to Know Set the Tone: Sexual Harassment Prevention 2018 Minimum Wage Hike Brings Changes for California Employers Marijuana and Workplace Policies Health Care Reform: 3 Stages of Employer Compliance Infogra

2020-06-25

As previously reported, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect on January 1, 2020, but the earliest date the California Attorney General could enforce the law was July 1, 2020. That day is quickly approaching and, despite a lack of final CCPA regulations for employers to rely on, it looks like the Attorney General will not delay enforcing the law. (Read More)...

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What Does the High Court’s LGBTQ Ruling Mean for Employee Benefits?

2020-06-24

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that employers can't terminate workers based on their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) status, and employers should understand that the ruling provides employment protections beyond being fired. (Read More)...

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Trump Suspends New H-1B Visas Through 2020

2020-06-23

President Donald Trump signed an executive order June 22 restricting foreign nationals from outside the U.S. from using certain temporary employment-based visas through the end of the year and extending a green card ban enacted in April through Dec. 31. (Read More)...

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California Local Minimum Wage Increases Are Still Coming in July

2020-06-23

The start of the year brings a lot of new laws and in the past few years the increase of the state of California's minimum wage. This year the state minimum wage has increased to $12.00 for employers with 25 employees or fewer and $13.00 for employers with 26 employees or more. These rates are scheduled to increase annually until they reach $15.00 in 2022 for larger employers and 2023 for those with 25 employees or fewer. (Read More)...

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Supreme Court Blocks End of DACA

2020-06-19

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should not have been overturned and said the Trump administration's actions to rescind the program violated the Administrative Procedure Act. (Read More)...

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EEOC: Mandatory Antibody Testing Is Prohibited

2020-06-19

As employers grapple with how to screen workers for COVID-19, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) clarified on June 17 that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits mandatory antibody testing before allowing employees to return to the worksite. (Read More)...

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Paid Family Leave Claims Filed July 1 Gain 2 More Weeks of Benefits

2020-06-19

My employee had a baby a few months ago, but she wants to wait until July to file for Paid Family Leave (PFL) so she can take advantage of the extra two weeks of benefits that take effect starting July 1. Can she wait to file her PFL claim, or does it have to be filed right after her state disability claim ends at the end of her pregnancy disability leave? (Read More)...

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Masks On? What Employers Need to Know About Face Coverings at Work

2020-06-16

The future of work will involve a lot of face masks, at least in the short run, as companies do all they can to curtail the spread of COVID-19. But the rules and expectations for face masks are evolving rapidly. Should employers provide masks? Where and when should they be worn? Can employees refuse to wear them? (Read More)...

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Supreme Court Rules Workers Can't Be Fired for Being Gay or Transgender

2020-06-15

An employer who fires a worker merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 15. (Read More)...

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The Return of Dine-In Restaurants: What Restaurateurs Must Know Before Reopening in California amid COVID-19

2020-06-15

Employers in California are eager to reopen as the state’s stay-at-home orders are lifted. As part of the reopening process, California agencies have been issuing industry-specific guidance documents, which continue to evolve. For example, on June 5, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued updated COVID-19 guidance for restaurants, bars, and wineries in the Golden State, with a recommended effective date of June 12, 2020. The new guidance comes less than a month after the CDPH first issued recommendations for dine-in restaurants. This ASAP compares the earlier COVID-19 Industry Guidance:  Dine-In Restaurants (“Old Restaurant Guidance”) issued on May 12, 2020, to California’s new COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Restaurants, Bars, and Wineries (“New Restaurant Guidance”).  (Read More)...

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New Law Requires Awareness Training on Valley Fever Symptoms

2020-06-12

Valley Fever awareness training is the emphasis of new Labor Code Section 6709, added by AB 203 (Salas; D-Bakersfield; Chapter 712), signed into law on October 19, 2019. (Read More)...

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IRS Raises PCORI Fee, Due July 31 for Self-Insured Health Plans

2020-06-12

The IRS issued Notice 2020-44 on June 8 to adjust the fee paid by insurers or self-insured health plan sponsors to fund the federal Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) trust fund. The fee must be paid to the IRS by July 31. (Read More)...

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EEOC Answers More Coronavirus Questions as Employees Return to Work

2020-06-12

How can employers best comply with federal anti-discrimination laws while responding to the coronavirus crisis? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance for employers about reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and more. (Read More)...

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Recall Furloughed Workers Lawfully

2020-06-11

Employers recalling furloughed workers should plan carefully to avoid legal hazards as they determine who will return to work and what to include in recall letters. They should also have a coherent return-to-work plan for returning employees. (Read More)...

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Create Boundaries Between Home and Work—Even When You Work from Home

2020-06-10

Travis James Fell was on a Zoom call with his colleagues when an image of a disembodied arm appeared beside his head. After an awkward silence, a co-worker asked Fell if his home is possessed. (Read More)...

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Managing Coronavirus-Related Leave in California

2020-06-09

Employers may see a spike in coronavirus-related leave requests as more employees are called back to work, and California HR professionals must note the interplay between federal, state and local leave laws. (Read More)...

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COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Claim Presumption Flowchart

2020-06-09

In early May, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order extending workers’ compensation benefits to California employees who contract COVID-19 while working outside of their homes during the state’s stay-at-home order. This workers’ compensation benefits extension is causing some confusion, but a Sacramento-based law firm recently created a flowchart to help employers. (Read More)...

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Handling the SECURE Act's Mandate to Let Part-Timers into the 401(k) Plan

2020-06-08

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019 seeks to expand retirement plan coverage for U.S. workers. This includes a new requirement for 401(k) plans to permit part-time employees who work at least 500 hours for three consecutive years (the tracking period starts after Dec. 31, 2020) to make elective deferrals. (Read More)...

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Trump Signs Bill Easing Paycheck Protection Program Requirements

2020-06-05

President Donald Trump has signed into law a bill that gives employers more flexibility when using Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and applying for loan forgiveness. (Read More)...

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CAL/OSHA Issues Guidance on Recording and Reporting Requirements for COVID-19 Cases

2020-06-03

On May 27, 2020, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Division”), also known as Cal/OSHA, issued the following guidance for employers regarding recording and reporting requirements pertaining to COVID-19 cases: (Read More)...

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Employers May Benefit from State-Run Work-Share Programs During Pandemic

2020-06-03

Employers are making difficult choices during the coronavirus pandemic, such as deciding whether to layoff or furlough workers as the economy declines. Even as businesses reopen, many are doing so at reduced capacity. As an alternative to job cuts, employers should consider participating in work-share programs run by the state. (Read More)...

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Local Minimum Wage Increases Coming July 1

2020-06-03

July is just around the corner, and with it comes several local minimum wage increases throughout California. Here’s a list of localities that will have minimum wage increases effective July 1, 2020: (Read More)...

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Contact Tracing for Employers

2020-06-02

After learning that one or more employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19, companies should act quickly to identify and notify any co-workers who might have been exposed during the infectious period. (Read More)...

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CDC Issues Guidance for Reopening Office Buildings

2020-06-01

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance for companies to prepare office buildings for returning employees and protect them from exposure to COVID-19. (Read More)...

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Cal/OSHA Expands Employer Injury and Illness Prevention Program Requirements

2020-05-27

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly known as Cal/OSHA, continues to modify rules and guidance for businesses operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. General industry and several industry-specific rules and guidelines have been modified. Recently, Cal/OSHA modified its rules and guidance on all employers’ obligation to establish and implement an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). (Read More)...

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DOL Final Rule Will Shift 401(k) Participant Disclosures Online

2020-05-27

On May 27, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published in the Federal Register a final rule that expands employers' ability to deliver retirement plan information by e-mail with an attached document or to send either an e-mail or a text message with links to documents posted online. The rule takes effect July 27. (Read More)...

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California Launches Sexual-Harassment-Prevention Training Program

2020-05-26

California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) launched a free online sexual-harassment-prevention program that meets the training requirements for nonsupervisory employees in the state. (Read More)...

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Responding to Employee Fears When Reopening The Workplace

2020-05-26

When workers are scared to report to the worksite during the pandemic, an important question is why they are afraid: a generalized fear versus a specific, protected reason. (Read More)...

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California Court Provides Roadmap for Unlimited PTO Policies

2020-05-25

A California appeals court ruled that under an employer's unlimited paid-time-off (PTO) policy, an employee actually accrued vacation days as she worked and was entitled to be paid for unused days when her employment ended. (Read More)...

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IRS Announces 2021 Limits for HSAs and High-Deductible Health Plans

2020-05-22

Health savings account (HSA) contribution limits for 2021 are going up $50 for self-only coverage and $100 for family coverage, the IRS announced May 21, giving employers that sponsor high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) plenty of time to prepare for open enrollment season later this year. (Read More)...

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IRS Allows Midyear Enrollment and Election Changes for Health Plans and FSAs

2020-05-21

On May 12, the IRS released two notices allowing employees during 2020 to make changes to their enrollments in employer-sponsored health plans and to adjust pretax contributions to health flexible spending accounts (health FSAs) and dependent care flexible spending accounts (dependent care FSAs). (Read More)...

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Work Sharing Program May Help California Employers Avoid Layoffs

2020-05-21

California recently entered Stage 2 of its COVID-19 Resilience Roadmap, the state’s first step toward a gradual reopening — but there’s a long road ahead for many employers. (Read More)...

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HHS 2021 Health Plan 'Parameters' Raise Out-of-Pocket Maximums

2020-05-20

On May 14, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published in the Federal Register its Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2021 final rule and posted an accompanying fact sheet. The 2021 annual out-of-pocket (OOP) maximums for non-grandfathered group health plans will increase by approximately 4.9 percent over this year's limits: (Read More)...

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New Workers’ Compensation and COVID-19 Guidance

2020-05-19

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has posted a Question and Answer page clarifying certain aspects of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-62-20, which extends workers’ compensation benefits to employees who contract COVID-19 while working outside their homes. The order created a rebuttable presumption that workers meeting certain criteria who contract COVID-19 did so during employment, meaning the law automatically presumes workers’ compensation covers their claims and shifts the burden to employers who may present evidence to rebut the presumption. (Read More)...

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COVID-19 and Late Remittances of Employee Deferrals to 401(k) Plans

2020-05-19

Many employers facing economic challenges because of COVID-19 have considered several possibilities for reducing their contributions to employees' 401(k) plans. Whether freezing safe harbor matching or nonelective contributions or deciding against making discretionary matching and/or profit-sharing contributions, the goal has been the same: reduce their employee benefits costs. (Read More)...

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State Issues Industry-Specific Guidance for Businesses to Reopen Gradually

2020-05-15

California continued moving toward economic reopening this week, entering early Stage 2 of the COVID-19 Resilience Roadmap....

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When Employees Can—and Can’t—Change Benefit Plan Contributions

2020-05-12

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended not only employees' lives but also the expectations they had at the start of 2020 for annual spending through their benefit programs. Those who wish to change their pretax elective, payroll-deferred contributions for such things as dependent care or elective surgeries will find that some plans can be changed throughout the year while others may be changed only when employees have had a recent "qualifying life event." (Read More)...

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California court finds employer liable under unlimited vacation policy

2020-05-11

Recently, in McPherson v. EF Intercultural Foundation, Inc., the California Court of Appeals addressed the legality of unlimited or uncapped vacation policies under California law. Three exempt employees sued the company for payment of unused vacation time at termination, despite being subject to an unlimited paid time off policy, because they argued the policy was neither unlimited in policy nor practice. The court agreed. Fortunately for California employers, the decision sets forth guidelines for employers to properly implement such policies and avoid liability. (Read More)...

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IRS Reverses Course on Employee Retention Credit for Qualified Health Plan Expenses

2020-05-08

The IRS has changed its position and will allow employers to receive a tax credit for paying health care plan premiums for employees on furlough. (Read More)...

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EEOC Won’t Collect Employer EEO-1 Data in 2020 Due to Coronavirus

2020-05-07

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced on May 7 that it will delay until March 2021 collection of EEO-1 Component 1 information—which asks for the number of employees who work for a covered business sorted by job category, race, ethnicity and gender. (Read More)...

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Governor’s Workers’ Compensation Order: Presume COVID-19 Illness Arises from the Job

2020-05-07

Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday signed an executive order establishing a rebuttable presumption that any COVID-19 related illness of an employee who worked outside the home, not just those who are essential workers, was the result of employment for workers’ compensation purposes if certain requirements are met. (Read More)...

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IRS Says No Deducting of Expenses Paid with PPP Grant Funds

2020-05-07

On April 30, 2020, more than four weeks after the enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2020-32. This Notice addresses directly for the first time the question of whether certain proceeds received under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will be eligible for a tax deduction, concluding that such deduction is disallowed under the Internal Revenue Code. (Read More)...

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Bringing Them Back: Questions for HR from Returning Workers

2020-05-06

As employees begin to return to their workplaces after weeks under COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, they will have questions. After all, the world changed suddenly because of the deadly coronavirus pandemic and so have employees' expectations and fears. Be prepared by considering these six things employment attorneys and human resource experts say workers will want to know right from the start. (Read More)...

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CalSavers Large Employer Registration Deadline Extended

2020-05-06

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rapidly change California’s regulatory landscape. To help employers through these uncertain times, the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board has extended the current deadline from June 30, 2020, to September 30, 2020, for employers with more than 100 employees to register with the CalSavers program. (Read More)...

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DOL Temporarily Extends COBRA Deadlines

2020-05-05

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a new final rule that temporarily extends the period in which eligible employees can elect COBRA health insurance coverage, and the deadline for them to begin making COBRA premium payments. (Read More)...

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USCIS Announces COVID-19 Temporary Policy for List B Identity Documents

2020-05-05

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced new guidance for Form I-9 completion, including implementing a temporary policy for acceptance of List B expired documents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. List B documents are identity documents for I-9 purposes. For example, a common list B document is a driver’s license.  Beginning on May 1, identity documents found in List B set to expire on or after March 1, 2020, and not otherwise extended by the issuing authority, may be treated as if the employee presented a valid receipt for an acceptable document for Form I-9 purposes. If an employee’s state ID or driver’s license expired on or after March 1, 2020, and the state has extended the document expiration date due to COVID-19, then it is acceptable as a List B document for Form I-9. (Read More)...

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New California FEHA Regulations for Pre-Employment Practices Start July 1

2020-05-05

New Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) regulations clarify what pre-employment practices (like job applications, advertisements and pre-employment inquiries) constitute age and religious creed based employment discrimination. The new regulations don’t go into effect until July 1, 2020, but employers should review their pre-employment practices ahead of time, especially as employers may be increasing recruiting and hiring activities this summer as they reopen from the COVID-19 lockdown.  (Read More)...

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DOL Releases New Model COBRA Notices Amid Continued Wave of Litigation

2020-05-05

On May 1, 2020, the Department of Labor released new versions of its model COBRA notices, adding a new action item for employers facing a contracting workforce and a growing wave of participant litigation. (Read More)...

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Telework During Pandemic Could Affect Future Remote Work Requests

2020-05-01

If an employer allows employees to telework during the COVID-19 pandemic, will the employer have to allow them to continue teleworking after the California shelter-in-place order is lifted? For disabled employees, would an employer have to automatically grant telework as a reasonable accommodation if the employees wish to continue the arrangement after the pandemic is over? (Read More)...

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New Guidance Sheds Light on the Employee Retention Credit

2020-05-01

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Joint Committee on Taxation have issued new guidance to help clarify employer requirements for claiming the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The ERC provides a 50% credit against the employer’s portion of Social Security taxes (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) on up to $10,000 of “qualified wages” per employee. The credit may be applied to the employment taxes for all employees of the employer. To claim the ERC, the company needs to be an “Eligible Employer.” (Read More)...

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Labor Department Is Now Enforcing Coronavirus Paid-Leave Rules

2020-04-28

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) initially gave employers time to comply with coronavirus-related paid-sick-leave and paid-family-leave mandates and correct mistakes without facing scrutiny, but the department has officially ramped up its enforcement efforts. (Read More)...

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Coronavirus Fuels Debate over California’s Independent-Contractor Rule

2020-04-28

Coronavirus concerns have raised questions about California's strict independent-contractor test and whether it should be amended. Although gig workers and other independent contractors have access to some federal emergency relief, they generally aren't entitled to unemployment compensation and other benefits provided to employees. (Read More)...

