Archive | October, 2019

Important Steps Employers Must Take To Ensure Air Quality Standards Are Met

30 Oct
bizman-fresh air-png
With wildfire season upon our state, employers may not be aware that they are responsible to monitor the air quality of their employees and protect their health and safety. It’s important because smoke from wildfires contains chemicals, gases and fine particles that can harm health. The greatest hazard comes from breathing fine particles in the air (called PM2.5), which reduce lung function, worsen asthma and other existing heart/lung conditions, and causes coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing.

Employers Responsibilities
  • Monitor Outdoor Air at your work place location (use websites)
  • If AQI PM2.5 reaches unhealthy levels (151 or more), employers must take the following steps to protect employees:
    • Communication – Inform employees of the AQI for PM2.5 and the protective measures available to them.
    •  Training – Train all employees on the information contained in Section 5141.1 Appendix B of CA Code of Regulations, Title 8.
    • Modifications – Implement modifications to the workplace, if feasible, to reduce exposure. Examples include providing enclosed structures or vehicles for employees to work in, where the air is filtered.
    • Changes – Implement practicable changes to work procedures or schedules. Examples include changing the location where employees work or reducing the amount of time they work outdoors or exposed to unfiltered outdoor air.
    • Respiratory Protection – Provide proper respiratory protection equipment, such as disposable respirators, for voluntary use.  To filter out fine particles, respirators must be labeled N-95, N-99, N-100, R-95, P-95, P-99, or P-100, and must be labeled as approved by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
    • If the AQI for PM2.5 exceeds 500, respirator use is required.
    • Employers must ensure employees uses respirators and implement a respiratory protection program as required in California’s respiratory standard. For information or help on developing a respiratory protection program, see Cal/OSHA’s  Respiratory Protection Fact Sheet.
    • If respirators cannot be provided in a timely manner, employers should relocate employees to areas of safe AQI or send them home until work air quality conditions are safe to return to work.
Why It Is Important: 
The main harmful pollutant for people who are not close to the fire is “particulate matter,” the tiny particles suspended in the air.  Particulate matter can irritate the lungs and cause persistent coughing, phlegm, wheezing, or difficulty breathing. Particulate matter can also cause more serious problems, such as reduced lung function, bronchitis, worsening of asthma, heart failure, and early death.  Finally, an Air Quality
Index (AQI) over 100 is unhealthy for sensitive people and an AQI over 150 is unhealthy for everyone.
Protective Methods:

When AQI is 151 or greater, employers should follow the following protective methods:

  1. Locate work in enclosed structures or vehicles where the air is filtered.
  2. Change procedures such as moving workers to a place with a lower current AQI for PM2.5.
  3. Reduce work time in areas with unfiltered air.
  4. Increase rest time and frequency, and providing a rest area with filtered air.
  5. Reduce the physical intensity of the work to help lower the breathing and heart rates
Respirators:

Respirators can be an effective way to protect employee health by reducing exposure to wildfire smoke, when they are properly selected and worn:
  • When the current AQI for PM2.5 is 151 or greater, employers shall provide their workers with proper respirators for voluntary use. If the current AQI is greater than 500, respirator use is required.
  • Surgical masks or items worn over the nose and mouth such as scarves, T-shirts, and bandannas will not provide protection against wildfire smoke.
Employer Information Resources:
Employee Information Resources:
Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at (844-LABOR-DIR) or (844-522-6734).
The California Workers’ Information line at (866-924-9757) provides recorded information in English and Spanish on a variety of work-related topics.
CalWorkSafety Helps companies prepare for Cal/OSHA
compliance, training, inspections, citations or written plans.
Contact us today and speak to one of our Consultants:
Call: 949-533-3742 or email:

New 2020 Salary Levels: Bonus & Incentive Payments & Commissions All Rising

3 Oct
Oct19-Wage-Compensation 2020
Overtime Minimum Salary Level Exemptions:
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) revealed a final ruling on Overtime “White Collar” exemptions. These regulations were last updated in 2004, when the DOL increased the minimum salary level for exemption from $150 to $455 per week and revised the job duties employees must perform for exemption from the FLSA’s overtime requirements.
California employers need to understand the California rules for exempt status are generally more stringent than these Federal rules.  For example employees must be paid two times the minimum wage to be exempt in California – so for employers with ‘less than 25 employees’ the minimum salary for an exempt employee is $45,760 per year.  For employers with more than 25 employees, the minimum salary is $49,920. Also, remember that California minimum wages are going up $1.00 per hour on Jan. 1, 2020, which moves the ‘large employer’ minimum salary to qualify as exempt to $54,080 in 2020.
Several years later DOL proposed to increase the minimum salary level for exemption to $913 per week ($47,476 annualized).  And now the 2020 ruling will increase the minimum salary level for exemption to $684 per week ($35,568 annualized).

The DOL allows employers to pay up to 10% of that minimum level ($3,556.80) in commissions, bonuses, and other non-discretionary incentives. NOTE: If incentive payments fall short by even $1, employers will owe overtime pay to shorted employees for the entire prior year.  Under the final rule, employers will have only a single pay period for a final make-up payment to ensure exempt employees receive the full $35,568 for the year.

Highly Compensated Employees: 

This 2020 ruling also increase the total annual compensation required for employees to qualify under the shorter Highly Compensated test from $100,000 to $107,432.  Highly Compensated employees must receive the guaranteed minimum salary of $684 each week, but the remaining compensation may be paid in commissions, bonuses, or any other type of compensation.

In a related announcement, DOL passed a final rule making 1.3 million American workers eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Noteworthy … this rule updates the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative, or professional employees from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. It also allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses/commissions towards meeting the salary level.
DOL’s New Parameters:
  • Raising the “standard salary level” from the currently enforced level of $455 to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker)
  • Increasing the total annual compensation level for “Highly Compensated Employees (HCE)” from the currently enforced level of $100,000 to $107,432 per year
  • Allowing employers to use non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) that are paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level, in recognition of evolving pay practices
  • Revising the special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and in the motion picture industry.

Click HERE for more information about the new salary and overtime regulations.

Helps companies prepare for these significant
changes to 2020 wage, bonus and incentive updates. 

Contact us today and speak to one of our Consultants:
949-533-3742 or email: dondressler1@hotmail.com