Local Minimum Wage Increases Coming July 1

8 Jun

Bianca Saad  June 2, 2020 HR Watchdog – Cal Chamber

Minimum Wage

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

  • Alameda: $15/hour.
  • Berkeley: $16.07/hour.
  • Emeryville: $16.84/hour;
  • Fremont: $15/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $13.50/hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
  • Los Angeles City: $15/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $14.25 for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
  • Los Angeles County (unincorporated areas): $15/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $14.25 for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
  • Malibu: $15/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $14.25 for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
  • Milpitas: $15.40/hour.
  • Novato: $15/hour for employers with 100 or more employees; $14/hour for employers with 26-99 employees; $13/hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
  • Pasadena: $15/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $14.25 for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
  • San Francisco: $16.07/hour.
  • San Leandro: $15/hour.
  • Santa Monica: $15/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $14.25 for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
  • (NEW) Santa Rosa: $15/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $14/hour for employers with fewer than 25 employees.

Note: Eligibility rules may vary based on different locations

Santa Rosa’s City Council recently considered whether to delay the implementation of the city’s minimum wage ordinance due to businesses’ struggles amid the COVID-19 pandemic but, ultimately, decided to proceed as planned. Santa Rosa’s minimum wage rates will increase again on January 1, 2021, and will be $15/hour plus annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for both large and small businesses.

Minimum Wage Delays

Due to the economic burdens imposed on businesses due to COVID-19, two city councils did decide to delay implementation of their recently adopted minimum wage ordinances: Hayward and San Carlos. Initially slated to take effect on July 1, 2020, both localities’ minimum wage rates will increase beginning January 1, 2021.

San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance Expansion

San Francisco’s Paid Parental Leave Ordinance, which requires employers to provide supplemental compensation to employees collecting California Paid Family Leave wage replacement benefits, will increase paid supplementation from six weeks to eight weeks on July 1, 2020. This aligns the ordinance with the state’s expansion of Paid Family Leave benefits for all claim effective dates beginning on or after July 1, 2020. A new poster is anticipated.

Many of these local ordinances contain notice requirements, but, thankfully, the CalChamber store sells required posters that are compliant with various California city and county local ordinances. Check to see if your city or county has any required posters.

Employers should review their hourly wage rates for their employees working in any local jurisdictions listed above and make any necessary adjustments by July 1 to comply. Don’t forget to pay attention to where your remote employees are located, as they could be subject to local minimum wage and other ordinances they may not typically be when reporting to the worksite.

Bianca Saad, Employment Law Subject Matter Expert, CalChamber

Most Counties in California Now Permitted to Move to Accelerated Stage 2 Reopening

By Ellen E. Cohen & Sarah H. Scheinhorn on June 4, 2020 Jackson Lewis PC

covid_reopening_roadmap

At the beginning of May, California implemented a staged reopening for businesses closed due to the shelter in place orders resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan, referred to as the “Resilience Roadmap” allowed for counties to apply for a variance if certain criteria set by the state public health officer are met. The variances allow counties to proceed with reopening certain businesses not permitted under the overall state plan.

To date, a majority of counties have been granted variances that permit dine-in restaurants, hair salons, and barbershops to reopen pursuant to specific guidance, in particular, pertaining to conducting work at these businesses.

As businesses prepare to reopen, they should remember that the state mandates all facilities that reopen must:

  1. Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan
  2. Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them
  3. Implement individual control measures and screenings
  4. Implement disinfecting protocols
  5. Implement physical distancing guidelines

In addition to the State requirements, the individual counties have their own health orders which at times include additional requirements along with state mandates. Many counties require businesses to post social distancing protocols at the worksite. For example, the County of Los Angeles has developed several protocols for businesses such as retail stores, hair salons, and restaurants.

Along with social distancing and similar protocols, many counties are including other requirements as businesses bring employees back to work. San Diego County, one of the first more populace counties to be granted a variance, mandates temperature checks for employees in certain industries. Sonoma County has deployed a cell phone application that employers are required to use (unless they can provide the county with the same information by an alternative means) which verifies that employees are symptom and fever-free.

