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Tread Carefully When an Employee Gets Arrested Outside of Work

2022-08-10

When an employee is arrested outside of work hours, it's never welcome news, but there are some key do's and don'ts for HR professionals to keep in mind. (Read More)...

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IRS Sets 2023 Health Plan Premium Affordability Threshold at 9.12% of Pay

2022-08-05

The IRS announced that the 2023 health plan affordability threshold—used to determine if an employer's lowest-premium health plan meets the Affordable Care Act's (ACA's) affordability requirement—will be 9.12 percent of an employee's "household income," down from the 2022 limit of 9.61 percent. (Read More)...

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What Team Sports Can Teach Us About DE&I

2022-08-03

Achieving diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace continues to be a challenge for most organizations. (Read More)...

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Workers Have Trouble Unplugging While on PTO

2022-07-25

Employees in the U.S. are notorious for not taking their allotted, employer-paid vacation time. Even when they do take time off, they often use some of that time to work and check e-mail. (Read More)...

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Personnel/Payroll Record Requests: Timely Response Important

2022-07-22

An employee has asked for a copy of his personnel file and payroll records. What documents is the employee legally entitled to receive? (Read More)...

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Employers May Need to Update Forms I-9 as COVID-19 Era Policy Ends

2022-07-22

As a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) COVID-19-era Form I-9 policy ends, employers need to make sure they have updated their relevant Forms I-9 by July 31, 2022. (Read More)...

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Updated Cal/OSHA, EEOC COVID-19 Guidance

2022-07-22

While COVID-19 guidance, orders and regulatory changes haven’t been as frequent as they were in the past two years, employers should review a couple of recent updates, including clarification of “indoor air space” and new limits to an employer’s ability to require viral COVID-19 testing. (Read More)...

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Position Community Volunteering as an Employee Benefit

2022-07-20

Employees—especially younger workers—say they prefer to work for organizations with a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Importantly, this commitment must go beyond lip service to resonate with employees. (Read More)...

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Fine-Tune Benefits Before Open Enrollment

2022-07-18

Open enrollment this fall for 2023 employee benefits is an opportunity for organizations to showcase the value of the benefits packages they provide to employees—and to help stem high turnover rates. (Read More)...

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Q&A: What Employers Need to Know About the California Consumer Privacy Act’s Training Requirement

2022-07-18

When covered businesses collect personal information about consumers – including employees and job applicants – the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) requires them to comply with certain disclosure obligations, among many other requirements. (Read More)...

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Want To Keep Your Employees? Listen To Them

2022-07-18

Organizations are using 2022 as a "recovery year" from the pandemic and the Great Resignation that has followed. (Read More)...

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EEOC’s New Workplace COVID-19 Testing Rules Might Require You to Make Key Changes: 7 Takeaways for Employers

2022-07-14

Employers that continue to test workers for COVID-19 should review their policies to ensure they comply with updated guidelines released Tuesday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (Read More)...

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Return to the Workplace Gets Mixed Reviews

2022-07-13

In June, Tesla CEO Elon Musk demanded that all employees return to their onsite workspaces, according to a leaked e-mail thread. If workers refused, Musk would consider it a resignation. (Read More)...

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State Change in COVID-19 Definition of ‘Close Contact’ Leaves Questions for California Employers

2022-07-12

One of the most well-known elements of COVID-19 workplace safety was changed last month — to relatively little fanfare — and it has left California employers with many questions. (Read More)...

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TECHNOLOGY How to Prove Your Investments in HR Technology Are Paying Off

2022-07-11

Technology advances rapidly and, when it does, it's tempting to invest in new—or replacement—technology. The next best thing is always on the horizon. But company budgets are tight, and leaders want to be certain they are making the right investments in new technology. (Read More)...

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Companies Are Rethinking How They Hire Technical Talent

2022-07-11

Sargun Kaur knows from experience how flawed the process for hiring technical talent can be in some organizations. Kaur, the co-founder and CEO of Byteboard, a platform that assesses candidates for technical roles, is a former engineer who suffered through job interviews she believed weren't reflective of the skills or knowledge she'd need to succeed on the job. (Read More)...

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8 Ways HR Can Overcome Pushback During the Return to the Office

2022-07-06

Agrowing number of employers are bringing employees back onsite full time. While some workers welcome the return, others are more ambivalent about the prospect. (Read More)...

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What Gun Reform May Mean for HR

2022-07-06

In response to a rash of mass shootings in schools, grocery stores and other public places, Congress recently passed legislation signed by President Joe Biden that enhances gun safety reforms. (Read More) ...

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California Laws Generally Apply Only within Borders of State

2022-07-01


Since the pandemic, my company has been allowing employees to work from home. Without informing our human resources department, several of these employees have moved to other states. Now that these employees are living in other states, do the California overtime laws apply to these employees? (Read More)...

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IRS Launches 90-Day Pre-Audit Window to Correct Retirement Plan Errors

2022-06-28

The IRS has launched a pilot compliance program that gives plan sponsors a 90-day window prior to an IRS audit of their tax-qualified retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or defined benefit pension, to fix any discovered errors. (Read More)...

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Here To Stay? 5 Changes to Prepare for as Cal/OSHA Proposes Permanent COVID-19 Standard

2022-06-28

Many California employers were hopeful there was an end in sight for COVID-19 requirements – but recent activity from state workplace safety officials means that you will most likely need to comply with pandemic rules for at least the next two years. (Read More)...

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EEOC Adds 'X' Gender Marker to Questions During Charge Intake

2022-06-28

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced on June 27 full implementation of the opportunity to select a nonbinary "X" gender marker during the intake process for filing a charge of discrimination, fulfilling a promise made in March. (Read More)...

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An Employer’s Guide to Workplace Protections for Abortion-Related Decisions

2022-06-27

Employers likely have questions about abortion-related employment protections and healthcare benefits after Friday’s SCOTUS controversial decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. (Read More)...

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Roe v. Wade Overturned

2022-06-24

The U.S. Supreme Court in a June 24 decision upheld Mississippi’s restrictions on abortion, a ruling that may lead employers to revise their employee health care benefits. (Read More)...

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Steps to Take When Audit Reveals Errors in Completed I-9 Form

2022-06-24

I am planning to audit our completed I-9 forms. What do I do if I find errors? (Read More)...

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California Employers Face Minimum Wage Increases This July 1

2022-06-23

With the Consumer Price Index recently showing the largest spike in 30 years, California employers need to brace themselves and prepare for the minimum-wage hikes going into effect in several cities across the state on July 1, 2022. (Read More)...

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CalSavers Small Business Deadline One Week Away

2022-06-23

Small businesses with five or more employees that don’t offer a qualified retirement plan have only one more week to register with CalSavers, a retirement savings program for private-sector workers. (Read More)...

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CDPH Alters Cal/OSHA COVID-19 ETS Definitions

2022-06-21

On June 8, 2022, the California Department of Public Heath (CDPH) issued an order updating definitions for “close contact” and “infectious period” as they relate to the CDPH isolation and quarantine requirements. (Read More)...

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Medical Documentation Requirements for Disability Leaves

2022-06-17

If an employee requests a leave of absence as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, can I require medical documentation from their health care provider? If so, how much time does the employee have to provide me with the documentation? (Read More)...

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Court Cases Show Mistakes to Avoid in ADA Compliance

2022-06-16

Staying compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) presents various challenges for employers, and these challenges have only increased in the last two years during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Read More)...

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Viking Cruises to a Win for California Employers: Supreme Court Closes PAGA’s Backdoor to Avoid Arbitration Agreements (For Now)

2022-06-16

Employers can enforce arbitration agreements in California to the extent they require an employee to arbitrate individual claims under the state’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), according to an 8 to 1 SCOTUS ruling that was issued today. The Court also held that once the employee’s individual claims under PAGA are compelled to arbitration, the employee would not have standing to bring a representative claim under PAGA on behalf of other aggrieved employees. However, the Court left open the possibility that the California Legislature could revise PAGA to allow an employee to bring representative claims in Court, even if the employee does not share any claims with the other employees they seek to represent. Employers have been clamoring for this ruling, as this decision marks the end of an eight-year battle to treat agreements to arbitrate representative actions in the same manner as waivers of class and collective actions. You should be prepared to make immediate adjustments to your alternative dispute resolution agreements, assess any existing representative litigation to capitalize on this hard-fought relief from PAGA’s abuses, and prepare for potential legislative changes to PAGA. Here’s what you need to know about the ruling....

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Reminder: PCORI Fee Is Due Aug. 1 for Self-Insured Health Plans

2022-06-16

At the end of last year, the IRS raised the fee that insurers or sponsors of self-insured health plans pay annually to fund the federal Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) trust fund. The new fee is $2.79 per covered person, with other fees described below. (Read More)...

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Learn to Better Manage Your Time

2022-06-15

"Busy does not equal results," admonished Julie D. Burch during her laughter-filled, standing-room-only concurrent session at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2022 in New Orleans on June 13. (Read More)...

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California Bill Would Require Pay Range in Job Ads

2022-06-15

Aproposed bill in California would make pay more transparent. Under the bill, employers with 15 or more employees would have to include pay range in all of their job postings and publicly report how much certain groups of employees are paid. (Read More)...

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Employee Resource Groups Create a Sense of Belonging, Foster Engagement

2022-06-12

Human resources teams that support employee resource groups (ERGs) gain partners in fostering employee engagement. These groups can also help counter the spike in employee turnover known as the Great Resignation, said Christine Michel Carter, an author and corporate advisor, during a June 12 workshop at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2022 in New Orleans. (Read More)...

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Quick Overview of May 6 Version of Emergency COVID Standards

2022-06-10

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has adopted the third iteration of the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) for the COVID-19 pandemic. These requirements went into effect on May 6, 2022 and are effective through December 31, 2022. (Read More)...

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A Look at Drug Testing, Privacy Rights, Last Chance Agreements

2022-06-09

My employee provided a doctor’s note for recent time off that included information that he was out due to “cocaine poisoning.” With this information, can we require the employee to sign a last chance agreement and submit to weekly drug testing? (Read More)...

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IRS Raises Standard Mileage Rate for Final Half of 2022

2022-06-09

Citing soaring gas prices, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on June 9 announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rate for the final six months of 2022. (Read More)...

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How to Keep Hiring Managers From Asking Inappropriate Interview Questions

2022-06-08

Aformer manager for Google and Meta bragged on social media about openly discriminating against female job applicants. (Read More)...

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Circuit Court Clarifies Employer Burdens in Religious Accommodation Cases

2022-06-03

Religious accommodation cases continue to vex employers. Especially since the rise of COVID-19, employers have had to face a rising tide of employee claims that their religious beliefs entitle them to an exemption from otherwise applicable workplace rules. (Read More)...

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Court Overturns California Law Requiring Women on Boards of Directors

2022-06-01

Arecent ruling in Los Angeles Superior Court overturned California's law requiring companies to include women on their boards of directors. (Read More)...

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Unlawful to Deduct an Outstanding Loan from Employee’s Final Pay

2022-05-31

What can an employer do when an employee leaves a company but has an outstanding loan owed to the company? Can the amount of the outstanding loan be taken out of the employee’s final pay? (Read More)...

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How Some Employers Are Addressing Weight Discrimination

2022-05-31

When Emma Gordon was working as an intern, she was on medication for an illness she was experiencing at the time. The medication caused a notable weight gain. (Read More)...

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California: Obligations of an Employee Taking Leave

2022-05-29

Under both the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), an employee is required to provide at least 30 days' notice of the need for leave when the need for leave is foreseeable. When the need for leave is not foreseeable, no amount of advance notice is required. (Read More)...

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Moonlighting OK, But Not Job Performance/Attendance Issues

2022-05-27

Can California employers require employees to submit written notification/disclosure that they have a second job? (Read More)...

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How to Write a Great HR Cover Letter

2022-05-26

While you might read hundreds (or thousands) of cover letters as part of your HR job, it can be a challenge to write one of your own. (Read More)...

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How to Stop Employees from Hoarding Knowledge

2022-05-24

In a learning economy where knowledge is constantly evolving, it's important for everyone in an organization to share what they know and learn from each other to ensure their own growth—not to mention the survival and success of the organization. (Read More)...

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California Supreme Court Says Payments for Missed Breaks are “Wages”: A 3-Step Action Plan for Employers

2022-05-24

The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that any premiums paid to employees who are unable to take a full and timely meal or rest period should be considered “wages,” which not only triggers two key obligations on the part of California employers but also reemphasizes the importance of meal and rest break compliance. (Read More)...

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A Look at Drug Testing, Privacy Rights and Last Chance Agreements

2022-05-20

My employee provided a doctor’s note for recent time off that included information that he was out due to “cocaine poisoning.” With this information, can we require the employee to sign a last chance agreement and submit to weekly drug testing? (Read More)...

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Nothing Escapes Inflation, Including California’s Minimum Wage

2022-05-18

California’s minimum wage currently is double its federal counterpart.  And, it’s going to keep climbing. (Read More)...

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Employment Gaps: The Struggle of Re-Entering the Workforce

2022-05-17

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs recently hosted a virtual roundtable to discuss challenges workers face when re-entering the workforce after periods of unemployment. (Read More)...

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Be Aware of Legal Risks with Post-Roe Abortion Benefits

2022-05-16

With the news that the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion throughout the U.S., some employers have begun revising their health benefits to cover travel expenses for out-of-state medical procedures, including abortions, that are not available locally. (Read More)...

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Unlawful to Deduct an Outstanding Loan from Employee’s Final Pay

2022-05-13

What can an employer do when an employee leaves a company but has an outstanding loan owed to the company? Can the amount of the outstanding loan be taken out of the employee’s final pay? (Read More)...

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EEOC Will Allow Late Filings of EEO-1s Until June 21

2022-05-13

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated that it will allow late filing of EEO-1 Reports, which are due May 17, until June 21. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other outlets. (Read More)...

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Free White Paper: Employee Handbooks Are Essential

2022-05-12

Unbeknownst to some, California law doesn’t require employers to have an employee handbook. But the benefits of creating and maintaining an employee handbook are many — not only for employees, but also for employers themselves. (Read More)...

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Will the Pandemic’s Missing Workers Ever Return to the Labor Force?

2022-05-11

Official unemployment is near a historic low while job openings have surged to record highs, yet a massive gap remains between the demand for talent and the supply of workers in the labor market. (Read More)...

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Guidance on Handling Roe v. Wade Discussions in the Workplace

2022-05-10

News about abortion rights has dominated headlines in recent days after Politico reported that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. (Read More)...

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Why Are Companies Hiring More Multilingual Workers?

2022-05-09

Interacting with clients and customers around the world has become part of doing business at many companies, including small operations with just a few employees. (Read More)...

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Final Wages to Fired Employee Should Include Reporting Time Pay

2022-05-06

Late during the shift one afternoon, I discovered one of the employees had been stealing from the company. I immediately sent him home. (Read More)...

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Employees Want Voluntary Benefits but Don’t Always Understand Them

2022-05-04

New survey results show that more U.S. employers are offering voluntary benefits and more workers are selecting them during the open enrollment cycle for 2022. Other research, however, found that employees still misunderstand voluntary benefits and don't take full advantage of them. (Read More)...

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Review Expense Reimbursement Policies for Relevance to Remote Work

2022-05-04

The unexpected and rapid growth of remote workers since 2020 has changed the workplace permanently. (Read More)...

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Eligible California Employers with 5 or More Employees Must Comply with CalSavers Retirement Savings Trust Act by June 30, 2022

2022-05-03

California law requires that employers doing business in California that do not offer a 401(k) plan must register under the CalSavers Retirement Program (the “CalSavers Program” or “Program”) and provide employee census information in order for CalSavers to automatically enroll eligible employees in a retirement savings program. (Read More)...

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Take Three: Cal/OSHA Revises COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) for Third Time

2022-05-02

On April 21, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) approved a third readoption of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) to replace the current version, which is set to expire on May 6, 2022. (Read More)...

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Viewpoint: Top 10 Reasons Why Employees Sue Their Employers

2022-05-02

Many employment lawsuits could be prevented if employers focused on certain aspects of their workplace environment and recognized employee warning signs. (Read More)...

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10 Steps to Mental Health Wellness for Your Employees

2022-05-02

The seemingly never-ending pandemic has affected all aspects of the workplace, with employee mental health and well-being becoming one of the top employee-related issues you need to deal with on a daily basis. (Read More)...

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Review Expense Reimbursement Policies for Relevance to Remote Work

2022-04-29

When the pandemic started, we sent many of our employees home to work remotely. Should we have a policy regarding reimbursement of their expenses? (Read More)...

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IRS Announces Spike in 2023 Limits for HSAs and High-Deductible Health Plans

2022-04-29

Health savings account (HSA) contribution limits for 2023 are going up significantly in response to the recent inflation surge, the IRS announced April 29, 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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ADA Protects Workers in Treatment and Recovery for Opioid Use

2022-04-26

Recent federal guidance reminds employers that workers with opioid use disorder (OUD) who are in treatment or recovery are protected from employment discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). (Read More)...

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The Challenges of Recruiting Recruiters

2022-04-26

Employers have been in a hiring frenzy since the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic stabilized in 2021. The U.S. unemployment rate sits at 3.6 percent, the lowest rate since right before the pandemic began, while job openings are at record highs. (Read More)...

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ICE Extends I-9 Flexibility for Remote Workers

2022-04-26

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has extended its temporary policy allowing employers to inspect Form I-9 documents virtually through Oct. 31. (Read More)...

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Is the 32-Hour Workweek Coming to California?

2022-04-25

Lawmakers in the Golden State are considering a bill that would require businesses with more than 500 employees to shift to a 32-hour workweek and pay overtime premiums for excess hours—but does the bill have a chance of becoming law? (Read More)...

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Avoid Surprises by Checking in with Employee During Family Leave

2022-04-22

Employers are not required to provide written notification under either the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or California Family Rights Act (CFRA) at the end of an employee’s family leave. (Read More)...

