A training series focusing on the
regulatory compliance and
- the information & skills supervisors & managers need to
keep themselves and the organization out of hot water!
A training series focusing on
skills to help
develop or refine
March - April '10
Harassment and Discrimination at Work
CA Wage and Hour
TPO and Littler will guide you through an informative day,
balancing both Legal and Leadership Best Practices to
prepare you for 2010!
2010 Employment Law & Leadership Conference
PREMIER CONFERENCE FOR BUSINESS OWNERS, MANAGERS, HR, RISK
MANAGEMENT AND LEGAL COUNSEL IN PUBLIC, PRIVATE AND
as part of their Annual
(*Based on number of
Type of Registration
be paid by 12/15/09)
be paid by 12/15/09)
for participants above the number of your authorized representatives.
Click here for
early bird registration!
climate has created demographics in the workplace that
are different from anything that HR professionals have
seen before and if you take time to “pause” you may see
the silver lining there. On one hand, older workers
intend to work three to five years longer than
previously planned so the exodus of Baby Boomers from
the workplace is unlikely to occur in the near future. Conversely, younger workers anticipating their next career moves find themselves in a holding pattern.
Openings at the top, or even on the way to the top,
remain filled by those who were previously headed into
From an organizational point of view, this situation
actually presents a rather nice situation, albeit one
counter-balanced by angst and difficult decisions. The
“brain drain” of retirements is being delayed and there
is more time to do succession planning, training and
organizational development. The challenges presented by
the older and younger workers might result in
opportunities to increase both morale and output.
It is a
good time to help younger workers develop career
paths and train to them. This will be important for
keeping these eager employees engaged in the
company’s goals while waiting for promotional
worker’s need goals that will keep them actively
engaged and making positive contributions over the
next few years, lest they turn bitter about having
to work longer.
An area of
convergence especially useful for young and older
workers is in the benefits area where both groups will
value having flexibility and work/life balance as part
of the package. Building long term stability as the
economy recovers is a worthwhile goal as you prepare for
future expansion opportunities. An excellent book to
read in this area for ideas on engaging employees of all
ages is, Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to
Stay, by Berret-Koehler, 2008.
On a related
topic, come to TPO's Annual Employment Law and
Leadership Conference on 01/11/10 and attend the
afternoon session, Generations in the Workplace:
Why We Each Think The Other "Doesn't Get it!" (click
Article written by:
Susan Kettmann, SPHR-CA
2009 was a busy
year for the CA legislature; however, few noteworthy
HR/Employment bills were signed into law. Business owners
and managers will want to keep their eyes out next year for
more bills that would impact employment.
California HR Legislation
Civil Air Patrol Leave (AB 485) – Signed
into law in November, employers with more than 15
employees are subject to a new leave for employees who
are volunteer members of the Civil Air Patrol, providing
at least 10 days of leave per year when the employee is
called to respond to “an emergency operational mission.”
Unemployment Insurance (ABX3 23
and 29) – Made changes that allowed
California to take full advantage of federal stimulus
funds in order to provide extended duration of UI
benefits to unemployed Californians. Included improved
efficiency in administration for employers, such as
providing for telephonic hearings at the Unemployment
Insurance Appeals Board.
Items of Interest
Minimum Hourly Wage for Exempt Computer Professionals
and Licensed Physicians –
The minimum hourly wage for these two groups of
employees who can be paid hourly and still retain the
“exempt” status can change on an annual basis, however,
the rates are not changing for 2010 and remain: Computer
Professionals ($37.94/hour) and Licensed Physicians
($69.13/hour). Of course, the actual duties performed
must also meet the exemption tests for the position to
be correctly classified as exempt from overtime, breaks,
meals and other wage and hour provisions.
Small Businesses in California
– Not coming as a surprise to many TPO
clients, a new report ranks California 49th among the
states and Washington D.C. in policies and taxes
friendly to small businesses and entrepreneurs,
according to the 14th annual Small Business Survival
Personal Liability for Managers
and Officers – A 2005 California Supreme
Court ruling held that under state law individual
managers and corporate officers couldn't be held
personally liable for unpaid wage claims. However, the
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals—which covers
California—recently ruled that managers and officers
don't enjoy the same protection under the federal Fair
Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Federal HR Legislation
Health Care Overhaul Legislation –
This widely discussed topic continues to be modified and
revised as it makes its way through the federal system.
Currently the Senate is debating the details.
Unionization “Employee Free
Choice Act” (S.560 and HR. 1409) – If passed,
these bills would amend federal law to give workers the
option of joining unions by signing cards (“card
check”), rather than casting secret ballots.
bills are still in Committee, many believe it will be
passed in some form. Attend the TPO-Littler Annual
Employment Law and Leadership Conference on 01/11/10 to
attend an afternoon breakout session on this topic and
to learn how an employer may impact the legislative
process. (click here for link)
Containment Act” (H.R. 3991) – If passed,
this bill would require employer who send their workers
home with the flu to offer up to five paid sick days.
The author cites Centers for Disease Control estimates
that a sick worker will infect one in 10 co-workers. The
emergency two-year bill would cover employers with 15 or
more workers. Employers that already offer five or more
days of paid sick leave are exempt.
