n  HR Reminders

n  Congratulations Kelsey!

n  Training Calendar

n  2008 Posters

n  Legislative Update

n  TPO Alliance

n  New Members

n  Member Spotlight

n  HR Rumors

 

 

Training Calendar

CA Employment Essentials (HR101)

- 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 February- March '08

n May '08

Management Excellence Series

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

n March - April '08

n June '08

Specialized Workshops

n Prevention of Harassment Dec 18

n I-9 Clinic January 9

n I'd Rather Not Discuss It Feb. 13

n FMLA/CFRA/PDL Compliance March 12

 

ORDER YOUR  LABOR LAW POSTERS!

Order your laminated labor law poster that includes ALL REQUIRED State and Federal Labor Laws & Regulations.

Posters are available for all states in English and Spanish.

An "all-in-one" solution at the low price of $35.00.

Click here to order your updated posters!

 

All of us at TPO wish to extend a heart-felt thank you for choosing TPO as your HR partners, and for the many wonderful relationships that have evolved over the past sixteen years.

We wish you health and prosperity in 2008, and look forward to the opportunity to support your HR goals and objectives next year and in years to come!

‘Tis the season to remind all of our clients that though the Holidays are a perfect time to let employees know how much you appreciate their hard work by having company parties and celebrations, it is also a time when alcohol consumption, and thus potential employer-liability, is an unfortunate reality. You may have read articles where employers have been held liable for their employees consuming alcoholic beverages at company events, driving an auto, and then hurting or killing innocent victims.

Therefore, if you are in the process of planning this year's celebration for your employees, please consider the following points as part of that planning. Whether an official company-sponsored event or an unofficial couple of glasses of wine at the end of the day, certain measures should be taken to help minimize any related liability and most importantly, the safety of your employees and the public.

If your company often has informal or formal social events that include alcohol consumption “off-the-job,” it might be wise to include an appropriate policy regarding this in your employee handbook.

Because of the potential liabilities, many companies are choosing to coordinate family-oriented, non-alcohol celebrations for their employees. If you decide to serve alcohol, always make a good faith effort to limit intake, and consider these suggestions (some of which are based on actual court cases) to reduce risks of liability:

• Move the party off-premises to a club or restaurant, and hold it during non-working hours.

• Avoid conducting company business at the party. (Note: Even handing out turkeys or company bonus checks or presenting speeches by top management could be interpreted as company business).

• Do not require attendance; make it voluntary.

• Involve employees in the planning.

• Be sure to plan activities to keep your guests active - if your guests stay active with some form of entertainment, they probably will have a better time and be less likely to drink too much.

• If you plan on serving alcohol, budget to hire a professional bartender who will stay sober, serve only measured amounts, and is trained to cut off individuals who over imbibe; be specific with the bartender as to how long the bar is to stay open.

• Avoid providing liquor purchased with company funds; do provide alternative, non-alcoholic beer, wine, and soft drinks.

• Consider limiting alcoholic beverages to beer and wine, and discontinue all but nonalcoholic drinks approximately an hour or two before the party is scheduled to end.

• Have employees purchase their own alcohol, ideally by purchasing controllable drink tickets.

• Serve meals or snacks; high-protein foods, especially, which help retard alcohol absorption. Avoid salty snacks; they promote thirst, and people may drink more alcohol to quench that thirst.

• Arrange for some non-drinking employees, taxis, or limousine drivers to take home those who may be unfit to drive themselves.

We hope your holiday season is full of fun and festivities, and that these suggestions will help ensure that 2008 is a safe and prosperous New Year!

Article written by: LaTonya Olivier, sphr, m.ed. ccp

TPO’s Kelsey Escoto, MSOD, earns her SPHR

(Senior Professional in Human Resources) Certification!

TPO Consultant Kelsey Escoto, MSOD, recently earned the designation of SPHR. The certification, awarded by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI), signifies that Kelsey possesses the theoretical knowledge and practical experience that is necessary to pass a rigorous examination on the human resources body of knowledge in the field of HR. The exam covers such workplace issues as strategic management, workforce planning, human resource development, employee and labor relations and risk management.

With Kelsey’s certification, 100% of TPO’s team of consultants are now nationally certified PHR, SPHR or SPHR-CA!

For a full recap of 2008 Employment Laws, don't miss the TPO/Littler 2008 Employment Law & Leadership Conference on January 30 at Embassy Suites Monterey Bay.


CALIFORNIA:

Military Spouse Leave (AB 392) - As an emergency measure, this bill took effect immediately upon signing on October 9, 2007 and applies to employers with 25 or more employees. Eligible employees may be granted up to 10 unpaid days off to spend time with a spouse who is on leave from military deployment. Employees must provide employers written documentation certifying the spouse will be on leave from deployment within two business days' notice of receiving official notice. Eligible employees are a spouse of a member of the Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves who has been deployed during a period of military conflict and who works for more than 20 hours per week.