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New California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Notice

2020-04-27

Last night, the California Labor Commissioner released the CA COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Food Sector Workers poster. Employers who are covered under California’s new supplemental paid sick leave requirement for food sector workers (Executive Order N-51-20) must post this notice in a conspicuous place. If the employer’s food sector workers don’t frequent the workplace, then the employer may electronically distribute the notice. (Read More) ...

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Reasonable Accommodations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

2020-04-24

As COVID-19 changes the employment law landscape, government agencies continue to provide guidance on many commonplace compliance issues that are now causing confusion for employers. (Read More)...

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DOL Helps Employers Calculate FFCRA Leave Hours, Rates

2020-04-23

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its most recent guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The DOL is working hard to address employers’ lingering questions about the law’s requirements, including how to calculate an eligible employee’s hours of leave and their average regular rate for both emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for COVID-19-related reasons. Grab your calculators and let’s dig in! (Read More)...

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5 Do’s and Don’ts of Video Interviews

2020-04-22

The coronavirus pandemic has made remote working and social distancing the norm, pushing recruiters and hiring managers to rely on videoconferencing platforms to interview candidates. (Read More)...

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A Legal Guide on Shifting from Furloughs to Layoffs

2020-04-22

In recent weeks, as a result of business disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers have furloughed large groups of employees as a way to cut costs without ending the employment relationship. Included in this group of employers are such brand names as Disney, Best Buy and CarMax, as well as many smaller organizations. (Read More)...

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Reminder: Properly Document FFCRA Leave to Claim Tax Credits

2020-04-20

Employers are becoming familiar with the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provides new COVID-19-related federal emergency paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave. As employees start using the new leave, it’s important for employers to collect and maintain proper documentation, not only for their own records, but also to claim the new tax credits available to them. (Read More)...

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When Will Employers Need to File EEO-1 Reports in 2020?

2020-04-17

lthough the historic deadline for filing EEO-1 surveys has passed, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is still waiting for approval to continue collecting such reports—which ask for the number of employees who work for a covered business sorted by job category, race, ethnicity and gender. (Read More)...

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When Businesses Reopen, Be Ready to Hire Fast

2020-04-16

A global survey by HR consulting firm Mercer shows that as of early April, 68 percent of companies had closed offices amid the pandemic, and 63 percent had instituted some type of hiring freeze. Less than 6 percent of companies had laid off employees, but, as of April 16, more than 22 million people had filed unemployment claims in the U.S. (Read More)...

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Reasonable Accommodations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

2020-04-16

As COVID-19 changes the employment law landscape, government agencies continue to provide guidance on many commonplace compliance issues that are now causing confusion for employers. The latest update came last week when the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) revised its COVID-19 guidance for employers responding to requests for reasonable accommodations. (Read More)...

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DOL Continues to Clarify Scope of CARES Act Unemployment Benefits

2020-04-15

As jobless claims reach record highs, states now have more guidance on how to roll out the emergency unemployment benefits provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. (Read More)...

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Layoffs, Furloughs and the ACA’s Employer Mandate

2020-04-15

With the COVID-19 pandemic stretching to all corners of the United States, group health plans have felt the impact of workforce shutdowns and restrictions as well as new laws passed by Congress. It's important for employers and group health plans to consider the effect of these workforce changes within the scope of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). (Read More)...

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OSHA Issues COVID-19 Interim Enforcement Response Plan

2020-04-14

Continuing its recent trend to update employers on COVID-19 safety, on April 13, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (“the Plan”), providing specific guidance to all OSHA Regional Administrators and State Plan Designees on how to investigate potential COVID-19 hazards.  The guidance addresses how OSHA offices should allocate resources for protecting workers across all industries. (Read More)...

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Wage and Hour Considerations for Remote Workers

2020-04-13

How do an employer’s pay obligations differ when an hourly/nonexempt employee is working remotely from home? (Read More)...

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How to Set Up a Home Office That Works for You

2020-04-13

any of the tens of millions of workers told to work from home to stop the spread of the coronavirus have found themselves in makeshift workstations without proper desks, chairs, computer monitors, keyboards or lighting. (Read More) ...

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Leaders, It's Time to Overcommunicate

2020-04-10

n troubled, uncertain times, there's often a lack of communication. Leaders don't have all the answers. Instead, they have their own anxieties. As a result, they become cautious about what they say, which translates into less communication. (Read More)...

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Pandemic Takes a Toll on Employees’ Emotional Well-Being

2020-04-07

ental health issues in the workplace have been an area of concern for some time, but with the COVID-19 crisis, the emotional challenges employees are confronting have spiked. (Read More)...

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California Court of Appeal Addresses Whether There are Limits to Vacation Payout Requirement for "Unlimited" Vacation Policies

2020-04-07

On April 1, 2020, a California Court of Appeal issued a long-awaited decision relating to the use of so-called “unlimited” vacation plans. In McPherson v. EF Intercultural Foundation, Inc., the court ultimately did not decide the viability of such plans under California law, but instead held California law requires payout of vacation to certain employees under the fact-specific issues in this case.1 With respect to the ability of California employers to offer “unlimited” vacation plans to employees without the potential need to pay out this time when an employee separates from employment, the court stated, "[w]e by no means hold that all unlimited paid time off policies give rise to an obligation to pay 'unused' vacation when an employee leaves." (Read More)...

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Required FFCRA Documentation, Recordkeeping for New Federal Paid Leave (COVID-19)

2020-04-06

The new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) has dominated employers’ attention with its provisions for emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. (Read More)...

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Big Picture Changes to Unemployment Insurance, Related Benefits under CARES Act

2020-04-02

This brief summarizes unemployment benefits available in California, as updated by the federal CARES Act, passed by Congress on March 25, 2020. (Read More)...

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Guidance on Temporary CalWARN Suspension for COVID-19

2020-04-02

As previously reported, on March 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order temporarily suspending the notice requirements of California’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (CalWARN Act), provided employers meet certain conditions specified in the order. Newsom’s order also directed the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency to issue guidance on how to comply with the order. (Read More)...

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EEO-1 Portal Remains Closed as EEOC Awaits OMB Approval

2020-04-02

The initial March 31, 2020 deadline for employers to file EEO-1 reports has now passed without action by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to open the filing portal or otherwise collect EEO-1 filings.  This is because the EEOC has not yet received approval from the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to collect Component 1 Data. (Read More)...

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IRS and DOL Unveil Employer Tax Credits for Coronavirus-Related Leaves

2020-04-01

Employers with fewer than 500 full-time or part-time employees can quickly begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits designed to reimburse them, dollar for dollar, for the cost of providing leave to employees affected by COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) unveiled the plan in a March 20 press release. (Reade More)...

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DOL Releases FFCRA Regulations

2020-04-01

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued temporary regulations for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on April 1, which confirmed that employees must give notice to their employers of the need to take leave and provide documentation to support paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave. The IRS also provided guidance on needed documentation. (Read More)...

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Creating a Mentoring Program: Yodas Not Required

2020-03-30

Mentoring is a way for employers to foster employee and organizational growth by pairing less experienced workers with colleagues who have expertise in a specific area. The relationships can be used to provide career guidance, broaden networking opportunities or break down organizational silos, but setting up a program takes a thoughtful approach. (Read More)...

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DOL Issues Workplace Posters on Employees' Right to Paid Coronavirus Leave

2020-03-27

On March 25, the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL's) Wage and Hour Division published workplace posters that small and midsize employers can use to fulfill their obligations to notify employees of their rights to expanded paid sick leave and expanded paid Family and Medical Leave Act leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). (Read More)...

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How to Maintain Cybersecurity for Your Remote Workers

2020-03-26

class="shrm-Element-P ZWSC-cleaned">Employers need to pay extra attention to securing the technology their remote workforce is using.The growing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is providing plenty of new opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit unsecured technology systems, overworked information technology (IT) staff and panicked employees who are new to working from home. (Read More) ...

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Form I-9 Document Inspection More Flexible Due to COVID-19

2020-03-24

Although COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, is causing employers uncertainty for the future, they’re still hiring — even as many of their employees are working remotely. Federal law, however, requires employers to use the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification to verify employment eligibility and to physically examine each original Section 2 document the employee presents “to determine if the document reasonably appears to be genuine and relates to the person presenting it” within three business days of the employee’s first day of work for pay, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  (Read More)...

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Furloughs Versus Layoffs: Is There a Difference in California?

2020-03-23

Many Californian businesses are facing difficult choices during this COVID-19 pandemic (also known as the coronavirus pandemic). Confronting losses in revenue and uncertainty in the future, businesses are evaluating their options for preserving their companies while maintaining their workforce. (Read More)...

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DHS Relaxes Form I-9 Review Requirements

2020-03-20

he U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will defer the requirements for employers to review Form I-9 documents in-person with new employees. The change applies to employers and workplaces that are operating completely remotely. (Read More)...

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Strategies for California Employers to Supplement Employee Wages Through Public Benefits

2020-03-20

In light of the recent coronavirus pandemic, many businesses will inevitably be forced to reduce employees’ hours and thus their compensation. As a result, employees may be eligible to file for partial unemployment benefits.  There are, however, a number of other potential options available to employees in the Golden State. (Read More)...

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Governor Issues Order to Help Meet Deliveries, Suspends Some Layoff Notice Requirements

2020-03-19

Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday signed an executive order to ease restrictions on commercial drivers supporting emergency relief efforts, and suspend certain existing laws for employers directly affected by COVID-19. (Read More)...

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Options for Employers, Employees During School Closures

2020-03-16

In response to the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) situation, many school districts are electing to shut down campuses for several weeks to attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus. These closures will undoubtedly have a huge impact on both employers and employees, but employers and employees have several options, including the use of vacation/paid time off (PTO), school activities leave and remote working arrangements, to help this situation. (Read More)...

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CalChamber Compiles Coronavirus Resources on Web Page

2020-03-12

This morning, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order directing residents to follow public health directives and guidance, including canceling large nonessential gatherings that do not meet state criteria. The order also waives the one-week waiting period for unemployment and disability insurance for Californians who lose work as a result of COVID-19. (Read More)...

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Furloughs and Other Temporary Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disruptions

2020-03-11

Among the many issues employers are facing in the wake of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is the possibility of furloughs, temporary office and location closings, and short-term layoffs. A furlough involves reducing the days or weeks that an employee may work.  A layoff can be temporary or permanent.  Employers may also consider reducing the daily hours of some employees.  This article will address these strategies in the context of COVID-19-related actions, which for most employers involve temporary rather than permanent responses. (Read More)...

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Coronavirus Support Available for Workers, Employers

2020-03-06

On Thursday, March 5, California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) clarified employer and employee coverage related to the coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19. The additional support comes one day after Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency as part of California’s response to the coronavirus. (Read More)...

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Business Preparedness

2020-03-04

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has implications for multiple workplace concerns, including health and safety, leaves of absence, discrimination, and travel. Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been publishing a steady stream of updated information and guidance, it is not always clear how to translate that information into compliant and appropriate practice in specific workplaces and particular situations. (Read More)...

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Tips for Making Your Workplace More Sustainable

2020-03-02

Employees at CareerPlug, a software company in Austin, Texas, loved their Keurig coffee. In fact, the 60 employees used around 300 of the brand's disposable K-Cups each month. (Read More)...

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#MeToo: In Defense of Nondisclosure Agreements

2020-02-26

Nondisclosure Agreements (NDAs) have recently come under fire within the #MeToo debate. Opponents of the NDA argue that its sole (and negative) purpose is to silence victims of sexual harassment and allow those accused to continue to harass others. NDA proponents, however, offer a different perspective. An NDA is one of many mechanisms used to defend against allegations that are in dispute. It can provide a smooth transition to resolution rather than litigation, and can benefit both the alleged victim and the employer. (Read More)...

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Simplified H-1B Visa Application Process Starts March 1

2020-02-21

This year, applying for one of those 85,000 H-1B visas begins a month earlier than in years past — and requires a lot less work for employers at the initial stage. (Read More)...

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Employers’ Election Day Responsibilities

2020-02-19

The 2020 California Primary Election is Tuesday, March 3; polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Employers need to be aware of their voting leave obligations, which start prior to election day, and the correct way to share political company views with their employees. (Read More)...

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Reminder: Medicare Part D Notices Are Due to CMS by Feb. 29

2020-02-10

Each year, group health plan sponsors that provide prescription drug coverage to individuals eligible for Medicare Part D must disclose to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) whether that coverage is "creditable" or "non-creditable." Prescription drug coverage is "creditable" when it is at least actuarially equivalent to Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. (Read More)...

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Upcoming Webinar Addresses Tight Labor Market

2020-02-10

The tight labor market is showing no signs of weakening. HR managers are struggling to fill jobs — often for several weeks — because the pool of qualified candidates is small. All the while, employment trends show an increase in job mobility among workers as the quest for more flexibility, life/work balance and workplace perks are on the rise. (Read More)...

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10 California Wage and Hour Myths Debunked

2020-02-07

California wage and hour law is an "unbelievably active" area that is drawing a lot of attention from plaintiffs' lawyers, according to Alexander Chemers, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins in Los Angeles. (Read More)...

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California Rule Gives Employees Access to Injury and Illness Prevention Plan

2020-02-07

California's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board considered a proposed standard that would allow employee access to their employer's Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP). During its Jan. 16 meeting, the standards board approved the proposed rule, which is now expected to take effect on Jan. 1, 2021. (Read More) ...

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California’s EITC Program Highlighted This Week

2020-02-05

Starting January 31 through February 8, 2020, it’s “California’s Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) Awareness Week,” which shines a spotlight on the program that helps increase California’s workforce participation, according to a recent Governor Gavin Newsom proclamation. (Read More)...

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Coronavirus and Flu: Managing Illnesses in the Workplace

2020-02-05

Lately, the coronavirus has been a hot topic of conversation, social media and the news; last week, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar declared it a national public health emergency. (Read More) ...

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U.S. District Court Ruling Invalidates AB 51

2020-02-04

On Friday, January 31, United States District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller issued a ruling halting enforcement of and invalidating in full AB 51, a law that would have banned employers from, as a condition of employment, entering into arbitration agreements for claims brought under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Labor code. (Read More)...

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New Edition of Form I-9 Now Available

2020-02-03

As expected, a new version of the I-9 employment eligibility verification form has been issued. The new version is dated 10/21/2019 but will not become mandatory until May 1. (Read More) ...

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Podcast Shares Questions Asked Most Often at Employment Law Updates Seminars

2020-01-22

In this episode of The Workplace podcast, CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel Erika Frank and employment law experts Matthew Roberts and Bianca Saad recap the topics on which they received the most questions during their seminars: the CROWN Act, expansion of lactation accommodation law, wildfire regulations, and meal and rest breaks. (Read More) ...

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Remind Workers of These Tax Tips

2020-01-21

It's tax season. Employees are looking over their W-2 earned-income forms, which need to be delivered to them by Jan. 31, and preparing to file income taxes by April 15. Now is a good time for HR departments to advise them to review their paycheck withholding and consider increasing their contributions to tax-advantaged retirement accounts, tax advisors say. As they share other pertinent tax-time tips, employers can also direct eligible employees to the IRS Free File program. (Read More)...

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Judge halts California labor law as it relates to truckers

2020-01-17

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday indefinitely blocked a new California labor law from applying to more than 70,000 independent truckers, deciding that it is preempted by federal rules on interstate commerce. (Read More)...

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State Holding Employment Status Seminars Statewide

2020-01-17

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has scheduled free seminars throughout the state on AB 5 and the ABC test for classifying workers. (Read More)...

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HR Experts Recap New State Lactation Accommodation Rules

2020-01-15

California’s new lactation accommodation law, effective Jan. 1, 2020, affects a broad spectrum of California employers. In this episode of The Workplace podcast, CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel Erika Frank and employment law experts Matthew Roberts and Bianca Saad discuss new lactation accommodation requirements, highlighting location specifications, a new policy requirement, rest and meal break premium pay penalties, private right of action, exceptions, and the undue hardship exemption. (Read More)...

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California Consumer Privacy Act—What Does Your Business Need to Know?