“Balancing Act” (H.R. 3047) –
If passed, this bill would require employers
and employees to pay into a national insurance fund to
pay workers who take family leave through the Family and
Medical Leave Act. This bill would also require
businesses with more than 15 employees to grant workers
as many as seven days a year of paid sick leave.
2010 IRS Mileage Rate:
The IRS has announced the new mileage rates for 2010.
Starting Jan. 1, the standard mileage rates for the use
of a car, van, or truck will be 50 cents per mile for
business miles driven.
Article written by:
Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA
“Working Lunches” and
Non-Exempt (hourly) Employees
…do we really have to pay for the time in the lunch
meeting, an extra hour of pay for a missed meal period…and
provisions of meal periods can be one of the more
complicated areas of employment! While many employer have
required occasional paid “working lunches” (for example a
lunchtime office meeting) for their non-exempt hourly staff
(often even providing the food), at question is whether such
a requirement runs afoul of any CA wage and hour
Because employers must authorize and permit non-exempt
employees to take a 30 minute meal period for shifts in
excess of five hours, if the employer is requiring the
employee to work through that time by attending a meeting,
the employee has not received 30 minutes free from work. In
this case the employer is required to provide an alternative
30 minutes free from work prior to the conclusion of the 5th
hour of work. If the employer does not provide the alternate
meal period within the time frame, then the employer is
liable for an additional hour of pay to the employee (this
hour does not count as time worked).
From a practical standpoint, if you want to schedule a
“working lunch” an employer is advised to do one of the
Make the first half-hour of the
lunch meeting truly voluntary and the next half-hour the
working portion. This satisfies the
requirement of allowing employees to choose to take the
first 30 minutes in the manner they choose. You could
provide the food during the first half-hour and
certainly if employees choose to enjoy the meal
together, it is a good teambuilding experience. Just
make sure that the first half-hour is truly voluntary
and no employees are penalized for eating in their car
or not socializing with the group.
Pay for the working lunch and
pay an extra hour of
pay. While this may seem costly, some
employers make the business decision that it is best for
workflow and scheduling.
Whether you pay for
the pizza or not is not relevant to the analysis, but it is
certainly a kind gesture…I’ll take mine with pepperoni!
Article written by:
Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA
pacific ag rentals
awe sum organics,
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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!
NEPENTHE HAS BEEN A TPO MEMBER FOR 5 YEARS.
HOW DO YOU FEEL TPO CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR OPERATION’S SUCCESS?
Gaffill, Nepenthe General Manager:
“The need to properly manage a
company’s greatest asset, its employees, is of the utmost
importance and simply cannot be overstated in a competitive
and ever increasing regulatory environment. TPO provides
consistent and high quality training support to our company
and its management team. Further, TPO’s principals and its
staff are gifted and quite effective in providing
appropriate guidance and support in managing difficult or
problematic employment issues.
Nepenthe has worked with TPO to develop our Employee
Handbook, improve our hiring and employee management
procedures, and as reliable counselors in the area of
employment law and liability. TPO is a critical partner to
our on-going success in managing, nurturing and improving
the quality or our staff. Success in these areas directly
improves our overall economic success in the short term and
enhances our prospects for continued long term success.”
Nepenthe - serving visitors to
Big Sur Coast since
Nepenthe Restaurant serves
lunch every day of the year from 11:30 - 4:30. They serve
dinner from 5:00 - 10:00 every day except Thanksgiving &
Christmas. Based on the vision of founders Lolly and Bill
Fassett, the family has maintained a commitment to
exceptional caring service in a relaxed atmosphere. Lolly
added the Phoenix Shop in 1964 to share the wares and
treasures she loved with the world, and in 1992, the Café
Kevah opened. All three businesses are still operated by
their children and grandchildren. The traditions of family
hospitality are a hallmark of the business.
For more information about
As a reminder, COBRA is
for employers with 20 or more employees; this article is not
for employers with less than 20 employees.
have an employee who was just terminated. Does he qualify
for the COBRA subsidy program?
or not the employee is eligible depends on when his health
care benefits end and he becomes eligible for COBRA.
Under the current COBRA subsidy program enacted in February,
a nine-month subsidy for COBRA continuation coverage is
available to individuals who are involuntarily terminated
from employment and lose coverage on or after September 1,
2008 through December 31, 2009. This means if the employee
becomes eligible for COBRA before the end of this month, he
would be eligible, but not if after.
Since most employers cover the employee through the last day
of the month in which the employee is terminated, most
employees will be eligible for COBRA on January 1, 2010
which would mean they would not be eligible to receive the
There is reason to believe that Congress may pass some sort
of extension of this benefit. Two bills were recently
introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R. 3930 and
H.R. 3966), and one bill was recently introduced in the
Senate (S. 2730). While H.R. 3966 simply extends the current
nine-month subsidy program for involuntary terminations and
losses of coverage occurring through June 30, 2010, H.R.
3930 and S. 2730 expand on that by extending the subsidy
program for six months (from nine months to fifteen months);
although all subsidies under H.R. 3930 and S. 2730 would end
by December 31, 2010. The Senate bill also raises the 65%
premium subsidy amount to 75%.
If any of these bills pass with a retroactive extension, an
employer would adjust future premiums or refund money to the
former employee. If the employer charged an eligible
employee whose 9 months had passed the full COBRA amount, a
retroactive effective date of more months would trigger the
need to make adjustments to future payments or refund in
Article written by:
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