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State Changes Serious-Injury Report Criteria, Moves to Eliminate Email Requests

17 Dec
Report of Work Injuiry

New laws that take effect at the start of 2020 will change how employers report accidents to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health and revise the criteria for determining which serious job site occupational injuries, illnesses and deaths employers need to disclose.

Lawmakers during the 2019 session enacted AB 1804, which changes the reporting requirement and directs employers to immediately disclose incidents via telephone or through a new online portal created by Cal/OSHA. Employers may continue to send incident reports by email until the agency launches the new site.

The Legislature also enacted AB 1805, amending definitions that legislators argue will provide clarity to employers when reporting workplace injuries.

One amendment is the definition of “serious injury or illness.” The law removed the 24-hour minimum time requirement for qualifying hospitalizations in which an employee suffers the loss of a body part or suffers permanent disfigurement. This excludes stays for medical observation or diagnostic testing.

The law replaces “loss of any member of the body” with “amputation,” and includes the loss of an eye as a qualifying injury. AB 1805 also revises the definition of “serious exposure” by including that the exposure of an employee should create a “realistic possibility” — instead of the current “substantial probability” — of death or serious bodily harm.

The law eliminates the exclusion of an injury or illness caused by certain violations of the Penal Code, and narrows the inclusion of accidents on a public street or highway found to have occurred only in a construction zone.

CalWorkSafety, LLC can provide training for your supervisors and employees on this topic or other safety compliance issues.

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:

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 Minimum Wage Hikes Begin July 1st

25 Jun
June-Wages Up
Employers’ Posters Must Conform With July 1, 2019 Minimum Wage Rate Increases

California local cities and counties continue to pass minimum wage ordinances and other employment laws relating to paid sick leave and criminal background checks. On July 1, 2019, several local minimum wage rates also increase, as will two new local minimum wage ordinances will be required.

City & County Minimum Wage Increases Start July 1st
  • Berkeley: $15.59/hour.
  • Emeryville: $16.30/hour for businesses of all sizes (except for Small Independent Restaurants).
  • City of Los Angeles: $14.25/hour for employers with 26+ employees; $13.25/hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
  • County of Los Angeles (unincorporated areas only): $14.25/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $13.25/hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
  • Malibu: $14.25/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $13.25/hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
  • Milpitas: $15/hour.
  • Pasadena: $14.25/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $13.25/hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
  • San Francisco: $15.59/hour.
  • San Leandro: $15/hour.
  • Santa Monica: $14.25/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $13.25/hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
    Note: Eligibility rules may vary based on different locations.
Two New Minimum Wage Ordinances Start July 1st
  • Alameda: $13.50/hour.
  • Fremont: $13.50/hour for employers with 26 or more employees; employers with 25 or fewer employees will continue to pay the state minimum wage rate until July 1, 2020.

Employees classified under the executive, administrative or professional exemptions must earn a minimum monthly salary of no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment. For employers with 26+ employees, the required monthly salary is $4,160 per month, and employers with less than 25 employees, the required monthly salary is $3,813.33 per month.

The exempt salary test is based on the California minimum wage; it increases every year on January 1 as the state minimum wage increases (the salary test is not affected, however, by any applicable local minimum wage.) The exempt salary test is calculated using the current California minimum wage, even if an employer’s nonexempt employees are entitled to receive a higher minimum wage under a local ordinance.

Raise for Nonexempt Employees
If you have nonexempt employees working in any of the following localities, the required local hourly minimum wage will increase on July 1, 2019 as follows:

Northern California

  • Alameda: $13.50.
  • Berkeley: $15.59.
  • Emeryville: $15 for “small independent restaurants”; $16.30 for all other employers.
  • Fremont: $13.50 for employers with 26+ employees; 25 or less employees subject to California minimum wage).
  • Milpitas: $15.
  • San Francisco: $15.59.
  • San Leandro: $14.
  • Southern California
    City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles (unincorporated areas only), Malibu, Pasadena, and Santa Monica: $14.25 for employers with 26+ employees; and $13.25 for less than 25 employees.

