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Entries in employer compliance (24)

Wednesday
Jun112014

Employers: Ready for California's Minimum Wage Increase?

Lawyer for EmployerWage and Hour Defense

 

by Nicole Kamm
818.907.3235

 

 

 

Last September, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 10 into law, beginning a series of increases in minimum wages for California workers. The first increases under AB 10 is about to go into effect.

On July 1, 2104, the minimum wage in California will increase from $8.00 to $9.00 per hour.  This wage hike will have a wide-ranging impact on all California employers. 

For example:  

  • Non-exempt employees paid less than $9.00 per hour must receive an increase in pay.

  • Certain exempt employees (executive, administrative, professional) must receive a monthly salary of at least twice minimum wage on a salaried basis (as well as meet other exemption requirements).  Effective July 1, 2014, the minimum monthly salary for exempt employees increases to $3,120.  Employees paid less will no longer meet the exemption.

  • Inside sales employees under Wage Orders 4 and 7 must earn more than 1½ times minimum wage for all hours worked (they must also receive more than 50 percent of their compensation from commissions).  As of July 1, 2014, to qualify as exempt, such employees must be paid at least $13.50 per hour. 

The revised California Minimum Wage Official Notice should be posted next to your IWC Wage Order and other required workplace postings. 

Since 2012, California employers have been required to provide written notice to non-exempt employees containing certain information, including rate of pay.  The DLSE form Notice to Employee can be used for this purpose. 

Employers who have already issued this wage notice do not have to reissue as a result of the minimum wage increase provided the new wage rate is shown on the employee’s pay stub (itemized wage statement) with the next payment of wages.

Now is a good time for employers to audit their pay practices to ensure compliance with wage and hour laws.  If you have questions or need assistance with an audit, please contact me.

 

Other Minimum Wage Hikes

Minimum wages in California vary by city or county.If you're doing business in the Bay Area, be aware that the Richmond City Council voted to increase wages for workers in that city to $13.00 per hour by 2018 for most employers – higher than the current minimum wage in San Francisco ($10.74/hr).  Minimum wage in San Jose is currently $10.15 per hour.

This one isn't mandated by law yet, but employers should take note the California Senate recently approved a different set of increases, set to go before the Assembly. These proposed increases, if approved, would raise minimum wage to $11.00 per hour in January 2015, $12.00 in 2016, and $13.00 in 2017.

Already in place, Assembly Bill 10 will increase wages again to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2016. 

 

Nicole Kamm is an Employment Defense Attorney at our firm. Contact her directly: 818.907.3235; nkamm@lewitthackman.com.

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Friday
Mar072014

Employers: Don't Forget to Designate Employees' Time Off

Wage and Hour DefenseEmployee Leave of Absence Claim Defense

No Harm No "Fowl" in FMLA Case - 9th Circuit

by Sue M. Bendavid

818.907.3220

 

Score one for the employers in this case, but do so with caution:

Foster Farms did not violate California and federal law when the company fired an employee for returning to work more than two weeks after her vacation ended, according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lawyers for Employers - FMLA ClaimsThe employee, Maria Escriba, requested two weeks' vacation to tend to her ill father in Guatemala. Her supervisor asked Escriba twice if she needed to apply for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which Escriba declined. She then asked for additional vacation time, but that request was denied.

When her vacation ended, Escriba did not contact Foster Farms to request time under FMLA. Foster Farms fired her because of their "three day no-show, no call" policy. Escriba claimed her FMLA rights should have automatically gone into effect to cover the additional two weeks because her employer knew she was attending to a sick parent.

The Ninth Circuit disagreed with Escriba, saying: 

An employer’s obligation to ascertain “whether FMLA leave is being sought” strongly suggests that there are circumstances in which an employee might seek time off but intend not to exercise his or her rights under the FMLA…We thus conclude that an employee can affirmatively decline to use FMLA leave, even if the underlying reason for seeking the leave would have invoked FMLA protection.

A notable fact in this case was that Escriba had obtained FMLA leave 15 times in her 18 year work history at Foster Farms, indicating a familiarity with the request process. Escriba’s supervisor knew she needed time off to care for an ill family member, and thus asked Escriba twice, with the help of a Spanish language interpreter, whether Escriba wanted to take FMLA leave. 

That worked in Foster Farms' favor, as the evidence demonstrated the supervisor took reasonable steps to protect the employee's FMLA rights, and the interpreter later served as a witness who could attest that proper steps were taken.

 

Employer's Responsibility to Communicate and Designate

 

Though the decision went in favor of Foster Farms, this case provides some important reminders for employers: 

  • Communication – a key factor in preventing employee claims. First, supervisors should be fully aware of employee rights regarding the California Family Rights Act and the federal FMLA rules. Secondly, it's the employer's responsibility to determine the nature of a leave.


  • Documentation – equally important. Be sure to document the employee's decision when they choose whether or not to take a leave of absence.


  • Designation – When an employee elects FMLA/CFRA leave, make sure you specifically designate the time off as FMLA/CFRA. 

 

Sue M. Bendavid is an Employer Defense Attorney, and Chair of our Employment Practice Group. Contact her via email: sbendavid@lewitthackman.com

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Thursday
Dec262013

Employer Compliance - New California Employment Laws for 2014

Attorney for EmployersEmployer Defense Attorney

 

by Sue M. Bendavid
818.907.3220

 

Most employers already heard: California’s hourly minimum wage will increase in July, from $8.00 to $9.00 per hour for most cities in the state.

What employers may not know though, is that this increase will affect more than just hourly non-exempt employees. For more details, please read, What the Minimum Wage Hike Means for Employers.

