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The City of San Diego Enacts COVID-19 Related Worker Recall and Retention Ordinances

29 Sep

By Kelly D. Gemelli & Arcelia N. Magaña on September 21, 2020, Jackson Lewis

The City of San Diego enacted emergency ordinances requiring fair employment practices in response to job and economic insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home directives.  The City of San Diego COVID-19 Building Service and Hotel Worker Recall Ordinance (“Recall Ordinance”) and the City of San Diego COVID-19 Worker Retention Ordinance (“Retention Ordinance”) went into effect immediately upon their passage on September 8, 2020. The Ordinances apply to three categories of businesses and employers that the City found have been especially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Commercial Property Employer: defined by ordinance as an owner-operator, manager, or lessee, including contractor, subcontractor, or sublessee, of a non-residential property located within the geographical boundaries of the City of San Diego that employers 25 or more janitorial, maintenance, or security service employees. Only the janitorial, maintenance, and security service employees who perform work for a Commercial Property business or employer are covered by the Ordinance.
  2. Event Center Employer: defined by ordinance as an owner, operator, or manager or a privately-owned structure of more than 50,000 square feet or 5,000 seats that is used for the purpose of public performances, sporting events, business meetings, or similar events, and includes concert halls, stadiums, sports arenas, racetracks, coliseums, and convention centers. The term “event center” also includes any contracted, leased, or sublet premises connected to or operated in conjunction with the “event center’s” purpose, including food preparation facilities, ushering services, ticket taking services, concessions, retail stores, restaurants, bars, and structured parking facilities, but excludes governmental entities.
  3. Hotel Employer: defined by ordinance as an owner, operator, or manager of a residential building located within the geographical boundaries of the City of San Diego with at least 200 guest rooms that provide temporary lodging in the form of overnight accommodations to transient patrons, and may provide additional services, such as conferences and meeting rooms, restaurants, bars, or recreation facilities available to guests or the general public. A “hotel employer” also includes the owner, operator, manager, or lessee of any contracted, leased, or sublet premises connected to or operated in conjunction with the building’s purpose, or providing services to the building.

The Recall Ordinance requires a covered employer to offer positions that become available on or after September 8, 2020, to qualified employees who were laid off on or after March 4, 2020. A laid-off employee is deemed qualified and must be offered a position – in the order of priority below – if the employee:

  1. Held the same or similar position at the same location when the employee was laid off; or
  2. Is or can be qualified for the position with the same training that would be provided to a new worker hired into the position.

If more than one laid-off employee is entitled to preference for a position, the employer must offer the position to the laid-off employee with the greatest length of service in the position and then to the laid-off employee with the greatest length of service with the employer at the employment site.

Under the Retention Ordinance, when a covered business experiences a Change in Control as defined by the Ordinance, covered employees are given preference in hiring by the successor business employer for a period of 6 months and must be retained for no less than 90 days, provided the successor employer continues operating for 90 days unless there is cause for termination (which the Ordinance does not define). Once the 90 days have elapsed, the successor employer must perform a written performance evaluation for each eligible employee retained pursuant to the Retention Ordinance.

The Ordinances will remain in effect for six months. However, they could be repealed by January 1, 2021, depending on whether Gov. Gavin Newsom signs pending Assembly Bill 3216 into law, which would provide similar worker protections statewide.

New Study Finds Dining Out Increases Chances of Catching Coronavirus

21 Sep

The report shows adults infected with the virus were more than twice as likely to report dining out in the 14 days before getting sick.

Author: David Gonzalez (KHOU)  Published: September 12, 2020

HOUSTON — Restaurants in Texas are still operating at a limited capacity under Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order.

The restrictions are place to stop the spread of COVID-19.

However, a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows eating at restaurants may increase your risk of catching the virus.

For instance, restaurants have adjusted to being in business during the pandemic as best they can.

Take-out and delivery options have grown very popular but many people still enjoy dining out.

“I think people should be extraordinarily thoughtful in how they decide to go out,” Dr. Paul Biddinger, director of Emergency Preparedness Research, Evaluation and Practice program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said.

He added, “Of course you have to take off your mask in order to eat and that changes the protection that we’ve been recommending now for so many months. “

The report shows adults infected with the virus were more than twice as likely to report dining out in the 14 days before getting sick.