2020-01-14

After much anticipation and trepidation, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Many companies are understandably still grappling with the details of the law, the amendments and the proposed regulations and how to comply with them. (Read More)...

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Labor Department Releases Final Joint-Employer Rule

2020-01-13

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final rule narrowing the definition of "joint employer" under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and providing clarity to businesses about franchise and contractor relationships. (Read More)...

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Organizations Urged to 'Shore Up' Cybersecurity

2020-01-10

The Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is advising organizations to be vigilant about their security measures following airstrikes between the U.S. and Iran. (Read More)...

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Court to Consider Permanent Injunction on Arbitration Law; Prop. 65 Acrylamide Lawsuit Pending

2020-01-08

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller is expected to hear arguments on whether to permanently stop a new California law banning arbitration agreements made as a condition of employment from taking effect. (Read More)...

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Employment Law Can Wellness Perks Be Excluded from Employees’ Regular Rate of Pay?

2020-01-08

Employers might want to offer more wellness perks now that the federal government has modernized the definition of "regular rate" of pay—which is used to calculate overtime premiums. (Read More)...

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Gig Workers Fight California’s New Contractor Law

2020-01-07

California's controversial new independent-contractor test took effect Jan. 1, but several professional associations, on-demand businesses and workers are trying to halt its application to their respective industries. (Read More)...

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IRS Lowers Standard Mileage Rate for 2020

2020-01-07

Effective Jan. 1, 2020, the optional standard mileage rate used in deducting the costs of operating an automobile for business is 57.5 cents per mile, down one-half cent from 2019, the IRS announced Dec. 31 in Notice 2020-05. This is the first time the rate has fallen in three years. (Read More)...

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AB 51 Litigation Update: Court Grants CalChamber’s Request for Temporary Restraining Order

2020-01-03

A federal judge on Monday issued a temporary restraining order to prevent AB 51 from going into effect on January 1. A hearing for a permanent injunction to AB 51 is scheduled for January 10. (Read More)...

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The New California Labor Laws You Need to Know for January 1, 2020

2019-12-20

Some of the bills signed into law this year made significant changes to California employment law, while others made small, but important changes of which employers must be aware. (Read More)...

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2019 Had Its Share of Funny, Touching and Strange Moments

2019-12-20

Your workplace may have had nutty or sweet moments, but did pigs visit your workplace? Or did a co-worker greet customers from inside a luggage bin? Read on for workplace news during 2019 that was touching, puzzling or downright eyebrow-raising. (Read More)...

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SECURE Act Will Alter 401(k) Compliance Landscape

2019-12-20

President Donald Trump on Dec. 20 signed into law the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, a bill to help employers create and run retirement plans for workers. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) strongly backed the measure, which the House first passed in May and the Senate approved on Dec. 19 as part of a year-end appropriations package. (Read More)...

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Don’t Forget to Prepare Employee Flexible Spending Account Notices

2019-12-19

As previously reported, the end of the year is a great time for employees to take advantage of any flexible spending account dollars (FSA) they may have left in their accounts. Many employers offer FSAs because they allow employees to use tax-free money to cover expenses such as medical bills, childcare and adoption assistance. Under federal law, FSAs are generally subject to a “use it or lose it” provision that forfeits any unused money at the end of the plan year.  (Read More)...

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Labor Department Issues Final Rule on Calculating 'Regular Rate' of Pay

2019-12-13

Employers now have more clarity and flexibility about which perks they can include in workers' "regular rate" of pay, which is used to calculate overtime premiums under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final rule that will take effect Jan. 15, 2020. (Read More)...

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California Consumer Privacy Act — Employers Need to Be Ready January 1

2019-12-10

Starting January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) significantly changes California’s consumer data collection rules and give consumers more control over how businesses use their personal information. However, the broad language of the CCPA arguably encompasses employees and job applicants, including employment data. Although employment data has a one-year exemption, employers covered by the act still need to comply with certain requirements starting January 1. (Read More)...

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IRS Overhauls Form W-4 for 2020 Employee Withholding

2019-12-10

On Dec. 5, the IRS released the long-awaited final version of the 2020 Form W-4, retitled Employee's Withholding Certificate, with major revisions designed to make accurate income-tax withholding easier for employees starting next year. In August, the IRS posted FAQs about the changes incorporated in the revised form. (Read More)...

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IRS Grants Relief as Employers Prep for ACA Reporting in 2020

2019-12-03

On Dec. 2, the IRS announced it would extend the deadline to March 2 from Jan. 31 for employers to provide employees with a copy of their 1095-C or 1095-B reporting form, and again extended "good faith effort" transition relief to employers for Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting for plan year 2019. (Read More)...

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Show Employees Appreciation Beyond Thanksgiving

2019-11-26

Thanksgiving is Thursday! Expressing gratitude and appreciation for your employees is one way to celebrate but thanking them throughout the year may be both the easiest and best way to recognize their accomplishments. (Read More)...

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OFCCP Will Not Request, Accept or Use EEO-1 Component 2 Data

2019-11-22

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has announced that it will not request, accept, or use “Component 2” compensation data submitted on the EEO-1 form. This statement comes just over two months after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced it would not seek approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to collect compensation data on its Form EEO-1 next year. In its Notice slated for publication in the November 25, 2019 edition of the Federal Register, the OFCCP claims “it does not expect to find significant utility in the data given limited resources and its aggregated nature,” although the agency will continue to accept Component 1 data. (Read More)...

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California Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Dynamex Retroactivity Question

2019-11-22

On November 20, 2019, the Supreme Court of California announced it would review and decide whether its 2018 Dynamex decision has retroactive effect. The answer to this question could have a profound impact on any company using independent contractors in the Golden State. (Read More)...

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New 2020 Local Minimum Wage Ordinances

2019-11-12

More California cities continue to adopt local minimum wage ordinances (MWO). Three new cities have local minimum wage ordinances beginning January 1, 2020 — Menlo Park, Novato and South San Francisco. Don’t forget, earlier this year, both Sonoma and Petaluma established local minimum wages, which are higher than what is required under California law and also begin on January 1, 2020. (Read More)...

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401(k) Contribution Limit Rises to $19,500 in 2020

2019-11-06

class="ZWSC-cleaned">Employee 401(k) contributions for 2020 can increase by $500 to $19,500, while the combined employer and employee contribution limit rises by $1,000 to $57,000, the IRS announced Nov. 6. For participants ages 50 and over, the additional "catch-up" contribution limit will rise to $6,500, up by $500. (Read More)...

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2020 FSA Contribution Cap Rises to $2,750

2019-11-06

Employees can put an extra $50 into their health care flexible spending accounts (health FSAs) next year, the IRS announced on Nov. 6. But with open enrollment for the 2020 benefits year already under way, the increase may have come too late for some employees to take advantage of it. (Read More)...

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New 2020 Exempt Classification Rates

2019-11-05

California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) announced rate changes for the computer software employee exemption and the licensed physician and surgeon exemption. The new rates take effect January 1, 2020. (Read More)...

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How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on Their Teams

2019-10-23

Companies spend millions on antibias training each year. The goal is to create workforces that are more inclusive, and thereby more innovative and more effective. Studies show that well-managed diverse groups outperform homogeneous ones and are more committed, have higher collective intelligence, and are better at making decisions and solving problems. (Read More)...

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New California Law Bans Mandatory Arbitration for Most Workplace Claims

2019-10-22

Effective Jan. 1, 2020, California employers can no longer require workers to arbitrate state-law discrimination and labor code claims, under a bill that Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed. But employment attorneys expect the new mandate to be challenged under a federal law that favors arbitration. (Read More) ...

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California Adopts Confusing FSA Notification Requirement

2019-10-22

California recently enacted AB 1554, which purportedly requires an employer to notify employees of any deadline to withdraw funds from a flexible spending account (FSA) before the end of the plan year. The law applies to health care FSAs, dependent care FSAs and adoption assistance FSAs. Employees must be notified by two different forms, only one of which can be electronic. Notice methods include e-mail, telephone, text message, postal mail or in-person notification. (Read More) ...

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Governor Newsom Signs New 2020 Employment Laws

2019-10-17

Sunday, October 13, 2019, was the last day for Governor Gavin Newsom to either sign or veto legislation that the California Legislature passed in 2019. Employers need to be aware of a few significant new 2020 employment laws that may affect their daily business operations, policies and employees. Some new laws make significant changes while others make smaller changes to existing law. (Read More)...

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Ruling Clarifies Meal, Rest Break Penalties Calculation

2019-10-16

On Wednesday, October 9, 2019, the California Court of Appeal issued a long-awaited clarification of California’s meal and rest break penalty provision (Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC). The court was asked to interpret whether the phrase “regular rate of compensation” meant the same as the “regular rate of pay,” which is used to calculate overtime premiums, or whether it meant the base hourly rate that employers pay their nonexempt employees. (Read More)...

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Franchisors Not Liable for Franchisee’s Labor Violations, Ninth Circuit Rules

2019-10-10

Recently, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an important wage and hour decision related to joint employment, particularly for franchisors (Salazar, et al. v. McDonald’s Corp.). The court decided whether McDonald’s, a franchisor, was liable for wage and hour violations as a joint employer of its franchisee’s employees. (Read More)...

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4 Wage and Hour Problems as Daylight Saving Time Ends

2019-10-07

On Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, at 2:00 a.m., daylight saving time will end. This World War I–era practice of turning back the clock one hour in the fall became a federal law in the United States when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act in 1966. The jury is still out on whether "falling back" is beneficial. Claims that it helps to conserve energy are dubious. Most people probably don't get an extra hour of sleep that night. And, the time change doesn't actually increase the number of hours of sunlight per day. However, it does present a good opportunity for employers to examine their timekeeping practices with regard to nonexempt employees. (Read More)...

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Pre-Employment Drug Testing as Marijuana Tests Reach Record ‘Highs’

2019-09-30

Marijuana is legal in California, and unemployment rates remain low. Meanwhile, workplace drug tests yielding positive results are hitting record highs. What should California employers do about pre-employment drug testing? (Read More)...

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How Deadline Extension Affects Timing of Harassment Training

2019-09-27

I just read that the Governor signed a new law that changes the timing for the new sexual harassment training. What are the new deadlines for getting my employees trained? (Read More)...

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IRS Final Rule Eases 401(k) Hardship Withdrawals, Requires Amending Plans

2019-09-25

Making hardship withdrawals from 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans soon will be easier for plan participants, and so will starting to save again following a hardship withdrawal. (Read More)...

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New Overtime Rule Raises Salary Cut-Off to $35,568

2019-09-24

Employees who make less than $35,568 are now eligible for overtime pay under a final rule issued today by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The new rate will take effect Jan. 1, 2020. (Read More)...

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Reminder: EEO-1 Component 2 Data Due September 30th!

2019-09-24

The EEO-1 annual compliance survey requires certain employers to report company employment data categorized by race/ethnicity and gender in each of 10 job categories. (Read More)...

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Simple Open-Enrollment Tips That Can Make a Big Difference

2019-09-24

Trepidation is what comes to mind for many employees when asked their feelings about open enrollment, the annual period when they select employer-provided benefits for the coming year.  (Read More)...

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California Employees Can’t Seek Back Pay Under PAGA

2019-09-16

Employees cannot collect unpaid wages under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), the California Supreme Court has ruled. PAGA allows workers to seek civil penalties for labor code violations on behalf of the state, but they must pursue back wages in separate actions against their employers.    (Read More)...

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EEOC Reduces Employee Pay Data Requirements

2019-09-12

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a sample form, instructions and FAQs to help employers submit employee pay data—due to the agency by Sept. 30—sorted by job category, race, ethnicity and sex. (Read More)...

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Who’s in, who’s out of AB 5?

2019-09-11

Doctors, real estate agents and hairdressers can keep their independent contractor status. But not truckers, commercial janitors, nail salon workers, physical therapists and — significantly — gig economy workers, who will gain the rights and benefits of employees in California under sweeping workplace legislation passed Wednesday.  (Read More)...

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California Lawmakers Approve Strict Independent-Contractor Test

2019-09-11

Employers would have a difficult time classifying workers as independent contractors under a bill that the California Senate passed on Sept. 10. Gig-economy businesses, such as Uber and Lyft, oppose the bill because their drivers would be deemed employees under the proposed legislation. (Read More)...

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Choosing Unpaid Time Off Instead of Using Vacation Time

2019-09-10

My employee asked for a few days off for a vacation with her family but wants to take it unpaid rather than using the vacation time she has accrued. Can I require her to use her paid vacation time before taking unpaid time, or does she have the right to save her vacation time to use in the future? (Read More)...

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California Extends Compliance Deadline for New Harassment-Prevention Training

2019-09-05

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed SB 778 into law, which clarifies certain aspects of California's new requirements that employers provide expanded training to employees to prevent sexual harassment. These requirements were enacted in 2018. (Read More)...

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Employers Should Plan Now for New Federal Overtime Rule

2019-08-30

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is expected to set a new salary threshold soon for the white-collar exemptions to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)—but employers should start planning for changes now. (Read More)...

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How to Manage an ICE Site Visit

2019-08-21

On August 7, 2019, more than 600 agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided several companies across Mississippi. With the help of the local district attorney’s office, these raids resulted in the arrests of approximately 680 undocumented workers.1 Federal prosecutors involved described the investigation as “the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in our nation’s history.”2 In response to this raid, Acting Director of ICE Matt Albence stated, “These are not new laws, nor is the enforcement of them new.”3 Mike Hurst, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, added, “If we find you have violated federal criminal law, we are coming for you.” (Read More)...

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EEOC Provides Guidance on EEO-1 Filing for Non-Binary Employees

2019-08-15

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released guidance in an FAQ to employers as to how they should report non-binary employees on Form EEO-1. An employer may now use the box for comments on the EEO-1 to report the number (if any) of employees who identify as non-binary or as something other than male or female, and should provide all other required information (pay band, job category, race, ethnicity) with respect to those employees there as well. (Read More)...

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What Employers Should Know About the Expiring Form I-9

2019-08-13

You may have noticed that the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification expires at the end of August. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is working on updating the form, but it may not happen until after the expiration date. (Read More)...

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When Should a ‘Temp’ Become a Regular Employee?

2019-08-12

I hired a number of employees to work on a short-term project for me. I classified them as “temporary” and therefore not eligible for benefits (other than paid sick leave). The project keeps getting extended though, and many of those employees have now been working for me for several months. At what point do I have to fire them or make them regular full-time employees? (Read More)...

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Using a California Non-REAL ID Driver License OK for the Form I-9

2019-08-07

A new employee gave me a current California driver license. On the front of the license there is a notation “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY.” Can I accept this driver license as an identity document for purposes of the Form I-9? (Read More)...

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IRS Lowers Employer Health Plans' 2020 Affordability Threshold

2019-08-01

Employer-sponsored health coverage will satisfy the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affordability requirement in 2020 if the lowest-cost, self-only coverage option available to employees does not exceed 9.78 percent of an employee's household income. This limit is down from 9.86 percent in 2019. (Read More)...

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Emergency Wildfire Smoke Protection Regulation Now In Effect—What Employers Need to Know

2019-07-31

Employers in California are now required to protect their employees from potential harm created by wildfire smoke, following approval of an emergency regulation by the Office of Administrative Law on July 29. The rule is effective through January 28, 2020, with two possible 90-day extensions. (Read More)...

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Free 2019 Midyear Employment Law White Paper

2019-07-29

We are over halfway through 2019, and as always, you can count on the Golden State for interesting developments in employment law. Most of this year’s updates come from court rulings, agency actions and previous legislation’s delayed implementation. Regardless, be sure you’re compliant with new and updated hiring, wage and hour and leaves of absence requirements. (Read More)...

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Viewpoint: Employees Busted Taking FMLA Leave for a Caribbean 'Booze' Cruise

2019-07-26

class="ZWSC-cleaned">It's a Friday in the middle of summer. So, approximately half of your workforce called off today due to an absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Well, not really half, but I'm not that far off, am I right? (Read More)...

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IRS Allows Health Plans to Cover More Treatments Before Deductible Is Met

2019-07-25

The Treasury Department and IRS added treatments for a range of chronic conditions to the list of preventive-care benefits for which a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) can pay—even if a plan enrollee's health care spending hasn't surpassed the plan deductible—without running afoul of the rules allowing pretax contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs). (Read More)...