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OSHA Announces Program to Protect Workers from Heat Hazards

2022-04-20

Employers should prepare for heat-related workplace inspections from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under a new program designed to protect indoor and outdoor workers from heat illness and injuries. (Read More)...

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California Privacy Rights Act for Employers: Developing and Posting a Privacy Policy for Human Resources Data

2022-04-19

The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which goes into effect January 1, 2023, will impose specific notice obligations on the part of the employer. (Read More)...

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Viewpoint: Common FMLA Missteps—Don’t Be 'That Guy'

2022-04-19

How is managing leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) like baseball? The team can be undone by rookie mistakes and unforced errors. (Read More)...

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How to Resolve a Pay Dispute

2022-04-15

Errors happen, even with payroll, but speed is of the essence in correcting them to avoid further eroding worker trust and risking litigation. (Read More)...

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California Privacy Rights Act for Employers: Vendor Contracting Requirements

2022-04-14

The impending January 1, 2023 effective date of the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) has created a lengthy list of compliance tasks for human resources (HR) departments. (Read More)...

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Spice Up Routine Benefits Offerings to Attract and Keep Talent

2022-04-14

Employers need to offer "creative and exciting benefits packages to recruit new employees and retain existing workers," said Jeanne J. Sutton, a financial benefits advisor at Bowling Green, Ky.-based consultancy Strategic Retirement Partners, which has clients nationwide. (Read More)...

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TALENT ACQUISITION 6 Tips for Recruiters to Self-Motivate During Tough Times

2022-04-14

Recruiting is hard right now. The labor market is hypercompetitive, open requisitions have skyrocketed, and recruiting resources have not been fully restored from the ravages of the pandemic. (Read More)...

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As Inflation Hits 8.5%, Workers Expect Bigger Raises

2022-04-12

Adding more pressure on employers to raise wages, consumer prices rose 8.5 percent year over year in March, the highest inflation rate since 1981, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on April 12. The monthly increase from February to March was 1.2 percent. (Read More)...

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Fair Pay Initiative Moves Closer to Qualifying for November Ballot

2022-04-08

The effort to stop frivolous lawsuits against employers by replacing the state’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) continues to advance. (Read More)...

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Standards Board to Consider Update to Required First-Aid Kit Contents

2022-04-08

I hear that the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Board) will be considering a revision to the requirement to obtain a physician’s approval for the items to include in a job site first-aid kit. (Read More)...

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Cal/OSHA Publishes a Draft Readoption ETS that Eliminates Vaccination Status Distinctions and Relaxes Testing Methods, Yet Muddies Quarantine Standards

2022-04-07

On April 6, 2022, Cal/OSHA issued a draft COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for readoption to replace the current version, which expires on May 5, 2022. The readopted ETS would be the fourth version of the ETS, which first went into effect on November 30, 2020. (Read More)...

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California Court Blocks Board Diversity Law

2022-04-05

ALos Angeles court recently struck down a law that requires publicly traded corporations headquartered in California to have board members from underrepresented communities.  (Read More)...

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Two Developments Could Impact California’s Proposed Regulations Governing AI and Automated Decision-making

2022-04-04

Two noteworthy developments have occurred since the California Fair Employment & Housing Council released draft revisions to the state’s employment non-discrimination laws on March 15, 2022 that relate to the nascent law surrounding the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other data-driven statistical processes to automate decision-making in the employment context.  (Read More)...

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4 California Wage and Hour Rulings for Employers to Note

2022-04-04

Many HR professionals in the Golden State have spent the last few years adapting to changes prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic and complying with related workplace orders. So, they may have missed other key employment law developments. (Read More)...

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Stop Employees from ‘Mask Shaming’ Colleagues

2022-04-04

Employers have observed an increasing lack of respect in the workplace, including so-called mask shaming—insulting colleagues who, out of concern over COVID-19, continue to wear masks. (Read More)...

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Mental Stress Leave: Time with Employer Among Eligibility Factors

2022-04-01

During the past two years, we’ve had several employees claiming they are dealing with depression and anxiety/stress. Can they file for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for these claims? (Read More)...

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Prepare for Health Care Price Transparency Rules Taking Effect Soon

2022-04-01

New requirements for employer-sponsored health plans to report price information for in-network costs to plan participants are set to take effect shortly. (Read More)...

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Marijuana Laws and the 2022 Workplace

2022-03-31

Growing acceptance of marijuana use in recent years has led to the proliferation of state laws legalizing medical and recreational cannabis consumption, as well as a push for employment protections for off-duty use. (Read More)...

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EEOC Continues to Update COVID-19-Related Practical Guidance

2022-03-30

Throughout the pandemic, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has focused on answering key employer questions and providing hands-on guidance about the evolving COVID-19 issues employers face. (Read More)...

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How to Push Back on Religious Accommodation Requests

2022-03-30

Employers can push back—gently—on religious accommodation requests and don't have to grant requests that would result in an undue hardship, which is much easier for employers to show for religious accommodation requests than disability accommodation requests. (Read More)...

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Form I-9 Alert: Policy Allowing Expired Documents Scheduled to End

2022-03-28

Beginning May 1, employers will no longer be able to accept expired identity documents when verifying an employee's work eligibility on Form I-9. (Read More)...

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Manufacturers Can E-Distribute Retirement Plan Documents to Deskless Workers

2022-03-28

Retirement plan disclosures required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) may be delivered more widely by electronic media under the Department of Labor's (DOL's) 2020 electronic distribution regulation. (Read More)...

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Harassment Outside of Work? Employer Still Must Respond to Complaint

2022-03-25

One of my supervisors just reported to me that they received complaints about harassment from a coworker but did not report them to us because the conduct occurred after work hours and the employees did not want to file “formal” complaints. Is there anything more we have to do at this point? (Read More)...

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Employees Want Additional Opportunities for Career, Skills Development

2022-03-24

The Great Resignation of the past two years has HR departments striving for solutions to retain and recruit key workers. Some are finding that the way to solve this challenge is to start by improving the employee experience—specifically, their career and skills development. (Read More)...

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Is an Emoji Worth a Thousand Words? The Impact of Emojis in the Workplace

2022-03-24

Work does not always occur within the physical confines of a workplace.  Indeed, due to the interconnectivity of today’s world, work often takes place in the digital space, where employees regularly use pictorial icons and images known as emojis and emoticons to express themselves. (Read More)...

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Making Sure Unlimited PTO Is Done Right

2022-03-24

In an era of high stress, burnout and turnover, it's important for employees to achieve the right balance between work demands and personal pursuits. They need, after all, to recharge once in a while. (Read More)...

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DOL Warns 401(k) Plans Against Allowing Crypto Investments

2022-03-22

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is warning 401(k) plan fiduciaries to "exercise extreme care" before considering whether to include a cryptocurrency option in a plan investment menu. (Read More)...

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Bill Seeks to Alleviate the Slowdown of Criminal Background Checks in California

2022-03-21

Background check industry groups have mounted a full-court press to remedy the recent slowdown in criminal record searches in California state courts caused by last year’s court of appeal decision in All of Us or None v. Hamrick. (Read More)...

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Absence Due to Workers’ Comp Injury May Qualify for Family Leave

2022-03-18

I have an employee who was injured at work, and his doctor put him on leave for the next three months. The employee filed for workers’ compensation benefits, so I know his job is protected by the workers’ comp laws, but I want to know if his leave is also covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or California Family Rights Act (CFRA)? (Read More)...

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California DFEH Releases 2021 Pay Data Report Findings

2022-03-16

On Equal Pay Day —roughly two and a half weeks before Pay Data Reports for 2021 are due to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) — the agency released results from the 2021 Pay Data Reports (on 2020 data), showing that pay disparities among genders and certain racial/ethnic groups remain. (Read More)...

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What to Do When Employee Video Records Workplace Accident

2022-03-11

An employee used his mobile phone to film a co-worker lying in a pool of blood shortly after a workplace accident. This employee then posted the video on his personal social media account with no comments other than an exclamation point. What are my options? (Read More)...

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When Might an Employer Question FMLA Certification?

2022-03-11

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) certification of a serious health condition must be complete and sufficient, but sometimes it's neither. Employers rarely take a hard line but instead ask employees to provide more information to finish out the certification. (Read More)...

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DOL Issues Guidance on Prohibited Retaliation Under FLSA and FMLA

2022-03-11

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released guidance on March 10 that gave specific examples of what constitutes unlawful retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and visa programs. (Read More)...

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DOL Proposes Changing Definition of ‘Prevailing Wage’ Under Davis-Bacon Act

2022-03-11

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed returning the definition of "prevailing wage" under the Davis-Bacon Act to one last used nearly 40 years ago, dismissing arguments made when the definition was changed during the Reagan administration that the old definition contributed to inflation. (Read More)...

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Updated California Supplemental Paid Sick Leave FAQs Answer Some Big Questions

2022-03-11

California’s Labor Commissioner has updated its FAQs concerning 2022 COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (CPSL), answering some of employers’ more pressing questions about how this year’s more unique law operates. The answers are welcome news to many. (Read More)...

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Yale's Settlement of Wellness Lawsuit Shows Risks of Health-Screening Incentives

2022-03-10

With new regulations on incentive-based wellness programs still in limbo, offering more than minimal incentives to participate in activities such as health screenings—or imposing more than minimal penalties for not participating—could be risky. (Read More)...

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Daylight Saving Time (DST) Starts Sunday, March 13

2022-03-09

It’s time, yet again, to spring forward. This Sunday, March 13, marks the start of Daylight Saving Time (DST) in 2022. Each year, DST comes with some pros and cons — and some things of which employers should be mindful. (Read More)...

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10 Classic Interview Questions and the Answers You Hope to Hear

2022-03-08

In the current hiring market, when a day's delay can mean the difference between attracting a great candidate and missing out, it can be tempting to extend offers to applicants just because they look good on paper. (Read More)...

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New Federal Law Prohibits Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment, Assault Claims

2022-03-07

On March 3, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021  (the Act), which amends the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) to make pre-dispute arbitration agreements and class action waivers invalid and unenforceable for claims of sexual harassment or sexual assault. (Read More)...

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EEOC Updates Guidance on Religious Accommodations for COVID-19 Vaccines

2022-03-07

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently answered more questions from employers on how to handle religious objections to COVID-19 vaccinations and requests for accommodation. (Read More)...

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Lower Base Period Wages Can Affect Expected Disability Benefits

2022-03-04

A fairly new employee is out on a medical leave and receiving state disability insurance, but the weekly benefit she’s getting is far less than the 60% I thought an employee was entitled to. Why is that? (Read More)...

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Remote Work Reminder: Keep Your Remote Work Policy Up to Date

2022-03-03

Prior to 2020, the number of employees working remotely or in a “hybrid” manner — a combination of in-office and remote work — was steadily on the rise. (Read More)...

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How to Manage Changing COVID-19 Workplace Safety Obligations

2022-03-01

Employers may be tempted to lift their pandemic-related safety requirements as federal and state authorities ease masking and other COVID-19 rules. But employers should note that they have ongoing obligations to protect the health and safety of their workers. (Read More)...

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Governor Lifts California Workplace Mask Requirement

2022-03-01

Starting today, masks will no longer be required for most unvaccinated workers indoors. (Read More)...

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Things to Consider When Deciding on Disability Leave Extension

2022-02-28

We have an employee who has been out on disability for almost a year, but we can’t let him go because he’s on disability. What are our options? (Read More)...

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Shields Up: 10 Proactive Steps Employers Can Take to Prevent Russian Cybersecurity Attacks

2022-02-24

Tensions have been heightening in the Russia-Ukraine crisis given the Russian military invasion that took place late last night – and while this conflict seems to be thousands of miles away, its effects on your business could ripple closer than you may think. (Read More)...

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Stay Interviews Can Be an Antidote to Exit Interviews

2022-02-23

Human resource departments are finding that stay interviews—conducted with current employees to gauge their job satisfaction—are the perfect antidote to exit interviews. (Read More)...

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A Status Report on Changing COBRA Rules

2022-02-23

The normal difficulties that employers have adhering to the technical requirements of COBRA have been exacerbated during the past two years as COBRA rules were changed to recognize the complications accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic. (Read More)...

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Tax-Time Reminder: Most Don't Know About the Saver's Credit

2022-02-23

Fewer than half of U.S. workers are aware of a tax credit that may help those with modest incomes save for retirement through their workplace plan. (Read More)...

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California Bill Would Require Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination in Employment

2022-02-18

On Feb. 10, AB 1993 was introduced in the California Legislature. This bill would amend certain COVID-19 vaccination requirements in employment settings and create a framework for California employers to be responsible for vaccination programs in their workplaces. (Read More)...

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Are You Covered by California’s Pay Data Reporting Law?

2022-02-17

Private businesses with 100 or more employees—and at least one employee in California—must file 2021 pay data with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) by April 1 this year. Here's what covered employers need to know. (Read More)...

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Some Mask Rules Lifted for Vaccinated People, Rules Still in Place for Unvaccinated Individuals

2022-02-16

California’s universal mask requirement for vaccinated individuals expired yesterday, but unvaccinated persons still are required to mask up in indoor public settings and businesses, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). (Read More)...

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COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Workplace Posting Now Available

2022-02-16

As previously reported, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 114 into law on February 9, 2022, which has revived COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave and will provide eligible employees with up to 80 hours of paid leave for COVID-19-related qualifying reasons. (Read More)...

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Remote Work Reminder: Comply With Wage and Hour Laws, Encourage Keeping a Schedule

2022-02-15

As remote work continues to be a way of life for many, it’s important to ensure accurate timekeeping for nonexempt employees and comply with wage and hour laws, such as meal and rest breaks and overtime. (Read More)...

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California’s Universal Indoor Face Covering Order Expires February 15

2022-02-11

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently updated its face covering guidance and announced that it will not be extending its universal indoor face covering requirement set to expire on February 15, 2022. (Read More)...

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4 Takeaways for Businesses as California AG Targets Loyalty Rewards Programs

2022-02-09

The California Attorney General put loyalty rewards programs directly in his sights when he recently announced an “investigative sweep” of a number of businesses operating such programs in state. (Read More)...

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New DOL FAQs Address At-Home COVID-19 Test Coverage

2022-02-09

Anew series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) may bring clarity for employers with group health plans that must cover the cost of over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 test kits, and provides greater flexibility on the use of a safe harbor that permits capping reimbursements. (Read More)...

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An Early Release of 2023 Out-of-Pocket Limits for Non-HSA Plans

2022-02-09

The maximum 2023 limits on out-of-pocket costs that employer-sponsored group health plans can impose on enrollees for 2023 will be $9,100 for individual coverage and $18,200 for family coverage (up about 4.6 percent from the 2022 limits, $8,700 and $17,400, respectively). (Read More)...

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California Governor Signs 2022 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Bill

2022-02-09

On February 9, 2022, California’s governor signed Senate Bill (SB) 114, which creates new Labor Code section 248.6. The law takes effect immediately and is retroactive to January 1, 2022, but an employer’s obligation to provide 2022 COVID-19 supplemental California paid sick leave (CPSL) does not begin until 10 days after the governor signs: February 19, 2022. (Read More)...

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California on Verge of Bringing Back COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave – What Employers Need to Know

2022-02-07

Responding to pressure from labor amidst the Omicron variant, California lawmakers and Governor Newsom are on the cusp of enacting new COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) that could go into effect in a matter of days. (Read More)...

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California High Court Rules on Standard for Whistle-Blower Retaliation Claims

2022-02-07

Last year the California Supreme Court agreed to take up a question from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal regarding the evidentiary standard for whistle-blower retaliation claims brought under California Labor Code Section 1102.5. (Read More)...

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Child Care Issues Can Prompt Move to Create Alternative Schedule

2022-02-04

My hourly employee asked for a flexible schedule where she would work four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour days due to child care issues. Do we have to pay any overtime if we agree with the employee’s request? (Read More)...

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CCPA/CPRA: California Businesses Must Complete Required Privacy Training

2022-02-02

California’s dedication to privacy protection began when the Legislature passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in 2018, and that dedication was further solidified when voters passed the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) in 2020. ( Read More)...

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Take Care When Onboarding Remote Employees

2022-02-02

The onboarding process is HR's opportunity to create an experience that energizes new employees. Individuals who feel welcomed, prepared and appreciated in their first week are more likely to stay and be committed to the organization. (Read More)...

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Companies Patiently and Cautiously Establish Return-to-Office Policies

2022-02-01

As the coronavirus slowly becomes endemic around the country, HR teams are weighing caution, health, safety, flexibility and their employees' comfort levels in their plans to return to the workplace. (Read More)...

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Reminder: Covered Employers Must Post OSHA Injury and Illness Data

2022-02-01

Employers that are covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) record-keeping rule must post a summary of 2021 work-related injuries and illnesses in a noticeable place from Feb. 1 to April 30. Here are some last-minute compliance tips for employers to review. (Read More)...

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California Supreme Court Lowers the Bar for Plaintiffs in Whistleblower Act Claims

2022-02-01

The California Supreme Court just made things a bit more difficult for employers by lowering the bar and making it easier for disgruntled employees and ex-employees to bring state whistleblower claims against businesses. (Read More)...

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H-1B Cap Season is Fast Approaching

2022-01-31

It’s that time of the year again: the H-1B cap season is around the corner! On January 28, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the registration period for Fiscal Year 2023 will open at noon on March 1, 2022 and will close at noon on March 18, 2022, both Eastern Time. During this 18-day period, employers, directly or through their representatives, can submit registrations for prospective employees, using the USCIS online H-1B registration system. (Read More)...

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Employers Weigh Whether to Rescind Vaccination Policies

2022-01-28

Now that the vaccine-or-testing emergency temporary standard (ETS) from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been withdrawn, employers that have instituted mandatory vaccination or vaccine-or-testing policies are deciding whether to stay the course or backtrack. (Read More)...

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SCOTUS Vaccine Aftermath: What Should Employers Do Now?