“And if they are sharing a table with people that are not part of their household, part of their close environment, they should actually be discussing risk factors, recognizing still that we think that 30-60 percent of people can transmit COVID when they have minimal or no symptoms,” Dr. Biddinger said.

He believes there may be different risks between dining indoors versus on a patio.

Most restaurants are doing what they can to protect people by limiting capacity and spacing out tables.

In a statement, the Texas Restaurant Association said the study contained a number of flaws.

Now, more than ever, it is essential that the public is able to make decisions about activities outside of their home based on complete and accurate information about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

We still do not find evidence of a systemic spread of the coronavirus coming from restaurants who are effectively following our Restaurant Reopening Guidance, encouraging guests to wear masks, social distancing, and practicing good hand hygiene. In effect, the lack of a direct correlation should be evidence that, when restaurants demonstrate effective mitigation efforts, the risk is low when dining outside or inside.

Assembly Bill 685 Changes Employer Notification Requirements on COVID-19 and Enhances Cal OSHA Enforcement Abilities

By Cressinda D. Schlag & Amy P. Frenzen on September 17, 2020 -Jackson Lewis PC

On September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 685, which requires employers to provide written notifications to employees within one business day of receiving notice of potential exposure to coronavirus (“COVID-19”).  AB 685 also authorizes the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal OSHA”) to prohibit operations, processes, and prevent entry into workplaces that it has determined present a risk of infection to COVID-19 so severe as to constitute an imminent hazard. AB 685 also authorizes Cal OSHA to issue citations for serious violations related to COVID-19 without requiring the agency to comply with precitation requirements.

Notification Requirements

Current California law requires employers to report certain occupational injuries and illnesses to Cal OSHA within a prescribed period. AB 685 confirms employers must report COVID-19 cases to the agency that satisfy Cal OSHA’s definition of a serious injury or illness. To satisfy this requirement, employers must have a process for employees to report potential exposures to COVID-19, having tested positive for COVID-19, or having symptoms of COVID-19. Employers must also assess any employee COVID-19 case to determine whether reporting on the case is required under Cal OSHA regulations.

Along with notifying Cal OSHA of a COVID-19 case that meets the definition of a serious occupational injury or illness, AB 685 requires employers having notice of a potential COVID-19 exposure (e.g., individual testing positive for COVID-19 was in the workplace) provide a written notice to:

  • employees and subcontractor employees who were at the worksite when a potentially infected individual was there and may have been exposed to COVID-19 as a result; and,
  • employees’ exclusive representative, if applicable.

This notice must be provided within one business day of the employer being notified of a potential exposure and may be done in “a manner that the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information,” such as personal service, mail, or text message. The notice should be drafted to protect employee privacy and without disclosure of personally identifiable information or personal health information. The notice should also include information on COVID-19 benefits the employee may be entitled to and the disinfection and safety plan the employer has implemented or plans to implement in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”).

An employer may also need to notify its local public health department of COVID-19 cases if the number of cases the employer knows about meets the definition of a COVID-19 outbreak as currently defined by the California State Department of Public Health. Upon an outbreak, the employer must notify its local public health department within 48 hours and be prepared to provide information on the number of COVID-19 cases at the worksite, their names, occupation, and other pertinent information. Employers will then need to keep working with the local health department and provide updates on new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Notifications required under AB 685 do not alter or change the work-relatedness determination for COVID-19 cases under Cal OSHA regulations. AB 685 further requires that employers maintain records of written notifications for at least three years.

Enforcement Procedures

AB 685 authorizes Cal OSHA to act when, “in its opinion,” employees are exposed to COVID-19 in such a manner as to constitute an imminent hazard by:

  • Prohibiting entry or access to a worksite;
  • Prohibiting performance of an operation or process at the worksite; or
  • Requiring posting of an imminent hazard notice at the worksite.