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Ninth Circuit Decides to Not Go Back to the Future, Depublishes Vasquez Decision

2019-07-23

The Dynamex saga is back for a sequel. In a brief yet temporary win for employers, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals depublished its Vasquez opinion. (Read More)...

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2020 Leap Year Highlights Extra Pay Period Challenge

2019-07-23

While February typically has 28 days, in leap years—such as the forthcoming 2020—it sprouts a 29th. That can be a headache for HR and payroll professionals—resulting in an extra payday in the calendar year, depending on when and how employees are paid. (Read More)...

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What to Do when ICE Arrives at Your Workplace

2019-07-16

On Sunday July 14, immigration authorities began conducting raids targeting undocumented immigrants ordered by courts to be removed from the country, which will center on these 10 U.S. cities: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, New Orleans and San Francisco. (Read More)...

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IRS to Permit Truncated Social Security Numbers on W-2s to Fight ID Theft

2019-07-12

To help protect people from identity theft, the Internal Revenue Service has issued a final rule that will allow employers to shorten Social Security numbers (SSNs) or alternative taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) on Form W-2 wage and tax statements that are distributed to employees, beginning in 2021. (Read More)...

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Employers Should Review EEO-1 Guidance Before Pay-Data Reporting Deadline

2019-07-11

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a sample form, instructions and FAQs to help employers submit employee pay data—due to the agency by Sept. 30—sorted by job category, race, ethnicity and sex. (Read More)...

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California Lawmakers Ban Workplace Discrimination Based on Hairstyle

2019-07-09

California has joined New York City to become the first state to protect employees from discrimination based on natural hair and hairstyles associated with race. (Read More)...

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California Extends Paid Family Leave Benefits from 6 to 8 Weeks

2019-07-01

On June 27, 2019, Governor Gavin Newson (D) signed Senate Bill (SB) 83, which, beginning on July 1, 2020, will extend from six to eight weeks the maximum duration of paid family leave (PFL) benefits individuals may receive from California’s State Disability Insurance (SDI) program: (Read More)...

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CalSavers Retirement Savings Program Registration to Begin July 1

2019-06-21

In 2016, the California Legislature passed a bill that laid the foundation for a state-run retirement plan, and in 2018, the final governing regulations were adopted. Eligible employers can begin to register for the CalSavers Retirement Savings Program (CalSavers) on July 1. (Read More)...

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What Perks Must Employers Include in Overtime Pay Calculations?

2019-06-19

Employers may feel more comfortable offering certain employee perks and rewards if proposed changes to a federal wage and hour law are finalized, according to comments submitted to the government over the past few months. (Read More)...

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New state-run IRA for private sector opens July 1

2019-06-18

A new state workplace retirement savings program, CalSavers, will open to an estimated 250,00 to 300,000 employers on July 1 — offering an automatic IRA payroll deduction for the 7.5 million California workers with no retirement plan on the job. (Read More)...

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Local Minimum Wage Ordinance Hikes Coming July 1

2019-06-18

Throughout California, local cities and counties continue to pass minimum wage ordinances and other employment laws relating to paid sick leave and criminal background checks. On July 1, 2019, several local minimum wage rates will increase, and two new local minimum wage ordinances will go into effect. (Read More)...

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OSHA Updates Aim to Reduce Burden on Employers

2019-06-17

The final rule revised 14 standards for record keeping, general industry, the maritime industry and construction.  (Read More)...

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FCRA’s Seven-Year Reporting Window Begins with Charge, Not Dismissal

2019-06-17

The seven-year limit for reporting criminal charges on background checks begins when the charges are filed, not when they're dismissed, a federal appeals court recently ruled, meaning employers should know that criminal charges exceeding the seven-year limit shouldn't appear in employment screens. (Read More)...

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IRS Seeks Comments on 2020 Form W-4

2019-06-06

The IRS released for comment a draft 2020 Form W-4 that will significantly revise how employees calculate paycheck withholding. The IRS will not require employees to submit a new W-4 next year, which means that payroll processors will need to support both the old and the new withholding methods. (Read More)...

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Young Workers Report an Alarming Increase in Depression

2019-05-30

Symptoms of depression have surged among U.S. workers in the past five years, with younger employees showing the most dramatic increase, according to a survey of nearly half a million workers. (Read More)...

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2020 HSA Limits Rise Modestly, IRS Says

2019-05-29

Health savings account (HSA) contribution limits for 2020 are going up $50 for self-only coverage and $100 for family coverage, the IRS announced May 28, giving employers that sponsor high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) plenty of time to prepare for open enrollment season later this year. (Read More)...

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9th Circuit: California’s Strict Independent-Contractor Test Applies Retroactively

2019-05-06

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a blow to employers by ruling that California's stringent new "ABC" test for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor applies retroactively. (Read More)...

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DOL Says Certain Gig-Economy Workers Aren’t Employees

2019-05-01

According to a recent opinion letter from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), at least some gig-economy workers who find jobs through smartphone apps—such as drivers for ride-hailing services—are not covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). (Read More)...

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Form 300A Summary Posting Ends Soon But Don’t Toss Them Yet

2019-04-30

April 30 is the last day employers have to post the 2018 Cal/OSHA Form 300A Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300A). Tomorrow, employers can take down the notice. (Read More)...

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Employers Must Submit EEO-1 Pay Data by Sept. 30

2019-04-25

A federal judge ordered the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to collect employee pay data—sorted by race, ethnicity and sex—by Sept. 30. (Read More)...

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Employees in Addiction Recovery Could Receive Leave, SDI Benefits

2019-04-22

Do we need to give an employee protected time off to enter a residential facility for substance abuse recovery? Will she be eligible for State Disability Insurance?...

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District Judge Says ERISA Doesn’t Pre-Empt CalSavers Retirement Plan

2019-04-22

California can require employers to deduct pay from employees' paychecks for a state-sponsored retirement savings plan without running afoul of federal law, a federal judge in California ruled March 29. (Read More)...

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Cal/OSHA’s Revised Rules, Regulations Over the Last Year

2019-04-16

The Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board adopted a number of new regulations in 2018 that will affect a broad spectrum of California employers. (Read More)...

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Wage Statement Litigation Continues to Clog California Courts

2019-04-16

Most employers do not spend much time reviewing pay statements—which usually accompanying the employee's paycheck each pay period as a single piece of paper containing the hours worked, amounts paid, and other wage and hour information. These paystubs are generally a mere formality provided by employers each payday. (Read More)...

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Employer Prevails in FCRA Class Action in California

2019-04-16

On April 15, 2019, a California Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment for the employer in an action alleging class-wide violations of the hyper-technical provisions of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).1  Following just shortly after the Ninth Circuit’s pro-employee opinion in a similar case, Gilberg v. California Check Cashing Stores, the court’s opinion is a welcome development for embattled employers in California. (Read More)...

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Employment Law SSN No-Match Letters Return

2019-04-12

For the first time in seven years, employers are receiving Social Security number (SSN) no-match letters from the Social Security Administration when it has discovered that the W-2 records submitted by the employer don't match the administration's records on employee names and SSNs. This is a warning to employers to carefully check the employee's information. The problem could be as innocent as a typo or as serious as a stolen identity. (Read More)...

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EEOC Files Plan to Require EEO-1 Compensation Data Reporting by September 30, 2019

2019-04-05

In an April 3, 2019 filing in the federal district court that had ordered reinstatement of EEO-1 pay data reporting requirements, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explained its inability to comply with the court’s ruling on its present timeline, stating that it would be able to comply on an extended timeframe. Specifically, the EEOC informed the court that it would not be able to collect compensation data from employers (the so-called “Component-2” of the EEO-1 form) by May 31, 2019, but that, via the use of private contractors, the agency would be able to collect such data (for calendar year 2018) by September 30, 2019.  The EEOC further informed the judge that an attempt to collect two years of data (2018 and 2017 retrospectively) would likely result in decreased response rates and an unacceptable risk to the quality of data received. (Read More) ...

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Can Employees Decline FMLA Leave While Using Paid Time Off?

2019-04-02

Once an employer knows that a leave of absence qualifies under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), it must designate it as such, even if the employee wants to first exhaust paid-time-off benefits. (Read More)...

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New California Required Harassment Prevention Training FAQs White Paper

2019-04-01

You’ve all heard the news that California employers with five or more employees located anywhere must now providesexual harassment prevention training to all employees — not just supervisors, as was the previous law. (Read More)...

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DOL Releases a Proposed Rule to Clarify the Types of Compensation that Employers Must Include in the Overtime Calculation

2019-04-01

On March 28, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor released a proposed rule to amend the regulations at 29 CFR Part 778 to clarify and update the “regular rate” requirements under section 7(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 USC §207(e), focusing on the types of compensation and benefits that employers must include in the overtime calculation. (Read More)...

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DOL Opinion Letter Provides Guidance on FMLA Leave

2019-03-29

On March 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an opinion letter that provides clarity on how employers designate Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. (Read More)

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Justice Department Says ACA Should Be Struck Down The Justice Department is supporting a federal judge's ruling that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional. District court judge Reed O'Connor ruled on Dec. 14 that because Congress eliminat

2019-03-26

"The Department of Justice has determined that the district court's comprehensive opinion came to the correct conclusion and will support it on appeal," said Kerri Kupec, spokesperson for the Justice Department, as reported by CNN. (Read More)...

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EEOC Portal Opens for EEO-1 Filings With No Word on Employee Compensation

2019-03-19

On March 18, 2019, the EEO-1 filing portal opened, allowing employers with 100 or more employees and covered federal contractors with 50 or more employees to begin filing EEO-1 reports.  This is consistent with the schedule set by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) following the partial government shutdown in early 2019, which resulted in a postponement of the EEO-1 filing from March 31, 2019 until May 31, 2019. (Read More)...

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New Dads Can Bond with Baby Too!

2019-03-19

Our employee’s wife just had a baby and he is asking us if he can take time off work and how much he will get paid. What are we required to do? We have never had this come up before. (Read More)...

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The IRS Says Let Them Eat Snacks

2019-03-13

In recent guidance, the IRS continues its narrow position on an employer's ability to offer its employees free meals under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 119 without triggering taxable income equal to the value of the meals. (Read More)...

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California Employers: Beware More Stringent Criminal Background Check Requirements

2019-03-11

A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling has made already strict background check requirements even more stringent. The court held that the disclosure required under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) can consist only of the FRCA disclosure; it can’t contain any additional information, including the disclosure required under California’s Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA) (Gilberg v. California Check Cashing Stores, LLC, 913 F.3d 1169 (9th. Cir. 2019)). (Read More)...

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H-1B Cap: Critical Filing Dates for FY 2020

2019-03-07

Employers seeking to sponsor H-1B workers for fiscal year 2020 can begin filing petitions on April 1, 2019, for a start date of October 1, 2019.  The H-1B visa is used by businesses that want to employ foreign nationals to work in a specialty occupation requiring theoretical or technical expertise.  For FY 2020, cases will be considered accepted on the date the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) takes possession of the petition, not on the date the petition was postmarked. (Read More)...

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Judge Revives EEO-1 Pay-Data Reporting Requirement

2019-03-06

A federal judge has reinstated the revised EEO-1 form's pay-data reporting provisions, which were suspended in 2017 by President Donald Trump's administration. The controversial provisions require covered employers to report pay information by race, ethnicity and sex, but the mandate's effect date isn't clear. (Read More)...

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Workers’ Compensation Insurance Is Not Optional

2019-02-25

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office reminds employers that they must maintain valid workers’ compensation insurance coverage for all workers, including part-time employees. (Read More)...

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What Do California's New Training Requirements Mean for Staffing Firms?

2019-02-22

Last year, California enacted SB 1343, amending California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to expand employers' sexual-harassment-prevention training requirements.  Previously, employers with 50 or more employees had to provide their supervisory personnel with two hours of training every two years. (Read More)...

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SB 1300 Expands FEHA Litigation

2019-02-11

Last fall, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed SB 1300 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara), a comprehensive bill that makes several changes in the law for litigating sexual harassment claims. (Read More)...

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Guidance for California Employers on Agricultural Overtime Pay

2019-02-07

The California Labor Commissioner has posted guidance for agricultural employers and workers about new overtime requirements that went into effect January 1. (Read More) ...

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EEO-1 Filing Delayed and Extended

2019-02-01

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has delayed the “opening day” of the 2018 EEO-1 Survey to early March 2019 and moved the due date to May 31, 2019. The recent government shutdown caused this postponement. (Read More) ...

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The ABCs of THC: What Employers Need to Know About Marijuana Laws

2019-02-01

As U.S. support for the legalization of marijuana grows and more states approve marijuana's medical and recreational use, employers must understand the relevant legal developments and how they affect the workplace. (Read More)...

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Form 300A: Don’t Forget to Post February 1

2019-01-31

Remember that you need to post the Form 300A summary of job-related injuries and illnesses from 2018 at your place of business from February 1 through April 30. (Read More) ...

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H-1B Visa Premium Processing Resumes

2019-01-30

On January 28, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing for all Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 cap-subject H-1B visa petitions. (Read More)...

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Updated Human Trafficking Notices Released

2019-01-23

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) recently released updated human trafficking notices for employers. (Read More) ...

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Updated Human Trafficking Notices Released

2019-01-11

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) recently released updated human trafficking notices for employers. (Read More)...

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7 Legal Considerations When Using Temporary Staffing Apps

2019-01-10

Apps with names like tilr and Shiftgig use algorithms to match people to positions, supporting an on-demand staffing model akin to that used by ride-sharing apps to connect passengers with drivers. But regardless of the staffing model used, employers need to ensure compliance with myriad employment laws. (Read More)...

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State & Local Updates 6 California HR Issues to Watch in 2019

2019-01-04

In light of recent developments in California, HR teams are likely focused on creating meaningful anti-harassment training programs, complying with pay-equity laws, reviewing employee classifications and more. Here are the key issues to watch in the months ahead. (Read More)...

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EEOC Rescinds Financial Incentive Rules for Wellness Programs in 2019

2019-01-03

The new year brings a major change that affects employer wellness programs – the EEOC is rescinding regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) relating to the use of financial incentives in employer-sponsored wellness programs. (Read More) ...

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Employers: W-2s Due January 31 to IRS

2018-12-20

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reminds employers and other businesses of the January 31 filing deadline that now applies to filing Form W-2 wage statements and independent contractor forms. (Read More)...

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IRS Announces 2019 Standard Mileage Rates

2018-12-18

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued the 2019 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. (Read More) ...

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Don't Fall for These Year-End E-Mail Scams Targeting Payroll Data

2018-12-11

The IRS and FBI are urging employers to prepare for end-of-the-year scams that aim to steal employee information. (Read More)...

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Agency Issues Clarification for Sexual Harassment Training Deadline

2018-12-06

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has issued some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) discussing the new sexual harassment prevention training requirements that will have an impact on virtually every business in the state and all those businesses’ employees and supervisors. (Read More)...

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IRS Extends Form 1095 Distribution Deadline to March 4

2018-12-03

On Nov. 29, the IRS extended the original Jan. 31, 2019, deadline for employers to distribute 2018 Forms 1095-C or 1095-B to employees. They now have until March 4, 2019, to get employees those forms. (Read More)...

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California Workers May Be Covered by Several Paid-Sick-Leave Laws

2018-11-27

Complying with multiple paid-sick-leave laws isn't easy for employers, particularly in California, where workers may be covered by state, local and industry-specific rules. (Read More)...

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Social Security Announces 2019 Taxable Wage Base

2018-11-27

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced that the Social Security taxable wage base for 2019 will increase to $132,900 from $128,400. This is the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax for 2019. (Read More)...

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CalChamber Capitol News Report Highlights New Laws for 2019

2018-11-26

CalChamber is featuring three new 2019 laws in its latest version of Capitol News Report.  The video provides details about expansion of sexual harassment prevention training requirements and the need to provide lactation accommodations in the workplace as well as providing information about a mandate requiring that women be placed on corporate boards. (Read More) ...

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Time to Prepare for ACA Reporting in 2019

2018-11-21

The IRS has published final forms and instructions to help employers prepare for next year's reporting on the health care coverage they offered employees in 2018. Employers subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) must distribute reporting forms to employees and file with the IRS early in 2019. (Read More)...

