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 seventeen years.
We wish you health and prosperity in 2009, and look forward
to the opportunity to support your HR goals and objectives
next year and in years to come!
CA Employment Essentials (HR101)
A training series focusing
on the regulatory compliance and
- the information & skills supervisors & managers
keep themselves and the organization out of hot water!
A training series focusing on
communication skills to help
develop or refine
effectiveness as leaders!
March - April '09
May - Junel '09
Excelling as a First Time Manager
Delivering World-Class Customer
Harassment and Discrimination at Work
Effective Meeting Management
TPO and Littler will guide you through an informative day,
balancing both Legal and Leadership Best Practices to
prepare you for 2009!
2009 Employment Law & Leadership Conference
PREMIER CONFERENCE FOR BUSINESS OWNERS, MANAGERS, HR, RISK
MANAGEMENT AND LEGAL COUNSEL IN PUBLIC, PRIVATE AND
w LITTLER’S ANNUAL UPDATE
w EXPERT PANEL
w ONE-ON-ONE LEGAL CLINICS
TIMELY AFTERNOON SESSIONS!
The Obama Administration
The Puzzle -
Balancing Needs with
THEY DO THAT?”
Conference is approved for 5 PHR/SPHR/GPHR or CLE
Click here for
early bird registration!
not, morale decreases, teamwork can be compromised and the
bottom line can suffer! People like to accomplish a
meaningful job…with people they trust…and in a way that is
rewarding! The “FUN at Work Series” is more than just having
a good time; it is about pausing long-enough to re-engage
with your team, your job and your company’s vision!
Have you noticed that people are feeling stressed right now?
Each of these 1.5 to 3-hour sessions focuses on giving
employees necessary coping skills in a way that is fun and
COMMUNICATING WITH EACH OTHER AT WORK
• WORKING TOGETHER AS A TEAM AT WORK
• THE DYNAMICS OF CHANGE AT WORK
• SOLVING PROBLEMS AT WORK
Contact TPO to
talk about scheduling the Fun at Work Series for your
staff…you’ll be glad you did!
you considering reorganization or downsizing in the future?
TPO HR MANAGEMENT can offer guidance and assistance to
employers and employees in managing a career
change. We offer a range of transition service options to
assist participants through the career move as well as
provide support to employers through the reorganization
Typical services provided are:
Termination Notification Support
Individual Self-Assessment Tools
and Change Management
TPO can work
with your organization to customize a Career Transition
Package that meets the organization’s needs. To get more
information, please contact TPO at 1-800-277-8448 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kettmann recently earned her California Certification in
Human Resources to add to her Senior Professional in Human
The certification, awarded by
the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI), signifies
that Susan possesses the theoretical knowledge and practical
experience that is necessary to pass a rigorous examination
on the human resources body of knowledge in the state of
California. The exam covers such workplace issues as
compensation and benefits; employee and labor relations;
leaves of absence and workers’ compensation; and workplace
health, safety and security concerns. This
California–specific certification ensures that HR
professionals have the means to demonstrate their knowledge
of the state’s unique employment laws.
the diverse demographics that employers face when working in
the state, and the unique legal compliance and practice
requirements, this new certification will be critical in
determining an HR practitioner’s professional competence
with California law,” said HRCI Executive Director
Cornelia Springer, CAE. There are many issues, such as
overtime, pregnancy leave, and labor relations where
California law is more generous than federal regulations.
Understanding the differences in state and federal law is
critical since employers are required to follow the law that
is more generous toward the employee.
Christmas and New Years’ landing on Thursdays this Holiday
Season, many organizations are faced with determining what
days to allow, encourage or even require an employee to
take off. Additionally some organizations may choose to be
closed for multiple days or even weeks. When making these
decisions, look at your employee handbook and past practices
to guide your future decisions. Does your policy accurately
address your practice? If not, it may need revision to bring
the two into alignment.
Exempt Positions: Remember, employees in such positions
are paid for any week in which they perform any work,
subject to no less than half-day deductions from
vacation/PTO. Additionally, consider that in order to
require a salaried, exempt employee to use vacation/PTO
during a week closure; such requirement should have been
distributed 90 days in advance. If you have questions
about these very specific regulatory requirements, you
are encouraged to contact TPO.
2009 NEW Employment Laws
The November edition of this eNews listed the bills signed
into law by Governor Schwarzenegger (click here for link).
At the TPO-Littler Employment Law and Leadership Conference
on January 21, 2009, a thorough discussion of the 2009
Employment Laws will be provided (click here for link). As
always, TPO keeps up to date on changing employment
regulations and modifies consulting advice and recommended
IRS Announces 2009 Standard
The IRS has announced a new mileage rate effective January
1, 2009. The rate will decrease slightly to 55 cents per
mile. While gasoline is a significant factor in the mileage
other fixed and variable costs such as depreciation enter
the calculation. The business mileage rate was 50.5 cents
in the first half of 2008 and 58.5 cents in the second half.