2022-01-26

The Supreme Court blocked OSHA from enforcing the vaccine mandate-or-test ETS and the agency responded yesterday by shelving the emergency rule altogether. (Read More)...

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Top Employee Handbook Updates for 2022

2022-01-25

Workplace laws are evolving quickly, particularly when it comes to COVID-19-related safety rules and state-level paid-leave requirements. (Read More)...

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California Privacy Rights Act for Employers: The New “Notice at Collection” California Employers Must Distribute to the Workforce

2022-01-25

On January 1, 2023, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) will go into effect and California employers will be required to develop a compliance model to address the range of new privacy rights granted to their workforce members under the law. (Read More)...

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Workers Across Generations Dissatisfied with Employer Training

2022-01-24

Professional development is important for job seekers and employees, according to a new survey, but a vast majority of them say employers are not meeting their training expectations. That dissatisfaction is shared across generations. (Read More)...

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NLRB to Revisit Independent Contractor Test for Third Time in Seven Years

2022-01-24

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is inviting public input as to whether it should reconsider its standard for determining the independent contractor status of workers. (Read More)...

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New Audit Responsibilities for Plan Sponsors Take Effect

2022-01-21

Under a new auditing standard, benefit plan sponsors have added responsibilities when preparing for plan audits and face greater liability risks if they fail to meet these new requirements. (Read More)...

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What California Employers Need to Know About the Silenced No More Act

2022-01-21

California's SB 331, which is known as the Silenced No More Act, took effect on Jan. 1 and expands restrictions on the use of confidentiality provisions in certain employment-related settlement agreements. (Read More)...

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Vaccine Requirement for Federal Workers Blocked

2022-01-21

Another Biden administration requirement that employees get vaccinated against COVID-19—this time for federal workers—was blocked by a federal district court in Texas on Jan. 21. (Read More)...

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Issues Arise as Health Plans Begin Covering At-Home COVID-19 Tests

2022-01-19

As the Biden administration's requirement that health plans and insurers cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests, within certain limits, took effect on Jan. 15, initial stumbling blocks were evident. (Read More)...

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Cal/OSHA Confirms 5-Day Quarantine Period Overrides Exclusion Periods

2022-01-19

On Jan. 6, California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) updated its answers on the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) isolation recommendation found in its guidance, "COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Frequently Asked Questions." (Read More)...

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Covered Health Care Facilities Must Prepare for COVID-19 Vaccination Deadlines

2022-01-18

Employers that are covered by the federal government's COVID-19 vaccination directive for health care workers must take swift action to comply with looming deadlines. (Read More)...

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New CDPH Guidance Rewrites Quarantine and Isolation Periods for California’s Workplaces

2022-01-18

When the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revised their quarantine and isolation guidance on December 27th (here), it kicked off a wave of revisions nationwide that is now hitting California’s workplaces. (Read More)...

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Here’s what’s changed as California’s new COVID workplace rules go into effect

2022-01-14

Today, as COVID-19 case rates in California have jumped to their highest levels yet — more than six times the peak of the delta variant wave — updated workplace rules are kicking in to better help protect workers vaccinated against COVID-19. (Read More)...

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What Do the Supreme Court Rulings on Vaccine Directives Mean for Employers?

2022-01-13

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) vaccine-or-testing rule for large employers, businesses may want to review their COVID-19-related workplace policies. (Read More)...

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DOL Spells Out Requirements to Pay for COVID-19 Test Kits, Beginning Jan. 15

2022-01-11

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance to implement President Joe Biden's order that, starting Jan. 15, health plans must cover or reimburse costs for over-the-counter (OTC) at-home rapid COVID-19 tests without requiring health plan participants to pay any of the amount. (Read More)...

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Out-of-State Remote Workers Are Increasing Legal Risks for Employers

2022-01-11

As remote work continues for many employers, HR professionals should ensure they are staying current on where remote employees are working. Out-of-state telecommuting may bring unexpected legal liability. (Read More)...

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Make Sure Holiday Pay Policies Spell Out Details of Company’s Intent

2022-01-07

My company has a holiday policy that simply lists the holidays that the company observes, but it doesn’t state how much people get paid for the holiday, or who is eligible for the holiday pay. (Read More)...

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Double Trouble: DOL’s Wage and Hour Division and NLRB Agree to Coordinate Information Sharing, Investigations, and Enforcement Activities

2022-01-07

In a January 6 press release, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division’s (DOL/WHD) announced that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance their information sharing, investigations, enforcement, training, and outreach. (Read More)...

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IRS Raises Health Plans' PCORI Fees Payable in 2022

2022-01-06

The IRS is raising the fee that insurers or sponsors of self-insured health plans pay annually to fund the federal Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) trust fund. For 2022, the fee is due Aug. 1, as July 31 falls on a Sunday this year. (Read More)...

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U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument on OSHA ETS, Medicare/Medicaid Vaccination Mandates on Friday, January 7, 2022

2022-01-05

On Friday, January 7, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument regarding two of the Biden administration’s most contentious COVID-19 workplace health and safety policies: (Read More)...

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How to Write a Powerful and Memorable HR Resume

2022-01-04

No matter how many thousands of resumes you've reviewed throughout your HR career, you are likely to still find it difficult to write your own. Like anyone else, you need to step back and look at your career objectively. (Read More)...

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How to Ask Employees About Vaccination Status

2022-01-04

Employers that want to ask employees about their vaccination status should make questionnaire or survey inquiries in a targeted way so employees don't disclose disability-related information. (Read More)...

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California Adopts Reduced CDC Quarantine and Isolation Periods – With a Catch

2022-01-03

On the heels of the CDC’s updated isolation and quarantine guidance reducing the length of time an individual must isolate after contracting COVID-19 and the quarantine period for those exposed to the illness, California has largely aligned these new timeframes – but with a catch. (Read More)...

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An Overlooked Giant: Top 10 Things California Employers Need to Know While Responding to Federal Labor Department Wage Audits

2022-01-03

Although California businesses may be preoccupied dealing with attorneys invoking the Private Attorneys General Act, a federal government investigator may come knocking at your door when you least expect it asking to conduct an audit of your wage and hour practices. (Read More)...

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5-Step Plan for Employers as CDC Reduces COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Periods

2021-12-29

In response to the ongoing Omicron wave of COVID-19 cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just updated its guidance to reduce, in most instances, both the length of time an individual must isolate after contracting COVID-19, and the quarantine period for those exposed to the illness. (Read More)...

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Supreme Court Will Hear Challenges to Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Directives

2021-12-23

Lawsuits aiming to block the Biden administration's vaccination directives for certain private employers and health care workers will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court in early January. (Read More)...

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“Close the Door!”: U.S. Supreme Court Finally Agrees to Reconsider the Rule Against California PAGA Waivers in Arbitration Agreements

2021-12-21

After repeatedly denying requests to decide the same issue, the U.S. Supreme Court has finally agreed to review the rule prohibiting California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) waivers in individual arbitration agreements. (Read More)...

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OSHA Directive Requires a Written COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

2021-12-21

Now that a federal appeals court has revived the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) emergency temporary standard (ETS), covered employers will need to prepare a written COVID-19 vaccination-or-testing policy by Jan. 10. (Read More)...

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IRS Raises Standard Mileage Rate for 2022

2021-12-21

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the optional standard mileage rate used in deducting the costs of operating an automobile for business purposes will be 58.5 cents per mile, the IRS announced in Notice 2022-03 on Dec. 17. (Read More)...

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OSHA’s Vaccine-or-Testing Rule Is Back, Unless Supreme Court Says Otherwise

2021-12-20

Businesses with at least 100 employees will soon need to determine the COVID-19 vaccination status of their employees and develop a written vaccine-or-testing policy under a revived Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule. (Read More)...

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EMPLOYMENT LAW Time to Review COVID-19 Vaccination-or-Testing ETS Compliance Steps

2021-12-20

Now that the emergency temporary standard (ETS) has been revived by a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel, employers should refamiliarize themselves with the standard's requirements. Here are some of the main provisions employers should once again prepare to fulfill, barring Supreme Court action blocking the directive. (Read More)...

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Workers’ Compensation Liability for COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects May Be Limited

2021-12-17

Employers may be liable for workers' compensation for employees who experience side effects from mandated COVID-19 vaccines, but that liability may be limited and shouldn't impede company policies requiring vaccination, legal experts say. (Read More)...

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EEOC Clarifies When COVID-19 May Be an ADA-Covered Disability

2021-12-16

An employee's or job applicant's COVID-19-related impairment may qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) even if the worker's initial COVID-19 illness was not covered, according to updated guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (Read More)...

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California Department of Public Health Issues Guidance for Face Coverings in the Workplace

2021-12-15

Effective today, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) is requiring masks to be worn in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status, for the next four weeks (December 15, 2021 through January 15, 2022). See the text of the brief order, Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings. (Read More)...

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Employer Health Plans Soon Must Pay for At-Home COVID-19 Tests

2021-12-15

President Joe Biden's nine-point action plan for COVID-19, released on Dec. 2, directs federal agencies to issue regulations requiring group health plans and insurers to cover or reimburse costs for over-the-counter (OTC) at-home rapid COVID-19 tests without requiring health plan participants to pay any of the amount. (Read More)...

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Recruiting Retirees: Opportunities, Barriers and Best Practices

2021-12-14

We are now in one of the tightest labor markets in memory, and all industries are feeling the pressure. Companies are getting increasingly desperate, but desperation can spark new ways of thinking about how to fill vacancies. Often overlooked are retirees, who represent a largely untapped source of promising talent to help stem the impacts of the Great Resignation. (Read More)...

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Employers Suspend COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

2021-12-13

Some federal contractors and hospitals have suspended requirements that employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 following court rulings blocking various government vaccination directives. Nonetheless, the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday declined to block a New York statute requiring health care workers to be vaccinated. (Read More)...

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HR Tips for Work Holiday Parties

2021-12-13

It has been another challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and since many employers in California couldn’t host a party last year, many employers are looking forward to celebrating this holiday season by throwing an in-person company holiday party. (Read More)...

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Counting to 100: How to Determine Whether OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS Applies to You

2021-12-10

While litigants hash out whether the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) emergency temporary standard (ETS) to fight COVID-19 is lawful, employers near the 100-employee threshold of coverage by the ETS have questions about whether they will need to comply if the ETS gets a judicial green light. (Read More)...

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IRS Addresses Retroactive Termination of the Employee Retention Credit

2021-12-09

The employee retention credit (ERC), also referred to as the employee retention tax credit (ERTC), was created in March 2020 to encourage eligible businesses to keep employees on payroll. It had been set to expire on Jan. 1, 2022, but the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law in November accelerated the end of the credit retroactive to Oct. 1, 2021—except for wages paid by a recovery startup business (RSB), for which the expiration date stayed unchanged. (Read More)...

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Minimum Wage Increases Coming January 1

2021-12-09

As employers gear up for the new laws that take effect January 1, 2022, they can’t forget about the ever-increased minimum wage rates that occur every January 1. (Read More)...

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Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate Now Blocked Nationwide: A Playbook for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors

2021-12-08

“The Court ORDERS that Defendants are ENJOINED, during the pendency of this action or until further order of this Court, from enforcing the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in all covered contracts in any state or territory of the United States of America.” (Read More)...

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What Should Employers Do When a Worker Tests Positive for COVID-19?

2021-12-08

Even if employers intend to follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) currently-blocked emergency temporary standard (ETS), they should consider going beyond its requirements when an employee tests positive for COVID-19, legal experts say. (Read More)...

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Vaccine Directive for Federal Contractors Blocked Nationwide

2021-12-07

Another Biden administration vaccine directive has been blocked nationwide. This time, it's the requirement that federal contractors and subcontractors require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets. (Read More)...

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Vaccine Mandates May Clash with Civil Rights Laws

2021-12-03

This week, Los Angeles began enforcing its ordinance requiring certain businesses to request proof of vaccination from customers. San Francisco implemented a similar ordinance in August. (Read More)...

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Follow Existing COVID-19 Safety Rules as Experts Evaluate Omicron Variant

2021-12-02

As employers await news about the omicron and other potential COVID-19 variants, they may want to review their coronavirus-related policies and remind employees of the continued importance of following workplace safety practices. (Read More)...

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IRS Extends Deadline for Distributing ACA Forms to Employees

2021-12-01

The IRS, after cautioning last year not to expect future extensions to the Jan. 31 deadline for furnishing Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting forms to employees, has changed its mind. (Read More)...

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Unvaccinated Workers, Federal Mandates: What's an Employer to Do?

2021-11-30

More than one-quarter of workers responding to a recent survey would consider lying about their unvaccinated status—or fabricate documents about their status—to keep their jobs, fly on a plane, and frequent gyms and restaurants, according to new research. (Read More)...

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Biden Administration’s Vaccine Policy for Health Care Workers Blocked Nationwide

2021-11-30

On Nov. 30, a federal district court in Louisiana ruled that the directive for health care workers is temporarily blocked nationwide, following a decision on Nov. 29 from a federal district court in Missouri that blocked the Biden administration's vaccine directive for health care workers in 10 states.  (Read More)...

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How Will the COVID-19 Omicron Variant Impact the Workplace?

2021-11-29

Employers may be rethinking their plans for in-person holiday parties and other workplace activities as news develops about the omicron coronavirus variant—which still presents many unanswered questions for public health experts. (Read More)...

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Blended Workforces Are Here to Stay, Survey Says

2021-11-29

We already know that 76 percent of employees want permanently flexible work, and now it looks like things are going to stay that way. (Read More)...

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How Can Employers Recognize Fake Vaccine Cards?

2021-11-23

Now that many employers are requiring their employees to be vaccinated in order to return to the workplace, employers are facing a surprising amount of vaccine card fraud. (Read More)...

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Allowing Use of Sick Time for Vacation Could Prove Costly for Employer

2021-11-19

My employee wants to take a few days off to take a trip with her family, but she is out of vacation time. Can I let her use her sick leave instead? (Read More)...

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Quick Preview of New and 2022 California Employment Laws

2021-11-19

Following is a quick look at some of the new employment laws about which employers should be aware. Unless otherwise stated, the new laws take effect starting January 1, 2022. (Read More)...

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New EEOC Guidance Focuses on Curbing COVID-19-Related Retaliation

2021-11-18

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released more information for employers about preventing COVID-19-related workplace retaliation while also providing a healthy and safe work environment. (Read More)...

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OSHA Pauses Vaccine Standard Activities Pending Litigation, Creating Uncertainty in California

2021-11-18

As previously reported, on November 5, 2021, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an emergency temporary standard in the Federal Register which required employers with 100 or more employees nationwide to implement a written workplace COVID-19 vaccination policy that complied with the rules set forth in the standard. (Read More)...

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After Repeal of Employee Retention Credits, Next Steps for Employers

2021-11-17

President Joe Biden's signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) on Nov. 15, 2021, retroactively eliminates an employer's ability to claim employee retention credits (ERC) for eligible wages paid after Sept. 30, 2021. (Read More)...

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December Deadline for Emergency Temporary Standard Looms

2021-11-16

The first major deadline of the emergency temporary standard (ETS)—which is Dec. 6, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)—requires employers to prepare their COVID-19 vaccination policies and begin having unvaccinated employees wear masks. (Read More)...

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Should Employers Keep Preparing for the COVID-19 ETS?

2021-11-15

With another ruling against the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-testing directive on Nov. 12 and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)'s suspending implementation of the emergency temporary standard (ETS) to fight COVID-19 in the workplace, employers are wondering whether they should keep preparing to comply with the directive. (Read More)...

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With Virtual Interviews Here to Stay, Best Practices Are Needed

2021-11-15

The use of videoconferencing technology for virtual job interviews exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, and surveys show that the practice has become a part of the hiring process for good. (Read More)...

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No Deadline Extensions for ACA Reporting in 2022

2021-11-15

Employers should ensure that they and their service providers are prepared to furnish health care reporting forms to employees and file these forms with the IRS as required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as the IRS said 2022 deadlines will not be extended. (Read More)...

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2022 Health FSA Contribution Cap Rises to $2,850

2021-11-11

Employees can put an extra $100 into their health care flexible spending accounts (health FSAs) next year, the IRS announced on Nov. 10, as the annual contribution limit rises to $2,850, up from $2,750. (Read More)...

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When Does a COVID-19 Vaccine Accommodation Cause an Undue Hardship?

2021-11-09

Employers that require workers to show proof of vaccination against the coronavirus should have robust policies and procedures in place to handle medical and religious objections. They should also know how to identify when an accommodation would cause an undue hardship on the business. (Read More)...

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What Does Federal OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS Mean for California?

2021-11-09

On Nov. 4, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. (Read More)...

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What Health Care Employers Should Know About the CMS Vaccine Mandate

2021-11-09

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) establishing the COVID-19 vaccination requirements for staff employed at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers. (Read More)...

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House Passes Infrastructure Bill with Workplace Provisions

2021-11-08

The infrastructure bill approved by the House late on Nov. 5 contains several important provisions of which employers should be aware. (Read More)...

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Federal Appeals Court Blocks OSHA’s Mandate-or-Test Emergency Vaccine Rule: What Does This Mean for Employers?

2021-11-07

Citing potential “grave statutory and constitutional issues” with the mandate-or-test emergency vaccine rule unveiled by OSHA on Thursday, a federal appeals court just issued an order blocking the ETS from taking effect on a nationwide basis. (Read More)...

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OSHA Issues COVID-19 Workplace Vaccine-or-Testing Policy

2021-11-06

On Nov. 6, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans issued a stay temporarily blocking President Biden’s new COVID-19 vaccination-or-testing policy for businesses with at least 100 employees companywide. (Read More)...

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Classifying Long-Term Worker as ‘Temporary’ May Cause Problems

2021-11-05

I hired a temporary worker a few months ago. I saw that under work classifications, a temp’s time can be extended for one additional nine-day period. Do I have to lay them off after that period? (Read More)...