As employers move toward bringing more employees back to work, they should review state and county orders to ensure they are complying with location-specific requirements. Employers will also need to continue to monitor changes as some counties have suggested that reopening may be rolled back as necessary due to COVID-19 spikes.

Congress Approves Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act

By Amberly Morgan on  June 4, 2020 Littler law firm.

PPP Loan Faq

Update: The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act was signed into law on June 5, 2020 following the U.S. Senate passage by voice vote the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act of 2020 (H.R. 7010). The House of Representatives had approved this bill with near unanimity on May 28. Generally, the PPP provides low-interest, forgivable loans to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new bill responds to complaints that the strict requirements on how employers spend the PPP funds disqualify them from obtaining the promised loan forgiveness, given the ongoing inability for many businesses to reopen. The bill is expected to be signed into law.

What changes would the bill make to the PPP?

The bill relaxes a number of the program’s requirements. Specifically, the bill:

  • Reduces the percentage of the loan that must be used on payroll expenses. The first Interim Final Rule interpreting the PPP required borrowers to spend at least 75% of loan proceeds on payroll costs. No more than 25% of non-payroll costs would be eligible for loan forgiveness. H.R. 7010 allows borrowers to spend up to 40% on allowable non-payroll costs, such as covered rents, utilities and mortgage interest. This change is especially welcome to borrowers that have been unable to reopen but are still obligated to pay rent, mortgages and utilities.
  • Provides more time for borrowers to spend loan funds and meet forgiveness requirements. The PPP requires borrowers to spend loan proceeds during an eight-week Covered Period. Additionally, subject to certain Safe Harbor provisions, the PPP required borrowers to maintain headcount and wages within the Covered Period relative to specified reference periods in order to obtain full loan forgiveness. Now borrowers have the option to extend the Covered Period until the earlier of 24 weeks after loan origination or the end of the year. This flexibility better meets the needs of borrowers that have been unable to reopen but need the PPP funds in order to do so.
  • Increases the time to repay unforgiven loan amounts. The PPP statutory text provides that any loan balance not forgiven would have a maximum maturity of 10 years. The SBA determined that loans would mature in two years. The bill amends the PPP to provide for a minimum maturity of five years, but also allows lenders and borrowers to mutually agree to modify the maturity terms.
  • Lengthens the term of payment deferral. The PPP provides that borrowers are not required to make loan payments (including principle, interest and fees) for at least six months and up to one year.  Under H.R. 7010, such payments can be deferred until the amount of forgiveness is remitted to the lender by the SBA or until at least 10 months after the last day of the borrower’s Covered Period if the borrower has not yet applied for loan forgiveness. This removes the requirement that borrowers make payments on loan balances while awaiting a decision on loan forgiveness.
  • Extends the Safe Harbor for restoration of headcount and wages. The PPP provides a Safe Harbor that allows borrowers an extended time to restore full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and salary or wages that were reduced between February 15, 2020 and April 26, 2020, while still obtaining loan forgiveness. The bill extends this Safe Harbor from June 30, 2020 until December 31, 2020. This addresses difficulties employers are having related to rehiring workers, finding replacement workers, and continued delays in reopening.
  • Expands protections for borrowers unable to rehire staff or unable to return to pre-COVID business levels due to social distancing measures. Borrowers unable to restore headcount will potentially be able to obtain full loan forgiveness.  Under the terms of the bill, if the borrower can document, in good faith, the inability to re-hire individuals who were the borrower’s employees as of February 15, 2020 and an inability to hire similarly qualified individuals for unfilled positions on or before December 31, 2020, then reductions to FTEs will not impact loan forgiveness. Similarly, reductions to FTEs will not impact loan forgiveness if the borrower is able to document an inability to return to the same level of business activity as prior to February 15, 2020 due to compliance with worker or customer safety requirements related to COVID-19.
  • Permits borrowers to defer payroll taxes. PPP recipients who received any amount of loan forgiveness were previously not able to defer payment of payroll taxes as provided in section 2303 of the CARES Act. The new amendments would remove that restriction.

Next Steps

The bill is now official and its amendments take effect as if they were included in the original CARES Act, the law that created the PPP.  Employers should evaluate their use of PPP funds in light of these new changes and consult with knowledgeable counsel to evaluate the available options for using loan funds and maximizing loan forgiveness.

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