n  Our NEW Look

n  Survey Update

n  Training Calendar

n  Continued Education Credits

n  Legislative Update

n  This month’s TPO Specials!

n  When you have to deliver bad news

n  Welcome New Members

n  Pasatiempo Golf Club

n  CA Wage & Hour Tip

n  HR Q & A

n  2009 Mandated Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Year!



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 June '09

Management Excellence Series

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

n May - June '09

n Sep. - Oct. '09

Workshops Calendar

n Motivating and Retaining Employees

May 05

n Harassment and Discrimination at Work

May 07 AM

n How to Say It

June 10

n Dealing with Difficult People

August 04

n Creative Conflict

August 18

This Month's Specials


You know you want or need to schedule training this year,

but aren’t sure when and who to enroll? No problem!


Click Here for more Information


It won’t happen overnight, but we’re pleased to introduce our new logos!


Close to 300 TPO contacts across industries, sizes and types responded to our recent survey (thanks to those of you who did!)

If you participated, you will receive the complete survey results. For others, here is a snapshot of the results:

Has your Organization been impacted by the economic changes?

Are the changes you are experiencing more positive or more negative?


From our survey, here are the top three:

More strict control of overtime: 79.9
Allow only essential expenses: 70.8%
Pay Increases – Reduced:
45.6% Eliminated: 45.4%

Increased employee contribution to healthcare: 19.2%
Reduced benefits - vacation: 5.6% sick: 3.3% holiday: 7.0%

Reduced employer contribution: 17% Eliminate employer contribution: 13.1% Eliminate plan: 6.3%

For a more in-depth look and analysis of what employers are doing or considering, attend one of our Economic Impact Briefings! Members attend free, and non members pay only $35!

Our next one is coming up on May 5, 2009, 1:00 - 2:30 pm at Pasatiempo Golf Club, 20 Clubhouse Rd., Santa Cruz (http://www.pasatiempo.com). Reducing Employment-Related Costs – What Else Can We Do


TPO is taking the lead in helping our members and clients adjust to the current economic challenges through a variety of strategies and process realignments.

The most common requests for assistance are related to:

  1. Complying with all laws and regulations when reducing the workforce or moving to flexible work schedules such as the "four-ten" work week.

  2. Assisting employers with creative ways to re-organize the workforce by reassigning employees to new positions.

  3. Helping employers focus remaining workers on core functions and positive aspects of the organization required to be successful in the changing marketplace.

  4. Consulting with employers who wish to help their employees with the transition to either a different position or into the job search process.

  5. Helping clients become more efficient and cost effective by training their managers and supervisors (CEE, MES, etc.)

  6. Providing programs to promote “fun at work” in conjunction with valuable learning experiences for employees to reduce the “survivor syndrome” effect.

The member calls have been flooding in! We are pleased to provide advice and consultation to our members at no charge. Non-member calls are billed at $195 - $225. Maybe its time to become a member and access more frequent expert advice?

Article written by: Jill Russell, SPHR

Did you know that TPO-HR Institute can provide you with Continuing Education Credits?

TPO Human Resource Management has recently been approved by the State of California to provide Continuing Education Credits to the Insurance Industry. Individuals who are required to take continuing education courses as prerequisites for renewal of the life agent, or fire & casualty broker/agent license now have a local, face-to-face way to receive credits. TPO will offer approved courses in employment law, Workers’ Compensation, Family and Medical leaves and Harassment & Discrimination.

Additionally TPO-HR Institute also provides HRCI continuing educa
tion recertification units for human resource professionals (S/PHR, GPR).

For more information about our training programs and continuing education credits, please contact TPO Human Resource Management.

Amidst an environment of economic challenges, the new administration and legislative sessions are in full swing and while there are numerous national and state priorities, there are several areas of interest to HR.

Federal HR Legislation

Signed into Law:

  • Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (H.R. 11) – President Barack Obama’s first piece of federal legislation signed in his term extends the 300-day time limit for filing a pay discrimination claim, essentially re-starting the clock with each paycheck or annuity check that an employee receives.

Pending In the Congress:

  • “Employee Free Choice Act” (S.560 and HR. 1409) – These bills would amend federal law to give workers the option of joining unions by signing cards (“card check”), rather than casting secret ballots.

