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Compliance Actions Employers Must Know About McDonald’s Class Action Lawsuit

3 Dec
CA McDonalds Wage-19
An estimated 38,000 McDonald’s California cooks and cashiers won a $26 million settlement in a class-action suit alleging they were not paid overtime wages at corporate-run stores. The settlement also claims workers were denied access to full meal breaks and rest periods when the restaurants were busy and had to clean and iron their own uniforms without reimbursement.
Important Lessons for all California Employers Based on This Case:
To Comply with California Law By:
  • Creating a mechanism for paying the one-hour wage premium to every worker each day when an employer fails to provide them a timely full-meal period or rest break
  • Allowing employees to leave the workplace during their meal periods without restriction or threat of discipline
  • Maintaining detailed electronic time records that accurately track the time and duration of each meal period and rest break; (note this includes rest breaks which are normally not recorded – along with meal period time off) Do not use automatically recorded breaks – use actual time.)
  • Schedule rest breaks as close to the mid-point of the first 4 hours of work as possible. No longer making workers take rest breaks as soon as their shift starts or ends out of convenience to the store, rather than the worker. California law dictates the break should be as close to the mid-point as possible  (rest breaks and meal periods need to be scheduled by the supervisor- not allow “when the employee chooses or wishes.)
  • Provide training to managers and employees about the changes agreed to in the settlement. (A key as many managers and supervisors do not know company policy or the law regarding meal periods and rest breaks.)
The settlement is the highest ever against McDonald’s over wage theft in the U.S. and comes after nearly seven years of litigation in trial and appellate courts and extended settlement negotiations.
CalWorkSafety helps you review your compliance with rest breaks and meal periods to avoid the penalty of 1-hour of pay each day when rest breaks and meals are not allowed on a timely basis:
  1. Rest break for every 4 hours or major portion thereof
  2. Meal period of 30 minutes no later than the end of the 5th hour of work
  3. Do not combine rest breaks and meal periods

If you have questions about this important new regulation Contact CalWorkSafety and speak with one of our consultants about your questions or concerns.

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:

How Engaged Workers are Safe Employees

25 Nov

Safe Jobs.jpg

Engaged workers can lead to an increase in productivity and a positive impact on a company’s bottom line.

A disengaged workforce could spell trouble for a company’s bottom line and lead to unsafe behavior on the job.

When employees are not committed or fully vested in a safety culture, they’re not overly concerned with their performance and they are not invested in the future success of the company. This negatively can affect day-to-day operations, inhibit a company’s growth and put workers’ safety at risk.

A Commitment to Growth

In studies conducted by Queens School of Business and the Gallup Organization, disengaged workers have 37 percent higher absenteeism, 49 percent more accidents and 60 percent more errors and defects. Organizations with low employee engagement scores experienced lower productivity, profitability, job growth and share price over time.

Engaged workers fully are committed to their work and the success of the company. They put in more effort, have a higher quality work product, go out of their way to assist others, have fewer accidents and are willing to provide feedback and suggestions on ways to increase efficiencies and improve the work environment.

In contrast, companies with highly-engaged employees are sought after by other workers and, as a result, have seen a 100 percent increase in job applications for current and future job openings, according to the studies.

Engagement Does Not Mean Happiness

Someone might be happy at work, but that does not necessarily mean they are working hard or productively on behalf of the organization. It also does not mean employee satisfaction. A satisfied employee might show up for their daily shift without complaint, but that same “satisfied” employee might not give the extra effort on their own.

Worker engagement is an emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. Emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and the success of the company. They don’t work just for their paycheck or next promotion, but work on behalf of the company’s goals.

Employee engagement empowers an organization to create a culture of recognition through all aspects of the business, including safety.

Key Elements of Worker Engagement

Where do you start? Start at the top with a visible, empowering leadership team that provides a strong narrative about where the company is and where it is going. Managers should focus on their employees and give them scope, treat them as individuals and provide them guidance toward future growth.

From there you need to ensure employees have a voice throughout the organization. Engaged employees are central to instilling change, encouraging innovation, ensuring a safe workplace, assisting with conflict resolution and contributing to the overall success of the company.