In treating an employer’s worksite as having an imminent hazard to COVID-19, Cal OSHA must limit its restrictions on the employer’s worksite to the immediate area where the hazard was identified. In addition, Cal OSHA’s restrictions must not “materially interrupt the performance of critical governmental functions essential to ensuring public health and safety functions or the delivery of electrical power or water.” These provisions will sunset on January 1, 2023. Cal OSHA regulations require a strict process for “serious violations,” in which Cal OSHA creates a rebuttable presumption of a serious violation following an inspection, which is then shared with the employer and the employer is given a chance to rebut. The employer’s rebuttal may then be used in defense of the violation in an appeal or hearing on the matter. Generally, this procedure is satisfied by Cal OSHA sending a standardized form containing descriptions of the alleged serious violation and soliciting information in rebuttal of the presumption to the employer at least 15 days before issuing the citation. For COVID-19 hazards and violations only, AB 685 streamlines this process by allowing Cal OSHA to issue a citation alleging a serious violation without requiring the agency to solicit information rebutting the presumption of a serious violation.  Accordingly, Cal OSHA would not need to notify an employer 15 days before issuing a serious violation related to COVID-19. This exemption will be repealed on January 1, 2023.

New California Law Significantly Expands Employee Entitlement to Family and Medical Leave

By Susan E. Groff and Jennifer S. Grock

September 17, 2020

California employers with as few as five employees must provide family and medical leave rights to their employees under a new law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 17, 2020. The new law significantly expands the state’s existing family and medical leave entitlements and goes into effect on January 1, 2021.

Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383) also expands the covered reasons for protected leave and the family members whom employees may take leave to care for under the law.

Expanded Eligibility to Small Employers

Under pre-existing law, employers were not required to provide family care and medical leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) (Cal. Gov. Code section 12945.2), if the employee seeking leave worked at a worksite with fewer than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius. Similarly, employers were not required to provide “baby bonding” leave under the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA) (Cal. Gov. Code section 12945.6), if the employee seeking leave worked at a worksite with fewer than 20 employees within a 75-mile radius.

SB 1383 repeals CFRA and NPLA and expands the obligation to provide leave to small employers not covered before. The new law requires employers with at least five employees to provide an otherwise eligible employee with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid job-protected leave during any 12-month period for certain covered reasons. The employer must maintain and pay for the employee’s coverage under a group health plan for the duration of the leave at the level and under the conditions coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued in employment continuously for the duration of the leave.

Additional Covered Family Members and Expanded Reasons for Leave

SB 1383 also expands the covered family members and potential reasons for which an eligible employee may take leave. Under SB 1383, eligible employees may take leave to bond with a new child of the employee or to care for themselves or a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner.

Under the prior CFRA statute, leave for purposes of caring for a family member was available only if the family member was the employee’s child, a parent, spouse, or domestic partner.

With the enactment of SB 1383, all eligible employees will be able to care for grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings, unlike under the prior CFRA statute.

SB 1383 contains other significant changes. It requires an employer that employs both parents of a child to grant up to 12 weeks of leave to each employee. Under pre-existing law, the employer only had to grant both employees a combined total of 12 weeks of leave.

The new law also requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave during any 12-month period due to a qualifying exigency related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces of the United States. Lastly, SB 1383 does not permit an employer to refuse reinstatement of “key employees” as was previously allowed by the CFRA under qualifying circumstances. Under SB 1383, employees will still need to meet eligibility requirements, including 12 months of service and 1,250 hours worked for the employer in the previous 12-month period, to qualify for family and medical leave.

‘Game Changer’ in California Coronavirus Testing to Double Capacity and Speed Up Results

31 Aug

by Ana B. Ibarra August 26, 2020 CALMATTERS

A nursing student does patient check-in and hands out requisition forms allowing patients to get their COVID-19 test results online at Cal Expo in Sacramento. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

In summary

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new deal today with a diagnostics company that he says will add 150,000 more tests a day, with results back in 24 to 48 hours.

Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced that the state will soon more than double its coronavirus testing capacity, a move that at least one legislator described as a “game changer” in the state’s pandemic response.

The state will partner with the Massachusetts-based diagnostics company PerkinElmer, which will allow the state to conduct and process an additional 150,000 tests a day with expedited test results in 24 to 48 hours. 

“We have provisions in the contract to guarantee that turnaround time,” Newsom said. 

At 150,000 tests a day, the new contract would cut down the per-test cost from the current $150-$200 to $30.

Currently, the state is processing just slightly over 100,000 tests per day with an average turnaround time of five to seven days. By some estimates, like those by scientists at the Harvard Global Health Institute, California should currently be doing upward of 220,000 tests a day to truly mitigate spread of the virus— and significantly more to suppress it.

“Each and every day is a precious day in terms of test results,” Newsom said. The longer people wait, those test results are almost useless in terms of helping stop the spread, he said.  Newsom said the state will aim to get a new laboratory facility running by Nov. 1, just in time for the peak of flu season and a possible second wave of coronavirus, when more people are likely to seek out testing. 