    • Opponents’ Position: A secret ballot election is one of the best ways to ensure that the employees’ wishes are met, without intimidation by the unions during a “card check” procedure. Opponents contend that the bills allow the federal government to gain more control over private sector employees and employers through government arbitrators deciding the terms of labor-management agreements.

    • Proponents’ Position: Employees should have the right to unionize without the roadblocks and intimidation of a secret ballot election.

California HR Legislation

  • Union Representation for Agricultural Employees (SB 789) – Would mirror current legislation on the Federal level, giving workers the option of bypassing the secret-ballot elections and instead, they could sign representation cards. This bill is specifically aimed at agricultural employees. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed similar "card check" bills the last two years.

  • Meal Periods (SB 287) – Would clarify a variety of important issues related to meal periods, such as:

    • Specifies that meal periods apply only to employees subject to the meal period provision of an Industrial Wage Commission wage order;

    • Permits an employer to "provide" the meal period before the employee completes six hours of work;

    • Defines the language "providing the employee with" to mean "making available to the employee;"

    • Permits an agreement to waive either the first or second meal period if the employee is otherwise entitled to two meal periods (the employee works more than 10 hours but no more than 12 hours in a workday); and

    • Provides express conditions for lawful on-duty meal periods.

  • Meal Periods (SB 380) – Would make similar clarification as SB287 and would also specify that the one hour pay for late or missed meal periods is not restitutionary in nature and does not constitute additional wages to the employee.

  • Sick Days (AB1000) – Similar to San Francisco’s current law, this bill would provide one hour of paid time off for every 30 hours of work.

  • CA Family Care and Medical Leave (AB 849) – Would expand the CA Family Rights Act (CFRA) to:

    • Eliminate 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;

    • Expand the definition of "parent" to include an employee's parent-in-law; and

    • Permit an employee to take leave to care for a seriously ill grandparent, sibling, grandchild or domestic partner equivalent.

  • Alternative Workweek (AB 141 and SB187) – Would permit an individual non-exempt employee to request an employee-selected flexible work schedule providing for workdays up to 10 hours per day within a 40-hour workweek without any obligation to pay daily overtime compensation.

  • Payroll Records (AB 527) – Would revise existing law to provide that if the Labor Commissioner finds that payroll records submitted for any pay period relating to any claim or complaint brought pursuant to the commissioner's authority have been falsified, all payroll records relating to that claim or complaint must be presumed false and disregarded.

General Items of HR Interest

  1. As of May, California's unemployment insurance benefits will be extended an additional five months, expected to assist about 469,000 longtime jobless Californians by year's end.

  2. The WCIRB (Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau) submitted a pure premium rate filing to the California Insurance Commissioner in May recommending a 24.4% increase in advisory pure premium rates with respect to new and renewal policies as of the first anniversary rating date of a risk on or after July 1, 2009

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA

You know you want or need to schedule training this year,

but aren’t sure when and who to enroll? No problem!

We’ve just made it easier and more affordable to check training off your ‘to do’ list!


Buy 2, get 3; buy 4 get 6; buy 7 get 10 (and if you need more, just keep going!)


Any of the following programs scheduled at TPO’s Professional Development Center!


  1. CA EMPLOYMENT ESSENTIALS (CEE) is THREE FULL DAYS of essential knowledge and skills every supervisor and manager needs to know to understand the company’s policy, employment regulations and the essentials of employee relations. CA Employment Essentials is an effective way to help ensure your company minimizes its exposure to liability and reduces the likelihood of managerial missteps.

  2. MANAGEMENT EXCELLENCE SERIES (MES) is FOUR FULL DAYS designed to review the essential elements of effective leadership & provide managers and supervisors with a broad range of topics and resources that are practical and relevant to their day-to-day leadership needs. Participants of the MES will have a better understanding of how to create and develop their teams, set standards of performance, clearly communicate standards, and motivate others to achieve higher performance levels.

  3. PRE-SCHEDULED AT TPO: These timely 3-HOUR PROGRAMS are scheduled each month to offer an efficient and affordable way to develop the effectiveness of your managers, supervisors and line staff. From “First Time Manager” to how to comply with employment laws, to “Wowing Your Customers” and beyond...these programs reduce risk and increase employee morale. All of which will increase the bottom line!

    • Don’t forget that 2009 is a required Harassment Prevention Training year for many CA employers! You can comply by attending one of our pre-scheduled programs!

Some examples of how your ANNUAL TPO-U PASS will save your bottom line!




