The information provided in this blog is intended for general information purposes only. Readers should seek the help of an HR professional for guidance on specific issues.

New Ruling Affects Overtime/Bonus Rules

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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.

Top 5 New California HR Laws for 2018

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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 solutions!

California’s minimum wage is increasing!

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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 solutions!

Ask HR: Implementing Dress Code.

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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 policy.

7/01/2017: New California Labor Regulation

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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.


Introductory and Intermediate level Bookkeeping

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Also offered by The Job Market, these classes are coming up and are geared to help individuals looking to transition into the field or those looking to enhance their existing bookkeeping knowledge. The Intro class runs from May 9thJune 27th and the Intermediate class from July 11thAugust 10th.

Both classes can be taken in conjunction or as stand alone, depending on your needs. For those looking to complement a background in office work, the introductory course might be all you need to give you a basic understanding of financial operations. However, if you have prior bookkeeping familiarity, taking the intermediate level class could enhance an existing skill set, making you more employable.

Full scholarships, for ages 16 and older, are offered for these training by the Employment Training Division (ETD) if desired. In addition, those qualifying for a scholarship from ETD have the opportunity for externships  – hands-on practice with what they’re learning in the classroom. These externships are offered in local agencies and businesses and complement classroom instruction.

For more information, just email or call Melissa Furbee at mfurbee@co.humboldt.ca.us or 707-445-6222.

“Better Staffing Now!” – Retention Workshop

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April 20th at the Job Market

The Job Market’s Business Services Team announces part 3 of their Better Staffing Now! workshop series: ”Retention”.

The Better Staffing Now! workshops are a series of FREE presentations that offer practical and easy-to-use information and tips on the best practices for recruiting, hiring, and retaining staff.  Focusing on performance and motivation, the workshops are designed to help employers find and keep top performers.  Take one, two, or all three workshops as suits your business needs.

The third workshop in the series, focusing on Retention, will be offered ThursdayApril 20th at 10am at the Job Market at 409 K St in Eureka.  This workshop offers tools to understanding your organization’s turnover, tips for turning your supervisors and managers into retention experts and techniques for more effective retention of your top performers.

Space will be limited, and reservations are required so reserve your spot today!

To reserve a seat in the workshop or to inquire about future workshops or other business services available through The Job Market, please e-mail Travis Moneypenny-Johnston at tmoneypenny-johnston@co.humboldt.ca.us or call 707-441-4626.