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Posts by Sequoia Personnel Services

California Laws for Final Paychecks 

in News and Features

  Is it a voluntary or involuntary separation?  California labor laws are very precise when it comes to an employee’s final check. According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, there are two essential criteria that determine how, when and where employees receive their final paycheck. The employer must categorize the employee’s termination as either voluntary or involuntary. Once that has been determined, the following will rules apply:   INVOLUNTARY TERMINATIONS AND LAYOFFS  Paycheck is due immediately: Terminated or laid off employees must be paid all of their earned, unpaid wages, including accrued vacation, immediately at the time of their termination.   Paycheck pickup location: The place of the final wage payment for employees who are terminated or laid off is designated as the site of termination.     VOLUNTARY SEPARATION OR EMPLOYEE RESIGNATIONS   Paycheck is due immediately:   Employee does NOT have a written employment contract for a specified time period.  If the employee gives a 72-hour notice of their intended last day and quits on day specified.   Employee must be paid all of their earned wages and unpaid wages, including accrued vacation, at the time of quitting.    Paycheck is due within 72 hours of quitting:  If employee quits without giving a notice of at least 72 hours.  Employee must be paid all of their earned wages, including accrued vacation.   Employee does NOT have a written employment contract for a specified time period.  The employee may request that their final payment be mailed to a designated address.   The date of mailing is considered the date of payment.     Paycheck pickup location:   Employees who quit without giving a 72-hour notice, and who do not request that their final wages be mailed to them at a designated address can pick up their final paycheck at the office of the employer within the county in which the work was performed.     DIRECT DEPOSITS  Direct deposits that were previously authorized by the employee are immediately terminated when an employee quits or is discharged.  Payment of wages upon termination of employment as described above applies unless the employee has voluntarily authorized the direct deposit and provided that the employer complies with the provisions of Labor Code Section 213(d) relating to the payment of wages upon termination...

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Employees Who Refuse to Return to the Workplace

in News and Features

Consider granting a “Leave of Absence” for workers too scared to come back to the office  The threat of contracting COVID–19 is a serious fear for many employees and must not be underestimated nor belittled. Many employees are reluctant to return to work or return to the worksite. What are the legal alternatives to helping those employees, while maintaining the viability of your business?    Can A Refusal to Return to Work Be Grounds for Termination?  Determining a legally defensible excuse for refusing to work can be complicated. Employers need to review all reasons the employee might refuse to return to work before considering termination of employment:  Does the employee have valid concerns that your company is not taking necessary safety precautions to prevent the virus’s spread in the workplace?  Does the employee have an underlying medical condition that would prevent them from returning to the workplace?  Does the employee live with someone who is at high risk for contracting COVID-19?   In any of the circumstances above, employers must be cautioned against terminating an employee, as it could give rise to discrimination or retaliation claims under the accommodation obligations as stipulated in the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] and similar state labor laws. While the ADA rule does not require reasonable accommodations for employees who refuse to return to work because they live with someone who is at high-risk for COVID-19—in many of these cases, employers have been accommodating their staff when dealing with this situation.    CDC Guidelines for COVID-19 Underlying Health Condition Threats  Employees who have health conditions that put them at high-risk for contracting COVID-19 are considered to have a legitimate disability and must be granted a leave of absence or offered the option of telecommuting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], the following health conditions have been documented to increase the mortality rate of those who contract COVID-19:    Any disease or condition that causes an immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)   Cancer  Chronic kidney disease COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)   Down Syndrome  Heart conditions, such as heart failure, Coronary Artery disease or Cardiomyopathies Obesity   Pregnancy   Sickle Cell Disease  Smoking  Type-2 diabetes mellitus    Utilizing a “Leave of Absence“ Strategy vs. Working Remotely ...

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Handling Political & Covid-19 Workplace Discussions 

