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Tuesday
Dec202016

California Employer Compliance 2017

Lawyers for Employers

by: Lewitt Hackman's Employment Practice Group

818-990-2120

 

There have been significant changes to state and federal laws in 2016 affecting employers of all sizes and in many industries. We'd like to help our clients stay apprised of some of the more critical changes by reminding all of the important dates below. Except where otherwise indicated, new laws and regulations go into effect as of January 1, 2017.

 

Federal Minimum Salary Threshold

A federal court blocked the Department of Labor's Final Rule with an injunction in late November. As a result, the minimum salary threshold required for overtime exemptions that was to be met December 1, 2016 no longer applies. This may be a temporary reprieve for employers, as the DOL recently filed a Notice of Appeal.

In the meantime, employers should ensure they meet all state and local overtime exemption requirements.


Affordable Care Act

IRS Affordable Care ActUnder the Affordable Care Act, employers must provide employees forms 1094-B (Health Coverage) and 1094-C (Employer-provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage to Employees) by March 2, 2017.

Information reporting via Forms 1094 and 1095 with the IRS is February 28, 2017 (hard copies) or March 31, 2017 (electronic filing). 

 

New I-9 and Immigration Protections

Employment I-9A new I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification) was released in November. Employers must begin using the new form for new hires by January 22, 2017

Federal law prohibits employers from asking for additional documents other than those required by the I-9. A new California law (Senate Bill 1001) prohibits this practice as well -- violations may incur penalties of up to $10,000. 


California Fair Pay Act

Fair Pay EthnicityThe Fair Pay Act prohibits employers from paying employees of opposite sex different wages for substantially similar work. Any pay differentials must be based on seniority, merit system, quantity or quality of production, or other bona fide factors such as education or experience. Additionally:

Senate Bill 1063 amends and expands the different rates of pay prohibitions to employees of another race or ethnicity.

Assembly Bill 1676 clarifies that prior salary history cannot justify compensation disparities. 


Criminal Background Checks

Background Checks in CaliforniaCalifornia: Employers are prohibited from asking about arrests or detentions that did not result in a conviction, or about those incidents that have been judicially sealed or dismissed. Assembly Bill 1843 expands protections to protect job applicants with juvenile criminal histories as well. 

Los Angeles: Ban the Box, or the Second Chance Initiative, prohibits employers with ten or more employees from including questions about criminal history on job applications. Employers may ask about criminal history AFTER a conditional offer of employment is made to the applicant. There is a process involved regarding the consideration of such information, written notices, maintaining records; and notifications that must be included on all job posts. Read our Ban the Box blog for more information. 


Payroll, Wage Statements & Notices

Employee NoticesCurrently, employers cannot discriminate or retaliate against employees who are victims of domestic violence, sex assault or stalking – and cannot prohibit employees from taking time off to seek treatment or legal actions for these crimes. Assembly Bill 2337 now requires employers to provide written notice of their employment rights should they become victims of these crimes to all new hires and to other employees as requested. Employers are required to comply with the notice requirements when the Labor Commissioner develops a form notice, on or before July 1, 2017.

Employers who must notify employees of eligibility for federal Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) must also notify employees of California EITCs per Assembly Bill 1847.

Employers are not required to track hours worked for exempt employees on itemized wage statements. The clarification comes under Assembly Bill 2535.

Employees of Temporary Staffing Agencies must be paid weekly. Assembly Bill 1311 makes this law applicable to security personnel employed by private patrol operators who are also temp service employers, as of July 2016.


Single User Restroom Facilities

Restroom LawAs of March 1, 2017, single-occupant toilet facilities in any business or public building must be identified as "all gender" facilities with signage compliant with Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations. Single-occupant bathrooms have no more than one stall and one urinal. See Assembly Bill 1732.

 

Minimum Wage Hikes

Minimum Wage HikeCalifornia: Businesses with 26 or more employees must pay a minimum wage of $10.50 per hour as of January 1, 2017. Employers with 25 or fewer employers must raise minimum wages to this rate on January 1, 2018

Local Ordinances: In unincorporated Los Angeles County, Los Angeles City, Pasadena and Santa Monica, employers with 25 or fewer employees must begin paying minimums of $10.50 per hour as of July 1, 2017. Employers with 26 or more employees were required to start paying a rate of $10.50 per hour as of July 1, 2016; and will be required to pay $12.00 per hour as of July 1, 2017. (Click: Cty and County Wage Rates for more specific information.) 

 

Sick Time

Sick Leave CaliforniaCalifornia: As of 2015, employers in California must provide 24 hours of paid leave per year for employees who work at least 30 days per year. 

