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Is Your Company Prepared for These 10 Questions in 2019?

9 Oct

BottomLine Oct Update

  1. How will your firm incorporate the new or changed laws into policies and procedures?
  2. What adjustments have you made regarding 1099 changes (rules for independent contractors)?
  3. Do you have an arbitration agreement to avoid court lawsuits involving employees?
  4. Does your company have a safety plan?
  5. Is your sexual harassment policy training completed yet?
  6. How have you prepared to objectively investigate a harassment claim?
  7. What’s your plan to train each of your employees on harassment and workplace bullying prevention? How to deal with violence in the workplace?
  8. How are you calculating pay, bonuses, missed breaks, missed meals, and overtime? (are you using “rounding” for recording time?)
  9. What expectations have been set for the most critical jobs in your organization?
  10. Is your New Hire and Termination process current?
If your answers to these questions is marginal, what’s your plan for 2019?
CalWorkSafety is a leader in labor law, risk management and consultant on: Human Resources,Safety & Cal/OSHA, Labor Law/Discrimination/EOP and Workers’ Compensation. Through the design of customized HR packages, Cal Work Safety significantly reduces worker’s compensation costs and protects employers from non-compliance issues … while providing effective employee training solutions to southern California companies.
The Bottom Line:
Our Virtual HR Department offers effective hands-on Management and Staff training dealing with Mandated Regulations.  By simplifying the
employee relations and compliance elements we help clients reduce
workers’ compensation premiums, prevent discrimination and harassment claims, and settle/avoid employee claims. To learn more about preparing for 2019 HR compliance, call us at 949-533-3742 or email:

Visit our website:

or Call:  949-533-3742
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Covered California Notices

4 Oct
October Image-Con-Con
A number of our clients provide health benefits to employees 
and yet those employers who’ve recently received letters from Covered California (the Exchange) stating that because some of 
their employees received subsidies, the employer now owes ACA penalties.  These notices contain demand for payment, ranging 
from $2,000 – $3,000 per employee.  
Not Good!
Employers that offer health coverage can avoid these penalties … if they respond to these letters .. and indicate that they offered coverage to their employees that met ACA guidelines, and subsidies would be unavailable to their employees, and no penalty to them is due.  Unfortunately, now those employees who received subsidies by mistake are responsible for the payments and will have to repay those amounts at some time.
Small business is encouraged to review their options beyond the exchanges and ensure that they have a good response to penalty notices.  Health insurance experts can help your company plan for both your company’s circumstances and, the right plans for the firm and its employees. This is a complicated area and fortunately we have worked with a firm which is very knowledgeable and able to help employers: Moore Benefits Inc.

The IRS has now began levying penalties on employers under the ACA employer shared responsibility provision. Often called the employer mandate or Pay-to-Play, the ACA provides for the IRS to assess penalties on employers that do not offer adequate health coverage to their full-time employees. Although the mandate was instituted in 2015, the IRS is just now starting to send penalty notices. What follows defines the IRS process and the steps employers can take if/when they receive a penalty notice.

Back to the Beginning:
The first round of penalty notices pertains to calendar year 2015. At that time, Applicable Large Employer (ALE): Play-to-Pay rules applied only to employers that had an average of 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalents.

Employer Mandate:
Penalties were triggered only if a full-time employee received a government subsidy to buy individual health insurance through a Marketplace. In that case, penalties were based on a two-prong test:
  1. Penalty A if the ALE failed to offer minimum essential coverage to at least 70% of its full-time employees
  2. Penalty B if the ALE failed to offer affordable minimum value coverage to its full-time employees
IRS Penalty Process:
The IRS is using information from 2015 Forms 1095-C and 1094-C, and information about employees who received a Marketplace subsidy for any month in 2015, to determine which ALEs it believes are liable for penalties. It appears that a Form 1095-C on which line 16 is blank is one of the triggers the IRS is using to identify ALEs for penalty notices.

In August 2016 Covered CA began sending notices to employers about their employees who have enrolled in Covered CA and are receiving the Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC). The notice serves to inform employers that their employees may have indicated that their employer has not offered “affordable, minimum value standard coverage” and that they may be subject to the “employer shared responsibility payment” otherwise known as the tax penalty.  Prior to a consumer applying and qualifying for a subsidy through Covered California we highly recommend reviewing the guidelines.