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OSHA Issues COVID-19 Workplace Vaccine-or-Testing Mandate

2021-11-04

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its highly anticipated emergency temporary standard requiring businesses with at least 100 employees to mandate that their employees get vaccinated against the coronavirus or wear a mask and test for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis. (Read More)...

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For 2022, 401(k) Contribution Limit Rises to $20,500

2021-11-04

Employee 401(k) contributions for 2022 will top off at $20,500—a $1,000 increase from the $19,500 cap for 2021 and 2020—the IRS announced on Nov. 4. Plan participants age 50 or older next year can contribute an additional $6,500. (Read More)...

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Weighing the Pros and Cons of In-Person Holiday Parties

2021-11-04

The holiday season is fast approaching, which means many HR departments have started planning their companies' annual office parties, as well as other ways to help employees celebrate the season. (Read More)...

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Remote Workers Are Exempt from OSHA Requirement to Be Vaccinated or Test for COVID-19

2021-11-04

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring vaccination against COVID-19 or at least weekly testing applies to employers with at least 100 employees but exempts remote workers. (Read More)...

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DOL Delays Enforcement of Investment Advice Rule Until 2022

2021-11-03

New regulations on investment advice provided to participants in 401(k) or similar retirement plans, which were set to take effect on Dec. 22, 2021, won't take effect for several additional months, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced on Oct. 25. (Read More)...

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4 Wage and Hour Problems as Daylight Saving Time Ends

2021-11-03

On Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, at 2 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. (Read More)...

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IRS Says Employers Can Rehire Workers Drawing Retirement Benefit

2021-11-02

As employers across the country are facing critical labor shortages, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has stepped in, attempting to help by removing barriers that may have previously stopped employers from rehiring retirees and dissuaded many workers from continuing to work after reaching retirement age. (Read More)...

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Phony Job Ads and How to Spot Them

2021-11-02

Job ad scams are on the rise. According to the FBI, more than 16,000 Americans reported employment scams in 2020. Some are easy to spot. Others are quite sophisticated. (Read More)...

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EPLI Often Excludes Wage and Hour Claims

2021-11-01

Historically, employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) hasn't covered Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and similar state law claims, so employers shouldn't mistakenly assume they'll be reimbursed by EPLI for their wage and hour claims. (Read More)...

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Get Ready — New Labor Laws Are Coming

2021-10-29

In Episode 135 of The Workplace podcast, CalChamber employment law expert Matthew Roberts and CalChamber policy advocate Ashley Hoffman discuss five new labor laws that employers will see in 2022: AB 1033, SB 62, AB 1003, AB 701 and SB 606. (Read More)...

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DOL’s New “Dual Jobs” Rule for Tipped Workers

2021-10-29

For decades, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has grappled with compensation rules for tipped workers when they perform tasks that are incidental to their regular work, such as maintenance as well as preparatory and closing duties that don’t usually result in tips for tipped workers. (Read More)...

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7 Employer Takeaways from EEOC’s Latest Vaccine Guidance on Religious Accommodations

2021-10-26

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) just updated its online COVID-19 technical guidance to further explain its position regarding religious objections to employer COVID-19 vaccination requirements, specifically relating to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Read More)...

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2022 Computer Software Employee, Licensed Physician/Surgeon Exemption Rates

2021-10-20

As 2022 gets closer, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has released the 2022 rate changes for the computer software employees exemption and the licensed physicians and surgeons exemption. These new rates take effect on January 1, 2022. (Read More)...

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California Expands Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers

2021-10-19

In early August, California's Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a mandate for health care workers to be vaccinated by Sept. 30. Local government agencies within California, like the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health, passed similar orders that expanded the CDPH mandate to, for example, nonmedical in-home healthcare workers. (Read More)...

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The Biggest Future Employment Crisis: A Lack of Workers

2021-10-19

The pool of available workers may be the most pressing concern about the future of the U.S. labor market, experts agree, based on newly released federal government data. (Read More)...

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Empathic Leaders Help Thwart Burnout, Drive Engagement and Innovation

2021-10-19

Following more than a year in which work and personal lines were severely blurred, causing employee burnout and leading to the “Great Resignation,” new research from global nonprofit Catalyst indicates that empathy — understanding and sharing the feelings of another — “is a business imperative for companies and leaders in the future of work,” according to a press release. (Read More)...

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Is Asking an Employee if They’re Vaccinated a HIPAA Violation? What Employers Need to Know

2021-10-19

“Are you fully vaccinated?” This seems to have become a million-dollar question that employers want to pose to their workers, but confusion abounds regarding the legal contours of this deceptively dangerous question. (Read More)...

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Should Employers Add Booster Shots to Their COVID-19 Vaccine Policies?

2021-10-18

Many employers are updating their COVID-19 vaccination policies as they grapple with federal and state mandates. And as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves booster shots, employers may be wondering if they should require workers to get an extra jab to be considered "fully vaccinated." (Read More)...

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Two New California Laws Make Significant Changes to Employer Safety and Health Obligations

2021-10-18

Among the many new California bills signed into law this session are two that amend the state’s workplace safety laws. Senate Bill (SB) 606 creates new classes of health and safety violations and dramatically increases liability for non-compliant written workplace safety and health programs. (Read More)...

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Answers to Common Questions about Completing Form I-9

2021-10-15

As employers are again hiring, a number of questions have arisen concerning the Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form). The following questions and answers may help to address questions you may have. (Read More)...

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2022 Wage Cap Jumps to $147,000 for Social Security Payroll Taxes

2021-10-13

Starting Jan. 1, 2022, the maximum earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax will increase by $4,200 to $147,000—up from the $142,800 maximum for 2021, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced Oct. 13. The SSA also posted a fact sheet summarizing the 2022 changes. (Read More)...

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Does Your COVID-19 Employee Health-Screening Policy Need an Update?

2021-10-13

Employers that conduct daily temperature checks and other COVID-19 health screenings may want to review and revise their policies as rules and recommendations change, particularly in locations with high COVID-19 transmission rates. (Read More)...

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An Employer’s 7-Step Guide to Implementing a COVID-19 Testing Program

2021-10-12

While employers anxiously await the impending OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard that will require those with 100 or more employees to ensure their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing, many are beginning to develop COVID-19 testing programs to comply with the anticipated ETS, increase vaccination rates, or both. (Read More)...

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Here We Go Again! California's Latest Crop of Employment Laws

2021-10-11

California is at it again – adopting a host of new labor and employment laws that will further regulate and complicate business operations in the Golden State.  Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute has been tracking these bills as they worked their way through the legislature and been signed into law by Governor Newsom. (Read More)...

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Premium Surcharges for Unvaccinated Health Plan Participants Are Lawful Within Limits

2021-10-11

In Oct. 4 guidance, the Biden administration surprised plan administrators by announcing it would limit vaccine incentive or surcharge programs for unvaccinated health plan participants. (Read More)...

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2021 End-of-Year Plan Amendment Deadlines and Other Considerations

2021-10-08

As the year draws to a close, it is helpful for employers to pause and evaluate employee benefit plan amendment deadlines and other crucial fourth quarter benefit considerations, as described below. (Read More)...

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Big Companies Are Raising Wages for Lowest-Paid Workers

2021-10-07

This week, Bank of America announced it has raised its U.S. minimum hourly wage to $21 and plans to increase it to $25 by 2025. Last year, the bank raised its lowest hourly wage to $20, up from $17. (Read More)...

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California’s Privacy Pickle

2021-10-06

On January 1, 2023, California will become the only state to make blanket application of consumer data privacy laws to employment information, including human resources data. (Read More)...

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What Is a 'Safety-Sensitive' Job Under State Marijuana Laws?

2021-10-05

As employers grapple with evolving marijuana laws and their impact on the workplace, they should note that many states that provide employment protections for cannabis users have exceptions for workers in safety-sensitive roles. But what exactly is a safety-sensitive job? (Read More)...

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Taking Another Look at Cafeteria Plans

2021-10-05

Cafeteria plans are getting new attention during the pandemic as a way to let employees select—and fund with pretax dollars—optional insurance benefits and spending accounts that meet their health and caregiving needs. (Read More)...

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Applicants’ Workers’ Comp Claim History Can’t Be Used for Screening

2021-10-05

We work in an industry that is at a higher risk for workplace injury. In an effort to keep our workers’ compensation costs lower, can we ask if applicants for employment have an active workers’ compensation claim or if they have ever filed for workers’ compensation benefits? (Read More)...

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DOL, State Regulators Step Up Enforcement Around Mental Health Parity

2021-10-05

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and state insurance regulators are stepping up enforcement actions relating to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which prevents group health plans that provide mental health or substance abuse benefits from imposing stricter limits on those benefits than on medical/surgical benefits. (Read More)...

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Hold On to Your High-Potential Workers

2021-10-04

Given that talent scarcity and readiness are the top-rated concerns among many CEOs, companies are identifying future leaders and promoting from within to stay competitive in their industries. (Read More)...

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When Employee Chooses to Work from Home, Who Pays the Costs?

2021-10-01

As a result of COVID-19, many of my employees have been reluctant to come into the office to do their jobs. In an effort to retain my employees, I have allowed employees to work from home if they felt uncomfortable coming into the office. (Read More)...

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COVID-19 in the Workplace — Vaccination Mandate on Horizon

2021-10-01

COVID-19 continues to dominate discussions around workplace safety in California and across the nation — and big changes for businesses are on the horizon this fall and in early 2022. (Read More)...

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Premium Surcharges Can Motivate Vaccination, Research Shows

2021-09-29

New research indicates that health insurance premium surcharges can influence a sizable number of employees who haven't been vaccinated against COVID-19 to get inoculated. But money isn't the only way to influence vaccine-hesitant employees, benefits advisors say. (Read More)...

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How Improving DE&I Can Make Organizations More Competitive

2021-09-29

The bewildering array of activities, initiatives and programs designed to help employers achieve diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace can be focused and prioritized by following a simple model. It was developed 25 years ago by Dave Ulrich, a human resource thought leader and professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, (Read More)...

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California’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave’s Sun Will Set: What Employers Can Expect Once SB 95 Expires

2021-09-29

California was one of the first states to pass a pandemic paid sick leave requirement for employers – but now that the leave obligations are about to expire, employers are bound to have questions. (Read More)...

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Firing Unvaccinated Workers Becomes More Common

2021-09-29

More employers nationwide are firing workers, particularly health care employees, who defy mandates to get vaccinated against COVID-19. While the total number of dismissed employees is low so far, the efforts seem to be driving more unvaccinated workers to get a shot, say health advisors. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other outlets. (Read More)...

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California Raises the Stakes for Workplace Safety Compliance with New Penalties

2021-09-28

Governor Newsom just signed into law a bill that could have significant ramification for California employers by extending Cal/OSHA’s scope of enforcement and creating additional penalties for employers. (Read More)...

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California Employers Face Criminal Liability for Intentional Unpaid Wages Under Newly Signed Law

2021-09-28

California Governor Newsom signed into law yesterday a bill which makes intentional “wage theft” by employers a form of grand theft and thus a felony in the state of California. (Read More)...

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New Bill Allows Required Notices and Postings to be Emailed to Employees

2021-09-27

There are many employment law bills currently sitting on Governor Newsom’s desk, but back in July the Governor signed Senate Bill 657 (SB 657) to make a small change assisting employers with remote workers. (Read More)...

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The Rest of the Story (for Now): Employer Prevails in FCRA Class Action Alleging “Stand-Alone” Disclosure Violation

2021-09-27

As we predicted four years ago, class action lawsuits against employers under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) continue to spike, including class actions targeting background check disclosures. (Read More)...

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Is ‘Natural Immunity’ a Valid Exception to Vaccine Mandates?

2021-09-27

Federal law allows employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees who've been infected with COVID-19 and those who haven't, and the Biden administration's vaccine-or-testing mandate won't likely create an exception for those with "natural immunity," legal experts say. (Read More)...

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How to Prepare for OSHA's COVID-19 Vaccination Emergency Temporary Standard

2021-09-24

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not yet released the emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccination or weekly testing for their unvaccinated employees, covered employers should start preparations to comply now. (Read More)...

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COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Expiration Approaches

2021-09-23

For nearly the entirety of the pandemic, either the federal or California governments have required most employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees for COVID-19-related qualifying events. (Read More)...

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Wildfire Safety Training, Other Topics at Cal/OSHA Training Academy

2021-09-22

As an employer located where there is potential for extensive wildland fires, where can I find information about complying with the wildfire smoke safety regulation? (Read More)...

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Viewpoint: When Employers Fail to Designate FMLA Leave

2021-09-22

Your employee, Johnny, takes a leave of absence because he stubbed his toe at work, resulting in a lengthy workers' compensation absence. For one reason or another, Johnny's one-week leave of absence turns into one month, then six months. (Read More)...

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States Promise to Challenge Vaccine-or-Testing Mandate

2021-09-22

The attorneys general of 24 states promised to challenge the Biden administration's anticipated mandate that employers with at least 100 employees require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other outlets. (Read More)...

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What to Do When COVID-19 Long-Haulers Seek Exemptions from Vaccine Mandates

2021-09-20

COVID-19 long-haulers—those experiencing long-term effects of COVID-19—who seek disability-related exemptions from mandatory vaccination policies are straining employers' accommodation processes. (Read More)...

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Survey: One-Third of Americans Lie on Their Resumes

2021-09-20

As 65 percent of U.S. workers seek new employment, according to the latest PwC US Pulse Survey, employers should be mindful of resumes coming in. The reason? Because 1 in 3 Americans admit to lying on them, per a recent ResumeBuilder.com survey. (Read More)...

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9th Circuit Allows California’s Ban on Mandatory Arbitrations to Proceed

2021-09-16

On September 15, 2021 in a split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated a preliminary injunction that prohibited California from enforcing AB 51, which was signed into law in 2019 (Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Bonta, et al., No. 20-15291 (9th Cir. Sept. 15, 2021)). (Read More)...

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Viewpoint: Vaccination Accommodation—Is That Religious Request Sincere?

2021-09-14

Now that the government and employers are becoming more aggressive in requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, we are also seeing a lot of requests from employees for religious exemptions. (Read More)...

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Reminder: The COBRA ARPA Subsidy Expires September 30, 2021, and With It Comes One Last Deadline

2021-09-14

Another pandemic-related employee benefit is coming to an end. Since April 1, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) has provided a subsidy for certain individuals to receive continuation coverage under COBRA. (Read More)...

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Don’t Be Afraid to Call Out Bad Behavior or Reward Great Work

2021-09-13

HR professionals have rightly shifted away from subjectively discussing employees' attitudes, but they need to focus more on workers' behavior and differentiate between high-performing and low-performing employees. (Read More)...

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EEOC Files First ADA Reasonable Accommodation Lawsuit Related to COVID-19 and Working From Home

2021-09-13

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has long taken the position that an employer must allow an employee with an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covered disability to work from home as a reasonable accommodation if the essential job functions can be effectively performed at home, and working from home will not cause undue hardship. Some jobs, naturally, cannot be performed at home, e.g., assembly-line worker, waiter, cashier, etc. (Read More)...

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What to Expect from OSHA on COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing Rules

2021-09-12

Businesses with at least 100 employees will soon be required to mandate that employees get vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to weekly testing. (Read More)...

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Don’t Make These 4 Wage and Hour Mistakes

2021-09-12

To comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), HR professionals must work with managers to ensure that employees are properly paid for all the hours they work and determine which employees can be classified as exempt from the FLSA's overtime rules. (Read More)...

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Background-Screening Rules Keep Employers on Their Toes

2021-09-11

Background screening is more challenging than ever for employers. Consider just the following: the risk of negligent hiring, inadequate practices by background-screening firms, application authorization forms, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC's) guidance on hiring individuals with criminal backgrounds, "ban-the-box" laws, and adverse action letters. (Read More)...

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5-Step Plan for Employers After President Biden Announces Workplace Vaccine Mandates

2021-09-10

In arguably the most far-reaching move of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden administration announced yesterday that federal workplace safety officials will soon issue a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to either ensure their workers are vaccinated or require unvaccinated employees to produce a weekly negative test result before coming to work. (Read More)...

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5 Ways HR Can Help Avoid a Lawsuit

2021-09-10

HR professionals can help curb employment-related lawsuits by crafting prompt and appropriate responses to employee complaints, according to R. Scott Oswald, who represents employees as an attorney with The Employment Law Group in Washington, D.C. (Read More)...

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Do You Have Workers in California? Here Are 5 Hot Topics to Review

2021-09-10

The COVID-19 crisis has reshaped the workforce, and many employees and contractors may be performing work from different locations than they did before the pandemic began. Whether your business is new to California or you need a refresher, here are some key rules specific to the Golden State that HR professionals should note. (Read More)...

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Biden Orders Vaccination Mandates for Larger Employers, Federal Workforce

2021-09-09

President Joe Biden announced Sept. 9 a series of proposals to combat the COVID-19 pandemic more aggressively, including plans for a new rule requiring employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that their workers be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. (Read More)...

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EEOC Commissioners Answer HR's COVID-19-Related Questions

2021-09-09

HR professionals had to navigate uncharted waters during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they've turned to government agencies, such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), for real-time guidance as they create and refine their remote-work, COVID-19 testing and vaccination, and other pandemic-related policies. (Read More)...

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Start Gathering Evidence When a Complaint Is Made

2021-09-09

When an employee comes to HR with a complaint, HR has to pivot into investigation mode.  (Read More)...

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Employers Choose Carrots over Sticks as Employees Return Onsite

2021-09-07

When Boston law firm Lando & Anastasi decided to require employees to return to work one or two days a week starting Sept. 1, the emerging COVID-19 delta variant was not a major concern. As new infections began rising once again, the firm nevertheless stuck to its plans for a partial return to the office. (Read More)...

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IRS Lowers 2022 Employer Health Plan Affordability Threshold to 9.61% of Pay

2021-09-07

The IRS announced that employer-sponsored health coverage will satisfy the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affordability requirement next year if the lowest-cost, self-only coverage option an employer offers does not exceed 9.61 percent of an employee's income. (Read More)...

