n  TPO has Doubled our Consulting Staff

n  Training_Calendar_

n  Legislative Update

n  Susan Kettmann is Retiring!

n  CA Wage & Hour Quick Tip

n  Discrimination Claims on the Rise!

n  Welcome New Members

n  Pacific Ag Rentals

n  HR Q & A

n  New FMLA Regulations Giving you a Headache?



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 September '10

Management Excellence Series

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

n October '10

Training Calendar

n FMLA/CFRA Compliance

May 26

n Harassment and Discrimination at Work

August 17

n Workers Compensation

October 06

n Excelling as a First Time Manager

November 10

TPO in the Community

n NCHRA - The ROI of HR: Top Measures for the Business
May 11 Click here

n NCHRA - The ROI of HR: Top Measures for the Business

June 10 Click here

Click here for a full list of upcoming Presentations!

Member Orientation

n Join us for breakfast

June 08

Join us for a quick overview of how TPO Membership can save you not only time, but money!

Our members already know that HR professionals are critical as the economy propels HR outsourcing to the forefront of employers’ minds when considering cost cutting and efficiency strategies. The good news is that TPO has snapped up some highly talented HR experts who wouldn't otherwise be available as we implement our 2010 growth strategy to broaden our reach to more employers throughout Northern CA. Employers who now understand they can have incredibly high quality HR support for a fraction of the cost by outsourcing.

Unlike many consulting firms, our staff members are really employees (W4’s and everything!)…we have never operated TPO by assembling a group of disconnected independent contractors and creating the “illusion” they are part of TPO. Not us! So without further ado, and after a three month search process, involving over 200 applicants…

Introducing TPO’s Five New Exceptional HR Consultants – at your service!

Michele has 15+ years of HR, OD and Sustainability experience as an internal and external consultant and business partner to start-ups, small companies, and global organizations. She has experience in the private and public sectors supporting HR and OD from inception through mergers and acquisitions and IPOs.

Michele has undergraduate degrees in Business Management and Economics from the State University of New York; Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco; and Environmental Biology from the State University of New York. Additionally, she has an M.S in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) through the Human Resource Certification Institute. Michele’s experience is broad & deep in most facets of Human Resources and she is a GREEN specialist!

Click here for Michele's full bio and contact information.

JODI FRASER, PHR (Livermore)
Jodi has 15 years of experience as a Human Resource Leader and Professional. She has held HR Leadership positions in large corporations, small, start-up and mid-size companies.

Jodi's core HR expertise is in the areas of Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, HRIS Implementation, HR Project Management, Compliance, Executive Coaching and Training. While she has held senior HR leadership roles, her true passion is being in a hands-on partnership role with her clients and customers. She is also an experienced and highly sought after Business Coach, and has been coaching clients since 2004. She was trained at Corporate Coach University, in Texas, and as a Strengths Coach at Gallup University, in Omaha Nebraska. Jodi is also a published contributing author with Ken Blanchard, Steven Covey and Brian Tracy in the recent release: 'Discover Your Inner Strength. '

Jodi holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management, and is completing her MS in Coaching Leadership Psychology. She has been a SHRM Certified PHR since 1999, and will be SPHR Certified in May, 2010. Jodi is an expert HR generalist and strategic partner.

Click here for Jodi's full bio and contact information.

Tasha has over 15 years of combined consulting and internal HR Management experience. She has worked directly for employers ranging from divisions of large publicly traded corporations to small entrepreneurial enterprises. Tasha has worked in retail (corporate and multi-site), banking, hospitality and manufacturing environments. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Management from St. Mary’s College at Moraga in California. She is also a Member of the Northern California Human Resource Association. Tasha’s experience encompasses almost every aspect of Human Resource Management.

Click here for Tasha’s full bio and contact information.


Lisa has eight years experience as an HR executive, and holds a Bachelor Degree from Central State University and a Masters Degree in Human Resources Management from Capella University. She will be SPHR Certified in May, 2010. She is a proven people leader with a depth experience across the HR disciplines with strong emphasis on recruiting, coaching and business transformation. Lisa has consulted directly for employers ranging from large publicly traded corporations to small entrepreneurial enterprises – working closely with organizations to set strategy and then align people/workforce/talent capacities accordingly. Lisa is results-driven and considered as an excellent facilitator, speaker and trainer.

Click here  for Lisa’s full bio and contact information.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Many of you may remember Robyn Schiller – one of TPO’s star consultants who moved to Australia with her husband and son three years ago. More good news! Robyn is boomeranging back and will be rejoining TPO next month!

Robyn Schiller brings over 10 years of broad HR experience to her role as a TPO consultant. Robyn is a nationally certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and a certified facilitator for Development Dimensions International. She will be taking her SPHR-CA Her degree is in Business Administration and Robyn also holds an HR Management certificate from San Jose State University.

Robyn is able to quickly partner with clients to identify HR issues and needs, offering practical recommendations, and assisting with implementing workable solutions. She has skillfully coached clients through difficult and sensitive employee relations issues by considering alternative options, being aware of risk management issues, empowering managers, and caring about what is best for each organization and its unique HR objectives.

Click here for Robyn's full bio and contact information.

So…combined with the incredible experience and credentials of our existing team of HR experts, where on earth are you going to be able to tap into so much talent for such an important aspect of your business? Going blank? We thought so! And don’t let the office locations throw you – we are ALL available to support your HR needs and initiatives. If you aren’t a member now, you ought to be – don’t you think?

Please give any of us a call with questions or for support. We have over 170 years of collective HR experience to make sure you get the best advice and most accurate technical support. We guarantee it!

