Regulatory Compliance: Employment Policies and Handbooks
Minimum wage laws are vastly misunderstood by employers. While the United States has a minimum wage requirements, California has minimum wage requirements that can vary by city, county or even the industry in which the employee is employed.
Moreover, while most employers view salaried employees as exempt from minimum wage requirements, most exempt employees are subject to a minimum wage requirement that is twice the minimum wage for hourly non-exempt employees.
Moreover, under the California Labor Code, including “PAGA” (or the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004) provide for the employer to pay damages, significant penalties, and even pay the attorneys’ fees of employees who sue the employer.
In regard to overtime, Straggas Law Group can advise your company as to the work order which governs your company’s workplace, and provide training and counseling to your company’s supervisors to ensure compliance.
Harrassment training is also required for California businesses. By January 1, 2020, employers with five or more employees must provide one hour of sexual harassment prevention training to nonsupervisory employees, and two hours of training to supervisory employees. Straggas Law Group can provide your company with appropriate programs to ensure your company’s compliance with these requirements.
Proper designation of status is also a timely issue. Many California businesses have traditionally utilized workers that are paid as “independent contractors.” Such persons have been viewed as having their own business, and as not being employees for which payroll deductions or the payment of overtime is required.
While it has always been difficult to make the case that a worker who’s time and method of work are controlled by the employer was an independent contractor, that task became far more difficult in April of 2018, when the Supreme Court of California made its ruling in the matter of Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court.
Before deciding to pay a worker as an independent contractor, your business should consult with Straggas Law Group. We have the skills to help you avoid penalties of up to $25,000.00 which can be imposed by the State of California for mis-designation of an employee as an independent contractor.
The CalSavers program is another timely matter to consider. California has created a retirement savings program which will begin full operation on July 1, 2019. Depending upon the number of employees employed by the business, employers will have to begin complying with regulations related to this program as early as June 30, 2020.
If your business employs at least five employees and does not offer a retirement program, your business will be required to register for the CalSavers program, provide certain employee information to the program, designate a payroll service provider to facilitate employee participation in the program, and begin transmitting payroll contributions to a third-party administrator that will be established by the State of California.
Straggas Law Group is prepared to advise you on the steps you need to take to comply with this program.
Both the US and California require employers to post certain materials in areas where employees frequent, and in areas where job applicants are interviewed or apply for work. These postings inform employees and applicants of various rights and remedies afforded to them by law. Failure to properly post these required materials, and to update them regularly, can have serious consequences to the employer. With a simple visit to your workplace, Straggas Law Group can audit your company’s postings to ensure compliance.
California law imposes strict requirements upon employers which are designed to protect workers. However, even the most well-intentioned employer can face litigation or regulatory scrutiny if these strict requirements are not followed. The state has begun a program to systematically increase the minimum wage to $15.00 through annual increases which differ depending upon the number of employees employed by the employer. Straggas Law Group can conduct an audit of your company’s payroll to ensure compliance.
Overtime, meal breaks, and rest breaks:
California’s overtime, meal break and rest break standards are set forth in 17 different Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders. To ensure proper compliance with workplace practices, employers should determine the wage order that applies to their business. Proper recordkeeping is also a critical component for employer’s to avoid litigation for non-compliance.
Paystub and Payroll Records:
California law requires employers to provide paystubs to employees which provide nine specific categories of information. The employer’s failure to provide a compliant paystub can subject the employer to an action for damages, penalties and attorneys’ fees. With one phone call, Straggas Law Group can review a sample paystub and provide appropriate compliance advice.
Leaves of absence:
California employers must comply with a web of leave of absence laws, including the California Family Rights Act, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, the California New Parent Leave Act, the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Act, and the California Paid Family Leave Act. Understanding how these laws interact and apply can be a daunting task which warrants seeking appropriate counsel. Straggas Law Group provides both general and situational advice on these important matters.
Duty to maintain environment free from discrimination and harassment:
California employers cannot simply react when discrimination and harassment occur. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) requires employers to be proactive to establish an environment where discrimination and harassment are unlikely to occur. California has made aggressive changes to its requirements for Mandatory Harassment Training, which originally applied only to employers of 50 or more employees.