Employers:
Basically, Covered CA is giving a “heads up” to employers before tax time regarding how some of their employees may be receiving health insurance and how it might affect them as the employer. If an employer receives a notice from Covered CA titled “Important information about your employee’s health insurance coverage through Covered California,” he should investigate whether or not he is required to pay the employer shared responsibility payment/tax penalty.

At this time, Covered California is only sending a notice out to an employer whose contact information was provided on an application (which is optional for employees to include).  This means that employers may not receive notices for every employee who is receiving a subsidy. Therefore, it is advisable that the employer checks all of his employee’s health insurance statuses and/or to consult a tax professional regarding ACA compliance.

If the employer disagrees with Covered California’s determination, an appeal can be made with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Employees:
Employees must understand that the ACA requires Marketplaces, such as Covered CA, to send these notices to applicable employers as monetary consequences could result. Employees should be aware that they do have certain protections from employer retaliation under the ACA.

Employees must also understand that most employers who give employee health benefits offer affordable, minimum value standard insurance which disqualifies employees from receiving tax credits. If employees are found to be receiving tax credits when they do not qualify, then they will be subject to paying the tax credit back at tax time! In this case the employer would not be penalized.

For More Information Contact: Cathy Solomon, Moore Benefits, Inc.- 949-872-2380 Cathy@moorebenefits.com
The Bottom Line:
IRS notices recently began arriving in corporate mailboxes, in some cases demanding millions of dollars in fines.  Yet in 2015, the year the government began enforcing the employer mandate, neither the federal government nor most states operating their own exchanges managed to alert employers. In
late 2015, the Department of HHS, which manages the federal marketplace, announced that it would began sending notices to “certain” employers in
2016, and “expand to more employers in later years”  
  
Visit our website: www.calworksafety.com 

or Call:  949-533-3742

Cal/OSHA Requires Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP) for Housekeeping Workers by Sept. 29 2018

4 Sep

Don't Wait - 2

A new Cal-OSHA regulation for housekeeping safety requires California lodging establishments to have an effective, written Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Program (MIPP).  Hotels and properties that wait until the last minute will be feeling the heat, as they will need to scurry to develop the required program and conduct the initial worksite assessment, within the standard’s effective date of October 1, 2018.

What you need:

  1. Determine responsible party
  2. Assess hazards on your property
  3. Assess worksite hazards
  4. Interview housekeepers and ask for suggestions
  5. Conduct worksite evaluations
  6. Recognize safe employees
  7. Communicate with housekeepers about results of interviews
  8. Create hazard worksheet
  9. Determine any necessary changes
  10. Post results
  11. Write Plan, including appropriate, inclusive, accident report form
  12. Train housekeepers on findings
  13. Retrain annually

What CalWorkSafety LLC will do for your property:

  1. Determine responsible party
  2. Assess hazards on your property
  3. Assess worksite hazards
  4. Interview housekeepers and ask for suggestions
  5. Conduct worksite evaluations
  6. Recognize safe employees
  7. Communicate with housekeepers about results of interviews
  8. Create hazard worksheet
  9. Determine any necessary changes
  10. Post results
  11. Write Plan, including appropriate, inclusive, accident report form
  12. Train housekeepers and management as required

And, if requested: Retrain annually

Ask for a quote for your property. Remember, this plan is required by Cal/OSHA no later than September 29, 2018. We are here to help you remain Cal/OSHA compliant.

Our experts at CalWorkSafety are here to help you stay Cal-OSHA compliant with these new regulations and we strongly advise you not to wait and create more stress for you and your team than is necessary. Contact us today!

Ralph Dorwin   (562) 743 4719   rdorwin@gmail.com   ~  or  ~   calworksafety.com

 

 

 

THAT KNOCK ON THE DOOR IS COMING . . . IS YOUR Cal/OSHA SAFETY INSPECTION PLAN READY?

16 Aug
Almost all California employers are exposed to the risk of inspections and citations for violation of Cal/OSHA regulations.  The most widespread violation relates to companies not having an effective Illness & Injury Prevention plan – referred to as a General Violation.

In the past 12 months Cal/OSHA has implemented many new and broader regulations. And now, the painful result falls on employers because implementation of these new rules is their responsibility. That’s right, the deadline for implementation is on YOU!