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Federal DOT Preempts Meal, Rest Breaks Laws for Hazardous Materials Drivers

2018-11-19

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently issued a Notice of Administrative Determination of Preemption finding, stating that the Federal Hazardous Material Transportation Law and the Hazardous Materials Regulations preempt California meal and rest break laws for all hazardous materials motor vehicle drivers. (Read More)...

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IRS Reminds Eligible Employees to Plan Now for Health FSAs in 2019

2018-11-19

The Internal Revenue Service is reminding eligible employees that now is the time to begin planning to take full advantage of their employer’s health flexible spending arrangement (FSA) during 2019. (Read More)...

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2019 FSA Contribution Cap Rises to $2,700, IRS Belatedly Announces

2018-11-16

Employers can let employees put an extra $50 into their health care flexible spending accounts (health FSAs) next year, but for some the announcement may have come too late. (Read More)...

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For 2019, 401(k) Contribution Limit for Employees Rises to $19,000

2018-11-01

Employee 401(k) contributions for 2019 will top off at $19,000—a $500 increase from 2018—while the "all sources" maximum contribution (employer and employee combined) rises to $56,000, up $1,000, the IRS announced Nov. 1. (Read More)...

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Remember to Give Employees Time Off to Vote

2018-10-31

The general election is November 6, 2018. And because employers must display a poster describing voting leave requirements at least 10 days before every statewide election, yours should have been up as of Friday, October 26. (Read More)...

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Independent Contractors' "ABC Test" Limited to Claims Arising Under a Wage Order

2018-10-29

You may remember our previous blog post about the California Supreme Court’s rather groundbreaking decision about which test should be applied when determining whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor (Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, No. S222732 (April 30, 2018)). (Read More)...

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New 2019 Exempt Classification Rates

2018-10-26

Once again, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) announced rate changes for the computer software employee exemption and the licensed physician and surgeon exemption. These new rates take effect January 1, 2019. (Read More) ...

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Do Disability Laws Cover Medical Marijuana Use?

2018-10-22

The legal status of marijuana in the United States is constantly changing, and one of the biggest questions for the workplace is whether medical marijuana use is protected under disability-discrimination laws. (Read More)...

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Remember California Has Own Joint-Employer Standard

2018-10-16

It’s important for employers to keep in mind that California has its own set of rules when it comes to joint-employer liability. (Read More)...

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2019 Payroll Taxes Will Hit Higher Incomes

2018-10-12

Starting Jan. 1, 2019, the maximum earnings that will be subject to the Social Security payroll tax will increase by $4,500 to $132,900—up from the $128,400 maximum for 2018, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced Oct. 11.  (Read More)...

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English-Only Policies in California Are Tough to Justify

2018-10-11

class="ZWSC-cleaned">California employers need to make sure they're complying with strict new regulations governing English-only policies and national-origin discrimination. (Read More)...

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Updated Guidance on Paid Family Leave Tax Credit Issued by IRS

2018-10-08

An updated guidance on a tax credit for employers who provide paid family and medical leave to their employees has been issued by the IRS (Notice 2018-71). The tax credit applies regardless of whether an employer has fewer than 50 employees and therefore is not covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act. (Read More)...

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Local Minimum Wage Ordinances May Impact Split Shift Premium Requirements

2018-10-05

A recent update on the California Labor Commissioner’s website signals a change in interpretation about how employees must be paid when they work a split shift. The updated information states that the split shift premium owed is one hour at the state minimum wage, or the local minimum wage if there is one, whichever is greater. Historically, the split shift premium has been based only on the statewide minimum wage. (Read More)...

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Governor Signs New Employment Laws for 2019

2018-10-02

With a few strokes of his pen on September 30th, 2018, the last day to sign or veto bills, Governor Jerry Brown altered the landscape for California employers in a number of significant ways. Here are some of the new laws taking effect in January 2019 that employers should anticipate: (Read More)...

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EEOC Continues to Scrutinize Criminal Record Screening Policies

2018-10-01

Employers that use criminal record-screening policies must continue to be vigilant about compliance with all applicable laws and should know that the EEOC’s scrutiny of such policies, while perhaps scaled back, has not ended.1  To the contrary, the EEOC has demonstrated a continued interest in discouraging employers from directly or indirectly screening out job applicants who belong to protected classes under Title VII and tend to be arrested and convicted at disproportionately higher rates.  (Read More)...

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Prepare for EEOC Onsite Visits

2018-09-26

HR professionals whose companies have pending Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges against them should be ready for the possibility of an EEOC onsite visit. Use the visit as an opportunity to show how the company complies with anti-discrimination laws. (Read More)...

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California Enacts New Law Responding to Federal OSHA Changes

2018-09-25

On Sept. 19, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 2334 to make various workplace safety and health changes to California law, largely in response to recent activity by President Donald Trump's administration. (Read More)...

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New Law Provides Extremely Narrow Exception to California Rest Break Rules for Petroleum Facilities

2018-09-21

Tis the season for new California laws, and yesterday Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill allowing an extremely limited exception for required rest breaks in the petroleum industry.  Nearly all nonexempt employees in California are entitled to duty-free, ten-minute rest breaks, but Assembly Bill 2605 allows certain union employees working in safety sensitive positions in petroleum facilities covered by Wage Order 1 to remain on-call during their rest breaks. (Read More)...

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Full 9th Circuit Approves "20% Rule" for Tipped Employees

2018-09-20

Many years ago, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance known as the "20% Rule" or "80/20 Rule," which provides that, where tipped employees spend in excess of 20% of their workweek on non-tip-earning tasks, no tip credit may be taken for the time spent in such duties.  The 20% Rule has been the subject of much litigation in courts across the country.  In September 2017, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the DOL’s guidance, finding that it was not entitled to any deference.1 A year later, on September 18, 2018, the full Ninth Circuit reversed the earlier three-judge panel decision, and held that the DOL guidance was entitled to deference,2 meaning that the 20% Rule is alive and well (at least in the Ninth Circuit). (Read More)...

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Updated FMLA Forms Are Now Available

2018-09-19

The federal Department of Labor (DOL) has released updated forms for managing leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). (Read More) ...

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Updated FCRA Form for Background Checks Must Be Used Starting September 21

2018-09-19

The federal Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection has released an updated version of the Summary of Rights notice required by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Employers must use the new version beginning on September 21, 2018. (Read More) ...

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New Proposition 65 Rules Include Supply Chain Liability

2018-09-18

Minimizing liability is quintessential for any prudent business. Liability could mean costly lawsuits, the loss of valuable business opportunities or relationships, large monetary penalties, serious financial or reputational damage, or even product recalls. Under Proposition 65 (Prop. 65), liability for businesses can be all of the above. (Read More)...

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Employer Costs for Employee Compensation news release text

2018-09-18

Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $36.22 per hour worked in June 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $24.72 per hour worked and accounted for 68.3 percent of these costs, while benefit costs averaged $11.50 and accounted for the remaining 31.7 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $34.19 per hour worked. Total employer compensation costs for state and local government workers averaged $49.23 per hour worked. (Read More) ...

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Oct. 15 Deadline Nears for Medicare Part D Coverage Notices

2018-09-10

Plan sponsors that offer prescription drug coverage must provide notices of "creditable" or "non-creditable" coverage to Medicare-eligible individuals before each year's Medicare Part D annual enrollment period by Oct. 15. (Read More) ...

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5 Tips for California Agricultural Employers

2018-09-05

Agricultural employers in California face unique workplace challenges due to the outdoor and seasonal nature of many jobs—but they still must comply with the state's stringent employment laws. Here are some ways that they can help ensure compliance and establish safe working conditions for employees. (Read More)...

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FMLA Forms Extended Through August 2021

2018-08-31

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that its Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) certification forms and notices are valid for three more years, until Aug. 31, 2021. DOL didn't make any substantive changes to the forms, other than to announce the new expiration date, notes Epstein Becker Green. (Read More)
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New 2018 Midyear Employment Law White Paper

2018-08-14

We are over halfway through 2018, and yet again, California employers have been busy paying attention to plenty of new employment law developments. You need to make sure you are in compliance with new regulations, court rulings, local ordinances and more. (Read More) ...

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EDD Updates Required Poster, Pamphlet — Prior Versions OK Until January

2018-08-07

Recently, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) updated a required California workplace poster — EDD Notice to Employees (DE 1857A). The revised notice is dated May 2018 but was published in July 2018. (Read More)...

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California Provides Guidance Regarding Its Salary History Ban

2018-08-07

On January 1, 2018, California’s salary history ban (A.B. 168) took effect. Under A.B. 168, California employers are prohibited from “seek[ing] salary history information” from an applicant.1 The statute also prohibits employers from relying on an applicant’s prior salary history “as a factor in determining whether to offer employment . . . or what salary to offer an applicant.”2(Read More)...

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De Minimis No More?

2018-08-03

Today, the California Supreme Court issued its ruling in Troester v. Starbucks Corporation, and departed from federal law’s more employer-friendly version of the de minimis rule, which it characterized as stuck in the “industrial world.” (Read More)...

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New Proposition 65 Regulations Take Effect August 30

2018-08-02

WARNING: Beginning August 30, 2018, new Proposition 65 regulations will take effect that significantly overhaul longstanding warning regulations and depart from the rules that businesses have relied on for decades. (Read More) ...

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5 Workplace Privacy Rules California Employers Must Follow

2018-07-25

Many employers have policies stating that workers don't have an expectation of privacy when using company resources, such as computers, phones and e-mail programs. This type of policy is usually permissible in California, but employers must be aware of the state's stringent privacy rules that afford more protection to employees than federal statutes do. (Read More)
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Cal/OSHA Provides New Safety Information for Housekeeping Workers

2018-07-18

The first ergonomic standard in the nation written specifically to protect hotel housekeepers from musculoskeletal injuries went into effect on July 1, 2018, and requires employers to complete an initial worksite evaluation by October 1 to identify and address housekeeping worker hazards. (Read More) ...

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California Enacts a Privileged Communication Law Regarding Sexual Harassment Claims

2018-07-12

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, many states have been making concerted efforts to address and prevent sexual harassment through proposed legislation. On July 9, California Governor Jerry Brown signed one of those proposals, Assembly Bill 2770, into law.(Read More)
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Judge Rules California Employers May Allow ICE Access Without Warrant

2018-07-10

California employers will not be penalized for allowing federal immigration enforcement agents without a judicial warrant or subpoena to access their worksites and review employee records after a federal district court temporarily blocked the state from enforcing a key provision of a controversial 2017 law. (Read More)...

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9th Circuit Expounds the Meaning of Compensable Time

2018-07-09

When is time compensable under California law? In a recent decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Sali v. Corona Regional Medical Center, the court explained that there are two categories of compensable time: (Read More)...

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What Does the Supreme Court's Union-Dues Ruling Mean for HR?

2018-07-09

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has banned mandatory union fees in the public sector, HR professionals working for certain government employers will need to update their payroll practices. (Read More)...

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Employment Law Supreme Court Bans Mandatory Union Fees for Public-Sector Workers

2018-06-27

In a closely watched case, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned 40 years of precedent by ruling that mandatory public-sector union dues are unconstitutional. (Read More)...

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Train Managers to Spot Employment Law Issues

2018-06-18

CHICAGO—There's been an accident at work, an employee is injured and multiple co-workers witnessed the event. After the injured worker has been helped, the manager supervising the crew should: (Read More)...

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IRS 2019 Form W-4 Represents Major Changes to Payroll

2018-06-06

On June 6, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a draft Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, for 2019. Several changes are fundamental in nature, potentially requiring significant reprogramming of payroll systems. State and local tax authorities are also expected to respond with similar changes. (Read More)...

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What Employers Should Know About Expired FMLA Forms

2018-06-05

You may have noticed that the federal Department of Labor (DOL) forms used to manage leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) expired on May 31, 2018. If you looked for updated forms before they expired, you wouldn’t have found any. (Read More)...

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5 Workplace Compliance Issues for Northern California

2018-06-04

aliforniais known for its abundance of workplace laws and regulations—and compliance gets particularly complicated for businesses in the northern part of the state that must follow more stringent local rules. (Read More)...

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ACA's Affordability Threshold Rises in 2019

2018-06-01

Employers should not overlook the Affordable Care Act's (ACA's) annual inflation-adjusted shift in cost-sharing limits for group health plan coverage, as they could face steep penalties for failing to provide affordable coverage under the ACA's shared-responsibility provisions. (Read More)...

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New National Origin Regulations Coming July 1

2018-05-23

As previously reported, the proposed amendments to the state Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) addressing national origin protections were sent to the Office of Administrative Law for approval. The Office of Administrative Law recently approved these regulations, and they are effective July 1, 2018. (Read More)...

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Epic Win: Supreme Court Saves Employment Arbitration As We Know It

2018-05-21

To the relief of employers across the country, the Supreme Court today ruled in a 5-to-4 decision that class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements do not violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and are, in fact, enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). (Read More)...

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8 Things Not to Forget When Filling Out I-9 Forms

2018-05-11

An uptick in federal immigration enforcement priorities combined with new California rules make it more challenging than ever for employers to ensure immigration compliance. Properly completing and maintaining I-9 forms is essential. (Read More) ...

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Electronic Reporting of Form 300A Now Required

2018-05-09

On April 30, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a “trade release” that could affect employers in all states, including states with state plans, such as California. States that have not yet adopted regulations at least as effective as the federal regulations regarding electronic reporting of Form 300A, Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses are now required to submit this data by July 1, 2018. (Read More)...

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California Supreme Court Gives Employers the ABCs Of How To Determine Independent Contractor Status

2018-05-01

In Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court (2018), the California Supreme Court added alphabet soup to the already murky independent contractor misclassification waters by adopting a version of the “ABC test” used in other jurisdictions. (Read More) ...

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2018 Family HSA Contribution Limit Stays at $6,900 After All

2018-04-30

The IRS on April 26 announced relief for taxpayers with family coverage under a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) and who contribute to a health savings account (HSA). (Read More)...

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EEO-1 Deadline Extended to June 1, 2018

2018-04-27

The deadline for employers to file their 2017 EEO-1 reports was recently extended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s EEO-1 Joint Reporting Committee. The reports were originally due on or before March 31, 2018, so for employers who have not yet completed their filing, the extension is welcome news. (Read More)...

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DOL Issues First Opinion Letters in 9 Years, Provides Clarity on FMLA and FLSA Matters

2018-04-19

As we previously reported, last June the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it would reinstate the use of Opinion Letters, an interpretive practice that had been replaced by the issuance of Administrator Interpretations during the Obama years. (Read More)...

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IRS Issues First FAQs on Paid-Leave Credit

2018-04-19

When the IRS posted a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on April 9 regarding the new employer tax credit for paid family and medical leave, it provided some assurance for employers that plan to take advantage of the credit but left many compliance questions unanswered. (Read More)...

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Car Dealership Service Advisors Are Exempt From Federal Overtime Laws

2018-04-04

The United States Supreme Court recently held that service advisors at car dealerships are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime pay requirement under an exemption for any “salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles …” (Read More)...

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Who Won? – The New Tip Pool Law

2018-04-02

On March 23rd, President Trump signed into law a massive spending bill. Buried on page 2025 of the spending bill, available here, is the following amendment to Section 203(m) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal wage-hour law: “An employer may not keep tips received by its employees for any purposes, including allowing managers or supervisors to keep any portion of employees’ tips, regardless of whether or not the employer takes a tip credit.” (Read More) ...

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Update on Cal/OSHA Hotel Housekeeping Injury Standard

2018-03-29

After nearly six years of discussion and debate, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board approved a standard on "Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention." The final regulation was recently approved by the Office of Administrative Law and will be effective July 1. (Read More)...

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Ready or Not, New Disability Claims

2018-03-29

The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL's) new procedures for processing disability claims take effect April 1. Any employer-sponsored plan that deals with disability claims should be amended as needed. If plan documents have not yet been updated, employers should still prepare to handle claims under the new procedures, benefits attorneys advise. (Read More)...