Local Ordinances: In Los Angeles County, employers must provide 48 hours of paid sick leave annually. The time can be front-loaded every 12 months or accrued at the rate of one hour paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. This requirement is part of the Los Angeles Minimum Wage Ordinance, and went into effect last July for employers with 26 or more employees. For employers with 25 or fewer employees, the requirements must be implemented as of July 1, 2017


Arbitration Clauses

Senate Bill 1241 prohibits employers from requiring employees, as a prerequisite of employment, to arbitrate employment disputes under the laws of another state or in another state. This protection applies to all employees who primarily live and work in California. 

An exception to the new law applies to employees represented by an attorney when negotiating terms of an employment contract, including those containing forum selection and choice of law provisions. 


New California Employment Laws: Industry Specific Legislation

 

Janitorial Services

Janitor LawPer Assembly Bill 1978, employers of property service workers (janitorial) must keep records of all employees to include: employee names and addresses; start/stop times and all hours worked; wage rates for each pay period; ages of any minor employees; and conditions of employment – for three years. The law applies to janitorial employees, independent contractors and franchisees. 

Employers in this industry must register with the Labor Commissioner each year as of July 1, 2018. Cost of registration is $500.00.

The new legislation also requires janitorial staff and supervisors to undergo sexual violence and harassment prevention training every two years as of January 1, 2019


Agricultural Workers

Farm Worker LawAssembly Bill 1066 eliminates the one day of rest per seven days worked exemption for California's agricultural industry. Employers cannot require agricultural employees to work more than six days per week.

As of January 1, 2019, agricultural employers must provide overtime wages for more than 9.5 hours worked (or more than 8 hours starting January 2022); meal breaks; and meet other wage and working condition requirements.

Employers with 25 or fewer employees have an additional three years to comply with the criteria above. 


Private Education

Private School Minimum Salary ThresholdAssembly Bill 2230 requires a new minimum earnings test for private school teachers to be exempt from overtime:  salaries for these employees must be comparable to those offered to public schools in the same district or county. The new test is effective as of July 1, 2017

 

 

Salon Services

Salon Worker LawBusinesses licensed by the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) are required to post notices regarding wage and hour laws and workplace rights as of July 1, 2017, under Assembly Bill 2437.

Another new law (Assembly Bill 2025) will require BBC schools to provide basic labor law education to license applicants.

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.

Tuesday
Feb192013

California Wage & Hour Violations – Residential Care Facilities Investigated

 

by Sue M. Bendavid
February 19, 2013

Employer Lawyer Los Angeles Google+

 

Three California district offices of the United States Department of Labor are investigating employers of residential care facilities. Initial results from the investigations indicate approximately 200 employees may be due more than $800K from residential care employers.

The investigations began in Sacramento in October, but expanded to include facilities in San Francisco and West Covina.

The Department of Labor says there are significant concerns, including:

  • Failure to count all hours of work time
  • Interrupted personal time
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Interrupted meals
  • Failure to compensate for training
  • Failure to pay for pre and post shift duties, and
  • Failure to pay overtime wages

 

How Should Employers Avoid Wage and Hour Claims?

 

The state minimum wage in California and Los Angeles remains $8/hour, though certain cities within the state mandate higher rates. Under federal law (the FLSA) nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours per week must receive overtime pay. The state has daily overtime rules (for employees who work more than 8 hours in a day).

When training or seminars occur outside of an employee's regularly scheduled time, you'll need to compensate for attendance at those sessions with limited exception.

Under California law, you need to provide 30 minute duty-free, uninterrupted meal breaks, and cannot ask employees to perform duties during these breaks. In the case of a resident care facility where the residents often interrupt your employee with requests for assistance, you'll need to pay the employee for the time worked and also consider whether a meal period penalty is required.

Some employees work overtime by necessity, even though the time is not authorized by you the employer. You'll need to compensate for this time, known as work suffered or permitted. This overtime work usually occurs when a facility is short-staffed, or when employees choose to take work home rather than stay on the premises after their regular work schedule.

California's Industrial Welfare Commission instituted a series of Wage Orders to protect employees in 17 industry groups. As an employer, it's important for you to know which wage order governs your business. Residential care workers are generally covered under Wage Order #5, but if you have questions about California employment law or the wage orders that affect your employees, feel free to contact me.