Social Security Numbers (AB 3082) – Effective January 1, 2008, requirements for the privacy of social security numbers increases. For practical purposes this means that employers must limit the use of a social security number on paychecks to the last four digits. Also, it is recommended that “employee numbers” are unrelated to the social security number. The law now prohibits:

Public posting or displaying of an individual's Social Security number.

• Printing an individual's Social Security number on any card required for the individual to access products or services provided by the person or entity. 

• Requiring an individual to transmit his/her Social Security number on the Internet unless the connection is secure or the Social Security number is encrypted. 

• Requiring an individual to use his/her Social Security number to access a Web site, unless a password, unique identification device, or unique personal identification number also is required to access the site. This may require a change in systems used to access or transmit personal, business, human resources or payroll information on the Internet. 

• Printing an individual's Social Security number on any materials that are mailed to the individual, unless state or federal law requires the Social Security number to be on the document mailed.

This law does not prevent the collection, use, or release of a Social Security number as required by state or federal law or the use of a Social Security number for internal verification or administrative purposes.

Cell Phones While Driving (SB 1613) – Effective July 1, 2008, all CA drivers must use a hands-free device while driving and using a cell phone, or face fines of up to $50 per violation. Employers should consider implementing a policy outlining the requirement and reiterating that business calls cannot be made/received while driving, and should rather, be made by pulling off the road onto a safe location.

Computer Professional Hourly Rate Lowered (SB 929) – Computer software professionals can qualify for overtime exemption if they meet certain duties requirements and are paid a specified hourly rate, set annually based on inflation rates by the state Department of Industrial Relations. On Jan. 1, 2008 the minimum hourly rate for exempt computer software professionals will be lowered from the 1/1/07 rate of $49.77 per hour to $36.00. Annualized based on an employee who works 2080 hours per year, the annual amount is $74,880. This is the first decrease in the hourly amount and was purportedly made to make CA more competitive in the labor market.


2008 HR Compliance Requirement Reminders

1. Minimum Wage

  Federal Minimum Wage – The Federal Minimum wage increased to $5.85 on 7/24/07 and will increase again on 7/24/08 to $6.55 and then finally again on 7/24/09 to $7.25. A new Federal posting was made available for the July 2007 change and can be downloaded by clicking here (the next topic in this article will address employment postings).

  CA Minimum Wage – CA minimum wage increased to $7.50 on 1/1/07 and will increase again on 1/1/08 to $8.00. Check to make sure that your employment postings list the CA increases for 2007 and 2008 (the next topic in this article will address employment postings).

2. Employment Posters – Many employers purchase “all-in-one” employment posters for their workplace to comply with the many state and federal posting requirements from various agencies. If you purchased 2007 posters from TPO and also posted the new Federal Minimum Wage posting described above, you do not need to purchase a 2008 all-in-one poster set. However, if you like your postings to look neat and tidy (as opposed to the new federal minimum wage posting affixed over the old posting), or if you did not purchase 2007 posters from TPO, then you can order 2008 posters from TPO by clicking here.

3.   NEW I-9 form, effective 12/26/07 – A new Form I-9 becomes effective on December 26, 2007 and must be used for all new hires or re-verifications. The use of any previous version of Form I-9 will no longer be valid after 12/26/07 and employers do not need to complete new forms for existing employees for whom an I-9 has been properly completed. The new Form I-9 changes include: 1) the Social Security Number no longer must be used in Section 1 of Form I-9, unless the employer participates in E-Verify and 2) the list of acceptable documents is updated on Section 3 of the form. TPO is offering an I-9 clinic on 1/9/08 on managing the I-9 process. Click here to register.

4.  Social Security “Mis-Match” Letters and DHS’s “Safe Harbor” Rule – After much debate about the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “Safe Harbor” rule which would have required the Social Security Administration to inform employers that they could face civil and criminal penalties if they failed to follow DHS’s safe harbor procedures upon receipt of a No Match letter was “stayed” on November 23, 2007 until March 24, 2008. This means that the safe harbor rule is not in effect, though the DHS has indicated that it plans to reintroduce guidelines on this topic. Stay tuned as this important topic continues to be battled in court and in employment.

5.  2008 IRS Mileage Rate – Beginning Jan. 1, 2008, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (including vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be 50.5 cents per mile for business miles driven. The new rate for business miles compares to a rate of 48.5 cents per mile for 2007. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile.

6.  OSHA FORM 300A – Mark your calendars so you don’t forget this completed form must be posted between February 1 and April 30 of each year. This posting requirement is designed to alert workers to hazards that may exist in their workplace and TPO will send out an “eCompliance” to all members in January reminding them of this obligation.