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New Workplace Safety Rules for Hotel Housekeepers Effective July 1

2018-03-16

The Office of Administrative Law recently approved a new workplace safety and health regulation specific to housekeepers in the hotel and hospitality industry, which will become effective July 1, 2018. Cal/OSHA will enforce the new standard — the first ergonomic standard in the nation written specifically to protect hotel housekeepers from musculoskeletal injuries. (Read More) ...

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Overtime Rule Changes Are Coming, but Will They Be in Time?

2018-03-15

The long, drawn-out process of updating the overtime-pay rules that began under the Obama administration and changed direction once President Donald Trump took office now faces a wild card: If the Department of Labor (DOL) fails to issue a new final rule before the 2020 elections, and if the Democrats retake the presidency, the rule that was struck down in 2016 could come back to life. (Read More)...

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DOJ Challenges California Law Placing Restrictions on Employers' Ability to Allow ICE into the Workplace

2018-03-14

On March 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit challenging California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act (Assembly Bill 450), among other laws designed to limit the extent state law enforcement and prisons may cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  The DOJ’s lawsuit requests injunctive relief against California, and argues that the Immigrant Worker Protection Act and other California laws violate the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. (Read More)...

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California Supreme Court Issues Worker Friendly Overtime Ruling

2018-03-07

Overtime pay in California is based on the employee’s “regular rate of pay,” which is not always an employee’s normal hourly wage and must include almost all forms of pay that the employee receives. But how do you calculate the regular rate of pay when an employee receives both an hourly wage and a flat sum bonus – such as an extra $15 for working a weekend shift? (Read More)...

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IRS Lowers 2018 Family HSA Contribution Limit by $50

2018-03-07

The 2018 contribution limit for health savings accounts (HSAs) linked to family coverage will be $6,850—not $6,900, as the IRS had previously announced. The IRS recalculated the limit because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that passed at the end of 2017 applies the so-called chained consumer price index (chained CPI) to increases in HSA and a few other employee benefit contribution limits. (Read More) ...

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California Employers Get Help with Immigration Inspection Notices

2018-03-01

California employers can no longer voluntarily consent to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) worksite inspections; rather, they must obtain warrants and subpoenas from immigration agents and provide certain notices to employees. To aid employers through the new process, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) recently developed a template (see http://www.dir.ca.gov/DLSE/LC_90.2_EE_Notice.pdf) that employers may use to notify employees about an upcoming inspection. (Read More) ...

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California's "Immigrant Worker Protection Act" in Effect; DLSE Issues Notice Template and Guidance

2018-03-01

California’s A.B. 450, the “Immigrant Worker Protection Act,” took effect on Jan. 1, 2018, imposing strict new obligations on all California employers during immigration enforcement actions and when receiving a Notice of Inspection (NOI) from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding I-9 forms and other employment records. Employers should pay close attention to their new obligations under A.B. 450, particularly as ICE has signaled that it will be responding to this new law with increased raids and inspections at California workplaces. Joint guidance on A.B. 450 recently issued by the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and the California attorney general, as well as a notice template from the DLSE, should assist employers with their compliance efforts. (Read More) ...

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IRS Issues New Form W-4 and Updates Tax Withholding Calculator

2018-03-01

The IRS has issued a new Form W-4 and updated its online withholding calculator to reflect this year's revised tax rates and brackets. HR should alert employees to check their tax withholding and to submit a new W-4 if they want to make changes. (Read More)...

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State Offers Resources for Workplace Emergency Planning

2018-02-26

The 2017 California wildfire season consisted of 9,133 fires that burned more than 1.3 million acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It’s considered the most destructive on record — and in January, the recently-charred land caused severe mudslides during a deadly storm that shut down about 30 miles of Highway 101 between Northern and Southern California. (Read More) ...

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Attorney General, Labor Commissioner Issues Guidance and FAQ for Employers on Immigration Enforcement Actions

2018-02-14

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Labor Commissioner Julie Su yesterday issued two documents for California employers dealing with California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450). (Read More) ...

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Labor Commissioner Releases Notice to Employee for Form I-9 Inspections

2018-02-09

California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450) provides California workers with protection from immigration enforcement while on the job. This law applies to all California employers and was effective January 1, 2018. (Read More) ...

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Form I-9: Use of Document Receipt OK for Limited Circumstances/Time

2018-02-09

When completing an I-9 Form to verify work eligibility, can an employee show us receipts for documents instead of presenting the documents themselves? If so, how should the receipts be noted on the Form I-9? (Read More) ...

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Get Ready for the 2017 EEO-1 Survey

2018-01-31

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that they have completed mailing notification letters for the 2017 EEO-1 survey. (Read More)...

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Reminder: Post Form 300A Starting February 1

2018-01-25

Don’t forget that you need to post the Form 300A summary of job-related injuries and illnesses from 2017 at your place of business from February 1 through April 30. (Read More)...

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Common Pay Stub Errors California Employers Should Avoid

2018-01-25

California HR professionals know the importance of promptly and accurately paying employees for all hours worked and that failing to do so can lead to expensive class-action lawsuits. It's essential to also note that employers that don't list certain information on pay statements can find themselves in hot water. (Read More)...

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New Law Restricts Immigration Enforcement at Worksites

2018-01-24

As of January 1, California employers must comply with strict rules passed under the new Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450), which protects workers in the state from immigration enforcement while they’re on the job. (Read More) ...

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IRS Releases New Withholding Tables for 2018

2018-01-12

The IRS has released updated income-tax withholding tables for 2018 that reflect changes made by the tax reform law enacted at the end of December. Employers should begin using the 2018 withholding tables by Feb. 15, the IRS said. The new withholding tables are designed to work with the Form W-4 that workers have already filed with their employers to claim withholding allowances. (Read More)...

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IRS Extends Deadline to Supply ACA Forms to Employees

2018-01-03

The IRS has extended by 30 days—until March 2, 2018—the due date for distributing 2017 health coverage information forms to employees. The deadlines for filing these forms with the IRS were not changed. (Read More)...

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2018 IRS Mileage Rates Announced

2017-12-22

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued the 2018 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. This year, the business rate increases one cent per mile. (Read More)...

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Leveraging Untapped Talent Pools to Help Your Business Thrive

2017-12-21

Let’s rethink how we’ve traditionally sourced the “ideal” candidate. Let’s consider alternative, more creative ways to find talent. And let’s do it together at SHRM Live 2018. (Read More)...

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NLRB Overturns Obama Administration's Definition of "Joint Employer"

2017-12-15

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) jettisoned the Obama administration's much-criticized broad definition of "joint employer" on Dec. 14, a move that's been widely expected since President Trump appointed two additional Republicans to the board earlier this year. As a result, indirect control by one organization of another is no longer enough to be considered a joint employer. There must instead be direct control, making it tougher for contractors and workers at franchised businesses to form unions. (Read More)...

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The Trump Board Signals Changes to Come

2017-12-15

In the past two weeks, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has made three important announcements that signal likely changes to come under the Trump administration. (Read More) ...

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California's WARN Act Applies to Temporary Layoffs

2017-12-15

A California appellate court has ruled that California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which requires 60 days of advance notice of "mass layoffs," applies to temporary layoffs and furloughs.(Read More)...

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Expansive Workplace Retaliation Law Takes Effect In the New Year

2017-12-07

A new California workplace retaliation law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018, that expands the state labor commissioner's enforcement authority. Employers should know what to expect. (Read More)...

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The Minimum Wage in 2018: A Rates-Only Update

2017-12-07

Minimum wage laws can impact businesses of all sizes, whether operating nationwide, in multiple jurisdictions, or only in one city, county or state. To help manage this challenge, we are publishing a rates-only update so employers know the minimum amount they must pay nonexempt employees. (Read More)...

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SSA Revises Previously Announced Payroll Tax Cap for 2018

2017-12-07

On Nov. 27, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it had revised the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (the "taxable maximum") for 2018, replacing the amount that the SSA had originally announced in October. (Read More)...

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Remember: W-2s Due January 31 to IRS

2017-11-28

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reminds employers and other businesses of the January 31 filing deadline that now applies to filing Form W-2 wage statements and independent contractor forms. (Read More)...

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Changes in Previously Announced COLAs

2017-11-28

In October, the 2018 FICA taxable wage base (the maximum amount of an employee’s wages with respect to which the Old-Age, Survivor and Disability Income portion of FICA taxes is payable) had been announced as $128,700, up from this year’s $127,200. (Read More)...

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New Mandatory Poster on Transgender Rights for California Workplaces

2017-11-22

California recently passed a new law (SB 396) that requires all California employers to post a “Transgender Rights in the Workplace” poster starting January 1, 2018. (Read More)...

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IRS Prepares to Send ACA Penalty Letters by Year's End

2017-11-20

The IRS announced it will soon send out penalty notices to employers subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that failed to provide ACA-compliant coverage to full-time employees. Employers that receive a penalty letter will have just 30 days to respond before the IRS demands payment. (Read More)...

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2018 401k Contribution Limits Rise

2017-11-13

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced cost of living adjustments affecting 401(k) pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2018 — including an increase in the amount employees can contribute to their 401(k) plans. (Read More)...

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New 2018 Exempt Classification Rates

2017-11-01

California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) announced rate changes for the computer software employee exemption and the licensed physician and surgeon exemption. The new rates take effect January 1, 2018. (Read More)...

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IRS Issues 2018 COLAs

2017-10-24

In Notice 2017-64, the Internal Revenue Service has announced the cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) being made to various limitations applicable to retirement plans for 2018. Some of those limitations have increased, and some remain unchanged. The major limitations that were announced are as follows: (Read More)...

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New California Workplace Laws for 2018 and How to Get Ready

2017-10-23

Governor Brown has signed into law a number of significant employment-related bills that will impact California workplaces. Here’s a summary of key laws taking effect on January 1, 2018, along with best practices to get ready -- and ensure compliance.
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2018 Payroll Tax Cap Will Nudge Slightly Higher

2017-10-20

The maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax in 2018 will be $128,700, up by $1,500. By Jan. 1, employers should adjust their payroll systems to account for the higher taxable wage base and notify affected employees that more of their paychecks will be subject to payroll withholding. (Read More)...

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California Statewide Ban-the-Box Law Signed By Governor

2017-10-17

On October 14, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1008, which will add a section to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) containing new state-wide restrictions on an employer’s ability to make pre-hire and personnel decisions based on an individual’s criminal history, including a significant and far reaching “ban-the-box” component.1  AB 1008 is effective on January 1, 2018. (Read More)...

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Things Employers Should Know About Emergencies and the Workplace

2017-10-12

Fires are currently raging across California, bringing tragedy and loss and shrouding much of the state in smoke and ash....

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ACA: IRS Releases 2017 Reporting Forms

2017-10-11

With no changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the horizon, employers must remember their reporting requirements. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released final forms and instructions for 2017 ACA tax reporting, as detailed below. (Read More)...

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DACA and Form I-9

2017-09-19

On September 5, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Homeland Security will terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA will expire on March 5, 2018. (Read More) ...

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EEO Reporting: Requirement to Collect Pay Data by Race and Gender Halted

2017-08-31

Yesterday, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued an immediate stay of a rule that would have required private employers with more than 100 employees to report how much they pay employees by race, ethnicity and gender on their EEO-1 reports. (Read More)...

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News & Analysisï„…ASAP Mandatory Use of New Form I-9 to Begin Soon

2017-08-29

As a reminder, on July 17, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, which employers must begin using no later than September 18, 2017. Many of the changes are subtle, focusing on revising the form’s instructions and wording, and clarifying the list of acceptable documents. (Read More)...

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Reminder to California Employers: Law Requires Electronic Filing/Payment of Payroll Taxes

2017-08-09

The California Chamber of Commerce is reminding employers with 10 or more employees that they are required to electronically submit employment tax returns, wage reports, and payroll tax deposits to the Employment Development Department (EDD). (Read More)...

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Do Employers Need to Accommodate Medical Marijuana Users?

2017-07-27

A registered medical marijuana user who was fired by her employer for failing a drug test can proceed in state court with her disability discrimination claim, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled. (Read More)...

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For Calendar-Year Benefit Plans, Form 5500 Is Due July 31

2017-07-27

Calendar-year benefit plans must file 2016 Form 5500 by July 31, 2017.  The 2016 Form 5500 instructions were updated to reflect an increase in the maximum civil penalty amount assessable under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), among other changes. (Read More)...

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Appellate Court Nixes Employee Arbitration Agreements

2017-07-26

Overview: By Decision dated July 19, 2017 (the “Decision”),the Appellate Division, First Department (the “First Department”) (which has jurisdiction over Manhattan and Bronx) held that arbitration agreements obligating employees to waive their rights to bring collective disputes, such as class actions regarding wage disputes, were unlawful and unenforceable because they “run afoul of the National Labor Relations Act” (the “NLRA”). (Read More)
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Veterans Reporting Opens Soon

2017-07-24

The 2017 Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) filing season starts August 1, 2017, and the filing deadline is September 30, 2017. (Read More)...

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Top 10 Q&As for Tough I-9 Issues

2017-07-20

Over the next three and a half years, expect a marked increase in workplace immigration enforcement—in addition to an uptick in I-9 investigations. Employers probably will also see increased activity by the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division and the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS') Office of Fraud Detection and National Security. Staying informed of the latest trends and requirements will be key to companies' immigration compliance efforts. (Read More)...

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New Form I-9 Released, Again

2017-07-18

Today, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The new version bears a revision date of 07/17/17 N. The Form I-9 has been revised twice in less than one year. (Read More)...

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How Can Multistate Employers Develop Solid Drug-Testing Policies?

2017-07-14

Employers that do business in multiple states must comply with a range of state laws when drug testing, which can be complicated for many reasons. Here's what employers should know. (Read More)...

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California Employers: Don't Forget About New Domestic Violence Notice

2017-07-11

If you have 25 or more employees, you now must provide new employees with a written notice about the rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking to take protected time off for medical treatment or legal proceedings. The notice also contains information on victims’ rights to accommodation and protections against discrimination. (Read More)...

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Reminder: Current Drug Use Not Protected Under ADA

2017-06-28

A recent federal court decision is a good reminder that applicants or employees who currently use illegal drugs or marijuana or abuse alcohol are not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Conduct is key: The disease of addiction may be protected but misconduct is not (Scott v. Harrah’s LLC. (D. Nev. 2017)). (Read More) ...

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Top 10 Employment Cases of 2017 Reviewed

2017-06-21

Three of the 10 most groundbreaking and relevant employment cases for HR professionals so far this year raise issues relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. Three more center around Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims. Speaking at the SHRM 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louis Richard Lessig, an attorney with Brown & Connery in Westmont, N.J., discussed how these cases can serve as lessons—and warnings—to other employers. (Read More) ...

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New California Criminal History Regulations Coming July 1

2017-06-13

The California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) has finalized new regulations  under the Fair Employment and Housing Act imposing significant limitations on California employers’ consideration of criminal history information when making hiring, promotion, and other employment decisions. The rules, which borrow heavily from existing EEOC guidelines, go into effect on July 1, 2017. (Read More)...

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New Transgender Regulations Coming July 1; More Restroom Rules

2017-06-01

The California Office of Administrative Law approved new regulations that specifically address protections for transgender persons, including equal access to use of facilities, such as restrooms or locker rooms. These regulations will be filed with the Secretary of State’s office and are effective on July 1, 2017. (Read More)...

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California Supreme Court Answers "One Day's Rest in Seven" Questions

2017-05-12

On May 8, the California Supreme Court answered three questions related to seventh day of work rules (Mendoza v. Nordstrom Inc., No. S224611 (May 8, 2017)). These questions are important for California employers and provide guidance on how they can schedule employees. Overall, the California Supreme Court’s answers were helpful for employers. (Read More) ...

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ACA Repeal Effort Moves to Senate - Employers Should Continue Compliance for Now

2017-05-09

On May 4, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA). The bill, which seeks to repeal revenue-related portions of the ACA, now moves to the Senate for consideration. Media coverage of the bill has focused on its curtailment of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, repeal of the individual health insurance mandate penalty, and effect on the individual insurance market, but the bill, if approved by the Senate and signed into law, would also have a significant impact on employers subject to the ACA. (Read More)...

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IRS Sets 2018 HSA Contribution Limits

2017-05-08

The amount that individuals may contribute annually to their health savings accounts (HSAs) for self-only coverage will rise by $50 next year. For HSAs linked to family coverage, the contribution cap will rise by $150. (Read More)...

