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Posts by michael

New Ruling Affects Overtime/Bonus Rules

in News and Features

Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court today issued a ruling that affects employers who pay employees a flat rate bonus and overtime. The court ruled that when calculating overtime in pay periods in which an employee earns a flat rate bonus, employers must divide the total compensation earned in a pay period by only the non-overtime hours worked by an employee.   All California employers who pay such bonuses should review their policies and pay practices to ensure compliance with this decision (Alvarado v. Dart Container Corporation of California). For assistance in figuring this out, call Sequoia Personnel Services at (707) 445-9641.   Beginning with the most basic premise, employees who perform work in excess of defined statutory limits are entitled to overtime pay under both federal and California law. Generally, both statutory schemes provide for pay at a rate of 1.5 times the “regular rate” earned by the employee.   The regular rate calculation at issue in the Alvarado case involves how to compute the regular rate under California law when an employee is paid a flat sum bonus during a single pay period.   Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the regular rate includes all compensation, earnings, or “remuneration” for work performed, with specific payments excluded—such as reimbursed expenses, reporting-time premiums, vacation or holiday pay, or discretionary bonuses. Each of these exceptions have their own specific requirements and employers should consult with a labor and employment attorney for any questions on these exceptions. If an employee earns only an hourly wage, the regular rate likely would be the hourly wage.   However, if there are additional payments, the regular rate is calculated by dividing all earnings (excluding those payments mentioned above) by the total number of hours actually worked. This provides a fairly simple equation: all weekly earnings / all hours worked = regular Rate. Once calculated, employees are then generally entitled to compensation at 1.5 times all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. Oftentimes, employers will calculate overtime by first paying the regular hourly wage for all hours worked, including overtime, and then paying an overtime premium at one-half the regular rate for all overtime hours worked.   California generally follows the federal rules with...

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Top 5 New California HR Laws for 2018

in News and Features

The new year is when the largest number of new state personnel regulations take effect. This year, there are many new regulations. The most widely applicable, as we see it, are these three:   1. “Ban the Box” (AB 1008) What it does: Employers with 5 or more employees cannot inquire about criminal history before an offer of conditional employment is made. They can run criminal background checks after the offer and prior to first day of employment. However, deciding not to hire based on a criminal conviction needs to be directly job-related, and communicated in writing with the applicant given a chance to respond.   2. Parental Leave (SB 63)   What it does, in brief: Employers with 20 to 49 employees must provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave to bond with a new child. This includes children by birth, adoption or foster care. You can think of this as extending CFRA (the California Family Rights Act) to employers with as few as 20 employees.   3. Salary History (AB 168) What it does, in brief: Employers can’t ask about salary history. If an applicant volunteers salary information, the employer may take that into consideration when deciding whether to hire the person and how much to pay them. It remains o.k. to ask what salary they seek.   4. Immigration Protections (AB 450) What it does, in brief: Employers cannot provide access to employee records without a subpoena or warrant. This also goes for allowing federal immigration agents access to areas of a business that are not public. There are also procedures specified when it comes to notifying employees of federal inspections of employment records, such as I-9 forms.   5. Minimum Wage Just a reminder that as of 1/1/18, the minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees increases to $10.50 per hour, while the minimum wage for employers with over 25 employees increases to $11.00 per hour.   Confused? Want to get out of the labor regulation business and back to your real work? Call Sequoia…we have...

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California’s minimum wage is increasing!

in News and Features

Effective January 1, 2018, the overtime rate for minimum wage employees is: Employers with 26 or more employees: $11.00 per hour Employers with 25 or fewer employees: $10.50 per hour   The minimum wage rate change also affects the classification of employees as exempt versus nonexempt. For an employee to qualify under the commonly used administrative, executive or professional exemptions from overtime, the employee must meet the salary-basis test (which means the employee’s salary must be no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment) in addition to meeting all other legal requirements for the exemption. That minimum salary rate is $45,760 annually, effective January 1, 2018, for employers with 26 or more employees. For employers with 25 or fewer employees, the minimum salary threshold for the administrative, executive and professional exemptions is $43,680 for 2018. Confused? Want to get out of the labor regulation business and back to your real work? Call Sequoia … we have...

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Ask HR: Implementing Dress Code.

in News and Features

Dear HR: Summer is here – I’m wondering about implementing a company dress code. Some of my female employees show up in flip flops, tops with spaghetti straps and low cut shirts. A few male employees come in wearing casual shorts and sandals with socks. (Yes, sandals with socks!) May I require my employees to present/dress themselves in a professional manner, since we all interact with the public?   HR Answer: As an employer, you may determine your organization’s dress code. Just make sure that you apply it in a non-discriminatory manner; and there is a bona-fide business reason—such as conducting business in the public eye; or you need a dress code for safety concerns. Keep in mind; you may need to make an exception when reasonable, to accommodate an individual’s sincerely held religious belief or medical issue (shorts when leg is in a cast). You are correct in being concerned: the impression your employee’s give your customers is the lasting impression your customers have of your organization! Let us know if you need assistance establishing and enforcing your new dress code...

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7/01/2017: New California Labor Regulation

in News and Features

New California Labor Regulation July 1st often represents a busy date for new labor/human resource regulations in California. This year, however, there appears to be only one which is widely applicable. Law # AB2337 – Notification for Abuse/violence/Sexual Assault Victims On July 1 the law requires employers who have 25+ employees to provide notice in writing on the rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking to take protected time off for medical treatment and/or legal proceedings. The California Department of Labor has until July 1 to develop a form that is required to be distributed to new hires and upon request by any employee.   As of this writing, the form is not yet posted on the DOL’s website. Best practice will be to hand this new form out to all employees once that form exists, and then to new hires and as requested after that.   REGULATION CHANGES for Nail salons, Private Schools There are also new California labor/human resource regulations specific to nail salons and private schools. If your organization is one of these, feel free to contact Michael Kraft at...

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