Key elements of an employee voice include:

  • Setting clear guidelines – Workers must know their position and that for which the company is striving.
  • Instilling a sense of ownership – Let employees know they are important and you trust them to do the job right every time.
  • Investing in employees’ future growth – Companies who invest in continued growth and development of their employees are more successful and retain staff longer.
  • Involving employees in the safety program – Conduct safety meetings and create safety committees to involve employees in the safety culture. Also include workers in changes before they occur to allow for open discussion.
  • Providing ongoing training for employees – When employees are not properly trained or training has lapsed, they are not being set up for success. It can put their own and others’ safety at risk.
  • Facilitating two-way communication – Managers and supervisors need to be approachable and allow employees to voice their opinions, concerns and ideas without fear of retaliation.
  • Recognizing employees – A simple thank you can go a long way when employees go above and beyond what is expected. Recognition helps to positively reinforce safe behavior and fosters engagement.
  • Gaining employee feedback for continuous improvement – There always are ways to change through improved workflow and processes. Engaging employee feedback helps come up with solutions by fostering creativity. Providing employees opportunities to offer feedback will further solidify engagement and safety efforts.

Without active participation by all members of an organization, a safety culture will not evolve and the safety management system will not reach its full potential.

Engaged workers are invested employees, and they will look out for each other and for the company’s best interests. Employee engagement also shows consideration and care for the staff, which is spread through the company, creating a team atmosphere and providing a positive solution to health and safety concerns.

CalWorkSafety, LLC can help you evaluate the engagement level of your employees, as well as assist with safety training, Cal/OSHA compliance, safety plans and human resources isseues.  We wish you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Visit our website at www.calworksafety.com

 

Michelle Boeldt | EHS Today.

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

30 Oct
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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

Working to help you prepare for 2020

17 Sep

Dressler - September 2019.png

The California Legislature has finished its work for 2019, and now the focus shifts to what our new California Governor Newsom will sign or veto for new laws for 2020.

With changes in California Court decisions and some Federal rules, as well as laws already signed, employers will face new and emerging HR challenges and obstacles when it comes to complying with federal, state and local laws as well as developing, maintaining and enforcing workplace policies and procedures.

Key Issues

From new laws and regulations on trending issues such as equal pay and reasonable accommodations to societal transformations with the #metoo and #timesup movements, to changes in technology and communications, employers need to revisit and update their workplace policies and procedures in a meaningful way, as soon as mid October 2019.

These are some of the new and emerging issues employers face, which CalWorkSafety’s team is here to help you deal with:

• Complying with rapidly changing leave laws across states and localities;
• Eliminating unconscious bias in recruiting and hiring;
• Handling employee mental health issues;
• Preventing cyber breaches and data security;
• Managing mobile devices/wearable technology;
• Handling the conflict between federal and state marijuana laws; and
• Preparing and responding to an active shooter or workplace violence incident.

We can also help with: 

• Ensuring handbooks are read and understood by employees;
• Finding high quality applicants;
• Ensuring employees and supervisors have the necessary skill sets now and for future responsibilities;
• Keeping handbooks current with new laws and trends; and
• Recruiting a more diverse workforce.

Full Speed Ahead to 2020

What will 2020 bring when it comes to HR compliance? There are a host of other trending issues to watch and employers must be up to speed on them, including:

• In California – complying with new “gig-economy” or independent contractor law;
• Managing and protecting employee privacy;
• Closing the wage gap and increasing pay equity for women and minorities;
• Managing nontraditional workers (i.e., gig workers, remote workers);
• Making workplaces more family friendly, diverse and inclusive;
• Providing reasonable accommodations for workers in a protected class (i.e., disability, gender identity, religion);
• Addressing increased immigration enforcement and audits;
• Addressing pregnancy/lactation issues;
• Handling employee use of e-cigarettes and vaping;
• Preparing for anticipated changes to overtime regulations;
• Providing leave and time off for various reasons;
• Preventing harassment and investigating complaints; and
• Restrictions on the use of NDAs/arbitration clauses in employment or settlement agreements with respect to harassment.

The CalWorkSafety Consultants Are Here to Help Clients
With all Questions or Concerns About These New Laws.
Contact Us Today!

CA Paid Family Leave Program Expands from 6 to 8 Weeks

11 Sep
Sept-19-FamilyLeaveProgram-2020
As of July 2020, California will expand state benefits available to workers who lose wages while taking time off to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child.