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California Privacy Rights Act for Employers: The Rights to Opt Out of Sales and Sharing, Restrict Sensitive Personal Information, and Non-Discrimination

2021-09-07

The California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”), which goes into effect on January 1, 2023, grants six new rights to California residents in their roles as employees, applicants, independent contractors, and other human resources members (“HR Individuals”). (Read More)...

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Who Pays Cost of Employee COVID Testing or Vaccination?

2021-09-03

If I require an employee to go get a COVID test, or to be vaccinated, who pays the costs of testing or vaccination? Do I have to pay the employee for the time it takes? (Read More)...

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Remember: Vaccinated or Not, Workers Should Wear Face Coverings Indoors

2021-09-02

Roughly a month ago, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) updated its Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings requiring that individuals in certain settings wear masks indoors and recommending that all individuals wear face coverings while indoors regardless of vaccination status. (Read More)...

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ICE Extends Form I-9 Remote Review Through End of 2021

2021-09-01

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has extended its temporary policy allowing employers to inspect Form I-9 documents virtually through Dec. 31. (Read More)...

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Can a Worker Who Was Fired for Refusing a Vaccine Collect Unemployment?

2021-08-31

Now that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been fully approved—and as the COVID-19 delta variant continues to spread—more employers may decide to require workers to get vaccinated. Employees who are fired for refusing to get vaccinated may be violating a company policy and ineligible for unemployment benefits. (Read More)...

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An Employer’s 3-Step Guide to Responding to COVID-19 Vaccine Religious Objections

2021-08-26

As the Delta variant surges throughout the country, more and more employers are implementing mandatory vaccine policies, especially now that the Pfizer vaccine has received full FDA approval. (Read More)...

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Should Employers Pay for Mandatory COVID-19 Testing?

2021-08-23

More employers are requiring their workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to regular COVID-19 testing, prompting questions about who pays for testing when workers refuse to get vaccinated. (Read More)...

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Job Posts Requiring COVID-19 Vaccinations Rise

2021-08-23

More employers are requiring that applicants be vaccinated against COVID-19, and that shift is being reflected in job listings, according to a recent analysis. (Read More)...

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What Employers Need to Know as FDA Fully Approves Pfizer Vaccine: 6-Step Plan to Impose a Vaccine Mandate

2021-08-23

The news this morning that the federal government fully approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine could be a pivotal milestone in the fight against the coronavirus – especially when it comes to employers’ role in the battle. (Read More)...

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California's Proposition 22 is ruled unconstitutional

2021-08-23

Proposition 22 (a 2020 California ballot initiative) defined app-based, gig-drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. Supporters of Proposition 22 spent over US$200 million on the campaign in the most expensive initiative battle in the state's history. (Read More)...

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Common Virtual, In-Person Interview Mistakes

2021-08-23

As job interviews shifted from in-person to virtual over the last year and a half, the common mistakes applicants may make also changed. (Read More)...

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Interactive Process Key to Accommodating Employee with Disability

2021-08-20

We have a new hire who, after being hired, disclosed a physical disability. She indicated that we need to accommodate her, and I have since read a little about how to handle this, but I’m not sure how to proceed. (Read More)...

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Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant: New Funding Round to Open in September

2021-08-20

New applicants for California’s Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program will be able to apply in the funding round opening on September 9 and continuing through September 30. (Read More)...

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UPDATE: EEO-1 Reporting Deadline Extended Until October 25, 2021

2021-08-19

The EEOC has announced on its EEO-1 Data Collection website that it has, again, extended the deadline for filing EEO-1 Reports this year—this time to October 25. (Read More)...

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Employers Change Tactics to Attract New Employees

2021-08-18

Eighty-two percent of employers say they perceive a talent shortage — many of whom offered signing bonuses to new employees as a short-term fix for this shortage, according to a new Salary.com survey. (Read More)...

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Rollout of Booster Shots to Begin in September

2021-08-18

As more employers consider making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory, they'll need to decide if they will also mandate booster shots. Nursing homes will have added incentive to make vaccinations mandatory for their staff, as they could lose Medicare and Medicaid funding if they don't, according to CNN. (Read More)...

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Work-Refusal Unemployment Claims Spike During Pandemic

2021-08-18

Unemployment compensation claims from employees who refuse to return to work after being furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic are on the rise. (Read More)...

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To Enable More Vaccinations, Treasury Expands Paid-Leave Tax Credit

2021-08-17

Employers can now claim tax credits based on the wages of employees who take time off to help family or household members, or others who look to the employee for caregiving help, to get vaccinated for COVID-19. (Read More)...

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Infrastructure Bill Would Cut the Employee Retention Tax Credit Short

2021-08-17

A$1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the U.S. Senate last week includes a provision for an earlier end to the COVID-19-related Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). The legislation now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives following its 69-30 passage by the Senate on Aug. 10. (Read More)...

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Understaffed Employers Struggle with Vacation Demands

2021-08-17

Understaffed employers are finding it difficult to meet business demands and keep morale up by granting summer vacation requests. Saying no to appeals for time off could lead to angry workers who will seek employment elsewhere. (Read More)...

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OSHA's Revised COVID-19 Guidance Adopts CDC's Latest Recommendation on Masks for Vaccinated Employees, Advocates for Vaccination, and Suggests Periodic Testing for Unvaccinated Employees

2021-08-16

In response to the modified COVID-19 recommendations published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on July 27, 2021, on Friday, August 13, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace. (Read More)...

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Health Plan Premium Surcharges for the Unvaccinated?

2021-08-16

According to Forbes, more employers are considering imposing a premium surcharge on employees participating in the company's health plan who are not vaccinated for COVID-19. (Read More)...

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California Privacy Rights Act for Employers: The Rights to Know, Delete, and Correct

2021-08-16

The California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) expands employers’ obligations with respect to the privacy of human resources (“HR”) data more dramatically than any other legislation in U.S. history. (Read More)...

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More Employers Post Salary Ranges to Attract Workers

2021-08-16

The number of U.S. job postings that include salary ranges has been on the rise this year as employers struggle to attract and hire workers in an increasingly tight labor market. (Read More)...

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Yoga classes, therapy and 401(k)s: California businesses beefing up benefits to attract workers

2021-08-11

California businesses are responding to a labor shortage with social media pleas, hiring incentives, bonuses and new benefits. So far, workers, particularly in the service industry, are seeing wages rise. (Read More)...

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How to Ease Return to Work for Employees with Pets

2021-08-11

Throughout the pandemic, pets played a key role for many remote employees. This became evident as dogs, cats and other creatures were featured stars on workday Zoom calls. But now that many workers are starting to return to physical workplaces, what happens to pets that have become used to having owners around most of the day? (Read More)...

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Clearing Confusion About Current COVID-19 Workplace Safety Rules

2021-08-06

Each day I see new reports on what the requirements are for wearing masks at work. How do I figure out what my company must to do comply? (Read More)...

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California Mandates COVID-19 Vaccine for Healthcare Workers

2021-08-06

After announcing last week that healthcare workers (and state employees) will soon be required to either provide proof of vaccination or submit to weekly or bi-weekly COVID-19 testing, California issued an additional order yesterday implementing a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. (Read More)...

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Are You Ready? New Cal/OSHA PPE Stockpiling Requirement Is Now in Effect

2021-08-06

On September 29, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 2537, one of the latest in a series of legislative enactments designed to protect employees from COVID-19 exposure in the workplace. (Read More)...

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IRS Provides Further Clarity to Employers on Stimulus Tax Credits

2021-08-05

The Internal Revenue Service recently released a Notice to further explain its position on certain issues related to the COBRA premium assistance and corresponding tax credits available under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). (Read More)...

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Be Sure to Pay Employees for Pre- and Post-Shift Time

2021-08-04

Employers must pay nonexempt employees for all hours worked. But compensable time can be difficult to capture when employees have pre- or post-shift responsibilities, such as opening or closing a retail store or restaurant. Which activities must be paid? How can employers ensure they are recording and paying for all time worked? Here's what employment law attorneys had to say. (Read More)...

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IRS Issues New COBRA Subsidy Guidance as Deadlines Approach

2021-08-03

The IRS recently provided follow-up guidance for employers on the federal government's 100-percent premium subsidy for eligible COBRA health care enrollees, enacted earlier this year as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The subsidy is available for assistance eligible individuals (AEIs) for COBRA coverage between April 1 and Sept. 30. (Read More)...

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COVID-19 Long-Haulers May Be Entitled to ADA Job Protections

2021-08-03

Marking the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, President Joe Biden said people with long-term effects of COVID-19—often referred to as COVID-19 long-haulers—may be protected by the law. (Read More)...

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DOL Clarifies Timing of 401(k) Lifetime Income Disclosures

2021-08-02

In a new set of frequently asked questions (FAQs), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) answers four key questions regarding a new 401(k) requirement to provide lifetime income estimates to participants based on the present dollar value of their accounts. (Read More)...

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California Court Ruling Could Complicate Background Checks

2021-07-27

California employers should take note of a recent appellate court case that could complicate employment background checks. (Read More) ...

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Keeping Workers Safe as the COVID-19 Delta Variant Continues to Spread

2021-07-27

Workplace safety guidelines from federal, state and local authorities are rapidly changing in response to the highly transmittable COVID-19 Delta variant, and employers may want to update their policies accordingly. (Read More)...

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Messaging Apps Pose Security Issues

2021-07-26

The past year brought a security and privacy situation to the forefront that has been bubbling for years—the use of messaging apps at work. Within some organizations, WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram and other channels were heavily used during the pandemic despite not being corporately approved or monitored. (Read More)...

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What to Do When Employee’s I-9 Work Authorization Document Expired

2021-07-23

Can an employee work beyond the expiration date of a work authorization document? (Read More)...

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Calif. Employers Not Required to Calculate Overtime Using Weighted Average

2021-07-22

Calculating employees' regular rate of pay for overtime purposes can be complicated when workers receive different rates of pay in a single pay period. A California appeals court recently said employers did not violate state law by using the rate-in-effect method rather than the weighted-average method. (Read More)...

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Automation Can Help Reduce Cost of Benefits

2021-07-21

Many organizations are expanding their benefits offerings to compete for scarce talent. While effective as a recruiting and retention tool, that strategy also can prove costly if HR and benefits leaders don't protect against a growing problem: cost "leakage" from billing errors that often are discovered too late because of outdated auditing or reconciliation processes. (Read More)...

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July 31 Form 5500 Deadline Reminders

2021-07-19

July 31 is the deadline for sponsors of non-calendar-year benefit plans to file Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, with the IRS. Plan sponsors can request an extension to Oct. 15 by filing Form 5558, Application for Extension of Time to File Certain Employee Plan Returns. (Read More)...

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Remind Returning Employees of Professional Expectations

2021-07-16

Employees who have gotten used to working from home may need a refresher on professional expectations when they return to the office. Otherwise, employers may see a rise in insults, invasive questions, oversharing about personal lives and even insubordination. (Read More)...

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California Supreme Court Adds to Employers’ Pain By Requiring Higher Rate of Pay for Missed Meals and Breaks: A 3-Step Plan of Action

2021-07-16

The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that if an employer fails to provide a legally compliant meal period or rest break, the wage premium they must pay out must be paid at the “regular rate of compensation” – which includes not just hourly wages but all nondiscretionary payments for work performed by the employee. (Read More)...

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Addressing Age Discrimination in Employment

2021-07-14

Ageism in employment — a bias against workers 40 years of age and older — is experienced more during the job search process than in the workplace, according to a recent survey of U.S. professionals over 40. (Read More)...

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Recognizing and Responding to Workplace Symbols and Threats

2021-07-14

What happens when evocative images make their way into the workplace? On our desks, notebooks, clothing, behind us on Zoom meetings or on car bumpers—what does this mean for organizations? It has the potential to result in increased tensions, conflict and even the identification of a member of an extremist organization. How does this impact the reputation of an organization or the working environment? (Read More)...

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Successful Remote Onboarding Is More than Paperwork

2021-07-13

Dom Merritt, chief people officer at Buildout Inc., will tell you that an onboarding plan for remote workers can only be effective if you have a vision, a strategy and the supporting technology to reimagine the onboarding experience. (Read More)...

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Administration Issues Initial Rule Limiting 'Surprise' Medical Bills

2021-07-13

Long-sought curbs on unscheduled "surprise" out-of-network health care charges became law at the end of last year with the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA), which included a revised version of the bipartisan No Surprises Act. (Read More)...

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What If a Job Applicant Discloses a Disability?

2021-07-12

Employers generally are prohibited from asking questions about disabilities before making conditional job offers to applicants, but what should an employer do if a job applicant voluntarily discloses a disability at the interview stage? (Read More)...

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401(k) Plan Match Formulas and Automatic Features Add Value for Participants

2021-07-09

Generous matching contributions to 401(k) or similar plans can be an effective recruiting and retention tool, increasing employees' total compensation and helping them to build their retirement savings. Choosing appropriate automatic enrollment and auto-increase plan defaults can also help employees build retirement security. (Read More)...

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Common Cents: New Trend of Wage Statement Wins for Employers in California and Federal Courts

2021-07-07

The hyper-technical nature of California’s wage statement laws, embodied in Labor Code section 226, have made violations of this law a favorite of the plaintiffs’ bar for class and representative actions under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). (Read More)...

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California’s COVID-19 Right of Recall Guidance Released

2021-07-07

California’s limited COVID-19 right of recall law (SB 93) has been in effect since Governor Gavin Newsom signed it on April 16, 2021 — and the California Labor Commissioner recently released guidance that answers some of employers’ questions about it. (Read More)...

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Open Enrollment Planning Gets Underway

2021-07-06

Last year, open enrollment for 2021 employee benefits presented a first-of-its-kind situation, with much of the workforce working remotely. The 2022 benefits open enrollment period, which most companies will hold sometime between late November and early December, presents fresh demands as employers adjust to a mix of onsite and remote workers. (Read More)...

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Who Can Know About Employee Vaccination Status?

2021-07-06

Employers are grappling with questions about when supervisors can be told about employees' vaccination status and whether workers can wear badges indicating they've been vaccinated. (Read More)...

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Employers Are Hiring More Teens to Ease Labor Shortages

2021-07-06

Teenager workers are a hot commodity this summer, as employers are desperate to fill jobs. Conditions are creating the best summer hiring opportunities for teenage job seekers in years, with employers showing more willingness to hire candidates without experience as well as offer greater schedule flexibility and higher wages, signing bonuses and perks than in summers past. (Read More)...

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Employers Not Required to Provide Holiday Pay for Federal Holidays

2021-07-02

Now that Juneteenth (June 19) has become a federal holiday, are we required to provide holiday pay to our employees for that day? (Read More)...

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IRS Again Extends Remote Witnessing for Retirement Plan Changes

2021-07-02

The IRS has extended through June 30, 2022, remote notarization relief that gives retirement plans greater flexibility for participant elections that require a witness, such as 401(k) loan applications and spousal consent to changes in the distribution of survivor's pension benefits. (Read More)...

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Employees Are Quitting in Record Numbers — Here’s How to Keep Them

2021-07-01

In April 2021, a record all-time high of 4 million people quit their jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) — this equals a 2.7 percent rate of quit, which is the highest recorded since the BLS started collecting this data in 2000. Say hello to what some are calling the “Great Resignation,” which is a prediction that employees who stayed in their current positions due to uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are getting ready to find new jobs. (Read More)...

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EEOC’s Resources on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Workplace Rights

2021-06-30

It’s been slightly over one year since the U.S. Supreme Court issued a long-awaited ruling that any employment decision based, at least in part, on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity constitutes unlawful discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 140 S.Ct. 1731 (June 15, 2020)). (Read More)...

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EEOC Extends the Filing Deadline for EEO-1

2021-06-29

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has extended the deadline for filing the EEO-1 form from July 19 to Aug. 23. (Read More)...

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Can Employers Have Separate Policies Based on Vaccination Status?

2021-06-25

By now, many employers know that federal, state and local COVID-19 workplace safety guidelines distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated employees. While businesses can create policies with different mask and social-distancing rules based on inoculation status, attorneys say they should tread carefully. (Read More)...

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More Workers Are Testing Positive for Marijuana

2021-06-23

The percentage of U.S. workers who tested positive for marijuana climbed higher in 2020 as more states continue to legalize the drug for medical and recreational use. (Read More)...

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COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Revisions Now in Effect

2021-06-22

After some recent back and forth on revisions to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) finally adopted the most recent revisions on June 17, 2021. (Read More)...

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When Should Vaccinated Workers Keep Wearing Masks?

2021-06-22

As more workplaces reopen and more workers stream back into the office, questions about COVID-19 abound. While infection and death rates continue to drop, many workers still voice concerns about workplace guidelines on vaccines and masks. (Read More) ...

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Many Factors to Consider When Employee Asks for More Leave Time

2021-06-21

Our employee has used up all of her federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave but called today to request an extension of time. Do we have to grant the extension, or can we terminate her employment? (Read More)...

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EDD to Resume Work Search Requirement to Obtain Unemployment Benefits

2021-06-21

As California reopens following the pandemic, the Employment Development Department (EDD) today announced that starting July 11, 2021, Californians receiving unemployment benefits should begin looking for work to maintain their eligibility. EDD will be sending notices to claimants to inform them of the reinstatement of this requirement and what it means for them. (Read More)...

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There's Still Time to Claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit

2021-06-18

Although the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) is expiring at the end of 2021, there's still time for eligible businesses to claim the credit, if they haven't already. (Read More)...

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Don’t Deny Vacation Due to Recent Use of COVID Sick Leave

2021-06-18

My employee used most of her COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave over the last couple of weeks. Now she wants to take a week’s vacation. Can I deny the vacation request since several other employees in that department, who have been working lots of extra hours to cover her missed shifts, also want to take that same week off? (Read More)...