Extra $300 weekly unemployment benefit approved for California, but timetable is uncertain

By David Lightman Sacramento Bee:  August 22, 2020

If you need a state unemployment expert to return your call, it’s going to take four to six weeks, the director of California’s Employment Development Department told an Assembly subcommittee July 30, 2020. By California State Assembly

California will be able to pay millions of jobless residents an extra $300 a week, the state’s unemployment agency said Saturday, but there’s no estimate of when people will see that money.

The state’s Employment Development Department said its application for funding the program has been approved by the federal government. When the $300 a week is added to state benefits, it will nearly double the average California claimant’s weekly unemployment check.

Larry Kudlow, a White House senior economic adviser, said this week that overall, the money should be in bank accounts “in the next week or two.”

The US Government’s Lost Wage Assistance Program, one of the recently approved Executive Actions taken by President Trump, is on top of regular unemployment benefits. EDD announced Friday Aug. 28 that the first payments in CA will be available the week of Sept. 7, 2020.

There will be two phases of the EDD rollout.  First will be claimants who previously provided information that they were unemployed due to COVID-19, and have already received regular UI benefits during the period of July 26 to Aug. 15. The payments mean that an person receiving the average UI benefit of $287 a week will receive $587.  Persons must receive a benefit of at least $100 a week to participate in the added payment. The second phase will be for applicants who did not indicate on their original application that they were out of work due to COVID-19. Approximately 1.13 million Californians applied for benefits. EDD is so backlogged by computer and staffing problems that it has only be able to process 239,000 claims by Aug. 28.

WCIRB Submits 2021 Rate Recommendation

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau on Wednesday formally recommended that the California Department of Insurance increase the advisory pure premium rate by an average of 2.6% for policies incepting on or after Jan. 1.

If approved, it would be the first rate increase since November 2014, when the state adopted a rate of $2.74 per $100 of payroll. Since then, savings from the reforms in Senate Bill 863 and subsequent fraud-fighting efforts drove a series of annual and midyear rate filings that lowered the advisory rate by more than 44% to $1.52 for policies incepting in 2020.

Rates likely would have continued to fall but for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Absent the impact of COVID-19 claims on 2021 policies, the filing reflects a modest decrease (1.3%) in advisory pure premium rates,” the WCIRB said in a statement. “In addition to projecting the cost of COVID-19 claims to be incurred on 2021 policies, the filing also reflects the impact of the pandemic-related economic slowdown on future wage growth, claim frequency and claim severity.”

Materials presented to the WCIRB’s Governing Committee during an Aug. 12 meeting show the indicated rate would have been $1.50 per $100 of payroll if projections for COVID-19 were excluded.

Although the indicated rate is higher than the last approved rate, it would still be 13.3% lower than the industry average charged rate of $1.80 per $100 of payroll as of July 1.

COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Claim Presumption Flowchart

15 Jun

Jessica Mulholland  June 9, 2020 6  HR Watchdog – Cal Chamber

Workers Comp

In early May, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order extending workers’ compensation benefits to California employees who contract COVID-19 while working outside of their homes during the state’s stay-at-home order. This workers’ compensation benefits extension is causing some confusion, but a Sacramento-based law firm recently created a flowchart to help employers.

As previously reported, the order prompted many questions about its scope, criteria and implementation — and created a “rebuttable presumption” that workers meeting certain criteria who contract COVID-19 did so during employment (which means the law automatically assumes workers’ compensation covers their claims and shifts the burden to employers, who may then present evidence to rebut the presumption).

The California Department of Industrial Relations answered some questions in its Question and Answer page, but Sacramento-based law firm Mullen & Filippi went a step further, creating a COVID Claim Presumption Flowchart to further simplify how employers can determine whether a presumption applies.

Start at the top of the chart. If you answer yes to the first seven questions — which include whether the worker received a COVID-19 diagnosis or tested positive for the virus, whether the diagnosis was from a medical doctor holding a license from the California Medical Board and whether the diagnosis was confirmed with a positive virus or antibody test within 30 days, to name a few — COVID-19 is presumed as an industrial injury. This means that, unless you can rebut the presumption by providing evidence of an alternate cause, you must provide workers’ compensation benefits. If, however, you answer no to any of the questions, no presumption exists, and the normal evidentiary rules apply.