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California Wage Orders Updated

2017-05-02

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) recently updated most of the Wage Orders to reflect the 2017 and 2018 increases in the state minimum wage. The updated Wage Orders include Wage Orders 1 through 13, 15 and 16. Wage Orders 14 and 17 have not been updated at this time. (Read More)...

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Redesigned Green Cards, Employment Authorization Documents Debut May 1

2017-04-25

New permanent residents and workers granted employment authorization will begin receiving redesigned green cards and work documents with "enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features," according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). (Read More)...

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PIHRA 2017 HR Certification Scholarships

2017-04-21

As part of its commitment to the human resources community, the PIHRA Foundation annually grants scholarships to support HR professionals. (Read More) ...

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HR Alert: USCIS Reminds Employers to Address Form I-9 Glitch

2017-04-19

Employers that downloaded the Form I-9 from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website Nov. 14-17, 2016, are being asked to make sure that employees' Social Security numbers appear correctly in Section 1. (Read More)...

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New Criminal Background Regulations Coming July 1

2017-03-28

Today, the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved new regulations relating to the use of criminal background information in employment decisions. These regulations will be filed with the Secretary of State’s office and are effective on July 1, 2017. Employers will have additional burdens under the new regulations. (Read More)...

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Have Workers in the Military? The 4 USERRA Requirements You Should Know

2017-03-15

​U.S. employees who take leave from work to participate in military service have the right to be reinstated to their old jobs under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Many employers, though, don't realize that the law applies to them, according to Rosanne Sattler, an attorney with Posternak, Blankstein & Lund in Boston. (Read More)...

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CalSHRM Conference Registration Available for Purchase

2017-03-14

Are you interested in attending the CalShrm Conference on April 19 - April 21, 2017? If so, we have a member who is interested in selling her registration. Cheryl Powers purchased the conference and is no longer able to attend. If you are interested, please contact Cheryl directly at cpowers@amwc.us. Thank you!...

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How to Conduct a Fair-Pay Audit in California

2017-03-07

Recent changes to pay equity laws in California make it essential for employers to periodically audit their pay practices. But employment attorneys say it's critical for HR professionals to get executive buy-in before starting the process. (Read More)...

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CalSHRM's 2017 California State Legislative & HR Conference

2017-03-01

The California State Council of SHRM (CalSHRM) is the official California state affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. The 2017 California State legislative & HR Conference is where key business decision makers, business owners, senior level officers, mid-level management and human resource professionals come to learn about important California and federal legislation and employment issues that are or will be impacting their business in the future. (Read More)...

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Check Out the Updated Form I-9 Handbook

2017-02-23

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its guidance manual, Handbook for Employers, Guidance for Completing the Form I-9 (M-274)This useful manual provides employers with detailed instructions on completing the Form I-9. The revised version is dated 1/22/17. (Read More)...

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Fourth Circuit Creates New Joint Employment Test under the Fair Labor Standards Act

2017-02-23

Executive Summary: The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently issued a decision which clarifies and expands the circumstances under which entities may be held liable as joint employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Court emphasized that the proper focus should be on the relationship between the alleged joint employers and not on an analysis of the economic dependency between the worker and the entities. The Court concluded that “joint employment exists when the facts establish that employment by one employer is not completely disassociated from employment by the other employer.” See Salinas v. J.I. General Contractors (4th Cir. January 25, 2017). (Read More)...

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8 Things to Consider When Updating Employee Handbooks for 2017

2017-02-15

Federal and state legal developments over the last year brought a lot of changes that impact workplace policies and procedures, making it critical for companies to review their handbooks for compliance.(Read More)...

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Tips for Retaining and Storing the New Form I-9

2017-02-15

As of Jan. 22, 2017, employers across the United States are required to use the newest version of the Form I-9 to verify the employment eligibility of their workforce. Many of the changes to the revised form were designed to help HR professionals and employers complete it online and reduce technical errors. But the retention and storage requirements remained the same. (Read More)...

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San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance Takes Effect; New Rules, Poster Issued

2017-01-20

On Jan. 1, 2017, San Francisco’s landmark Paid Parental Leave Ordinance (PPLO) went into effect for employers with 50 or more employees. It will be phased in for smaller employers on July 1, 2017 (35+) and Jan. 1, 2018 (20+). The PPLO requires employers to pay “Supplemental Compensation” to make up the difference between a covered employee’s regular wages and the partial wage-replacement benefits provided under California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, administered by the Employment Development Department (EDD), when the employee takes leave to bond with a new child. (Read More)...

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New Form I-9: Key Changes HR Needs to Know

2017-01-18

Employers have until Jan. 22, 2017, to get up to speed on using the newest version of the Form I-9, marked 11/14/2016. The version that has been in effect since 2013 (marked 03/08/13) will become obsolete on that date. The new form can be accessed on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. (Read More)...

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When is a Rest Period Really NOT a Rest Period? The California Supreme Court creates new rest break liability for employers

2017-01-18

The California Supreme Court issued a new ruling just in time to ruin the holidays for employers who thought they were handling rest breaks properly. On December 22, 2016, in Augustus et. al v. ABM Security Services, Inc. ("ABM"), the Court held that if an employer requires employees to remain on-call or on standby during their 10-minute rest break, even if the employees are not interrupted during the break, it is not a valid rest break at all. (Read More) ...

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Ninth Circuit Rules Service Advisors at Automotive Dealerships Are Not Exempt From Overtime Pay

2017-01-11

Executive Summary: On January 9, 2017, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Navarro v. Encino Motorcars, for the second time, that service advisors at automotive dealerships are not exempt from overtime. In 2015, the Ninth Circuit relied on U.S. Department of Labor regulations to hold that service advisors are not exempt. In June 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed that ruling, finding that the regulations were not entitled to deference, and directed the Ninth Circuit to reconsider the issue without regard to the DOL regulations. (Read More)...

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New California Earned Income Tax Credit Notice

2017-01-11

California employers who provide unemployment insurance must notify all employees that they are eligible for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). AB 1847, a new law effective January 1, 2017, requires these employers to also notify employees that they may be eligible for the California EITC. (Read More)...

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Reminder: CalChamber Explains New Laws for 2017

2017-01-10

With the new year upon us, the California Chamber of Commerce is reminding businesses about all the 2017 employment laws by presenting handy summaries of new legislation now in effect that will affect the day-to-day operations of California employers. (Read More)...

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HR Beware: 'Tis the Season for W-2 Scams

2017-01-10

"Alan was the chief financial officer," said William J. Roberts, a Hartford, Conn.-based data privacy attorney with the law firm Shipman & Goodwin LLP. But in this case, it wasn't Alan who was sending the e-mail. Despite the company's policy prohibiting employees from sending sensitive documents through e-mail, a newly hired junior HR professional fell for the phishing scam and sent the W-2s to the cyberthief's e-mail address. (Read More)...

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On-Call Rest Periods Are Not Allowed, California Supreme Court Rules

2017-01-05

In a disappointing decision for California businesses, the California Supreme Court ruled recently that on-call rest periods are not permissible. This decision will require many California employers to re-examine their rest-break policies and practices. (Read More)...

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California's Exempt Salary Threshold Will Rise Regardless of Blocked Overtime Rule

2016-12-27

California's exempt salary threshold will rise along with the state's minimum wage regardless of what happens to the now-blocked federal overtime rule. But employers in the state will still need to stay informed about movements at the federal level. (Read More)...

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New Ban-the-Box Ordinance Affects Background Checks in Los Angeles

2016-12-21

The City of Los Angeles has passed the “Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring (Ban the Box)”, a new ordinance that limits the use of criminal history information by Los Angeles employers and also imposes a new poster requirement. (Read More)...

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Download E-Verify Records by Dec. 31 Before They Are Purged

2016-12-14

As of March 31, 2017, employers won't have access to E-Verify records that were created on or before Dec. 31, 2006. (Read More)...

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CalChamber Releases List of New Employment Laws Affecting Businesses in 2017

2016-12-14

The California Chamber of Commerce has released the list of new employment laws scheduled to take effect in 2017 or earlier that will have an impact on businesses in California. (Read More)...

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IRS Mileage Rates for 2017 Announced

2016-12-14

On December 13, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. This year brings a half cent per mile decrease in the business rate. (Read More)...

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California's Upcoming Minimum Wage Increase - Review Your Practices

2016-12-06

On January 1, 2017, California’s minimum wage increases to $10.50 per hour for businesses with 26 or more employees. Small businesses with 25 or fewer employees will continue to pay the current minimum wage of $10 per hour. (Read More)...

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U.S. Immigration Agency Publishes New Form I-9

2016-12-05

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (rev. 11/14/2016 N). (Read More)...

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DOL Appeals Overtime Rule Injunction

2016-12-02

class="shrm-Element-P ZWSC-cleaned">The Department of Labor (DOL) appealed a federal judge's decision to put the brakes on DOL's federal overtime rule, but that shouldn't affect what companies do at this point....

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IRS Extends Employer Deadline for ACA Reporting Forms

2016-12-02

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that it is extending the due date for certain 2016 Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting forms to be provided to employees. (Read More)...

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A Tip Sheet for Workers and Workplaces Where Pot is Legal

2016-12-01

Changing marijuana laws aren't necessarily making weed more welcome in the workplace. For now, many employers appear to be sticking with their drug testing and personal conduct policies, even in states where recreational marijuana use is now permitted. Others are keeping a close eye on the still evolving legal, regulatory and political environment.(Read More)...

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District Court in Texas Issues Nationwide Injunction on New DOL Overtime Rule

2016-11-23

District Court in Texas Issues Nationwide Injunction on New DOL Overtime Rule...

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Employers Must File Copies of Form W-2 by Jan. 31

2016-11-09

The Internal Revenue Service is reminding employers that a new federal law to make it easier for the IRS to detect and prevent refund fraud moved the annual deadline for filing copies of employees' Form W-2 with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to Jan. 31. (Read More)...

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2017 FSA Contribution Limit Rises to $2,600

2016-11-02

Employees will be able to put more income into their health care flexible spending accounts in 2017, when the FSA contribution limit rises to $2,600. (Read More)...

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Employers: New January 31 Form W-2 Filing Deadline

2016-11-01

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reminded employers and small businesses of a new January 31 filing deadline for Forms W-2. (Read More)...

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California's Fall Legislation Report: A Rundown of the Most Significant New Employment Laws

2016-10-24

The California legislature and governor showed no signs of slowing down this year and enacted a long list of new employment laws. Below is a list of the most significant laws affecting private-sector employers. (Read More)...

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New Workers' Comp Law Changes Definitions of Excluded Employees and May Affect Your Existing Policies

2016-10-21

This week, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones notified workers’ compensation insurers of up-coming changes to the definition of “employee” and to who is an excluded employee. The changes are a result of recently signed legislation, Assembly Bill 2883. (Read More)...

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2017 Payroll Taxes Will Hit Higher Incomes

2016-10-20

Maximum earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax will increase in 2017 to $127,200, up from $118,500 for 2016, the government announced. By Jan. 1, employers must adjust their payroll systems and should notify affected employees that more of their paychecks will be withheld. (Read More)...

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What to Expect from a Health Plan Audit

2016-10-12

class="shrm-Element-P ZWSC-cleaned">he U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has been ramping up its health plan investigations since 2012 under the nationwide Health Benefits Security Project, said a department official during an Oct. 6 panel discussion in Washington, D.C. (Read More)...

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New 2017 Exempt Classification Rates

2016-10-07

California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) announced rate changes for the computer software employee exemption and the licensed physician or surgeon exemption. The new rates take effect January 1, 2017. (Read More)...

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EEOC Will Collect Pay Data From W-2s

2016-09-30

Today, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced approval of a revised EEO-1 report that will require large employers to report pay data to the agency, including aggregate information from employee W-2s. (Read More)...

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California Governor Approves Farmworker Overtime Bill

2016-09-14

class="shrm-Element-P ZWSC-cleaned">alifornia Gov. Jerry Brown signed a controversial bill on Sept. 12 that will extend overtime pay to agricultural employees who work more than eight hours a day and 40 hours in a workweek....

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New Federal Overtime Rule White Paper

2016-09-14

The U.S. Department of Labor’s highly anticipated federal overtime rule will become effective on December 1, 2016. The new federal salary threshold for certain key exemptions will be higher than California’s minimum annual salary threshold which means that federal overtime law now matters to California employers. California employers will need to prepare for the December deadline. (Read More)...

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New I-9 Form Will Be Released in November; Current Form Is OK Until Jan. 21

2016-09-14

Employers may continue using the current version of Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013 until Jan. 21, 2017. After Jan. 21, all previous versions of the Form I-9 will be invalid. (Read More)...

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Economic Vitality Corp needs your help. Please take their Survey!

2016-09-13

Issue
Most of us have heard at a point in time from some industry professionals who say, “We can’t find workers with the skills our business needs." The skills gap is a significant SLO County issue, but before local organizations can develop effective training and education programs for potential employees, we need to know the specific skills your business and your industry need....

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New equal pay rules prod firms to change wage practices

2016-09-07

“Raise your hand if you are for equal pay for equal jobs – no one would argue with that,” employment attorney Christopher Olmsted told a crowd of human resources executives at a Long Beach conference last week....

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Overtime Exemptions: What Are They and How to Prepare

2016-08-05

The DOL's new regulations for determining if a salaried white collar job is exempt from overtime pay requirements take effect on December 1, 2016. The minimum salary level for white collar (executive, administrative, and professional) exemptions will be raised from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year). In this webinar, we'll discuss how to apply the new salary level, and the other changes that will also take effect on December 1, 2016. Now is the time to prepare for the implementation of these new regulations. (Register Here)...

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EEO-1 Filing Season Opens: September 30 Deadline

2016-08-03

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that the mailing of notification letters for the 2016 EEO-1 survey is complete....

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DOL revised mandatory posters - effective 8/1/2016

2016-08-02

On July 26, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced mandatory changes that take effect August 1, 2016, to two federal employment postings—allowing little time for employers to comply by the deadline.
 
These required updates affect the Federal Minimum Wage notice and the Employee Polygraph Protection Act notice....

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Employers Required to E-File Paperwork with Employment Development Department

2016-07-21

Beginning January 1, 2017, employers with 10 or more employees will be required to electronically submit employment tax returns, wage reports, and payroll tax deposits to the Employment Development Department (EDD)....

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10 Things Businesses Might Not Know About California's Paid Sick Leave Law

2016-07-06

One year ago today, California employers had to begin providing the paid sick leave (PSL) benefit to their employees. To highlight several less-known aspects of the PSL benefit and provide practical tips to follow, the California Chamber of Commerce has released a Capitol News Report video, along with a white paper and infographic. (Read More)...

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Piece-Rate Employees Back Pay Election Deadline of July 1

2016-06-29

Over the past several years, California courts have been addressing the issue of compensating piece-rate workers for non-piece-rate time, such as rest breaks or other non-productive time that is not being spent producing a product or completing a task. (Read More) ...

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EEOC Issues Sample Notice for Employers Offering Wellness Programs

2016-06-29

Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued final rules on how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to employer wellness programs that are part of a group health plan. The rules apply prospectively to workplace wellness programs beginning on or after January 1, 2017. (Read More)...

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City of Los Angeles Adopts New Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Requirements

2016-06-22

On top of minimum wage and paid sick leave requirements mandated by California law, employers with employees in the City of Los Angeles will need to ensure that they are in compliance with a new minimum wage and paid sick leave ordinance that takes effect on July 1, 2016.

For an overview of the key provisions, click here....

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How Is Paid Sick Leave Law Working at Your Business?

2016-06-10

How Is Paid Sick Leave Law Working at Your Business?...

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EEOC Issues New Rules on Employer Wellness Programs

2016-05-23

Today, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued final rules on how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to employer wellness programs that are part of a group health plan. The intent of the new rules is to provide guidance on how workplace wellness programs can comply with the ADA, GINA and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The rules also provide protections for employees against discrimination. (Read More)...

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New Federal Overtime Rules Effective December 1

2016-05-18

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the highly anticipated federal overtime rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to the White House, an estimated 4.2 million white collar workers will become entitled to overtime pay when they work extra hours as a result of the new rule, and wages for workers will increase by $12 billion over the next 10 years. The final rule is effective December 1, 2016. (Read More)...