 

Sue M. Bendavid is the Chair of our Employment Practice Group, who exclusively represents employers. She can be reached 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
May232012

California Employment Law – Criminal Treatment of Employers

Lawyer for EmployersEmployment Defense Attorney Los Angeles

 

by Sue M. Bendavid
818.907.3220

Employer Lawyer Los Angeles Google+

 

Picture this: The owner of a small company in Los Angeles is in an office, calmly tackling the challenges of day-to-day business needs, when all of a sudden a task force of officers enter wearing guns.

Sound like the latest episode of CSI or some other fictional, televised cop show? Think again.

This year, the California Labor Commissioner's Office, a/k/a the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), activated their own Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU) to deal with misbehaving employers. And yes, they'll be wearing guns.

In addition to the state's civilian administrators, employers in California may now have to contend with armed peace officers who underwent and completed police academy training. The CIU will conduct investigations, inspections and arrests; file criminal charges; and serve subpoenas.

According to the Labor Commissioner's Office, the CIU task force will particularly look for employers who:

  • Violate Worker's Compensation Laws
  • Engage in theft of labor
  • Pay wages with bounced checks or insufficient funds
  • Employ minors in violation of labor guidelines
  • Employ unlicensed farm labor contractors or garment manufacturers
  • Take kickbacks on public projects
  • Impede Labor Commissioner investigations

In addition, the CIU will train representatives of the DLSE to spot employers who may be guilty of any of the above activities.

Granted, a spokesperson for the DIR says they will look for employers who are engaged in "flagrant mistreatment of workers." But the activation of such a task force serves as a good reminder for ALL employers:

Make sure you keep accurate time-keeping records, and never try to cheat the system. If you have questions about California Labor Law, or your employee policies, contact me immediately.

Sue M. Bendavid is the Chair of our Employment Practice Group. You may reach her via e-mail: 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
Jun302011

California Employment Law Tips: Prepping for a Labor Audit

Lawyer for EmployersEmployment Defense Attorney Los Angeles

 

 

 

by Sue M. Bendavid
818.907.3220

Employer Lawyer Los Angeles Google+

 

 

When it comes to California employment law, I always tell my clients: The best employer defense is prevention.

That means that as an employer, you should be prepared for everything – including a potential visit from the U.S. Department of Labor, or the California Labor Commissioner. (Read my previous blog, California Labor Laws – Ready for a Labor Commissioner Visit? for more information regarding what usually happens when you do get such a visit.)

But if, as a California employer, you want to stay one step ahead of the Commissioner and potential employee claims, there are some things you can do to prevent penalties or litigation.

Best Employer Defense –10 Tips from a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer

 

Prevention begins with good employee policies. Though a wage and hour audit can cover a whole host of topics, the typical situation focuses on overtime, exempt/non-exempt, meal and rest period rules and accurate recordkeeping and documents. See if you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, to see if you will pass a wage and hour audit:

1. Overtime
Are you paying the correct overtime premiums for hours worked by non exempt employees in excess of eight in the day, and 40 in the workweek?

2. Exempt & Non-Exempt Employees
Have you correctly characterized employees as “exempt” (not entitled to overtime pay) rather than “non-exempt” (entitled to overtime)?

3. Independent Contractors
Have you correctly identified which workers are company employees and which are independent contractors?

4. Meal Periods
Do your employees clock in and out and take a minimum of 30 minutes of duty-free meal periods after no more than five hours of work?

5. Rest Periods
Do you provide your employees with a 10 minute rest break in the middle of each four hour work period?

6. Off the Clock Work
Do you prohibit your employees from working “off the clock”?

7. Correct Wage Statements
Do you provide itemized wage statements with all required data, and do they correctly reflect pay rates and hours worked?

8. Rounding Policies
If you round off an employee’s time worked, do you comply with the law and pay the employee accurately?

9. Time Clock Corrections
When you make changes to time records, do you ask employees to verify the information is accurate and to initial the corrections?

10. Child Labor
Do you have the appropriate permits needed to employ minor workers?

If you answered “no” to any of the above California employment law questions, you should re-evaluate your company’s wage and hour policies and procedures. Correcting mistakes now will save you stress and expense in the long run. In fact, you can be held liable for violations going back for several years – it’s best to make sure you have everything in order now.

As a Los Angeles employment lawyer, I know most employers get into trouble because they simply make administrative mistakes, or don’t have good wage and hour employee policies and practices in effect. As I said, the best employer defense is not offense, but prevention.

Employment Defense Attorney Sue M. Bendavid is Chair of the California Employment Law Practice Group, who provides counsel and litigation services for business owners and supervisors throughout the state. Contact her via e-mail: 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.

 

 

LEWITT HACKMAN | 16633 Ventura Boulevard, Eleventh Floor, Encino, California 91436-1865 | 818.990.2120