    Updated Minimum Wage Increase Workplace Posters Required for
    LA, San Francisco & Santa Monica – Increases in the Local Minimum Wage

    In May 2019, the Los Angeles Office of Wage Standards Ordinance updated the city’s minimum wage notice to reflect the increases that are effective July 1, 2019 as follows: $13.25 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees; and $14.25 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees. This notice must be conspicuously posted in any workplace or job site. Violators are subject to penalties. See the Notice

    Beginning July 1, 2019, the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement updated its San Francisco minimum wage notice to reflect the city and county’s minimum wage increase to $15.59 per hour. This notice must be posted in the workplace where employees can easily read it. Failure to post this notice may result in penalties. See the Notice

    In April 2019, the City of Santa Monica updated mandatory workplace posters to reflect the following wage increases effective July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. The City of Santa Monica minimum wages increase to $13.25/hour for small businesses, and $14.25/hour for large businesses. Hotel worker living wage increases to $16.63/hour. Also City’s paid sick leave notice and service charge law notice. Failure to post these notices subjects employers to penalties. See the Packet

    The CalWorkSafety Consultants Are Here to Help Clients
    With all Questions or Concerns About These New Notices.
    Contact Us to Help You Sort Out Your Options

    A CalSavers Pilot Retirement Savings Program Will Be Available to Employers on July 1, 2019

    12 Jun

    Retirement Sav Plan-19

    CalSavers Retirement Savings Program Details:

    CalSavers will now provide employees access to a retirement savings program without the administrative complexity, fees, or fiduciary liability of existing options for employers. All employers with at least five employees not now offering a workplace retirement savings option must now either begin offering one via the private market or provide their employees access to CalSavers.

    CalSavers offers all California employees access to a workplace retirement savings vehicle that is voluntary, low cost and portable. CalSavers will open July 1st to all eligible employers and to the self-employed on September 1st. After enrollment begins, eligible employers can register for CalSavers at any time and will be required to comply by the following deadlines:

    Size of Business and Deadlines:

    Over 100 Employees = June 30, 2020
    Over 50 Employees =June 30, 2021
    Five+ Employees = June 30, 2022

    This Plan ensures that all Californians have a path to financial security in retirement by providing a simple, portable, low-cost way for workers to invest in their futures. A mandatory program for businesses (with five or more employees) must offer employees CalSavers (or a qualified retirement plan chosen by the employer) to avoid a $750/per employee penalty for repeated non-compliance.

    For employees, the pre-selected or default CalSavers payroll deduction is five percent of pay, automatically increasing one percent every year to eight percent of pay. But savers can change their payroll deduction rate at any time.

    A Roth IRA is standard, allowing withdrawals without penalties or taxes. A traditional IRA option will be available by the end of the year. If the employee moves to another job, the savings can be transferred or left with CalSavers.

    CalSavers Is Operated Solely Through Administrative Fees …
    There’s No Cost to Taxpayers

    Additional details are available at CalSavers.com.
    Or Contact dondressler1@hotmail.com
    The CalWorkSafety Consultants Are Here to Help Clients
    With all Questions or Concerns About These New Notices.
    Contact Us to Help You Sort Out Your Options

    As of April 1st Employers Must Post New or Updated Notices & Pamphlets

    11 Apr
    April-Ca Update Notice
    California employers covered by either the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA) are required and must be posted  – new Family Care and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability Leave.

    Previously
    , the notice was named the Family Care and Medical Leave (CFRA Leave) and Pregnancy Disability notice, and only employers covered by the CFRA – employers with 50 or more employees – had to post it.

    Now
    , employers with 20 to 49 employees must post the new notice in their workplaces and employers with 50 or more employees must update their existing notice.

    The new 2019 all-in-one California and Federal Labor Law poster  includes all 18 state & federal employment notices every California employer must post, including the new Family Care and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability Leave notice. If any mandatory updates occur in 2019, employers will automatically receive a replacement poster at no additional cost.