Employers must generally reimburse employees for
business-related travel expenses, including mileage. Often
the IRS rate is adopted as the standard reimbursement rate.
It is important to remember that employers are not required
to reimburse at this rate, but it is the maximum rate which
can be claimed for tax purposes.
“Passport Card” serves as a
“List A” Document for Form I-9
On August 8, 2008, the Departments of State and Homeland
Security (DHS) announced the new "passport card" which is
the approximate size and material of a credit card. While
the new card is more limited in its uses e.g., it may not be
used for international air travel, it is a valid passport
that attests to the U.S. citizenship and identity of the
bearer for employment purposes. Accordingly, the card may be
used as a “List A” item for the Form I-9 process and can
also be accepted by employers participating in the E-Verify
DOL Finalizes Changes to FMLA
The Department of Labor released the final changes to the
Federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which impacts
several areas of leave administration for organizations with
50 or more employees. FMLA is similar to the California
Family Rights Act (CFRA); however, it is important to
remember that some of the permitted employer inquiries under
FMLA are not allowed under CFRA due to the more stringent
privacy requirements in California. TPO offers several
opportunities for clients to learn more about these required
leave programs, through attendance at the TPO-Littler
Employment Law and Leadership Conference on 1/21/09 (click
here), CA Employment Essentials (click here), and FMLA/CFRA/PDL
Compliance (click here) training opportunities.
Unemployment Insurance Funds in
unemployment is not a surprise in today’s economic climate.
California's unemployment rate is surging to a 12-year high,
the state's unemployment insurance fund is paying out as
much as $27 million in benefits a day – and it could be $500
million in the red by January, officials warn. The
Employment Development Department (EDD) along with business
and labor leaders are set to discuss how to return this
safety-net program to financial health. One possible
solution: raising the payroll tax that employers pay on each
worker to bankroll the state unemployment insurance system.
State Compensation Insurance
Fund Files for an 8.9% Workers' Compensation Increase
Though Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner issued an
advisory rate increase of 5%, State Fund ultimately filed
for an 8.9% increase, stating that the increase was due to
medical costs inflation. Premiums for individual
employers will be based on their particular rating class and
individual organization’s experience modification. The
higher rates go into effect for policies beginning and
renewing January 1, 2009.
Article written by:
Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA
Cal/OSHA 300A Form allows you to summarize your reportable
work-related illnesses and injuries for the 2008 calendar
year. (A copy of the Form can be found in the
HR Administration Kit in the last section
under “Safety”.) Posting this Form is required for most
California businesses (see end of this article for two
categories of exemption) each year even if there were no
The Form should be completed and handled in the following
all reportable incidents from 2008 and have the form
signed by an executive who can certify its accuracy.
the Form on February 1, 2009 at each worksite in
California and leave it up until April 30, 2009.
location of the postings should be places that are
conspicuous and where notices to employees are regularly
Employee names should not appear on the Form due to
possible medical confidentiality issues.
have telecommuting employees or sales staff who do not
regularly report to a work location, you should make the
Form available to them. After April 30, the Form should be
stored in a safe location as any Cal/OSHA representative
visiting your business will likely ask to see it. Retain the
document for a full 5 years.
Exemptions from recordkeeping requirements (unless
specifically notified by OSHA that the employer must
"very small-employer" exemption: Employers with 10
or fewer employees at all times during the previous
"low-hazard industry" exemption: Employers in
specific low-hazard industry groups including, retail,
service, finance, insurance, and real estate industries.
Such industries are covered by Standard Industrial Codes
(SIC) codes 52-89, excluding 52-54, 70, 75, 76, 79, and
80. Go to
http://www.osha.gov for more information on
low-hazard industry codes.
Article written by:
Susan Kettmann, SPHR-CA
Derinda L. Messenger
Mann Mann Packing
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!
THE DON CHAPIN COMPANY HAS BEEN A TPO MEMBER FOR SEVEN YEARS. HOW DO YOU FEEL TPO CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR OPERATION’S
Don Chapin Jr., President / CEO:
“TPO has been a great partner
and have been very instrumental in helping us with our
Company Policy Handbook and with every day issues that we
need some expert advise on. In the last seven years our
company has grown from 175 employees to 275 just with the
Don Chapin Co. TPO has provided not only technical
information needed to ensure exemplary HR practices, but you
have mentored us as we developed our own human resource
department. Your staff is outstanding and always very
helpful. Our employees are our biggest asset and you have
helped us in our quest to attract and retain outstanding
tHE Don Chapin
The Don Chapin Company was
founded in 1978 by President Don Chapin Jr., and his father,
Don Chapin Sr. As a premier general engineering contractor
on the central coast, the Don Chapin Company specializes in
roadway construction, underground utilities, concrete
construction, land clearing and septic construction. Proudly
serving the Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties,
the Don Chapin Company provides the highest quality of
workmanship and professionalism to their customers.