Regular Cost

Annual Pass Cost


      Member Non-Member Member Non- Member



3 Full Days CEE (3 for 2) 3 $2085 $2385 $1390 $1590 $695 $795
4 Full Days MES (4 for 6) 6 $5370 $5970 $3580 $3980 $1790 $1990
3-Hour Sessions Pre-Scheduled Topics            (7 for 10) 10 $890 $1090 $623 $763 $267 $327

Talk to us about combining participants in CEE and MES for BIG savings!

When You Have to Deliver Bad News

As the survey results discussed in this issue demonstrate, this has been a challenging quarter for TPO’s clients and members. That in itself is critical information but an equally important trend is that managers and supervisors are more frequently finding themselves in an uncomfortable role: the bearer of bad news.

Whether it is layoffs, cutbacks or reductions in hours, pay or benefits, delivering these messages takes the idea of “putting in a hard days work” to new levels! And because preparing for these messages can span weeks of meetings and discussions, the mental burden can feel substantial, if not overwhelming. Across the country, managers are reporting sleep disorders, depression and being on the verge of tears for weeks on end – not exactly the kind of uplifting people-work they set off to face in their people-oriented careers!

Although there may be no way to avoid these difficult tasks, their repercussions on staff can be contained. Part of this includes believing that how you deliver the message can impact the outcome positively. Full preparation and being in the right frame of mind can help to protect your sense of self while making the message more humane.

The following suggestions come from a variety of sources but they all point to one truth: Find the help that you need from your personal and business support systems during these challenging times!

  1. Contribute to a process that respects and maintains everyone’s dignity by being well-prepared, direct, firm and calm. Since your personal inclinations are likely to be anything but that, find ways to get into the right frame of mind when the time comes, be that visualization, meditation, talking to a peer, etc.

  2. Focus on the company Vision; it is why you came to work here in the first place and can help you to center on what is important when moving forward.

  3. Promote respect in the conversations. You might feel awful, but crying, hugging or saying that you are sorry or that you understand how they feel is out of place and undermines the respect that the person deserves.

  4. If there was ever a time to watch work-life balance issues, this is it. Eat regular meals and avoid guilt-inducing treats and junk food that can also leave you with a sugar “crash.” An extra alcoholic beverage is not the answer and evening routines need to promote good sleep patterns.

  5. Socialize with friends. Talk to your peers – the hugs are fine there. If possible, plan a vacation day or some time off for after the bad messages are delivered and fill it with everything that you love.

  6. Be prepared for feelings of guilt; after all, you still have a job and of course you empathize with those who have been impacted.

  7. Don’t forget to call your support team at TPO. We can help you focus on the business reasons and help you practice how you want to say it. We are there to listen and help you in any way that we can!

Article written by: Susan Kettmann, SPHR-CA

n Joni L. Janecki & Associates

n Global College of Natural Medicine

n Rancho Cielo Youth Campus

n Thom Insurance and Financial Services

n Growers Transplanting, Inc./Rocket Farms

n Steven-Robert Originals, LLC.

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!


Jay Walkinshaw, General Manager:  “We call upon Melissa for strategic advice and we benefit from the flawless administration of TPO’s workshops and training programs, such as CA Employment Essentials, Harassment & Discrimination in the Workplace Training and their Annual Conference with informative and entertaining guest speakers. An invaluable bonus is TPO’s ability to offer these programs in Spanish. Blanca is engaging and always helpful in this role.

TPO offers best practice advice and solutions tailored to Pasatiempo’s diverse and unique environment and its eclectic workforce. From keeping our Employee Handbook accurate and up-to-date, to assisting with investigating employee complaints, Jill, Robert, Melissa and the whole TPO team take the time to understand our business, our culture and our needs."



Pasatiempo was designed by world-renowned golf architect Alister MacKenzie. Even though MacKenzie also designed Augusta National and Cypress Point, Pasatiempo was his favorite layout and where he made his American home, which still borders the sixth fairway. Today, this historic top 100 course is a semi-private golf club that sets aside certain tee times each day for public play.

Pasatiempo is a golfer’s dream come true — it is ranked #11 in Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play 2008 and ranked #31 in Golf Digest’s 2005 America’s Greatest Public Courses. Golf Digest also named Pasatiempo Golf Club as one of the top 3 courses you can play in California (along with Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill). Golf Magazine ranks Pasatiempo #55 in the Top 100 Courses in the U.S. (private and public), up 16 places over the 2005 ranking!