    Revised Pamphlets
    The Employment Development Department (EDD) has updated two pamphlets that employers are required to give to employees at certain times: California Paid Family Leave and Disability Insurance Provisions. Employers must provide these pamphlets to new employees and to employees either taking a covered leave of absence or a non-work-related disability leave.

    Both pamphlets have a new revision date of March 2019 and contain an additional paragraph offering participants in those programs the option of a debit card or check to receive their funds. Employers should always use the most current version of these pamphlets.

     
    The CalWorkSafety Consultants Are Here to Help Clients
    With all Questions or Concerns About These New Notices.
    Contact Us to Help You Sort Out Your Options

     

    Hiring: I-9 Rule Compliance Concerns

    27 Mar

    An increase in Form I-9 Audits amplifies 2019 U.S. employers’ hiring compliance concerns.

    ICE is fully committed to ensuring that employers comply with I-9 employment eligibility verification requirements, which prove employees are legally allowed to work in the country. Violations can result in severe penalties for the employer and, in the case of undocumented workers, arrest or deportation of the employee.

     

    Important Statistics

    • ICE inspections and audits have skyrocketed during the past two years, resulting in an unprecedented number of fines and arrests. Fines can range from $110 to $1,100 for errors such as not completing a form, but they increase dramatically for knowingly or continuing to employ unauthorized workers – up to $14,050 for each violation.
    • From 10-1-17 through 7-20-18, ICE and its Homeland Security Investigations arm conducted 6,093 investigations, made 675 criminal and 984 administrative worksite-related arrests.
    • In fiscal year 2017, companies were ordered to pay a total of $97.6 million in judicial forfeitures, fines and restitutions in addition to nearly $8 million in civil fines.
    • ICE’s intensified focus on enforcement is an attempt to create a culture of compliance among employers and deter illegal employment.
    Anyone involved in hiring new employees should be prepared for an audit. In fact, you should conduct an internal I-9 audit to make sure everything is in line before ICE comes knocking. Doing so ensures you’ll be able to produce the documents ICE requests within the required timeframe; if you receive a Notice of Inspection (NOI) from ICE, you’ll be required to produce all I-9 forms and supporting documentation within three days.
    • Note: Audits are different from an ICE raid, in which agents show up at your business unannounced with a criminal search warrant. Either way, it’s important to be proactive and have documentation on all employees. CalWorkSafetyConsultants are available to conduct an I-9 Audit for your firm as part of our services.  We can also train your team to perform these audits – and we strongly recommend an audit be performed at least once a year.

    I-9 Compliance Maintenance

    1. Designate a member of your HR team as the point person to become an expert on the employee eligibility verification process. This includes creating a process for accurate completion of the I-9 form and responsibility for maintaining it. If you’re a one-person shop, schedule time on a regular basis to educate yourself on proper procedure and to make sure paperwork is completed accurately.
    2. Train any employee who might handle I-9 forms on how to complete them properly as well as all anti-discrimination practices. HR professionals can look to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ employer handbookfor assistance.
    3. Develop a system to track the immigration status of employees and make certain re-verification is completed on time. You can do this manually … just realize that it is time consuming and labor intensive. If an employee fails to submit completed paperwork accurately or on time, it can mean your company is non-compliant. Thus, using an automated system lets you enter I-9 information, provide employment authorization confirmation while also alerting you to any potential shortcomings.
    4. For businesses with remote employees, remember that work authorization documents must be reviewed in person. A scan or photocopy that’s emailed won’t work. You need to make sure any new hires who telecommute are aware of this policy and both of you are prepared to complete the I-9 process properly.
    5. It’s also crucial that you or your point person knows howto correct errors or omissions and what to do with incomplete or outdated I-9s.

    Employer Takeaways

    • Be ready for an audit at any time.
    • If you receive a NOI, you’ll have only three days to produce the necessary paperwork.
    • It’s much easier to stay ahead of the game by verifying compliance with every new hire and re-verifying – as required – than to play catch-up during those three days.
    • You NEVER want to put your company at risk for any penalties, fines or physical removal of employees.
    Employers are now under intense scrutiny to ensure employees are working legally and that company practices are compliant. Compliance failure can threaten the growth of a business and sometimes its very existence.