As a family owned and operated company, the Don Chapin
Company believes keeping a strong relationship with their
customers is the key to success. The Don Chapin Company is
the local company that cares, providing the highest quality
of workmanship along with honest and realistic information.
As the company continues to grow, the core values remain
true, providing superior work and integrity to our
customers. What ever the request, whether large or small,
the Don Chapin Company takes pride in getting the job done
on time and under budget.
For more information about The
Don Chapin Co: www.
Unclaimed Final Paychecks…what an
employer should do
have experienced an employee who just seems to dissipate
into thin air (voluntary job abandonment – resignation) and
never inquires about his/her final paycheck. Many employers
have the practice of simply popping that final paycheck
(with all accrued vacation/PTO) into the mail and “washing
their hands” of the situation. Careful!
The legal requirement is that the final paycheck is made
available at the regular place of paycheck distribution with
72 hours if no notice was given, or on the final day of work
if more than 72 hours notice was given. When employers pop a
final check in the mail without authorization from the
employee, they run the risk of an employee showing up to
collect the check and when it is not “available” so that
waiting time penalties start to accrue. When an employee
does not give notice and does not inquire about the final
check, employers are advised to:
the employee to attempt to ascertain the employee’s
intentions. Document all call(s).
2. If the employee is not reachable and/or does not return
calls, send a certified return receipt letter indicating
that per the Handbook policy, you may consider it a
“no-call, no-show” and require the employee contact you
within a reasonable time frame (3 days). (TPO can help you
write this letter!)
3. If the employee still does not contact the employer,
choose one of the following options (your accountant may
have recommendations of what is best for your specific
Keep the final paycheck
through the statute of limitations (2 years for
employment at-will; 4 years for written contract), and
then provide to the local DLSE Field Office or CA
Controller’s Office, or
Provide the final
paycheck to the local DLSE Field Office after a
reasonable amount of effort/time (2-6 weeks), or
Provide the final
paycheck to the CA Controller’s Office after a
reasonable amount of effort/time (2-6 weeks).
For the death of an employee
where there is no individual with an Affidavit to Collect
Compensation of Deceased, as required by the California
Probate Code, keep the final paycheck for 3 years and then
provide it to the CA Controller’s Office.
Next Wage & Hour Quick Tip:
How to calculate “regular rate of pay” to correctly
determine overtime owed.
Article written by:
Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA
Have you been receiving
numerous e-mails urging you order your updated 2009
While it is true that changes will be made to the required
postings, they have not been released yet. It has been
stated that due to the budget crisis the government agencies
have not finished or released the new postings as was hoped.
The sub-postings that will have changes are:
Once the agencies release
their postings, TPO-HR will issue an eCompliance
update to TPO Annual Members. At that time you will have two
download the three above
sub-posters (an acceptable option if you have posters
from TPO with a date of 2007 edition or later on them),
order new sets (the
preferred option to ensure your posters are up to
If you know you want to order
new sets and want to place your order now, knowing they
won’t ship until the sub-posters are released, please
of our employees like to get their email on their BlackBerry.
Do we have any obligation if they check their messages on
them while on vacation?
information age has brought new issues about pay as a result
of the “always connected” phenomenon. There can be
implications for both your exempt and nonexempt staff if you
allow them to do this.
Most at risk are companies that give PDAs, phones and other
devices to nonexempt employees, since that basically
encourages them to work extra unscheduled hours. As more
people buy these devices on their own and use them for work,
any employer is more at risk if the time isn’t being
It’s dangerous territory, since employees don’t always tell
their supervisors they’re working at home. But that doesn’t
mean companies can’t be held liable for that time. Take this
An administrative assistant often takes time at night to
read and respond to her e-mail. She never records the time
and has never told her boss that she does it. Her boss
regularly gets e-mails from her that are time-stamped during
non-work hours. That probably is enough to put the
supervisor on notice that the employee is doing extra work
and is owed overtime.
California law defines “Hours Worked” as:
“The time during which an
employee is subject to the “control of the employer,” or all
of the time the employee is “suffered or permitted to work,”
even if the employee is not instructed or required to do so.
This encompasses employee “off-the-clock” work where the
employer has actual or constructive knowledge, including
when work is done at home.”
This means that the employee
must be paid for all of the time spent checking email or any
other work they do through such electronic devices outside
of work hours.