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Workplace Smoking Rules Will Soon Change

2016-05-09

Legislation passed this week will change some of the rules relating to smoking in the workplace beginning June 9, 2016.  On May 4, Governor Brown signed a package of bills relating to smoking. (Read More)...

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The DOL's Final Fiduciary Rule Released: Plan Sponsor's Perspective

2016-04-08

Wednesday, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued its
highly-anticipated final regulation (Final Rule) that, once
effective, will make sweeping changes to the fiduciary
definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security
Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code (Code).
Investment professionals working with employer-sponsored
retirement plans (such as 401(k) plans) and IRAs (including,
for example, an individual retirement account or annuity or
a health savings account) must evaluate and, if necessary,
alter their current practices or risk significant legal
exposure. (Read More)...

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Minimum Wage Hike Implications for Employers

2016-04-05

California is the first state in the nation to commit to raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour statewide. Employers need to prepare for the minimum wage increase....

(Read More)

New FEHA Regulations effective April 1, 2016

2016-04-01

Written by: Miller Law Group...

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Deadlocked Court Means Win for Public-Sector Unions

2016-03-31

Public-sector unions across the country celebrated Tuesday when the United States Supreme Court announced it was unable to resolve a major challenge to organized labor, handing public-sector unions a major victory. At issue in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, was whether public-school teachers may be forced, as a condition of being employed by the government, to pay mandatory union fees, even when the teachers were not union members and did not support the union. The Court deadlocked 4-4 on the issue following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year. ...

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Governor, legislators, labor leaders agree to raise state minimum wage

2016-03-31

The governor was joined at the announcement Monday by: Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León; California Labor Federation president Kathryn Lybarger; SEIU United Long Term Care Workers’ Union president Laphonza Butler; Burger King employee Holly Diaz; Senator Mark Leno; California Labor and Workforce Development Agency secretary David Lanier; United Domestic Workers of America executive director Doug Moore; Teamsters Union International vice president Rome Aloise; and United Healthcare Workers West executive board member Georgette Bradford....

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LAGUNA JUNIOR HIGH NEEDS A FEW GOOD PEOPLE FOR THEIR CAREER DAY

2016-03-09

The career day is this Friday, March 11th, from 8:45am to 12:15pm and they are looking for people to present to their 8th graders from all career paths. Right now they have entrepreneurs, financial advisors, architects and designers, medical professionals. elected officials, pastors, academic advisors, creative directors, research chemists, software developers, forensic psychologists, and photographers, They may not have you and your career path represented....

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Amendments to California's Discrimination and Harassment Regulations Take Effect April 1

2016-02-09

Amendments to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) regulations have been approved and will take effect on April 1, 2016.
...

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February 1 Posting Requirement – Form 300A

2016-01-28

Employers are required to post only the summary (Form 300A) — not the Form 300 (Log) — by February 1 and keep it posted until April 30. The summary must list the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in the previous year and were logged on the Form 300. (Read More)...

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Amendments to California Paid Sick Leave Law Effective Immediately

2015-07-15

Significant amendments to California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, also known as the California Paid Sick Leave Law, went into effect immediately upon Governor Jerry Brown’s signature on Assembly Bill no. 304 on July 13, 2015. (Read More)...

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New Paid Sick Leave Law in Effect Today

2015-07-01

Today, California’s new mandatory sick leave policy goes into effect for all employers and all emplo​yees in California. ...

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Checklist for Compliance with new Sick Leave Law

2015-07-01

The full provisions of the Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB 1522) begin July 1, 2015, mandating paid sick time to employees throughout California. Even if your existing paid time off policies are already more generous than this law requires, there are specific requirements that must be followed....

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Remote Work, Connectivity and the FLSA: Reduce Your Risks

2015-06-30

LAS VEGAS—In the age of 24/7 connectivity, it’s vital to establish control over worktime so as to reduce the risk of noncompliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the huge settlements that courts often impose for FLSA violations, advised Christine D. Hanley, J.D., during her June 29, 2015, concurrent session “Working Remotely, Connectivity and the FLSA—The New ‘Bermuda Triangle’ ” at the Society for Human Resource Management 2015 Annual Conference & Exposition. (Read More)...

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$921.00 (Indexed) Salary Basis Proposed in Updated White Collar Exemption Regulations

2015-06-30

In what will prove to be both an historic milestone in wage and hour law and a compliance juggernaut, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor issued the long-anticipated proposed amendments to the Part 541 white collar exemption regulations this morningi. (Read More)...

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Labor Laws Apply When Your Intern Is Really an Employee

2015-06-10

You just hired a bright, local high school or college student to intern at your company this summer. You need not be concerned with wage and hour, child labor or other laws because they only apply to employees, and your new addition is an intern—something entirely different. Right? Not necessarily. And if you are mistaken—if this student is more appropriately classified as an “employee” in the eyes of federal and state regulators—you may find yourself in violation of applicable tax, wage and hour, wage payment, immigration, workers’ compensation laws, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and a host of other state and federal laws. But it gets worse: you may be subjected to intrusive audits and investigations, drawn into burdensome and expensive litigation, or face substantial civil fines and penalties, to name just a few perils you never may have considered. (Read More)...

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New Paid Sick Leave Law Requires More than Kin Care

2015-06-05

I am confused about my obligations under kin care. How do they relate to the new sick leave law?...

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10 Tips to Comply with the California Sick Pay Mandate

2015-06-04

Mandatory sick pay is coming to California. Beginning July 1, 2015, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (HWHFA) will obligate employers in California to offer sick pay to nearly every category of employee. The minimum obligation is to provide sick pay at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked or a lump sum allocation of three days or 24 hours per year. As the start date approaches, here are 10 tips to help ensure that your sick pay policy complies with the law. ...

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DOL Taking Interest in Smartphones and Off-the-Clock Work

2015-05-28

In this era of smartphones and tablets, remote work creates off-the-clock liability issues. There is no longer a clear line in the sand signifying the end of a work day. Litigation has increased from nonexempt employees claiming that they were using their smartphones or other devices to do off-the-clock work after hours. (Read More)...

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EEOC Issues Proposed Wellness Incentives Rule

2015-04-28

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a proposed rule to help clear up confusion over using financial incentives in worksite wellness programs....

(Read More)

CalChamber in Court: Don't Make One Employer Liable for Another's Independent Contractor Misclassification...

2015-03-11

v>

The California Chamber of Commerce has joined a “friend of the court” brief arguing for the application of the plain meaning of the California law regarding "willful misclassification" of independent contractors.

Also signing the brief in the case of Noe v. Superior Court were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Civil Justice Association of California....

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Mandatory Posting: Approved CFRA Rule Changes to Take Effect July 1

2015-03-10

Amendments to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) regulations have been approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and will take effect July 1. (Read More)...

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New Report on SLO County Workforce

2015-03-09

Challenges & Opportunities for the SLO County Workforce & Economy
The Workforce Investment Board of San Luis Obispo County commissioned this study by BW Research Partnership to develop an economic and workforce development analysis of our county. Click here to view report. ...

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Brace Yourself: Amendments to CFRA Regulations Approved, Take Effect July 1

2015-03-05

The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved amendments to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) regulations. The amendments, proposed by the Fair Employment and Housing Council last year, will take effect July 1, 2015....

(Read More)

Ninth Circuit Asks California Supreme Court to Decide "One Day's Rest in Seven" Questions

2015-02-27

v id="stcpDiv">Asking the California Supreme Court to exercise its discretion to decide questions of extreme importance to tens of thousands of employees in that state, and explaining that the answers to those questions would be dispositive of the appeal before it, the Ninth Circuit certified to the state’s highest court three questions concerning the interpretation of several labor code provisions governing an employer’s obligation to provide its employees with a day of rest (Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc., February 19, 2015, Graber, S.). (Read More)
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See the Winners of CalChamber's Off-the-Wall Poster Contest

2015-02-27

Judging in CalChamber’s 2015 Off-the-Wall Poster Contest is finished, and we’re proud to announce the winners....

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FMLA Rights Extended to Employees in Legal Same-Sex Marriage

2015-02-24

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announced yesterday that it is revising the Family and Medical Leave Act’s (“FMLA”) definition of “spouse” to include employees in legal same-sex marriages, regardless of where they live. Among other things, this change in the definition of “spouse” enables eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages to take FMLA leave to care for a spouse with a serious medical condition. The final rule is effective March 27, 2015. (Read More)...

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ACA: IRS Releases Reporting Requirement Information

2015-02-23

The Internal Revenue Service recently released final forms and instructions for ACA tax reporting requirements. The forms and instructions have been delayed several times....

(Read More)

Nearly $1 Million Verdict In Meal And Rest Break Case Will Stand

2015-02-23

The California Supreme Court has declined to review a verdict in favor of employees of an Oakland trucking company who brought a class action lawsuit claiming they were not provided meal and rest breaks....

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Certification Survey

2015-02-06

Please click here to take the HRCC certification survey....

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Continuing Education Credit Survey

2015-02-06

Please click here to take the HRCC continuing education credit survey...

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HRCC Volunteer Interest Survey

2015-02-06

Please click here to take the HRCC volunteer interest survey...

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Updates to OSHA's Recordkeeping Rule

2014-10-30


— Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels...

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401k Contribution Limits Rise for 2015

2014-10-30

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced cost of living adjustments affecting 401(k) pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2015 – including an increase in the amount employees can contribute to their 401(k) plans....

(Read More)

​CalChamber Capitol Report: Fact Sheet Explains New Law Creating Liability for Employers Who Contract for Labor​​​

2014-10-30

The California Chamber of Commerce today released a fact sheet on a sweeping new law that will impose liability on employers who contract for labor and services. ...

(Read More)

New 2015 Exempt Classification Rates

2014-10-30

California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) announced rate changes for the computer software employee exemption and the licensed physician or surgeon exemption....

(Read More)

The EEOC Tries To Ground HIPAA-Compliant Wellness Programs Through Litigation

2014-10-17

The EEOC has commenced two lawsuits since August against employers who have established wellness programs that appear to comply with HIPAA’s wellness rules (as expanded by the Affordable Care Act).  The EEOC contends that the programs violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC alleges that the ADA prohibits employers from penalizing participants who fail to complete a health risk assessment/biometric screening if participation was not “voluntary.”...

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Does the Family and Medical Leave Act Protect Grandparents Caring for Grandchildren?

2014-10-13

Sometimes cases with interesting facts can lead courts to make decisions we might not necessarily expect at first glance, and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals may have recently done just that. The primary issue in Gienapp v. Harbor Crest involved a box, on a form, left unfilled by the plaintiff. But the most noteworthy holding from the 7th Circuit decision has nothing at all to do with that empty box. Instead, it has to do with a grandparent's rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for their grandchildren when that child's parent is ill....

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Court Holds That An Employer's Change of Employee's FMLA Leave Expiration Date May Have Violated The ADA's Interactive Process

2014-10-03

 A former technician at a hospital in Nevada whose return-to-work date was changed by her employer while she was out on approved medical leave can pursue claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the court....

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New Law Will Include “Abusive Conduct” Training as Part of Sexual Harassment Training

2014-09-15

California employers with 50 or more employees are required by law to provide a minimum of two-hours of supervisor training every two years on prevention of sexual harassment. Governor Edmund G. Brown recently signed AB 2053, which will require employers that are subject to the mandatory sexual harassment prevention training requirement to also include training and education on the prevention of “abusive conduct.” (Read More)...

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Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Signed Into Law For California

2014-09-12

Today, California became the second state in the nation to provide paid sick leave. This morning, Governor Edmund G. Brown signed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB 1522)....

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IRS Releases Draft Employer Mandate Guidance

2014-09-05

The Internal Revenue Service recently posted draft instructions for forms relating to the employer mandate, as well as drafts of the forms themselves. The instructions have been delayed on several occasions. HR Watchdog...

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No Coverage for the Cantankerous? The Ninth Circuit Goes "Retro" In Finding "No Disability"

2014-09-04

In Weaving v. City of Hillsboro,1 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit waxed nostalgic by reversing a jury and lower court finding that a police officer with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) had a “disability” within the meaning of the 2008 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The Ninth Circuit held that the former officer was not disabled, because his ADHD – and associated abrasive behavior toward colleagues – did not substantially limit him in the major life activities of working or interacting with others. ...

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Why Employee Benefits Matter

2014-09-04

 Smart employers realize that benefit options matter to their employees. The majority of employees (80 percent) believe their overall benefits package influences their engagement with their job and their company, according to the 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report....

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US Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez announces proposed rule to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers

2014-06-12

WASHINGTON -- Fulfilling President Obama’s commitment to make 2014 a year of action to strengthen the economy and grow the middle class, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez today announced a proposed rule raising the minimum wage for workers on federal service and construction contracts to $10.10 per hour. The proposed rule implements Executive Order 13658, which was announced by the president on Feb. 12....

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Paid Sick Leave Mandate to Be Considered in Senate Committee

2014-06-10

The Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee will consider a California Chamber of Commerce-opposed “job killer” bill tomorrow that will increase the already-high costs of doing business in the state....

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Handling Summer Vacation Requests

2014-06-09

Summer is generally a busy time of year for vacation requests. Employees want to take advantage of the good weather, and kids are out of school – allowing time for families to take summer vacations together....

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Are You Ready to Lead Your Company Through a Crisis?

2014-06-02

WASHINGTON – Emergency responders are trained to make quick decisions that will protect people and save lives when a natural or man-made disaster occurs.  And this is a skill that comes in handy for anyone running a small business.  When an emergency hits, the safety of your employees and clients will depend on your smart decisions and quick action....

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New Unemployment Rate in SLO County

2014-05-16

The unemployment rate in the San Luis Obispo County was 5.2 percent in April 2014, down from a revised 6.1 percent in March 2014, and below the year-ago estimate of 6.3 percent. This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 7.3 percent for California and 5.9 percent for the nation during the same period....

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Proposed Change to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

2014-03-12

It is anticipated that, yet this week, President Barack Obama will formally announce a proposed change to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to direct the Department of Labor to revamp its regulations to require overtime pay for several million exempt employees who are currently classified as “executive or professional.”...

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2014 HR Calendar - OSHA 300A Reports

2014-02-27

February 1st of each year marks the annual posting requirement for employer illness and injury summary reports (CAL-OSHA Form 300A).  Most employers are required to post this notice for the full months of February, March and April of each year....

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Staffing Agency Reaches Settlement with U.S. Department of Justice over Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim

2014-02-06

A Massachusetts staffing agency has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), resolving allegations that it violated federal law by discriminating against work-authorized non-citizens during the E-Verify process....

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FCRA Compliance: Avoiding Costly Lawsuits with Compliant Hiring Practices

2014-01-17

In 2013, we saw a number of significant class actions against employers for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), alleging their hiring practices fail to comply with the FCRA’s background check requirements and procedures. The FCRA filed suit against a number of large companies, claiming they violated its rules and regulations for obtaining consumer reports and taking adverse action on job applicants and employees based on the consumer reports. ...

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Senate Bill Introduced Barring Credit Checks on Job Applicants

2014-01-02

The bill was created on the belief that credit history is not an accurate depiction of job performance capability. In a press release, Warren stated that “a bad credit rating is far more often the result of unexpected medical costs, unemployment, economic downturns, or other bad breaks than it is a reflection on an individual’s character or abilities. It was previously thought that credit history may provide insight into an individual’s character, but research has shown that an individual’s credit rating has little to no correlation with his or her ability to be successful in the workplace.”...

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2014 Standard Mileage Rates

2013-12-13

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:...

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For 2014, IRS Issues 401(k) and Pension Plan Limits

2013-11-01

Some plan limits will remain unchanged because the increase in the Consumer Price Index did not meet the statutory thresholds for their adjustment, while other limits will rise in 2014....

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2014 Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Limits Announced

2013-06-10

Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are pre-tax accounts available to individuals who are covered under a high-deductible health plan. Eligible individuals can accumulate money, tax-free, in HSAs to pay for qualified medical expenses in the face of rising health insurance costs....

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Updates on Healthcare Reform

2013-03-11

For updates on healthcare reform, please visit:...

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Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Notice

2013-01-07

Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Notificatication...

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