Employer Lawyers Los AngelesAll California employers must post information regarding wages, hours and working conditions where the posters will be easily seen by employees.The wage increase also means employers should update the Minimum Wage Poster mandated for all employers, which should in turn, remind everyone to update all notices required by various state and federal governing agencies. By way of example, see a list of workplace postings as stated on the CA Department of Industrial Relations website.

 

California's New Laws for Employers

 

The legal landscape in this area constantly evolves, and it rarely benefits the employer. Consider these new California Assembly and Senate Bills:

  1. The Labor Commissioner can create a lien on an employer's property for amounts due under a Labor Commissioner order, decision or award: AB 1386.

  2. Employers may recover attorneys' fees only if a court finds that an employee claimant filed a lawsuit in bad faith: SB 462.

  3. Penalties for failure to pay minimum wage have been expanded – an employer will now pay liquidated damages to the employee in addition to existing penalties:  AB 442.

There are many more that involve protecting whistleblowers and military veterans. Other laws affecting specific industries like agriculture, garment workers, employees in the car wash industry and those who pay piece-rate wages also went into effect. Domestic workers now have a Bill of Rights to cover those who offer private child or elder care and other services.

Also consider the new bills that expand leaves of absence: Victims of certain crimes including stalking must be given time off. Certain employers will need to afford time off for workers to train for emergency duty, to care for elder or young family members and in-laws.

These will be discussed during our in-person Employment Law Update. But if you have questions, contact us for help in staying compliant: 818.907.3220.

 

Sue Bendavid represents employers in employment-related litigation and all claims made by employees or governing agencies. Contact her via email: sbendavid@lewitthackman.com.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Wednesday
Oct162013

Employers to Weather an Expansion in Wage & Hour Law

Lawyer for EmployerWage and Hour Defense

 

by Nicole Kamm
818.907.3235

 

The National Weather Service predicts cooling temperatures (in the mid-70s to the mid-80s) over the next couple of weeks, which will hopefully give SoCal employers a bit of a breather from worrying about new employee wage and hour claims.

Why?

Governor Jerry Brown just signed Senate Bill 435 into law. The bill expands the one hour pay penalty for missed meal and rest periods found in Labor Code 226.7 to include recovery periods. Recovery periods are also known as cool down periods, to prevent heat illness for employees working outdoors.

According to the California Heat Illness Prevention Standard (GISO 3395), employers must provide shade to accommodate at least 25 percent of their outdoor workforce when the temperature climbs above 85°F. Employers should not only allow, but also encourage employees to take five minutes or more under these shaded areas to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke. There are other guidelines regarding supplying employees with adequate amounts of drinking water, dealing with temperatures above 95°F, monitoring your employees' tolerance for heat, etc.  

Again, the “recovery period” requirement is an amendment to Labor Code §226.7. Employers were already prohibited from requiring employees to work during meal and rest periods. The new recovery period rule applies to all applicable orders, statutes or regulations under:

  • Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHA) Board
  • Division of Occupational Safety and Health
  • California Law

Many California employers may see a rise in worker claims, particularly those whose businesses involve:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Delivery
  • Landscaping
  • Oil or Gas Extraction
  • Transportation

To keep your employees healthy, and minimize wage and hour claims in view of the amended statute, employers should review and comply with OSHA guidelines for providing water and shade, which require, among other things, a recovery period of not less than 5 minutes for employees who work outside to take a cool-down rest when the outdoor temperature exceeds 85°F. Employers should also train supervisors and workers to recognize early warning signs of heat illnesses.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about SB 435 and how best to minimize wage and hour claims.

 

Nicole Kamm is a Wage & Hour Claim Prevention Attorney at our firm. Contact her via email: nkamm@lewitthackman.com for more information.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
Thursday
Sep262013

What the Minimum Wage Hike Means for Employers

 

by Sue M. Bendavid & Nicole Kamm

 

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 10 on Wednesday, increasing California's hourly minimum wage from $8.00 per hour to $9 per hour as of July 1, 2014 – and to $10.00 per hour as of January 1, 2016. The last minimum wage hike for the state of California was in 2008.

The bill amends current California Labor Code section 1182.12. For certain counties, the rates are even higher. For example:

  • The minimum wage for employees in San Francisco has been $10.55 per hour since January 1, 2013.

  • The minimum wage for employees in San Jose has been $10.00 per hour since March 11, 2013.

The wage increase won't just affect non-exempt employees.  For employees to be properly classified as exempt, the employee must earn at least twice minimum wage on a salaried basis (as well as meet the other elements of the exemption).  Effective January 1, 2014, the minimum salary for exempt employees will increase from $33,280 to $37,440 annually.  In January 2016, exempt employees must earn at least $41,600 per year, to qualify for exempt status.

This bill also has a direct impact on certain inside sales employees.  Under certain wage orders (Orders 4 and 7), inside commissioned sales employees may qualify for a limited overtime exemption if they earn at least 1.5 x minimum wage (and if they satisfy other elements of the exemption).  With the increase in minimum wage, this necessarily increases the minimum these employees must earn to qualify for the exemption.

If an employer has voluntary agreements with non-exempt employees to permit credit of meals or lodging against the employer’s minimum wage obligation, those should be adjusted as well. 

As always, if you have questions about the new law, wage and hour claims, or other employer compliance questions, please feel free to contact us via email or phone.

 

Sue M. Bendavid and Nicole Kamm are Wage and Hour Defense Attorneys at our Firm. Contact them via email: sbendavid@lewitthackman.com, and nkamm@lewitthackman.com.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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