Another concern is that the employee might be seen as “on
call” if he/she is required to respond within a certain time
period. The following questions must be asked in order to
determine the answer to that question:
Are the restrictions placed on the
employee primarily directed toward the fulfillment of
the employer’s requirements and policies?
Is the employee substantially restricted
so as to be unable to attend to private pursuits?
As a general rule, any work during the workweek entitles
exempt employees to full-week salary.
Absence for one or more full days for
personal reasons, other than sickness or disability
Suspension for violation of a major
Since it is also
permissible to dock exempt staff leave banks
(vacation/PTO/sick) for half a day, it is possible that
things could get even more confusing:
Hypothetical: Victor works as an exempt project
manager for Workaholic Technologies. Victor is on vacation
all this week in Cabo and is receiving pay solely from
accrued vacation. While sitting on the beach and sipping a
pińa colada, Victor checks his work e-mail on his company
laptop using the wireless internet access of his hotel which
is adjacent to the beach. Victor spends about 30 minutes
responding to e-mails and redlining a proposal and some
project plans drafted by a manager of the company. Victor
then turns off his laptop, orders another pińa colada and
doesn’t think about work for the rest of the day.
What should Workaholic
Things to consider:
Pro rata docking of salary for full-day
absences is allowed if an employer did not require
(directly or indirectly) the employee to do any work
Employers may deduct from bona fide
employee leave banks (vacation/PTO/sick) for half a day
or more absence.
If a manager sent the message and asked
Victor to respond while on leave, that probably would be
seen as the employer requiring Victor to work and so
must be paid as work time. The most conservative
approach is to pay Victor if the manager in any way knew
the employee was logged on and working.
The least risky thing to
do if Victor has a vacation leave bank available, and there
is a written policy allowing for at least half-day
deductions from vacation, would be to pay Victor for the 30
minutes and then deduct the balance of the day from his
If Victor does not have a leave bank available, then
Workaholic would find paying for the full day less risky.
What to do
Continually advancing technology has made it easier for
employees to work anytime, anywhere. It may also make
employers more likely to incur overtime obligations.
So far, the issue hasn’t been tested in court, but law
experts warn that it’s only a matter of time. Chances are
you don’t want it to be your name in the headlines when that
In addition to making sure any and all time worked is
properly recorded, here are ways for companies to avoid
getting hit with these claims:
Update policies - You have to pay
overtime to non-exempt employees, once it is incurred,
even if you have a policy against working extra hours.
Giving people rules about when they shouldn’t work is
the best way to avoid those sticky situations. The
Handbooks produced by TPO include policies that address
the question of unapproved overtime.
Educate managers - If supervisors
don’t understand the overtime regulations, they may
expect and encourage nonexempt employees to check e-mail
and do other work at home or on their time off. These and
other regulations are covered in our California
Employment Essentials class that is designed for
managers, supervisors and HR professionals. This series
is offered several times a year at TPO, or we can come
to your location and train your entire team.
Limit communication - If managers
call or e-mail employees after hours, those employees
may feel encouraged to work overtime. Such communication
should be limited to critical situations.
Withhold devices - If your company
issues BlackBerries, laptops and other devices to
employees, you may want to consider providing them only
to exempt workers.
Article written by:
Kelsey L. Escoto, MSOD, SPHR, Consultant
Kelsey, you have been with TPO-HR since July of 2006, What
is your role at TPO, and what do you do when you aren’t
providing training and HireRight Systems support to clients?
A: I do specialize in
HireRight Systems and presenting various skills training
programs. Also, my background includes a lot of experience
with career transition (outplacement). Since many of our
clients are downsizing and restructuring to respond to the
economy, I have been spending a good deal of time assisting
people who are recently unemployed with resume writing and
job seeking support. I also focus my efforts on marketing
TPO’s wide range of HR services and introducing this great
resource to employers.
When I’m not working at TPO-HR with a great team of very
smart people, I am usually scrap booking, walking or working
out at the gym. Of course there are dinners with good
friends, my “Mom” status. Raising a son by myself has
provided me with many joyful events and challenges. Watching
and helping my son develop into a responsible and caring
young man has been one of the most rewarding “jobs” I’ve
held and I continue to cheer his successes.
I have been fortunate enough to get the education and work
experience needed to work with people. I thrive on reading
behavior and helping others understand the impacts of their
actions to facilitate necessary change. As I continue my
work with TPO and volunteer opportunities, my goal is to
work with community youth to provide them leadership and
communication skills that in turn will help them succeed and
Meeting your needs and exceeding your expectations!
HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT provides "outsourced" support
to help employers understand and
comply with confusing employment laws,
train managers to
avoid costly mistakes and promote positive employee
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