Cal/OSHA is now canvassing companies to verify whether companies have implemented the new (CAL/OSHA) California Occupational Safety and Health Regulations. When they arrive at your facility, they want to see evidence that you have fully implemented a Safety Program – see specific details being validated: Violation Fines.

CalWorkSafety helps clients comply with Cal/OSHA regulations every by helping them prevent work accidents and saves on workers’ compensation costs.
The Bottom Line:
The HAZARD you encounter may not be an injury, but a fine for not
having a current inspection plan. Hazard Safety Inspections are
mandatory under your IIPP and Cal/OSHA regulations. If you don’t
know where to begin or haven’t prepared an inspection plan, allow
our team of experts to help you sort out this process with you.
Contact your CalWorkSafety consultant to get started.
  
Visit our website: www.calworksafety.com 

or Call:  949-533-3742

All Covered CA Janitorial Employers Must Register With the Labor Commissioner

6 Jul

New Janitorial Employer Provision Requires Compliance.

It isn’t optional anymore! Our expert team can answer your questions and help you avoid fines.

July 1, 2018 – Registration Began!
 
Definition:  A covered employer provides janitorial services with at least one employee and one janitor. A janitor includes any employee, independent contract or franchisee predominantly working as a janitor. Janitorial employers must also keep additional detailed records for three years.
The Labor Commissioner’s Office has recently launched an online registration system and urges janitorial employers to register quickly. If an employer fails to register by October 1, 2018, the employer will be subject to a civil fine, as will any person or entity who contracts with a janitorial employer lacking valid registration.
Cal/OSHA is reminding workers to take preventative cool-down breaks in the shade as temperatures rise throughout California.
Employers can register online or by mail.  They are required to pay a $500 nonrefundable application fee. The registration is valid for one year and must be renewed annually by the month and day of the original registration’s issuance. The renewal fee is also $500. See PDF the Labor Commissioner’s FAQ list.
The online registration tool enables janitorial employers to comply with the law. It also provides a tool for property owners to distinguish law-abiding contractors from dishonest businesses while protecting honest businesses from unfair competition.
The Labor Commissioner’s Office has posted a registration search toolthat shows whether employers and contractors are properly registered. Employers or anyone who contracts with a janitorial employer should use the search tool to make sure their contractors are properly registered.
The CA governor signed the Property Service Workers Protection Act in 2016. Looking ahead, beginning on January 1, 2019, Janitorial Employers will also be required to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training every two years. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement is required to develop this biennial, in-person sexual violence and harassment prevention training by January 1, 2019.
The Bottom Line:
Companies That Hire Janitorial Service Firms
to Clean or Maintain Their Property Now Must
Ensure Those Firms Are Properly Licensed 
CALL US TODAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS
 AND DEVELOP REAL SOLUTIONS FOR YOU
Visit our website: www.calworksafety.com 

or Call:  949-533-3742

Cal/OSHA Reminds Employers to Protect Workers from Hot Weather

20 Jun

The National Weather Service Has Issued

Heat Warnings for California!

A new statement released by Cal/OSHA is warning all employers to keep workers safe after the National Weather Service released a forecast indicating triple-digit temperatures for the state as summer begins.
Cal/OSHA is reminding workers to take preventative cool-down breaks in the shade as temperatures rise throughout California.
“During heat waves, employers must closely observe their employees for signs and symptoms of heat illness,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum, in a statement. “As always, workers should be encouraged to drink water frequently and take preventative cool-down rest breaks in the shade when they feel the need to do so.”
California’s Heat Illness Prevention Regulation Requires Employers With Outdoor Workers
to Do The Following:
  • Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
  • Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
  • Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
  • Shade – Provide shade when workers request it and when temperatures exceed 80 degrees.  Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes.  They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
Cal/OSHA urges workers experiencing possible overheating to take a preventative cool-down rest in the shade until symptoms are gone. Workers who have existing health problems or medical conditions that reduce tolerance to heat, such as diabetes, need to be extra vigilant. Some high blood pressure and anti-inflammatory medications can also increase a worker’s risk for heat illness, according to the agency.
In addition to the other requirements outlined in California’s heat illness prevention regulation, it is crucial that supervisors are effectively trained on emergency procedures in case a worker does get sick. This helps ensure sick employees receive treatment immediately and that the symptoms do not develop into a serious illness or death.