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Employers Must Continue to Comply with ACA in Light of High Court Ruling

2021-06-17

Employers should note that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will remain in full effect following a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision rejecting a challenge to the health care law's individual mandate. (Read More)...

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Face-Covering Considerations for Retailers in a Post-Color Tiered California

2021-06-15

California has issued new guidance for the use of face coverings that will take effect on June 15, 2021.  The guidance impacts retailers and coincides with news that approximately 46% of Californians are now fully vaccinated. (Read More)...

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Third Time’s the Charm?... And We Mean it This Time

2021-06-14

Employers monitoring proposed changes to Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in recent weeks likely have whiplash from trying to keep up with the back-and-forth slew of developments. However, it appears we are close to final resolution. (Read More)...

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12 Unconventional Interview Questions That Recruiters Should Ask

2021-06-11

Coming up with questions to ask job candidates during the interview process usually is pretty easy. Hiring managers and recruiters often have a list of time-tested, no-brainer queries that they rely on, such as: (Read More)...

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PCORI Fee Is Due Aug 2 for Self-Insured Health Plans

2021-06-11

The annual fee that sponsors of self-insured health plans must pay to fund the federal Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is due Aug. 2, 2021. (Read More)...

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Not So Fast – Cal/OSHA’s Revised Workplace COVID-19 Rules Are Withdrawn for Further Revisions

2021-06-10

California employers will need to ensure that your employees are masked up and socially distanced – regardless of vaccination status – until at least June 28 following late-breaking activity last night by Cal/OSHA to pull back previously proposed changes. (Read More)...

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No-Mask Mandates Come with Risks

2021-06-07

Employers may want vaccinated employees to remove their face masks while working but should think twice before requiring employees to work without masks. From health, employee relations and legal perspectives, it may be safer for employers to give vaccinated employees the option to work without masks, provided state and local laws allow them to do so. (Read More)...

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Cal/OSHA Adopts Rules to Require Ongoing Masking in the Workplace

2021-06-04

After a day-long meeting that included hours of public testimony and internal deliberations, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board ultimately adopted a new set of regulations that will require most indoor workers, including those who have been vaccinated, to wear face masks at work if any other worker onsite is unvaccinated. The rules are out of step with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and the Governor’s own directive to re-open the state on June 15. (Read More)...

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Follow Rules of the Road for Limited-Reference Policies

2021-06-03

Limited-reference policies can help employers limit liability, even though managers and co-workers sometimes ignore the policies to help colleagues get new positions. Consistent enforcement of the policies is imperative if they are to be of any value. Here are other do's and don'ts with limited-reference policies. (Read More)...

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Form I-9 Remote Review Extended Through Summer 2021

2021-06-02

An interim policy allowing employers to inspect Form I-9 documents virtually has been extended through Aug. 31. (Read More)...

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Unmasking the Challenges: 7 Options for Managing a Partially Vaccinated Workforce

2021-06-01

Now that most states, the CDC, and OSHA have (or may soon) lift mask mandates for vaccinated workers, what is an employer to do about revealing an employee’s vaccination status? (Read More)...

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Distinguish Between the ADA’s Many Prohibitions on Medical Examinations

2021-06-01

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance gets complicated fast when it comes to the law's prohibitions on medical examinations of job applicants and employees. (Read More)...

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EEOC Gives the Green Light for Limited Incentives for COVID-19 Vaccinations

2021-05-28

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance on May 28 that, under equal employment opportunity laws, employers may offer limited incentives to employees to be vaccinated, so long as the incentives are not coercive. (Read More)...

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Interview Icebreakers Can Land You in Hot Water

2021-05-28

Breaking the ice during job interviews without breaking the law is tougher than it sounds. Personal questions at job interviews are risky, legal experts say; they recommend interviewers stick to job-related inquiries, which are a safer way to build rapport. (Read More)...

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Workplace Violence May Jump During Return to Work

2021-05-27

As workers transition from being isolated at home—whether working remotely or furloughed and waiting to return—some experts fear a rise in workplace violence. HR professionals can take proactive steps to minimize this risk. (Read More)...

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Job Openings Reach Record High, But Where Are the Applicants?

2021-05-26

The number of available jobs in the U.S. is at a record-breaking high while unemployment remains significantly elevated, leading employers in need of workers to wonder, where are all the job applicants? (Read More)...

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California HR Pros Must Prepare for Changes to COVID-19 Restrictions

2021-05-25

Although many COVID-19-related guidelines have been relaxed at the federal level, California workplaces are still subject to various state and local rules. HR professionals will play a critical role in updating COVID-19-related workplace policies and managing employee expectations as the state prepares to reopen the economy. (Read More)...

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IRS Guidance Clarifies Taxability of Dependent Care FSAs Through 2022

2021-05-25

The IRS addressed confusion over the taxability of dependent care flexible spending account (DC-FSA) funds for 2021 and 2022, clarifying that it won't tax amounts that COVID-19 relief provisions allowed to be carried over from year to year, or that are used during an extended period for incurring claims. (Read More)...

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The New IRS COBRA Subsidy Guidance: Key Takeaways for Employers

2021-05-24

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) implemented a 100 percent COBRA subsidy for certain qualified beneficiaries beginning on April 1, 2021, and ending September 30, 2021. On May 18, 2021, more than a month into the subsidy period, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2021-31. (Read More)...

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OSHA Shifts Position on Recordability of Adverse Reactions from COVID-19 Vaccines

2021-05-24

In a dramatic shift in its enforcement position with respect to the recordability of adverse reactions from COVID-19 vaccines, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on May 21, 2021, published a new Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) establishing that employers do not need to record adverse reactions from COVID-19 vaccines on their OSHA 300 Logs, at least through May of 2022. (Read More)...

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How to Handle a California Pregnancy Disability Accommodation

2021-05-21

Do I have to continue to accommodate a pregnant employee who continues to be late or absent from work when she has used up all of her paid sick leave and vacation? (Read More)...

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Reversal of Fortune for California Employers: State Officials Put Brakes On COVID-19 Workplace Safety Rule Changes – For Now

2021-05-21

In an unexpected turn of events, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board announced today that it will not move to adopt the proposed revisions to the existing Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). (Read More)...

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Employers Should Be Cautious When Asking About Vaccination Status

2021-05-20

Employers may want to ask workers for proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status now that many federal and state officials have relaxed COVID-19 safety rules for people who are fully vaccinated. But employers should be careful not to ask for more information than is necessary. (Read More)...

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Why HR Should Focus on Ergonomics

2021-05-19

Many HR teams recognize the mental and physical toll that working from home has taken on employees. Stress, anxiety, lack of sleep and now a raft of physical ailments from poor ergonomics have led to exploding health care costs for some. (Read More)...

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Return to Work Resistance: Navigating the ADA Interactive Process and COVID-19 Disability Accommodation Requests

2021-05-19

As vaccine proliferation continues, employers are preparing to welcome their workforces back to offices and job sites across the country.  While many Americans are eager to return to pre-pandemic life, employers can expect resistance from employees recalled to the office, particularly from those whose medical conditions put them at greater risk for complications from COVID-19. (Read More)...

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Managing Workplace Mask Requirements as Restrictions Are Lifted

2021-05-18

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently relaxed many of its COVID-19 safety recommendations for people who are fully vaccinated—which raises complicated questions for employers about whether to revise their mask requirements and social-distancing policies. (Read More)...

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Change is Coming in California: Top 10 Revisions to COVID-19 Workplace Safety Rules for Employers

2021-05-18

After months of calls for modification to Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), California is about to adopt significant changes to the standard in light of the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the proliferation of vaccinations. (Read More)...

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Gradual Return to Workplace Eases Transition for Employees

2021-05-18

As employers plan for their return to the workplace, gradual strategies can help ease employees back onsite. Make sure to communicate the reasons why the return to the office is important and how you are keeping workers safe. (Read More)...

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Going hybrid? Get a remote work policy, attorney says

2021-05-17

Employers may shed many of the changes the pandemic pushed on them, but it's likely that remote work is not on the list of things to go, at least not entirely. Hybrid work — a working arrangement that combines remote and in-person work in one way or another — is gaining popularity as employers announce return-to-work plans. (Read More)...

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CDC relaxes mask guidance, but employers are left waiting on OSHA

2021-05-14

Fully vaccinated people can ditch their masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday. Does this mean workers can go barefaced? Not necessarily. The CDC's directive came with a series of caveats, and there are several more factors employers need to consider, attorneys say. (Read More)...

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Traditional and PTO Bank Plans Still Dominate the Paid-Leave Landscape

2021-05-14

Traditional paid-time-off (PTO) leave plans, with separately accrued sick days, vacation time and other eligible days off, remain the most common type of leave plan in the U.S., new research shows. (Read More)...

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Some New Marijuana Laws Protect Off-Duty Recreational Use

2021-05-13

As the trend to legalize cannabis use continues, employers should note that some state and local laws now protect workers who consume recreational marijuana while off duty. (Read More)...

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The Power of Kindness at Work

2021-05-12

Everybody wants to be happy. But how can we meet that sometimes elusive goal? This was a difficult question even before the global pandemic, but nowadays just thinking about it can seem futile. Parents are trying to balance the demands of remote work and online schooling; people who live alone try to keep their focus in isolation. When life is measured by back-to-back Zoom meetings, even taking a shower can seem like a win. (Read More)...

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Unanswered Questions About Paid COVID-19 Leave and Employer Tax Credits

2021-05-11

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) offers tax credits for employers that provide emergency paid sick leave, emergency family leave and paid time off to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, but there are some gray areas. Must emergency paid leave, if offered, be provided on an all-or-nothing basis? Does emergency paid family and medical leave time off exhaust an employee's unpaid 12-week Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allotment? Employers' answers to these questions may depend on their willingness to risk liability for not following the law correctly and losing their tax credits. (Read More)...

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Supporting Mental Health in the Post-Pandemic Workplace

2021-05-11

In many workplaces, there is still a stigma around discussing employee mental health conditions. Yet the pandemic has created an unexpected opportunity for more open and supportive conversations between HR, employees and senior leadership. (Read More)...

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California Employers Must Follow Strict Rules on Masks in Workplaces

2021-05-11

While employees may cheer the news that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is relaxing its guidance on wearing masks outdoors for people who are fully vaccinated, California employers should not relax their standards yet, according to employment law attorneys. (Read More)...

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Reopening Strategies Recognize Many Will Keep Working Remotely

2021-05-10

More businesses are planning to reopen their offices and worksites, but not everyone is returning to work there. As part of a new normal, many organizations plan to allow sizable numbers of employees to continue working remotely rather than risk seeing them hired away by a more accommodating employer. (Read More)...

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Your State No Longer Requires Face Coverings in the Workplace – But Should You Continue To Mandate Them?

2021-05-10

As the COVID-19 pandemic (mercifully) starts to retreat, many states have begun rolling back face-covering mandates, which often relieve employers of the obligation to require masks for employees and visitors in the workplace. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends their use in most workplaces, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) likewise still encourages employees to wear masks.  (Read More)...

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IRS Announces 2022 Limits for HSAs and High-Deductible Health Plans

2021-05-10

Health savings account (HSA) contribution limits for 2022 are going up $50 for self-only coverage and $100 for family coverage, the IRS announced May 10, 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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Retroactive COVID Paid Sick Leave Due When Employee Requests It

2021-05-07

I have a business with approximately 40 employees, and I just read something that said California passed a law making COVID sick leave retroactive to January 1 of this year. Is that true? Do I need to go through all my employees’ absence records and pay out this sick leave to employees who were absent during the first quarter of this year? (Read More)...

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California Loosens Quarantine Requirements for Fully Vaccinated Employees – More to Come?

2021-05-07

Employers in California have been clamoring for changes to workplace health and safety COVID-19 standards as a result of the growing numbers of employees who are fully vaccinated. Recent updated guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) appears to open the door to lifting certain requirements in the workplace for fully vaccinated employees. (Read More)...

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What to Do When an Employee Complains About ‘Discrimination’

2021-05-07

An employee complained to me that a coworker frequently yells at the employee for parking in the wrong spot and says that the coworker is “discriminating” against him by yelling at him. What, if anything, do I need to do to address this complaint? (Read More)...

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AB 5 Injunction Overturned

2021-05-05

Once upon a (pre-pandemic) time, one of employers’ most pressing concerns was the independent contractor law (also known as AB 5) that took effect in 2020, codifying the California Supreme Court’s strict “ABC” test for classifying workers as either employees or independent contractors. Though the COVID-19 pandemic largely overshadowed AB 5 (and everything else), worker classification issues remain important and continue to develop. (Read More)...

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‘Right to Recall’ Mandate Circumvents Policy Process

2021-05-04

Now in effect is a new law establishing a “right to recall” requirement for certain hotels, private clubs, event centers, airport hospitality operations, and building services. The law applies to all employees laid off due to COVID-19. (Read More)...

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Prepare for Payroll Tax Hikes to Replenish Unemployment Insurance Funds

2021-05-03

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, funded through payroll taxes, were exhausted. As a result, the percentage of employees' wages that employers pay for UI programs is expected to at least double over the next two to three years, benefits advisors predict. (Read More)...

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How to Submit 2019, 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 Data

2021-05-03

As reported in late March, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection began on Monday, April 26, 2021 — and employers have until Monday, July 19, 2021, to submit these two years’ worth of data. (Read More)...

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Employers Must Still Keep Form 300A After Posting Period Ends

2021-04-30

After April 30, employers can remove their Form 300A, Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses posting, which they’ve had displayed at their place of business since February 1.  (Read More)...

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Restructuring Your Organization Post-Pandemic? Maintain DE&I Commitments

2021-04-28

As organizations prepare for a post-pandemic world, restructuring and reorganization to account for lost revenue in 2020 likely will be on the radar for many in 2021. Employers should be careful, though, not to backtrack on progress made last year toward diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). (Read More)...

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Help Employees Understand the Importance of Cybersecurity

2021-04-27

Almost half of all employees have been working from home since the pandemic began, according to a recent Gallup poll. No doubt, that makes the job of protecting the organization's data, networks and apps even more challenging. (Read More)...

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Workers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Reactions Might Be Recordable on Your OSHA 300 Logs

2021-04-26

If an employee has a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine, do you need to record that illness on your 300 log? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently provided guidance on this issue, one that many employers have been contemplating since the COVID-19 vaccine became available. According to the agency in a series of answers to frequently asked questions, the key issue in this analysis if whether you are requiring the vaccine or merely encouraging it. (Read More)...

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Employers React to Workers Who Refuse a COVID-19 Vaccination

2021-04-26

As COVID-19 vaccines become widely available, many employers are asking if they can require employees to get vaccinated, and what they can do if workers refuse. Some employers are firing workers who won't take the vaccine. (Read More)...

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IRS Provides Safe Harbor for 2020 Expenses Paid with PPP Loans

2021-04-26

The IRS has created a safe harbor for small businesses that received first-round Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans but did not deduct certain expenses because they relied on guidance issued before the enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, in December 2020. (Read More)...

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Premium Pay Penalty Due When Employee Given Late Meal Break

2021-04-23

Yesterday our store was very busy, so I could not let my employee leave for a meal break until very late in the day. Do I owe the employee a one-hour meal period penalty because their lunch break was late, or is it owed only if they didn’t get a meal break at all? (Read More)...

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Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Refuses to Extend ADA Liability to Websites

2021-04-23

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that disabled persons have equal access to goods and services provided by any “place of public accommodation.”  On April 7, 2021, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held in a 2:1 decision that a website is not a “place of public accommodation” subject to the ADA; a position that stands in conflict with some other circuit courts of appeals, requiring caution on the part of businesses. (Read More)...

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Independent-Contractor Status Is Still a Hot Topic in California

2021-04-21

Several years after the "ABC" test was first used in California to distinguish between independent contractors and employees, the controversial law continues to change as it is amended and more exceptions are made. (Read More)...

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DOL updates COBRA notices to reflect subsidy mandate

2021-04-21

The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden March 11, obligates employers to cover the cost of COBRA group health coverage for eligible employees. The U.S. Department of Labor recently released guidance for employers regarding this element of the ARP, and it includes model notices employers can use to satisfy the requirement that they notify employees who are eligible for the assistance. (Read More)...

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Small Businesses Can Get a Tax Credit for Providing Vaccination Paid Leave

2021-04-21

To encourage more widespread vaccinations, President Joe Biden highlighted a paid-leave tax credit for employers that provide full pay for employees who take time off to get and recover from a COVID-19 vaccination. The tax credit is available to organizations with fewer than 500 employees, covers up to $511 per day for each vaccinated employee. (Read More)...

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Alcohol Awareness in the Workplace

2021-04-21

Each year, an estimated 500 million workdays are lost to alcohol-related issues, costing $240 billion annually — and 72 percent of that is due to lost wages from reduced work productivity. Since April is Alcohol Awareness Month, which was created to increase outreach and understanding of the causes, effects and treatment of alcoholism, there’s no better time to promote workplace programs that may help employees with alcohol-related problems and ensure your company has an alcohol-free workplace policy. (...

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Are Your Job Posts Biased?

2021-04-20

Most of the time, bias is unintentional, unintended and "unconscious," said Carlos Ledo, assistant general counsel and HR consultant at Engage PEO in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Read More)...

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California Hospitality Employers Will Need to Track COVID-19 Layoffs Until 2025 Due to New Right-of-Recall Bill

2021-04-19

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law on Friday a statewide right of recall for employees in certain industries who were laid off due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. SB 93, which enacts Labor Code Section 2810.8 effective immediately, primarily impacts hospitality employers in California but also includes a few other industries. (Read More)...

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Hospital Encounters Pushback on Mandatory Vaccine Policy: 7 Issues to Consider Before Your Company Requires Vaccines

2021-04-19

Pushback against employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccines has stirred media attention in Texas, home to the world’s largest medical complex. Specifically, a nurse working at a hospital in the Houston Methodist system has anonymously circulated a petition and spoken to the media about the employer’s upcoming deadline for employees to be vaccinated unless they obtain a medical or religious exemption. (Read More)...