in News and Features

 Tips on keeping employees’ conversations on controversial topics civil  As employees return to the workplace, there may be heated discussions among co-workers concerning the upcoming elections, current events, or the pandemic. Due to this, arguments and outright hostilities may erupt. If tempers flare during these heated discussions, supervisors will need to know how to handle the situation. To reduce the potential for heated discussions, it is essential to have a policy in place regarding political discussions that includes consequences for violations.    Communicate with all staff any mandatory safety policies that apply to your worksite  Establish specific return to work policies and communicate clearly to all staff your new company policies and requirements for mask-wearing, social distancing, client and co-worker contact and any new cleaning/disinfecting procedures. Through communicating and clarifying company policies upfront, antagonistic discussions can be reduced.  Remind staff that many of these workplace safety requirements are state and federally mandated. Compliance is required to remain in business.    Declare your worksite as a Safe Zone  As workplaces reopen, expect some divergent views from employees about whether they feel safe and comfortable returning to work. Remind staff that co-workers may be health-compromised, or may have a family member who is of high-risk, so they will have legitimate concerns about co-workers’ social distancing and mask-wearing practices. “Virus shaming” will not be tolerated. Due to health confidentiality laws, management and employees themselves are NOT required to share their personal health information.    Set a policy for which employees can Agree to Disagree  Remind staff of company policies, including local, state, and federal laws regarding employees’ rights to disagree and have differing opinions, but specify that the company will not tolerate arguing, intimidation, bullying, or other tactics that would be considered harassment.  If employees insist on discussing politics, set ground rules such as no name-calling and mention that discussions should occur during break time and not during a staff meeting.  Also, remind employees that if they become agitated it is best to end the conversation.     Communicate to your staff that you recognize and respect the diversity of opinions and beliefs  Political discussions may be difficult to avoid in a semi-social work setting, such as a team lunch or after-hours socializing...

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Benefits for California Workers Impacted by COVID-19

in News and Features

Benefits for California Workers Impacted by COVID-19 https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/ Program Why What Benefits More Information How to File Disability Insurance If you’re unable to work due to medical quarantine or illness related to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) Short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income); ranges from $50-$1,300 a week for up to 52 weeks. Learn more about your eligibility for Disability Insurance File a Disability Insurance claim Paid Family Leave If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) Up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member. Approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income); ranges from $50-$1,300 a week for up to 6 weeks. Learn more about your eligibility for Paid Family Leave File a Paid Family Leave claim Unemployment Insurance If you have lost your job or have had your hours reduced for reasons related to COVID-19 Partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own. Range from $40-$450 per week for up to 26 weeks. Learn more about your eligibility for Unemployment Insurance File an Unemployment Insurance claim Paid Sick Leave If you or a family member are sick or for preventative care when civil authorities recommend quarantine The leave you have accumulated or your employer has provided to you under the Paid Sick Leave law. Paid to you at your regular rate of pay or an average based on the past 90 days. Learn more about your eligibility for Paid Sick Leave If accrued sick leave is denied, file a Wage claim Workers’ Compensation If you are unable to do your usual job because you were exposed to and contracted COVID-19 during the regular course of your work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Benefits include temporary disability (TD) payments, which begin when your doctor says...

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2020 California Labor Law Update Labor Laws that Impact Employers

in News and Features

Sequoia Personnel is ready to offer HR guidance in navigating these legal changes. Please reach out to us for more information. When you employ through Cardinal, you work with a firm who is prepared to help keep you compliant. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several bills at the end of the legislative calendar that directly impact California employers. Here’s a reference list:     AB 5: New Rules for Independent Contractors This new law would transform a large proportion of independent contract workers (1099) into employees (W-2) — such as delivery and transportation drivers—based on new criteria for classification. The new criteria contractors are directed by employers on what to do and how many hours to work; are in the same line of business as the company; and are not independently established—then these contractors will be reclassified as employees. The law also states some workers as exempt from the law, including insurance brokers, doctors, dentists, lawyers, architects, engineers, accountants, and real estate agents.    AB 9: Extends the Deadline to File Workplace Complaints Extends the time (from one year to three years) in which employees are allowed to file complaints with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing for discrimination or harassment based on race, sex, age, disability, medical conditions, sexual orientation, and other protected characteristics. Claims which have already expired under current law are not restored under AB 9.   AB 51: Bans Most Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Designed to ban forced arbitration agreements among California workers. These agreements often require employees to waive the right to take legal action against their employers for sexual harassment, discrimination, and wage theft, instead resolving complaints through private arbitration. Under the new law, employers are prohibited from revoking a job offer or otherwise retaliating against an employee who decides against signing an arbitration agreement. Even with the governor’s signature, however, AB 51 is likely to face years of litigation and may be significantly tempered.   AB 403 Division of Labor Standards Enforcement for Complaints Extends the statute of limitations for complaints alleging workplace retaliation from six months to two years, and would authorize attorney fees to any employee who successfully sues for retaliation based on whistleblowing.   AB 547 Janitorial Workers: Sexual Violence...

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