Check Out How The New CA Wage & Hour Independent Contractor Ruling Affects You

14 May
A new wage and hour California State Supreme Court (CSC) ruling – defines persons to be employees and not independent contractors.  The groundbreaking CSC new decision reveals a significant change in independent contractor law that adopts a modified “A-B-C” test for determining whether an individual is an employee under the Wage Orders.  The new independent contractor test is modeled on Massachusetts’ independent contractor statute, which has been considered the strictest in the country.

New Independent Contractor Test

California courts and state agencies have long applied the Borello test for determining whether a worker was an independent contractor under the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders.  This flexible, multi-factor approach determined whether the hiring entity had a “right to control” the manner in which the worker performed the contracted service, along with eight “secondary” factors whether: the worker was engaged in a distinct occupation or business the skill required in the particular occupation, or the worker or the hiring entity supplied the tools used to perform the work and the place where the work was performed.

Despite the Borello test being used for decades for Wage Order cases, the CSC rejected it in favor of a more rigid three-factor approach, called the “A-B-C” test.  Under this new test, a person is considered an independent contractor only if the hiring entity can prove all three of the following:

A.   That the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact;
B.   That the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
C.   That the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.
The “A” prong (freedom from control and direction) is similar to the common-law test used in Borello, asking whether the person is free from the “type and degree of control a business typically exercises over employees.”  The “B” prong (outside the usual course of the business) focuses on whether the person is “providing services to the business in a role comparable to that of an employee, rather than in a role comparable to that of a traditional independent contractor.”

But, the “C” prong (independent trade, occupation, or business) asks whether the person “independently has made the decision to go into business for himself or herself,” evidenced by things such as “incorporation, licensure, advertisements, or routine offerings to provide the services of the independent business to the public or to a number of potential customers.”  While presenting limited substantive guidance, the Court made it clear that it intended this new A-B-C test to be stricter than the previous Borello test.

This new independent contractor test only applies to Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders.  The CSC did not make any rulings about whether this test would also apply to other wage and hour laws – such as claims for reimbursement for business expenses, but the opinion suggests such laws will remain subject to the Borello standard.

The Narrow ‘B’ Prong

Many states use A-B-C independent contractor tests, often in their unemployment compensation statutes.  The A and C prongs that the CSC announced are comparable to these other tests.  However, the B prong deviates from the norm in an important way.  Most B prongs allow two different ways to prove that a worker is an independent contractor: either by showing that he or she works (1) outside the usual course of the business or (2) outside all the places of business of the hiring entity.  The CSC’s new test purposefully omits this second clause (i.e., “outside all the places of business”), meaning that the only way to satisfy the B prong – and, thus, the only way to be an independent contractor – is for one’s work to fall outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business, regardless of where the work occurs.

The CSC explicitly copied the Massachusetts statute in crafting this new test.  To satisfy the B prong, the hiring entity must show that the person works in an “independent, separate, and distinct business from that of the employer.”  Said differently, the question is then “whether the service the individual is performing is necessary to the business of the employing unit or merely incidental.”  As a practical matter, for most companies, this narrow B prong works as a “de facto ban,” and prevents the use of independent contractors except where the person’s work has no tangible connection to the hiring entity’s business.

Exceptions

For some transportation companies, courts have held that the Massachusetts B prong is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) and is therefore unenforceable. Some Massachusetts courts have also held that “legitimate business-to-business” relationships can qualify for independent contractor status, even if the other “business” is a sole proprietor or one-person corporation.

Conclusion

It remains undecided how California courts will apply this new independent contractor test, or if the standard or its application will be limited by federal law when applied to certain arrangements involving motor carriers of property.  Companies should now expect more difficulty in proving that an individual is classified as an independent contractor under California wage and hour laws.

Although technically this ruling only applies to Industrial Welfare orders – including minimum wage, rest breaks, meal periods and overtime – the impact
is really much broader.  Many CalWorkSafety clients will find it difficult to
sustain the idea of independent contractors as fulfilling their business operations.  We can and will assist in evaluating each instance for you. 
The Bottom Line:
From Now on It’s Going to Be More Limited & Dangerous to Try
to Claim Independent Contractor Status in California

CALL US TODAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS
 AND DEVELOP REAL SOLUTIONS FOR YOU
Visit our website: www.calworksafety.com 

or Call:  949-533-3742