Assuming the claim is compensable, employers can use page two of the flow chart to help determine apportionment, compensable consequences, death benefits and temporary total disability benefits.

This executive order is retroactive to March 19, 2020, and extends through July 5, 2020.

Jessica Mulholland, Managing Editor, CalChamber

For more COVID-19-related federal, state and local resources, visit the CalChamber Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage and access additional COVID-19-related HRWatchdog blogs.

Can an employee refuse to return to work?

HR CAlif. 6/11/2020

Yes. Although you can’t force a furloughed employee to return to work, their refusal to return may disqualify them from receiving unemployment benefits.

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has released general guidance on COVID-19-related unemployment benefits.

For example, if a business has abided by local and state guidelines and is providing adequate employee protections, an employee who refuses to return to work out of a general fear of contracting COVID-19 wouldn’t qualify to receive unemployment benefits.

If, however, the business doesn’t have proper protective measures in place, an employee can use the lack of protective measures as a valid reason for not returning to work and will thus be able to claim unemployment benefits.

An employee who earns more money on unemployment cannot use the higher pay as a valid reason for refusing to return to work; their refusal would disqualify them from receiving unemployment benefits.

If an employee doesn’t have suitable childcare and cannot return work, it would likely be good cause for not returning to work and the employee would likely be able to keep their unemployment benefits.

Read more about Unemployment Insurance in the HR Library and HRCalifornia Extra’s Unemployment Insurance: A Guide for Employers with Newly Displaced Workers.

Q&As

OSHA Issues FAQ on Face Coverings

The new guidance outlines the differences between cloth face coverings, surgical masks and respirators.

JUN 10, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a series of frequently asked questions and answers regarding the use of masks in the workplace.

“As our economy reopens for business, millions of Americans will be wearing masks in their workplace for the first time,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “OSHA is ready to help workers and employers understand how to properly use masks so they can stay safe and healthy in the workplace.”

The new guidance outlines the differences between cloth face coverings, surgical masks and respirators. It further reminds employers not to use surgical masks or cloth face coverings when respirators are needed. In addition, the guidance notes the need for social distancing measures, even when workers are wearing cloth face coverings, and recommends following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on washing face coverings.

These frequently asked questions and answers mark the latest guidance from OSHA addressing protective measures for workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, OSHA published numerous guidance documents for workers and employers, available at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/, including five guidance documents aimed at expanding the availability of respirators.

For further information and resources about the coronavirus disease, please visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage.

 

Employers Learn How To Help Employees Who Test Positive to COVID-19

10 Jun

June 2020

JOIN OUR   

JUNE 18th  BROADCAST  

Remember …  

Many people have heard this … but like the flight attendant’s warning … we tend to ignore the information unless our plane begins losing altitude. Your goal and ours is to AVOID THE CRASH!

Pat Haley

PAT HALEY

Her effective communication style and problem-solving abilities enable Pat to partner with diverse businesses where emphasis on employee relations matters and both management and employee training helps resolve problems.

WE LOOK

FORWARD TO

YOU JOINING
US …

Pandemic Support

Please Attend Our Broadcast

When: Thursday, June 18   

Time: 10:00 AM pst  

Speaker: Pat Haley

 PHR, CPCU, 

HR & Employee Conflict Trainer 

Topic: Employers Learn How To

Help Employees Who Test Positive to COVID-19
Everyone is back to work and our business is almost back to normal … Or so we thought. Then 3 Weeks Later … when a manager gets a call on a Monday morning – from a customer service employee:

   “I guess I won’t be in for a while…the voice said.

   “I was tested on Saturday afternoon and just got the report”

   “I tested Positive for Covid-19 …What should I do?”

Learn 8 Steps: What to Expect & What to Do

    1. Communication with the Employee – Specific
    2. HR & Recordkeeping – Sample forms
    3. Communication with Close Contacts
    4. Communication with Managers & Supervisors
    5. Communication with Employees
    6. Reactions to the Announcement
    7. Responses to Employees’ Reactions
    8. When the Employee Returns

To Participate Join Zoom Meeting Now:

Meeting ID: 868 8469 7055

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86884697055 

One tap mobile: Find your local number: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kfIULvaz9

CalWork Logo for Bottom Line

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.

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.

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