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, sphr-ca

TPO is pleased to announce our new alliance with Pinnacle Business Services. TPO highly recommends this state-of-the-art payroll and HRIS services to our Members and clients. Pinnacle has been providing these services to local and statewide employers since 1990. Since then the company has grown to serve companies with business in over 20 states nationwide with services including payroll and human resources software solutions, a variety of time and attendance system and a range of employee benefit programs. We invite you to view their website at www.pinpay.com or contact owner John McEwan directly at (831) 372-7000 or info@pinpay.com

n True Organic Products

n The Forge in the Forest

n Golden State Bulb Growers

 

We look forward to the opportunity to provide each of you with unlimited phone/email access, reduced consulting and training rates, eCompliance notices, attendance to our Annual Employment Law & Leadership Conference at no additional cost, and priority status when you require TPO support from any of our highly qualified team of HR experts! Thank you for joining!

TPO: "As a member of TPO, how do you feel TPO contributes to the City’s success?"

Anthony Altfeld, City Manager:  "The TPO team has offered the City of Marina a myriad of coaching, training and specialized services that have positively affected every department and has served to enhance our already strong Human Resources Department.

As a public agency, we provide services to our community through staff, volunteers serving on councils, boards and commissions and contracted services. Understanding the intricacies of employment and labor law, in addition to offering appropriate training sessions to the various groups has been something that TPO's team has offered with professionalism and accuracy.

Our experiences with TPO have included their management and guidance of executive searches, compensation and salary studies and educational opportunities for all employee levels. Most recently we've had staff attend the first time supervisor courses and the Management Excellence Series. The feedback from our employees and their ability to implement key concepts and ideas learned to facilitate greater productivity and professionalism within our organization has been immediate.

In addition to a strong educational calendar offered on an ongoing basis, the TPO team has provided quality specialized training services to volunteers and staff for better education of our stakeholders, in addition to satisfying state mandated requirements.

Due to TPO's broad range of knowledge and capabilities, we have had the unique opportunity to incorporate executive coaching for key employees. This service allows us to offer additional learning opportunities in specific areas to already strong managers, making them more knowledgeable and well-rounded.

It is with the assistance of TPO that we've been able to focus on what we do best and have every confidence that we have access to quality education, accurate information and the latest in mandates, trends and decisions that effect our employment practices."

ABOUT THE CITY OF MARINA

The City of Marina is one of California’s fastest growing, dynamic communities in California. Marina’s City Manager, Anthony Altfeld, was recently interviewed for his thoughts about the future of Marina. Citing projected planned growth and projects in the City, including vitalization of the downtown and newer former Fort Ord areas, Altfeld noted the importance of incorporating enthusiasm, responsibility, and thoughtful planning as keys to successful and effective government efforts in helping to shape the community’s future.

Vision Statement: “Marina desires to grow and mature, along with its image, from a small town, primarily bedroom community, to become a small city which is diversified, vibrant and mostly self sufficient".

Visit Marina’s website at www.ci.marina.ca.us. Learn more about the exciting and diverse projects and accomplishments underway by reading the City of Marina at Monterey Bay NEWS at http://www.ci.marina.ca.us/documents/Newsletter07.pdf.

HR Rumors: Get Your Facts Straight from the Experts!

We only have office staff and a few outside sales people. Is it necessary for us to have an Illness & Injury Prevention Plan (IIPP)?

FactIn California, every employer has a legal obligation to provide and maintain a safe and healthful workplace for employees (Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973). As of 1991, a written, effective Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP) is required for every California employer.

California recognizes that accidents cost money – both direct and indirect costs – and has calculated that for every dollar spent on direct cost of a worker’s injury or illness, much more will be spent on indirect and hidden costs. Examples of indirect and hidden costs are lost production time, clean up, time to hire or retrain other employees, time and cost to repair or replace damaged equipment/materials, reduced morale among employees, lower productivity and increased worker’s compensation insurance rates.

A well implemented IIPP for your workplace can:

• Make sure you carry out regular safety inspections
• Have an effective safety training program
• Record and report all workplace injuries according to the size and nature of your organization.

Your plan must specify:

Management's approval, commitment to the plan and the person(s) responsible for implementing it;
• A company safety policy statement;
• A system to identify workplace hazards;
• A plan for periodic scheduled inspections;
• A plan for investigating injuries;
• A plan for safety training;
• A process for communicating with employees about safety; and
• A process for record keeping and posting requirements.

What happens if someone is injured on the job? When a workplace injury occurs, there are a number of important duties for the employer to perform, the first being to provide necessary emergency first aid and medical care. Other key responsibilities include providing information to the employee, your insurance company, and, in some cases, to California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA).


Finally, it’s very important that employers investigate the incident and take corrective action, if appropriate. For more information on creating an Injury & Illness Prevention Plan, please contact TPO. We can work with your organization to define potential risk areas and develop a compliant Injury & Illness Prevention Plan.

Article written by: Kelsey Escoto, msod, sphr

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TPO's Employment Upd@te may be reproduced or re-transmitted without change or modification of any kind. 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.