From greens that have challenged generations of golfers including Bobby Jones, Ken Venturi, Juli Inkster, and Tiger Woods, to rich golf history and breathtaking scenery, Pasatiempo delivers a memorable golf experience; it is truly one of the finest championship golf courses in the world.

For more information about Pasatiempo Golf Club: www.pasatiempo.com

Calculating “regular rate of pay” to correctly determine overtime

Overtime is not merely calculated based on the straight-time rate, multiplied by the overtime rate. Rather, overtime is calculated based on the “regular rate of pay” times the overtime rate.


To correctly calculate the “regular rate of pay”, you take the hourly earnings and:


Include types of compensations such as:

  • all hourly rates (different jobs, travel time rate, etc.)

  • weekly salary amount in the case of nonexempt salaried employee

  • commissions

  • production bonuses (non-discretionary)

  • piece work earnings

  • value of meals and lodging

Do not include payments such as:

  • discretionary bonus (those NOT tied to production/efficiency)

  • gifts

  • paid time for hours not worked (vacation, PTO, holidays, bereavement, etc.)

  • payment for break/meal violations

  • expense reimbursement

  • bonafide retirement/profit-sharing plans

  • overtime pay

Once all earnings are totaled for the week, divide by the actual number of hours worked to get the “regular rate of pay.” Any overtime worked is at the “regular rate of pay”. Such a calculation is required for each week as the earnings may vary each week. Administratively a little tricky, but required in order to pay overtime correctly.

Next Wage & Hour Quick Tip: On-Call and Standby and When the Time is Paid or Unpaid.

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA

We are trying to keep down our payroll costs without eliminating positions. Can we put all of our employees on a four day workweek?

You can regulate how many any of your employees work, but the question of what you must pay for is different for exempt employees than it is for nonexempt employees.

Employees for whom payment of wages is guided by the wage and hour laws determining overtime, may have hours reduced or increased as required by business needs. Employers pay these employees for actual hours worked regardless of the number and in accordance with California Wage and Hour laws. Having them work four 8-hour days instead of five 8-hour days would reduce the cost by one-fifth for their wages.

Employees who are exempt from most California Wage and Hour laws must receive the same salary on a weekly basis regardless of quantity or quality of work with exceptions for time they take for their own personal reasons in a minimum of half day increments. This means reducing an exempt employee’s weekly time from 5 days to 4 days has no effect on what he/she is paid.

Employers do have the right to reduce the rate of pay for any employee as long as it is not in violation of a bargaining agreement and as long as the employee receives at least minimum wage (currently $8.00 in California) for all hours actually worked. So rather then having employees work fewer days, the employer could reduce nonexempt employees’ wages.

It also means that employers may reduce the salary amount of exempt employees as long as it stays over the $2, 773.33 per month minimum to preserve the exemption. At the same time, the employer could reduce the number of days the exempt employee worked during the week if there is less need due to reduced work load.

For exempt employees, it is also a good time for companies to encourage use of time off since work loads are lower. If employees choose to use their paid time off or vacation time; they would receive the same money, but the employer would reduce the liability for that time. If they have no leave time in a bank, the employer can allow them to take time more liberally on an unpaid basis.

If you are considering ways to reduce the cost of doing business, be aware that many “good ideas” can create potential legal difficulties. Give your TPO consultant a call and talk over what you are trying to accomplish and let us help you evaluate the best choices for your business.

Article written by: LaTonya Olivier, SPHR-CA

TPO's Sexual Harassment Prevention Training programs meet the legal requirements of AB1825, AND deliver high impact information to change behaviors and reduce your organization's risk for harassment claims.

We have trained thousands of supervisors/ managers/executives and line staff. Here are three choices for your training preferences:

1.       We train at your location

2.       We train your team “off-site” at TPO or another location

3.       Your team joins other clients at one of our pre-scheduled training programs (click here)

“I was NOT looking forward to sitting through a program on harassment, but this was fantastic, so much more than I expected and really enlightening!”

Our programs have been fully translated into Spanish, and are presented by TPO's bi-lingual staff.

To schedule your organization’s training, contact TPO:

Phone: 800.277.8448   •   Fax: 831.658.0201

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TPO 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 relations.

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Employment Upd@te is a publication of  TPO HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. Copyright ©2004-2008. All rights reserved.
TPO's Employment Upd@te may not 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.