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Labor Commissioner Issues COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Guidance

2021-04-15

20 million Californians have already been vaccinated, with all individuals age 16 and up eligible for vaccination effective April 15th. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing recently released updated COVID-19 guidance, which included guidance on employer vaccination programs. The California Labor Commissioner followed suit and released guidance regarding COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination pertaining to California regulations governed by the Labor Commissioner. (Read More)...

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Complying with COVID-19 Paid-Sick-Leave Laws in California

2021-04-14

The COVID-19 pandemic added another layer of compliance challenges for California employers as they navigate paid-sick-leave mandates at the state and local level. (Read More)...

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Rising Payroll Taxes Coming to Shore Up California’s Pandemic-Depleted UI Fund

2021-04-13

As the 2021 crop of legislation is coming into form and moving through legislative committees addressing a range of topics, one topic is conspicuously absent: aid for California’s deeply insolvent Unemployment Insurance (UI) Fund. (Read More)...

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Employers Still Have COVID-19 Safety Duties as California Plans Reopening

2021-04-13

While California has announced tentative plans to lift COVID-19 restrictions by June 15, the difficulties for employers are not over. (Read More)...

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Investigations, Safety Risks Result in Involuntary Leave

2021-04-13

Placing an employee on administrative leave should be done sparingly but may be appropriate during an investigation or if an employee poses a direct threat to health or safety. (Read More)...

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As Employees Catch Up on Their Delayed Health Care Needs, Claims Could Surge

2021-04-12

At the height of the pandemic, employee health care claims dropped steeply when people avoided visiting doctors' offices. Now as coronavirus vaccinations are widely available, Americans are expected to seek long-delayed care. Health claims could reflect the consequences of letting risky health conditions go untreated for more than a year, exacerbated by stress, poor diets and suspended gym memberships. (Read More) ...

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California Supreme Court Expands the Reach of the California Prevailing Wage Law

2021-04-12

The trend over the last 20 years has been for California's prevailing wage law to spread to areas previously unimagined.  This spread has been due to inexact drafting of the law, constant tinkering by the legislature, and expansive readings of this arcane statute by the courts and agencies charged with its enforcement.  It has been aptly described as the “Winchester Mystery House” of California wage and hour law:  always under construction or modification, never finished, with strange and inexplicable features like its namesake’s stairways that stop at ceilings and doorways that lead nowhere. (Read More)...

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DOL Issues COBRA Subsidy Guidance and Model Notices

2021-04-08

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) posted on its website guidance and model notices to help employers comply with the federal COBRA premium subsidy put in place by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). (Read More)...

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A Pointed Question: How To Ask Employees If They’ve Been Vaccinated Without Having To Call Your Lawyer First

2021-04-08

Now that the country is on course to see all adult Americans eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in a matter of days, and an increasing number of employees are returning to the workplace, vaccination status is likely to be an increasingly common topic over the coming weeks and months. (Read More)...

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App Helps Determine Eligibility for Pregnancy Disability Leave, Baby Bonding Leave

2021-04-06

On March 24, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) launched a web-based app that is designed to assist Californians with determining eligibility for either Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) or baby bonding leave through the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The app creates a “report” regarding an individual’s eligibility based upon a series of questions. (Read More)...

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Steps to Take for Safely Returning Employees to the Workplace

2021-04-02

What COVID-19 safety measures do employers need to have in place before employees return to the workplace from remote work?...

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ICE Announces Extension for Temporary Flexibility for I-9 Compliance to May 31

2021-04-01

ICE has announced that I-9 flexibility will be continued for another 60 days, until May 31, 2021. Here is ICE’s full announcement. (Read More)...

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Eligible Employers Have More Time to Apply for PPP Loans

2021-03-31

Employers that need help covering payroll costs during the pandemic will have an additional 60 days to file a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application under a bill President Joe Biden signed into law on March 30. (Read More)...

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IRS Makes Face Masks and Sanitizer Payable Under FSAs, HSAs or HRAs

2021-03-31

The IRS cleared up an issue about benefit account reimbursements for nonprescription, over-the-counter personal protective equipment (PPE) that has been a source of confusion since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Read More)...

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EEO-1 Component 1 Data Collection Starts April 26

2021-03-29

On March 29, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it’ll start collecting 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 data on Monday, April 26, 2021. (Read More)...

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CDC Provides Guidance on Employers’ Onsite Vaccinations

2021-03-26

Large employers should consider onsite vaccination programs, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in recent guidance. The CDC didn't recommend onsite vaccination programs for small or midsize employers, saying they should encourage offsite vaccination. (Read More)...

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DOL Allows Certain Parts of Tip-Sharing Rule to Take Effect

2021-03-25

Aprovision in a final rule that prohibits employers from taking any portion of workers' gratuities will take effect on April 30, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). However, the department wants to change or delay other aspects of the rule. (Read More)...

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What Do California Employers Need to Know About Wage Statements?

2021-03-24

Just as current and former employees are entitled to inspect their personnel file, Labor Code Section 226(c) entitles current and former employees to request copies of wage statements. Often these requests occur when an employee has filed a claim or intends to file a claim. As such, the employers must have compliant wage statements to respond to these requests. (Read More)...

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SBA Issues Updated Guidance on Paycheck Protection Program

2021-03-23

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently published an interim final rule to address Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) changes made in the most recent COVID-19 economic stimulus package. (Read More)...

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New COBRA Subsidy Requires Quick Action by Plan Sponsors

2021-03-23

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, includes a number of provisions designed to assist workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them is a new COBRA premium subsidy that pays for 100 percent of the applicable COBRA premium for eligible individuals with respect to coverage periods beginning April 1, 2021 and ending Sept. 30, 2021. (Read More)...

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You’ve Been Promoted to Manager! Now Master the Job with These 5 Leadership Traits

2021-03-23

Most managers have a healthy sense of confidence and ambition. But those traits alone won't get you far in your first management role if you can't lead employees. (Read More)...

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California Provides Employers with Guidelines on Mandating Vaccines

2021-03-22

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) recently issued guidance on whether employers can require workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. (Read More)...

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Governor Signs New Paid Sick Leave Mandate Into Law

2021-03-22

Late Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation that mandates the addition of up to 80 hours of employer-paid COVID-19 sick leave retroactive to January 1, 2021. The new law applies to employees who work for a public or private employer with more than 25 employees. (Read More)...

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EEOC Expects July Deadline for Filing EEO-1 Reports

2021-03-19

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) plans to open the EEO-1 portal at the end of April and collect data through July, according to a March 12 announcement. Covered employers must submit EEO-1 reports each year about the number of employees who work for the business sorted by job category, race, ethnicity and sex. (Read More)...

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California Family Rights Act Leave Raises Issues and Questions

2021-03-19

My employee has used her Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)/California Family Rights Act (CFRA) time last year to care for her mother. Now she wants to take leave to care for her grandchild. Are we required to provide more time to her? (Read More)...

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California to Enact New COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Requirement

2021-03-18

The California Legislature just approved a measure that dramatically extends and expands a requirement for employers to provide supplemental paid sick leave to employees impacted by COVID-19. Among other things, this new requirement applies to employers with more than 25 employees and establishes a new “bank” of COVID-19 related sick leave for covered employees for 2021 – even if they were previously provided such leave in 2020. (Read More)...

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American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Brings More Financial Relief

2021-03-16

On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law, creating a third stimulus package since the COVID-19 pandemic started one year ago. The ARPA focuses on several employment-related economic benefits such as paid sick leave, financial support for small businesses and enhanced unemployment benefits. Here’s the main ARPA points that employers should know. (Read More)...

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How the New COVID-19 Relief Package Impacts Employers

2021-03-15

The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law March 11, contains several key provisions to help struggling businesses and workers during the coronavirus pandemic. (Read More)...

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Stimulus Act Raises Dependent Care FSA Limits, Adjusts Tax Credit

2021-03-15

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law on March 11, raises pretax contribution limits for dependent care flexible spending accounts (DC-FSAs) for calendar year 2021. It also increases the value of the dependent care tax credit for 2021. (Read More)...

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Daylight Saving Time (DST) Starts March 14

2021-03-11

Get ready to spring forward — this Sunday, March 14 is the start of Daylight Saving Time (DST)! While losing an hour of sleep may lead to sleepier or grumpier employees on Monday morning, the COVID-19 pandemic may, in this particular instance, have a silver lining for everyone. (Read More)...

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Duties Are More Important than Titles in Determining Overtime Coverage

2021-03-10

Fire department battalion chiefs are managers, not front-line firefighters, and as such are not excepted as first responders from the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA's) exemptions from overtime pay, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided. (Read More)...

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House Passes Sweeping Labor Law Reform

2021-03-10

On March 9, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021 (PRO Act) by a largely party-line vote of 225-206.  One Democratic Representative voted against the bill; five Republicans voted for it. The PRO Act represents the most dramatic reform of federal labor law in decades, and would have significant consequences for both non-union and unionized employers.  (Read More)...

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COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance Released

2021-03-09

On March 4, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) updated its COVID-19 guidance, addressing several vaccination-related questions. The updated guidance replaces the version last updated on July 24, 2020. (Read More)...

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New March 2021 Reporting Deadline for California Employers

2021-03-08

Private companies with 100+ employees (and with at least one California-based employee) must report Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) pay and other data to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) by March 31, 2021, and annually thereafter. This requirement flows from California Senate Bill 973, enacted on September 30, 2020. The DFEH has provided additional information, sample forms and a place to submit the data here. (Read More)...

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Last-Minute Tips to Comply with California’s Pay-Data Reporting Rules

2021-03-08

California HR professionals should focus this month on completing pay-data reports, which must be submitted to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) by March 31. (Read More)...

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Take Steps to Fight Pandemic Fatigue

2021-03-08

Some workers are growing tired of ongoing pandemic-related restrictions and becoming lax in their compliance with COVID-19-related protocols such as mask wearing. Their "pandemic fatigue" is creating challenges and legal risks that employers need to address. (Read More)...

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CFRA Expansion Complicates Leave for Furloughed Employees

2021-03-05

We have furloughed an employee. This employee now wants to take baby bonding leave after the birth of his child. Is the employee’s job protected under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) while he is still furloughed? (Read More)...

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Labor Department Officially Delays Independent-Contractor Rule

2021-03-04

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has delayed a final rule clarifying who is an independent contractor versus an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). (Read More)...

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Review Business Travel and Vacation Policies as Pandemic Continues

2021-03-03

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, employers may want to update their travel policies to comply with evolving federal and state travel restrictions and workplace safety guidelines. (Read More)...

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Agencies Revise—and Complicate—COBRA Deadline Extensions

2021-03-03

Federal agencies issued new guidance addressing pandemic-related extended deadlines for electing COBRA health care continuation coverage and for filing health plan claims and appeals, among other issues, but some are warning that the new relief will be administratively burdensome for employers and plan administrators. (Read More)...

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Employee Quitting Due to COVID May Still Collect Unemployment

2021-03-03

I have several employees who have quit for COVID-19-related reasons, including lack of child care and fear of being in the workplace. Why are they able to collect unemployment insurance when they were the ones who chose to quit? (Read More)...

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H-1B Visa Initial Registration Opens March 9

2021-03-02

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many California businesses still face difficult choices as they confront revenue loss and uncertainty in the future — which has some implications for employers who hire H-1B visa (commonly known as a U.S. work visa) workers. While prospective H-1B visa petitioners should be ready to submit their 2022 registrations, employers considering salary reductions for current H-1B workers have different requirements.  (Read More)...

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California Supreme Court Demands Strict Meal Period Compliance and Prohibits Rounding for Meal Periods

2021-03-02

On Thursday, February 25, 2021, the California Supreme Court issued a long-awaited ruling addressing legal standards for meal period violations in Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC.1  In its opinion, the court required strict compliance for providing meal periods, and specifically condemned the practice of rounding to the nearest time increment for meal periods.  The court also clarified that a rebuttable presumption of liability applies when time records show shortened, delayed, or missed meal periods. (Read More)...

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Can an Employer Fire Workers Who Are Scared to Return to the Office?

2021-03-01

More employers are requiring employees to return to the office. If employees refuse, can they be disciplined or terminated? (Read More)...

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Comply with ADA, FMLA When Worker Is a ‘COVID-19 Long Haule

2021-03-01

Individuals with severe COVID-19 symptoms that last for months—"COVID-19 long haulers"—may be covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), while those who recover quickly may not be covered by the ADA but might be protected by the FMLA. Employers should understand the scope of the laws' coverage and educate managers about the laws' possible application. (Read More)...

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Annual Report on EEOC Developments – Fiscal Year 2020

2021-03-01

This Annual Report on EEOC Developments—Fiscal Year 2020 (hereafter “Report”), our tenth annual publication, is designed as a comprehensive guide to significant EEOC developments over the past fiscal year. (Read More...

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Employers With Lengthy Hiring Process May Lose Top Job Candidates

2021-03-01

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, when the unemployment rates were at record lows, “ghosting” — when job applicants suddenly stop responding to recruiters or hiring managers, even accepting job offers and not showing up on the first day of work — was an increasingly prevalent phenomenon for employers. Now, the situation has reversed — employers are taking longer to hire employees, causing some job applicants to feel strung along, meaning some employers’ top candidates lose interest and go elsewhere. (Read More)...

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IRS Clarifies Relief for FSA Carry-Overs

2021-03-01

Employers can now offer employees participating in health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and dependent care FSAs greater flexibility for rolling over unused funds through 2022, under new IRS guidance. (Read More)...

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Here’s What California Employers Should Know About CCPA Compliance

2021-02-23

California has one of the nation's most stringent privacy laws and the first that applied to employees. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) has been amended several times since it passed in 2018—and employers should be aware of how those changes affect the workplace. (Read More)...

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Coordinate FFCRA Tax Credits with FMLA

2021-02-19

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) mandatory requirements have expired, but the tax credit for employers that continue to voluntarily provide employees paid leave due to COVID-19 remains in place. Meanwhile, the distinction between emergency paid sick leave (EPSL), emergency family and medical leave (EFML) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time off remains significant. (Read More)...

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Cal/OSHA Provides Model Template for COVID-19 Prevention Plan

2021-02-18

In conjunction with the recent adoption of the COVID-19 emergency regulations, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has developed a model COVID-19 Prevention Plan (CPP) to assist employers in developing their CPP. (Read More)...

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How to Be Happier at Work

2021-02-17

Covid-19 has changed our day-to-day life as well as the outlook for people and businesses. It's not just our physical health that's at risk. Our mental health has also taken a hit, with the economic uncertainty, sporadic lockdowns and shift to remote working. As a result, employees around the world are feeling unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety, according to bodies such as the World Health Organization and the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health. (Read More)...

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Work Opportunity Tax Credit Extended Through 2025

2021-02-16

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)—an incentive for employers to broaden their job applicant pools and hire from certain groups of people who may need assistance finding jobs—has been reauthorized and extended through the end of 2025. (Read More)...

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If 65+ Employee Falters, Focus on Job Performance, Not Age

2021-02-10

We have an employee who is over the age of 65 and has worked for us for several years, but recently his cognitive skills appear to be diminishing. Can we ask him to take a test for his mental health? (Read More...

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DFEH Answers More Questions on Pay Data Reporting Rules

2021-02-09

On Sept. 30, 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a pay data reporting requirement for employers that assigns responsibility for collecting such data to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). (Read More)...

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What to Consider When Moving to a Hybrid Work Model

2021-02-08

With a large-scale vaccine rollout underway, more organizations will be wrestling with how best to transition workers back into their offices this year after spending most of 2020 working from home. (Read More)...

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California Pay Data Reporting User Guide, Templates Available

2021-02-05

In January, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced that it would publish additional resources to assist employers with SB 973, and on February 1, it delivered — posting a detailed 67-page User Guide, report templates and additional guidance on its pay data reporting FAQ page. (Read More)...

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U.S. DOL Will Enforce FFCRA Up to Three Years

2021-02-01

At the end of 2020, many eyes were on Congress to see how it would handle a second economic stimulus package to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including which programs, such as unemployment insurance extensions and eviction moratoriums, would get extended from the first stimulus package passed in March 2020. (Read More) ...

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OSHA Issues Worker Safety Guidance for Coronavirus Protection Programs

2021-02-01

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued worker safety guidance for coronavirus protection programs on Jan. 29, requiring greater input from employees and enhanced mask protections. (Read More)...

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State Supreme Court Says Dynamex Decision Is Retroactive

2021-01-29

The California Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that its April 2018 decision changing the test for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee applies retroactively. The latest ruling opens California businesses up to millions of dollars of liability. (Read More)...

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New Reporting/Training Mandate for Businesses Employing Minors

2021-01-29

How has the mandate to report suspected child abuse and neglect changed under Assembly Bill (AB) 1963? What are the new training requirements? (Read More)...

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Viewpoint: What to Do If Your Team Doesn’t Want to Return to the Office

2021-01-27

As the pandemic continues, there are growing tensions at organizations where employees who have been working from home are now expected to come into reopened offices. Many knowledge workers—who have happily shed their commutes, decreased their interaction with difficult colleagues and let go of other frustrations of the office—relish the freedom, flexibility, and the increased productivity of working from home. But some senior leaders, who may not have confidence in their own ability to manage remote workers, aren't necessarily on the same page. (Read More)...

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W-2s May Need to Be Corrected Due to the FFCRA

2021-01-27

Some employers have been surprised by the new requirement to report wages paid for leave taken under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on employees' W-2 forms. But W-2s, which must be provided to employees by Jan. 31, can be corrected if they've already been issued. (Read More)...

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Employers Must Post Form 300A Starting February 1

2021-01-26

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, some things remain the same. California employers must still post their Form 300A, Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, on February 1, 2021, and keep it posted through April 30, 2021. (Read More)...

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California Employers Should Review Evolving Worker-Classification Rules

2021-01-26

Apending federal rule would make it easier for employers to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees, but California businesses still must follow the state's more stringent test.  (Read More)...