The new law expands the state’s family Temporary Disability Insurance Program managed through the Employment Development Department (EDD). The benefit program “Paid Family Leave” or PFL (Senate Bill (SB) 83) provides certain workers with up to eight weeks-two additional weeks-of PFL benefits.
California’s PFL Program provides employees “who take time off from work to care for a seriously ill family member … including:  Child, Parent, Parent-in-law, Grandparent, Grandchild, Sibling, Spouse, or Registered Domestic Partner.
The PFL Program provides employees to bond with a new child entering the family through birth, adoption, or foster care placement” with partial pay. In addition, this family temporary disability insurance program (part of the state’s disability insurance program), provides covered workers wage replacement benefits for up to six weeks.
The new law will instead “provide for wage replacement benefits for up to eight weeks to workers who take time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a minor child within one year of birth or placement, as specified.”
California has expanded its PFL program to include a wider range of family members, eliminate a waiting period, and increase benefit amounts. It was the first U.S. state to implement a PFL program and now five states have enacted similar programs.
California’s EDD’s PFL plan is well funded; currently the payroll tax rate is 1.0 percent of an employee’s first $118,371 in wages earned in a calendar year. The current law authorizes a tax rate as high as 1.5 percent. Analysts expect that the rate could rise in 2020, and additional increases later as well.
Prepare now for this new program: We help companies prepare for the laws coming next year – including this new PFL Program implementation in July 2020. Contact us today and speak to one of our Consultants: 949-533-3742.

What To Do When ICE Visits Your Company

30 Aug
August-19-ICE Masthead
What are employers required to do if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials raid a job site or ask to inspect your company records?
For a long time ICE officials focused on deporting undocumented immigrants who were in jail or prison and avoided workplace enforcement. Under the current administration, ICE has shifted more of its focus to the workplace. Businesses here have high numbers of undocumented immigrants, which means that employers must know what to do in case of an ICE raid and how to be prepared.
  • Approximately 1/4 of the nations11 million undocumented immigrants live in CA.
  • They currently live and work here often in agriculture, service industries and construction.
  • Some industries rely heavily on this group to remain competitive in the marketplace without them.
Although employers in all industry sectors should know what to do if ICE comes knocking, agricultural employers in particular, must prepare since ICE focuses heavily on this industry based on the volume of workers on dairy farms or agriculture.
To Ensure Compliance With Federal Law …
Employers Are Encouraged to Hire an HR Employee Experienced in
ICE Laws or Engage a Consulting Expert on Immigration Laws 
Workplace Raids Require Warrants
Employers are required by law to allow ICE to conduct a raid if a court-ordered warrant has been issued. In this case, if ICE wants to search a workplace and has a warrant, they must be allowed in the parts of the workplace covered by the warrant.
Without a warrant, there is no requirement for employers to open the workplace to ICE authorities, i.e.: arriving on a worksite on a “tip”-without a warrant-the employer may decide whether to grant access to ICE for an inspection. Employers should carefully read warrants as they detail what areas of the workplace are required accessible to ICE. Although ICE cannot search a job site without a warrant, they can ask to inspect records.
Inspection Notices Require Advance Notice
A notice to inspect employment records requires advance notice, and a physical raid requires a warrant. ICE may ask employers to inspect and verify the identity and employment eligibility documents of their employees. ICE may ask for Forms I-9, and other supporting documentation, such as a copy of the payroll, a list of current employees, Articles of Incorporation, and business licenses. The Notice of Inspection requires advance notice of the visit which gives employers time to gather the documents requested.
Sanctuary Cities
Employers should know that even if their business is located in a sanctuary city or jurisdiction, federal laws govern immigration, not state or local authorities. All employers must comply with ICE requirements and warrants.   Even though the state has declared itself a sanctuary state…the federal immigration authorities are governed by the U.S. Constitution and U.S. immigration laws and the state can’t undermine that or interfere in any way.

Seek Legal Help …
If your firm is struggling with a possible ICE raid, you should meet with an attorney or contact a consulting firm in this field. If you get an ICE notice you certainly should speak with an attorney.
CalWorkSafety 

Our Consultants are trained in the latest Immigration Regulations and can assist your company on these topics.  Call us today and eliminate your concerns: 949-533-3742.