TPO's Employment Update

 

n Upcoming Training Calendar

n 2005 Legislation

n Age Discrimination

n HR Rumors

n HireRight Service

  

Training Calendar

HR-101 SERIES

- a training series focusing on the regulatory compliance and HR best practices - the information & skills supervisors & managers need to keep themselves and the organization out of hot water!

n  July-August

MANAGEMENT EXCELLENCE SERIES

- a training series focusing on practical leadership and communication skills to help managers develop or refine their effectiveness as leaders!

n  September

SPECIALIZED WORKSHOPS

n Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination -
June
14,
October 5 & December 8

n First Time Manager - August 17

n Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination
(in SPANISH)
-

September 29

n FMLA/CFRA/PDL - October 11

n Workers' Compensation - November 23

Flexibility: Employees
and Employers want it
...

...California law often prohibits it

As a manager, you try your best to meet your employees' desires for flexibility in the workplace. Perhaps you have:

n staggered start and end times in order to assist employees with long commutes, the need to pick-up/drop-off children or to miss traffic congestion;

n rearranged schedules when employees have personal appointments during the middle of a shift;

n allowed a split-shift for employees who request it; or even

n made arrangements for an employee to work from home either full- or part-time.

Good for you! Now, more than ever, employees value flexibility in the workplace.

When employees refer to "flexibility" in the workplace, they are often focused on how much control they have over scheduling their own time so that it best meets their personal needs - while also ensuring that the required work is accomplished. Employees in non-exempt positions may ask managers, "Can I work a four, 10-hour day schedule?" Management's response to this question will vary. Certainly, employers can't be flexible to the detriment of the operation and therefore, this type of request may be denied if the schedule would compromise client-relations, supervision requirements, productivity, morale, etc. But what about the manager who would have no problem approving such a request?

Unfortunately in California, allowing a 4, 10-hour day schedule can be somewhat challenging. California is one of only four states that requires daily overtime. Under federal law, such a schedule does not result in overtime so long as the employee works no more than 40 hours in a week. In California, overtime is required for all hours worked in excess of 8 in a day and/or 40 in a week. To approve a 4, 10-hour request, the employer has two options:

1. Pay overtime for 2 hours a day, or

2. Offer an alternative workweek for the entire work unit

Option 1 is costly and option 2 has specific requirements to make the Labor Commissioner happy: the employer's proposed alternative schedule must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the affected employees in the work unit via a secret ballot election; the employer must disclose in writing and hold a meeting regarding effects of the alternative workweek on the employees' wages, hours and benefits; and, the employer must inform the state of any adopted alternative workweek.

If it seems to you that California law doesn't seem to be in congruence with what employers and employees want, you aren't alone. AB 640 is currently working its way through the legislature and if passed, would allow individual employees to request, and the employer to mutually agree, to a four-day workweek consisting of up to 10 hours per day within a 40-hour workweek without incurring overtime. Make your voice heard and let the legislature know you support a voluntary four, 10-hour work day!

n More on AB 640.

n Other pending legislation.

AB 640: Would allow individual employees to request and the employer to mutually agree to a four-day workweek, consisting of up to 10 hours per day within a 40-hour workweek without incurring overtime.

AB 48: Increases the cost of doing business by raising the state minimum wage to $7.25 in 2006 and to $7.75 in 2007, and indexing increases every year thereafter, which would give California the highest minimum wage in the nation. Employer costs would rise by at least $2.08 billion annually, raising costs to consumers and driving employers to other states.

SB 300: This bill would increase the circumstances under which an employee is entitled to protected leave pursuant to the Family Rights Act by (1) eliminating the age and dependency elements from the definition of "child," thereby permitting an employee to take protected leave to care for his or her independent adult child suffering from a serious health condition, (2) expanding the definition of "parent" to include an employee's parent-in-law and (3) permitting an employee to take leave to care for a seriously ill grandparent, sibling, or domestic partner, as defined.

There has been a lot of press about recent "changes" in age discrimination. Careful, this is another example where it is important to know the differences in state and federal laws, regulations, rulings, etc. While this is a new Federal ruling, California has had such provisions for years.

On the federal level, there is a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination in a manner comparable to federal prohibitions against sex and race discrimination. Specifically that, in addition to disparate treatment claims, ADEA claims of disparate impact will be allowed just as they are in sex and race discrimination claims.

n Disparate treatment: the claimant shows that he or she was treated differently from others based upon a protected class. (Example: an employer refuses to hire an employee over the age of 40)

n Disparate impact: the claimant shows that an employer's apparently neutral policy has a disproportionate adverse effect on a protected class of employees. (Example: laying off individuals with the highest salary, which disproportionately affects those that are over 40)

Because older workers (40 years and older) may pursue an ADEA claim if they are disproportionately harmed by a policy that their employer applies to its entire workforce, even if the resulting adverse impact on workers over age 40 was unintentional, employers are cautioned to review their policies and practices for possible discriminatory impact on older workers.

HR Rumors: Get Your Facts Straight from the Experts!

Rumor

I heard a rumor that there are are new requirements for filling out the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9). Where can I find the new form?

Fact

Even though the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not updated the I-9 form, the list of acceptable documents on "List A" of the I-9 form has been revised. The following documents have been removed from the list of acceptable identity and work authorization documents:

n Permanent Resident Card (I-151 - withdrawn from circulation). However, Form I-551 remains acceptable.

n Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (N-560 or N-561)

n Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or N-570)

n Unexpired Reentry Permit (I-327)

n Unexpired Refugee Travel Document (I-571)

Form I-766 (Employment Authorization Document), although not listed on the I-9, is an acceptable List A document.

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Employer: TPO Human Resource Management - Monterey

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Employer: Insurance Services Company - Soquel

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The information provided is designed to be accurate in content. TPO provides human resource consulting and is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. Readers are advised to consult legal counsel on matters involving employment law or important personnel policies & practices before adoption or implementation.