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Deadlines Ahead as Employers Prep for ACA Reporting in 2021

2021-01-26

Employers should keep in mind approaching 2021 deadlines for distributing health care reporting forms to employees and filing these forms with the IRS, as required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). (Read More)...

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Streamlined Work Sharing Program Offers Alternative to Layoffs

2021-01-25

As California businesses continue to struggle to maintain their workforces during COVID-related closing and reopenings, employers should keep in mind California’s underutilized work share program, streamline by last year’s AB 1731 (Boerner Horvath; D-Encinitas). (Read More)...

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DOL Issues New Guidance on Posting Notices for Remote, Hybrid Workplaces

2021-01-25

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently provided guidance from the Wage and Hour Division on complying with its notice and posting requirements when employees are working remotely. (Read More)...

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Report COVID-19 Positive Test Result to Workers’ Comp Carrier

2021-01-22

Do I have to have to file a workers’ compensation claim every time one of my employees tests positive for COVID-19? (Read More)...

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Employers Should Note These Workplace Litigation Trends for 2021

2021-01-21

In the midst of a pandemic, employers may have more workplace compliance and employee relations matters to resolve than is usual. Training supervisors to properly respond to key issues before they escalate can help employers stay out of court.  (Read More)...

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Top Considerations for Adopting FSA Funding Relief

2021-01-20

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, (the Act) provides certain COVID-19-related relief, including options for employers to adopt temporary measures regarding flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Employers have several practical considerations when deciding whether to adopt one or more of these changes in their plans. (Read More)...

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DFEH Updates Pay Data Reporting Guidance, Submission Portal Opening Soon

2021-01-19

One new law that took effect on January 1 requires employers, who have 100 or more employees and are subject to federal EEO-1 reporting, to submit employee demographic and pay data information to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). (Read More)...

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Complying with Enhanced Cybersecurity Safeguards in California

2021-01-19

The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) leaps forward on cybersecurity by amending the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) to impose enhanced protections. (Read More)...

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EEOC Will Start Collecting EEO-1 Data in April

2021-01-15

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will start to collect annual EEO-1 data from covered employers in April, according to a recent agency announcement. The EEO-1 survey 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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Dynamex is Retroactive: California Supreme Court’s Rejection of the Reasonable Reliance Exception Ignores Reality

2021-01-15

As those who have been following AB 5 know well, in April 2018, the California Supreme Court issued a monumental decision related to independent contractor classification. Now, the court has held that the Dynamex decision is retroactive, opening up California businesses to millions of dollars of liability.  (Read More)...

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Should Employers Administer COVID-19 Vaccines?

2021-01-13

Employers that want to administer COVID-19 vaccines onsite have many challenges, not least of which includes the availability of vaccines, having trained staff and limiting liability. (Read More)...

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Developing a Vaccination Strategy

2021-01-12

Let's say your CEO walks into the HR department and says, "I need your help. I want an employee vaccination strategy and plan. Please get to work ASAP." (Read More)...

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What California Employers Should Know About Expiring COVID-19 Paid Leave

2021-01-12

For much of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many California employees have utilized leave entitlements through federal, state and local paid-sick-leave statutes and ordinances.  As of Dec. 31, 2020, however, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)California's COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (CSPSL)—and many local supplemental paid sick leaves (LSPSL)—have expired. (Read More)...

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Cal/OSHA Publishes Updated FAQs on COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard

2021-01-11

On January 8, 2021, Cal/OSHA issued a much-awaited second set of FAQs to its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS).  The following are ten key takeaways (Reade More)...

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COVID-19 Pandemic PTO Trends

2021-01-07

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into 2021, the importance of paid time off (PTO) for employees remains — despite some mixed feelings about actually using that PTO. (Read More)...

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Majority of Employers Will Encourage, Not Require, COVID-19 Vaccine: SHRM Research

2021-01-06

During a one-week period leading up to Christmas, over 5,600 nurses, doctors and other front-line workers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston received what they may have cheered as an early holiday present—their first COVID-19 vaccinations. (Read More)...

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Appropriations Act Permits Midyear FSA Elections, Unlimited Carry-Over Amounts Through 2021

2021-01-05

The Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), signed into law by President Donald Trump near the end of 2020, allows participants to roll over all unused amounts in their health and dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSAs) from 2020 to 2021 and from 2021 to 2022. Employers can also allow employees to change their health FSA or dependent care FSA contribution rate during 2021 without requiring an election-change event such as the birth or adoption of a child, or a change in marital status. (Read More)...

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Use of Telehealth to Support FMLA Leave Extended into 2021

2021-01-05

Continuing the policy adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Labor's (DOL's) Wage and Hour Division will, for the foreseeable future, allow employees to use telemedicine visits with a doctor to establish a serious health condition that renders them eligible for protected time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), provided specified criteria are met. (Read More)...

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Top Employee Handbook Updates for 2021

2021-01-05

The start of the year is a good time for employers to review their handbooks and ensure policies are updated with the latest employment and labor law developments. Notably, the COVID-19 pandemic may have prompted changes to employers' remote-work, paid-leave and other policies. (Read More)...

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ICE Extends Form I-9 Flexibility

2021-01-05

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) extended its interim policy allowing virtual document-inspection methods for Form I-9 until Jan. 31. (Read More)...

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2021 New Year, New Laws

2021-01-04

Goodbye, 2020, and good riddance! As we enter 2021, the new year brings several new employment-related laws that employers should be prepared for, including: (Read More)...

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DOL Issues Guidance on the Expired FFCRA

2021-01-04

Employers are not required to provide Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) leave after Dec. 31, 2020, but may voluntarily decide to do so, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced. (Read More)...

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Legislation Extends Student Loan Repayment Benefits for 5 Years

2021-01-04

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA), signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 27 extends for five years COVID-19 relief that allows employer-provided student loan repayment as a tax-free benefit to employees under Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code. Through 2025, employers can continue to make contributions of up to $5,250 per employee annually toward eligible education expenses, like tuition or student loan assistance, without raising the employee's gross taxable income. (Read More)...

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2021 IRS Mileage Rates

2020-12-23

On December 22, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the 2021 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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Update on Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Regulations

2020-12-22

As we head into the new year, California continues to see a surge in the number of COVID-19 infections, and some employers are starting to experience their first positive cases at the workplace.  (Read More) ...

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What Employers Can Do If Workers Refuse a COVID-19 Vaccination

2020-12-18

As COVID-19 vaccines become available, many employers are asking if they can require employees to get vaccinated, and what they can do if workers refuse. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) weighed in Dec. 16 with new guidance that answers some workplace vaccination questions. (Read More) ...

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How to Lead When an Employee Dies

2020-12-18

"It was the most difficult phone call I ever had to make," said Carma Peters, CEO of Michigan Legacy Credit Union in Wyandotte, Mich. An employee at her company—Sandy, a 31-year-old single mother—had died of COVID-19. (Read More)...

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California’s New Series of COVID-19 Reporting Requirements

2020-12-18

One of my employees just reported that they tested positive for COVID-19. Do I have to report this positive case? (Read More)...

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What If FFCRA Expires at the End of the Year?

2020-12-17

Unless Congress acts, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid-leave requirements will expire at the end of the year. But even if they expire, organizations that have generous paid-leave policies and those in states that have paid-leave laws will continue to grant time off to employees who have COVID-19 or whose children's schools or child care providers are closed. (Read More)...

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New Executive Order, COVID-19 Quarantine CDPH Guidance

2020-12-16

On December 14, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-84-20, addressing a number of issues in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including updating the recently implemented California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) emergency temporary standard to align with new California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance as it relates to quarantine guidelines. (Read More)...

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EEOC Issues COVID-19 Vaccination Guidance

2020-12-16

As COVID-19 vaccines become available, many employers are asking if they can require employees to get vaccinated, and what they can do if workers refuse. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) weighed in today with new guidance (see Section K) that answers some workplace vaccination questions. (Read More)...

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Final Rule Gives Boost to Grandfathered Health Plans

2020-12-15

Employers with health plan designs that predate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will find it easier to preserve the grandfathered status of their plans under a final rule published Dec. 15 by the U.S. Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury. (Read More)...

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Who Is a Long-Term, Part-Time Employee? 401(k) Plans Will Need to Know

2020-12-10

Historically, 401(k) plans could exclude individuals who worked less than 1,000 hours in the plan year. However, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, in its effort to expand access to employer retirement plans, introduced the concept of a "long-term, part-time employee." Starting in 2021, plans will need to consider these employees for eligibility, vesting, and company contribution purposes. (Read More)...

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California Issues More Guidance on Pay-Data Reporting Requirements

2020-12-08

The deadline for employers to comply with California's pay-data reporting requirement (SB 973) and submit pay data to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is March 31, 2021. (Read More)...

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COVID-19 and Disability Laws: What California Employers Should Know

2020-12-07

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many California businesses are trying to apply existing laws to a new situation and are left with many unanswered questions. (Read More)...

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An Employer’s Guide to California’s New Regional Stay-at-Home Order

2020-12-07

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a regional stay-at-home order on Dec. 3 that could soon have a dramatic impact on businesses in the state. Unlike previous orders, the regional stay-at-home order focuses on shutting down regions, not counties, based on hospital capacity in each area. The order took effect at on Dec. 5 for any specific region when intensive-care-unit (ICU) capacity for hospitals in that region drops below 15 percent. (Read More)...

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Cal/OSHA Emergency Rule for COVID-19 in Effect Now

2020-12-04

As of November 30, 2020, the new Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) 21-page COVID-19 Emergency Standard is in effect across California, covering virtually every employer and workplace in the state. (Read More)...

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How Will You Support Your Staff During What May Be a Very Lonely Holiday Season?

2020-12-02

In mid-November, shortly before Thanksgiving and as COVID-19 cases surged around the country, governors extended or ramped up their safety requirements. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, for instance, ordered indoor fitness centers and dining to be closed. And he ordered residents not to hold gatherings with people from other households. The message: Celebrate Thanksgiving, but only with those you normally live with. That sentiment is likely to extend around the country throughout the holiday season. (Read More)...

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California Provides Additional Guidance on Employee Pay Data Reporting

2020-11-25

On November 23, 2020, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing issued additional guidance for employers regarding their requirement to file employee compensation data with the state beginning in March of next year.  Pursuant to recently enacted SB 973, California employers will be required to file detailed information about their workforce’s compensation broken down by race, gender, ethnicity, and job title.  The new guidance takes the form of additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  The state issued limited FAQs earlier in November, and additional guidance is expected. (Read More)...

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Year-End Compliance Update for Retirement Plans

2020-11-24

As 2020 draws to a close, this is a good time for employers sponsoring retirement plans to wrap up year-end compliance issues and prepare for the upcoming year. Here is a quick list of topics that plan sponsors may want to consider as 2021 approaches. (Read More)...

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New Employment Laws in Effect Now; Others Coming on January 1, 2021

2020-11-20

Many new employment-related laws were signed into law at the end of the legislative session. Unless otherwise stated, these new laws take effect January 1, 2021. (Read More)...

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State mandates emergency workplace COVID-19 protections, less crowding for guest farmworkers

2020-11-20

Backed by the state’s attorney general and welcomed by labor advocates as better late than never, California’s new policy will start to hold businesses accountable for protecting their workers, mandate reporting outbreaks and decrease crowding in housing for vulnerable guest farmworkers spotlighted in a California Divide investigation. (Read More)...

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Viewpoint: 6 Tips for Workplace Mindfulness

2020-11-13

We've all felt overwhelmed during a hectic workday, particularly in our age of constant connectivity. In fact, 40% of workers report their job is "very" or "extremely" stressful. During moments when we must contend with high demand and tight deadlines, quality can be sacrificed in the name of efficiency, creating a lose-lose situation for businesses and employees. Active mindfulness may just be the solution to work-related anxieties and higher quality output that many are seeking. (Read More) ...

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California Family Rights Act (CFRA) Expansion Initial Regulations

2020-11-12

As we finally enter the homestretch of 2020, new California employment laws are inching closer to taking effect on January 1. SB 1383 is one of the most significant new laws this year, substantially expanding the reach and scope of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). (Read More)...

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When Should Employers Reimburse Expenses for Remote Workers?

2020-11-05

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many salaried employees around the world started working virtually from home. Many months later, the majority are still working at home and could be well into next year, if not permanently. (Read More)...

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Impact of SB 1383 Expansion of Family Rights Act on Large Employers

2020-11-03

We have more than 50 employees and are already covered by the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), so how will the CFRA expansions under SB 1383 affect us as a large business? (Read More)...

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California Offers Limited Guidance on New Pay Data Reporting Requirements; Further Guidance Expected

2020-11-03

On November 2, 2020, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) released Frequently Asked Questions providing limited guidance to employers as to how to comply with their obligations for filing employee compensation data with the state under the recently enacted SB 973. Under SB 973, California employers with 100 or more employees will be required to submit to DFEH a “pay data report” by no later than March 31, 2021, and annually thereafter, providing detailed information as to employee compensation. (Read More)...

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When Can Employers Terminate COBRA Coverage During the COVID-19 Outbreak Period?

2020-11-02

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many employers have struggled with the practical problem of how to administer the various time extensions applicable to employee benefit plans due to COVID-19. On April 28, 2020, the DOL and IRS issued regulations extending deadlines for individuals to request midyear enrollments, exercise COBRA rights, pay COBRA premiums, and submit claims and appeals. [Extension of Certain Timeframes for Employee Benefit Plans, Participants, and Beneficiaries Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak, published in the Federal Register on May 4, 2020.] (Read More)...

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2021 FSA Contribution Cap Stays at $2,750

2020-10-27

For 2021, the dollar limit for employee contributions to health flexible spending accounts (health FSAs) through salary reductions remains unchanged at $2,750, the IRS announced on Oct. 27 when it issued Revenue Procedure 2020-45. (Read More)...

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For 2021, 401(k) Contribution Limit Unchanged for Employees, Up for Employers

2020-10-26

Employee 401(k) contributions for plan year 2021 will once again top off at $19,500 with an additional $6,500 catch-up contribution allowed for those turning age 50 or older. But maximum contributions from all sources (employer and employee combined) will rise by $1,000. (Read More)...

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California Employers Must Prepare for CFRA Leave Expansion

2020-10-26

California lawmakers significantly expanded employee access to family and medical leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Here's what employers need to know about changes that will take effect Jan. 1, 2021. (Read More)...

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COVID-19 Small Business Grant

2020-10-22

class="xmsonormal">San Luis Obispo County is excited to announce the release of the COVID-19 Small Business Grant sponsored by the Workforce Development Board!  This grant program is aimed at assisting small businesses in San Luis Obispo County with 25 or fewer employees in preventing potential layoffs or facility closures which would occur due to the impacts of COVID-19. ...

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After Layoffs, Employers Risk Invoking 401(k) Partial Termination Rule

2020-10-21

As businesses continue to deal with economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many may need to permanently lay off workers. When doing so, companies that sponsor 401(k) and other qualified retirement plans should consider the IRS "partial termination rule," which can lead to unexpected costs to the company. (Read More)...

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OSHA’s COVID-19 Reporting Obligations Clarified

2020-10-15

Employers will rarely have to report COVID-19-related hospitalizations due to the virus's lengthy incubation period, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) clarification on the reporting rules for work-related hospitalizations and fatalities. (Read More)...

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2021 Wage Cap Rises Modestly for Social Security Payroll Taxes

2020-10-13

Starting Jan. 1, 2021, the maximum earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax will increase by $5,100 to $142,800—up from the $137,700 maximum for 2020, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced Oct. 13. The SSA also posted a fact sheet summarizing the 2021 changes. (Read More)...

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Some California Supervisors and HR Pros Must Report Child Abuse

2020-10-13

The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law, adopted in 1980, requires that certain "mandated reporters" make formal reports of suspected child abuse to law enforcement authorities.  (Read More)...

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California Enacts Pay Data Reporting Law

2020-10-09

In a continued effort to reduce gender and racial pay gaps, on Sept. 30, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 973, which creates massive pay reporting requirements for employers. (Read More)...

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IRS Extends Form 1095 Distribution Deadline to March 2

2020-10-06

On Oct. 2, the IRS announced it would extend the deadline for employers to provide employees with a copy of their 1095-C or 1095-B reporting form, as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), from Jan. 31, 2021, to March 2, 2021. In addition, the IRS again extended "good-faith effort" transition relief to employers for plan year 2020 reporting. (Read More)...

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California Makes Certain Human Resources Professionals and Supervisors Mandated Child Abuse Reporters

2020-10-05

The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law, adopted in 1980, requires that certain “mandated reporters” make formal reports of suspected child abuse to law enforcement authorities.  As defined in the law, child abuse includes acts and omissions constituting physical abuse, sexual abuse (including both sexual assault and sexual exploitation), willful cruelty or unjustified punishment, unlawful corporal punishment or injury, and neglect (Read More)...

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3 Ways to Motivate Your Team Through an Extended Crisis

2020-10-02

As we flip our calendars to yet another month of our large-scale Covid-19 remote-work experiment, it's no wonder that motivation, performance and well-being are flagging for many. Months in, managers need new tools to reenergize their teams, to accurately identify and diagnose recurring struggles and to empathetically help employees address their problems. (Read More)...

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AB 1731 Offers Much-Needed Reforms to California’s Work Sharing Program

2020-09-29

Signed into law on September 28, 2020, AB 1731 moves California’s work sharing program into the 21st century by mandating an online application process and specific deadlines for delivering claim forms. Work sharing is an unemployment insurance (UI) benefit program that gives employers the option of reducing employee hours during an economic downturn in lieu of layoffs. The employee receives a prorated UI benefit to replace the loss in wages. (Read More)...

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8 Diversity Recruiting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

2020-09-28

Employers are re-evaluating workplace diversity at their organizations, starting with being more thoughtful about recruiting from a broader range of talent.  (Read More)...

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Who Pays for COVID-19 Testing?

2020-09-24

When do health plans or employers have to pay for COVID-19 testing? The answer depends on who orders the test. (Read More)...

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