California Bill Would Significantly Change the Definition of an Employee

California businesses who rely on “gig workers” to perform the work for the company may soon need to restructure their business model based on a new bill that has been passed by Congress in California and is expected to be signed soon by Governor Gavin Newsom. This new bill would require that companies using these “gig workers” (the two biggest companies being Uber and Lyft) reclassify their workers to be considered employees rather than continue to be classified as independent contractors.  

It’s important to note that this would only apply to California workers. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled earlier this year that Uber drivers (and similar workers) were independent contractors because they used their own equipment, set their own schedules, could work for competitors, and were responsible for their own profit and/or loss. Continue reading

California Sexual Harassment Training Requirements Expanded

With the passing of Senate Bill 1343, training requirements have changed for California businesses. California employers with 5 or more employees are now required to provide sexual harassment training to both supervisory employees as well as nonsupervisory employees. By January 1, 2020, supervisory employees must receive 2 hours of sexual harassment training and nonsupervisory employees must receive 1 hour of training. Going forward, this training must occur every two years. For all new employees, training must occur within six months of hire. For all new temporary or seasonal employees, training must occur within 30 calendar days or 100 hours worked, whichever comes first. Continue reading

California: New Employment Laws in 2018

Beginning on January 1, 2018 there are a number of new employment laws going into effect in California that employers should be aware of.  Read below for details regarding five of these new laws.  Continue reading

Clarification on the “Day of Rest” Requirement for California Employers

Employees in California must receive at least one day off per week (“day of rest”) under California labor law.  This is not a new requirement, however the California Supreme Court recently clarified how the “day of rest” rule applies.

The court stated that employers must allow a day of rest in each workweek. The workweek is defined by each employer, generally in the Employee Handbook. The rule doesn’t indicate that the employee receives at least one day off in any seven day period. So, for example, if an employer has a workweek defined as Sunday through Saturday, an employee could have Tuesday off one week and then Friday off the following week. This means the employee would be working nine days in a row, but the employer is still in compliance with the day of rest requirement because the employee is getting one day off in each workweek.  Continue reading

CA Employers: New Requirements When Using Criminal History in Employment Decisions

Employers in California who use criminal background checks to make business decisions (such as hiring, promoting or terminating) will soon be faced with additional rules. Effective July 1, 2017, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (FEHC) will impose new restrictions as described below.

While California employers will still be permitted to consider criminal information when making employment related decisions, they should be sure that a business-related need exists to use this information.  Continue reading

California Adopts Strongest Standard for Workplace Violence Prevention for Healthcare Employees

Studies show that health care workers are at a significantly higher risk of workplace violence than the average worker in other industries.   The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), reports from 2002-2013, the rate of serious workplace violence incidents (who require days off for an injured worker to recuperate) was more than four times greater in the health care industry than in the private industry on average.

In October of 2016, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Standards Board) unanimously accepted a new General Industry Order entitled “Workplace Prevention in Health Care”.  The Office of Administrative Law approved the standard in December of 2016, and is codified at Section 3342 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations.   The rule is far more extensive than the Federal OSHA’s guidelines for the prevention of workplace violence in health care settings.

Beginning April 1, 2017 all employers in California operating in the following health care areas will be required to comply with Section 3342, the “Workplace Prevention in Health Care” rule:

  • Health Care facilities
  • Home Health Care Programs
  • Drug Treatment Programs
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Outpatient Medical Services to Correctional and Detention Settings

Continue reading

2017 Minimum Wage Changes

Many states will be increasing their minimum wage in 2017.  Check the list below to make sure you are in compliance in all states which you have employees.  Most of these changes are effective January 1, 2017 unless otherwise indicated.

  • Alaska: $9.80
  • Arizona: $10.00
  • Arkansas: $8.50
  • California: $10.50 (employers with 25 or less employees will remain at $10)
  • Colorado: $9.30
  • Connecticut: $10.10
  • District of Columbia: $12.50 (effective July 1, 2017) ($3.33 for tipped employees)
  • Florida: $8.10 ($5.08 for tipped employees)
  • Hawaii: $9.25
  • Maine: $9.00 (effective January 7, 2017)
  • Maryland: $9.25 (effective July 1, 2017)
  • Massachusetts: $11.00 ($3.75 for tipped employees)
  • Michigan: $8.90 ($3.38 for tipped employees)
  • Missouri: $7.70 ($3.85 for tipped employees)
  • Montana: $8.15
  • New Jersey: $8.44
  • New York: $9.70 (effective December 31, 2016) ($11.00 for employers in NYC with 11 or more employees; $10.50 for employees in NYC with 10 or fewer employees; $10.00 for Long Island and Westchester, $10.75 for fast food employees outside of NYC; $12.00 for fast food employees in NYC)
  • Ohio: $8.15
  • Oregon: $10.25 (effective July 1, 2017)
  • Rhode Island: $3.89 for tipped employees (non-tipped employees have no change, remains at $9.60)
  • South Dakota: $8.65 ($4.325 for tipped employees)
  • Vermont: $10.00
  • Washington: $11.00

Note: There may be local wage requirements that are higher than the state minimum wage which would apply to your business.