Jill Russell, SPHR
TPO Principal

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.

California Pending HR Legislation

  • Flexible Schedules (SB 1335) – If passed this bill would simplify the process for establishing flexible work schedules, allowing for four 10-hour days each week (4/10), nine-hour days with one day off every two weeks (9/80), or other similar schedules. If passed, it would be a voluntary, employee-driven process where the employees can simply request in writing, and the employer may mutually agree to, a flexible work schedule. Currently the requirement of secret ballot elections of work units to implement compliant flexible schedules is cumbersome and not flexible enough for most employees and employers; “make-up time” is a creative alternative and is addressed later in this eNews.

  • New Organ and Bone Marrow Donations Leave Mandate (SB 1304) — If passed this bill would require employers to provide paid leave of up to 30 days for organ donations and 5 days for bone marrow donations, on top of existing sick and vacation leaves.

  • New Mandatory Bereavement Leave Mandate (AB 2340) — If passed this bill would require every employer to provide every employee with up to 3 days of unpaid bereavement leave. This bill was introduced by Mr. Monning (D-Carmel).

Federal Enacted HR Legislation

Stalled for the Year due to Inaction

  • Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, enacted March 18, 2010, two new tax benefits are available to employers who hire certain previously unemployed workers (“qualified employees”).

    1. The first, referred to as the payroll tax exemption, provides employers with an exemption from the employer’s 6.2 percent share of social security tax on wages paid to qualifying employees, effective for wages paid from March 19, 2010 through December 31, 2010.

    2. In addition, for each qualified employee retained for at least 52 consecutive weeks, businesses will also be eligible for a general business tax credit, referred to as the new hire retention credit, of 6.2 percent of wages paid to the qualified employee over the 52 week period, up to a maximum credit of $1,000.

    The IRS has an affidavit and FAQ’s on their website. 

  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also know as “Health Care Reform” or “Universal Health Care”), enacted March 23, 2010, this widely debated topic has culminated in 2,300 pages of law that will affect both large and small employers. As the fine details are worked out, TPO will provide complete updates and briefings. The legislation will provide for universal health care coverage by the year 2014 with individuals maintaining coverage and employers providing coverage or else payments must be made. Included are provisions that ease the burden on businesses that employ fewer than 50 people, including: affordable insurance rates through exchanges, tax credits for providing health care coverage, simplified cafeteria plan rules and grants for creating wellness programs.

    • California Leads the Way: An interesting provision in the Act requires women who are lactating to be allowed time and private facilities (not the restroom) to express breast milk, something that CA law has already previously required.

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA

Susan is retiring and relocating to Los Gatos to be closer to her kids/grandkids and the SUN! Sue has been with TPO for two years and has been a tremendous contributor to our operation, our clients and each of us as her colleagues. She has quietly and capably taken on some of our most complex assignments, and at the same time patiently tasked through many routine and rudimentary ones. Her knowledge and expertise combined with her commitment to client service and quality has been a fabulous fit to TPO and she will be greatly missed! She has been the quintessential team player and expert resource to our clients who were fortunate to have worked with her. We do wish her a healthy and happy retirement and reluctantly send her off into the next exciting phase of her interesting life journey effective May 1!

"Make-Up Time" for Non-Exempt (hourly) Employees
……an option for flexibility in work schedules.

Childcare, eldercare, continuing education, personal appointments and commute patterns are just some of the reasons why employees may want to have a flexible schedule, sometime working more hours one day and fewer on another. Employers, however, are faced with strict wage and hour requirements where non-exempt (hourly) employees are required to be paid overtime after 8 hours in a day (except some wage orders).

“Make-up Time” can be a valuable tool where an employee may request time off for personal obligations and if approved, make-up that time in the same workweek without daily overtime obligations. For example, an employee requesting to go home 3 hours early one day may work 11 hours another day in the workweek, with NO overtime owed on the day 11 hours were worked. In order to utilize “Make-up Time”, all of the following 6 points are met:

  1. There must be a signed written request for each time an employee wants to request make-up time.

    • This paper-trail is important as it explains why overtime is not being paid. Once payroll has processed, retain in the employee’s personnel file.

  2. Management approves the request in writing prior to using “Make-up Time.”

  3. Hours worked on the make-up day must not exceed 11 hours. (Or overtime will be incurred.)

  4. The time can only be made-up in the same workweek the time was lost. (For example, if your workweek is Sunday to Sunday and an employee requests to leave early on a Friday and would like to make-up that time on the next Monday, the request would be denied because the “Make-up Time” is not within the same workweek.)

  5. The total hours worked for the workweek must not exceed 40 hours. (Or overtime will be incurred.)

  6. While The Company may inform an employee of make-up time, they may not require an employee to utilize “Make-up Time”; it is only for the employee’s own personal obligations.

Most employers will want to add that if employees take time off and are then unable to make-up the time for any reason the hours missed will be unpaid. Conversely, if an employee works make-up time before actually taking the time off, the employee must take that time off so that overtime is not incurred.

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA

In 2010, where jobs are scarce, the number of discrimination claims have almost doubled. In better economic times, when an employee lost a job, they just tip-toed across the street and got another one. Now, when an employee is terminated, passed over for a promotion, or personally offended, they just might take their chances with the EEOC, DFEH and ultimately perhaps Superior Court. Some employers allow their (often untrained) managers and supervisors too much discretion when it comes to critical employment policy matters. While this may make managers feel empowered and contribute to their professional development, it potentially increases employers’ risk of having their employment practices challenged on the basis of unlawful discrimination and wrongful termination unless the managers and supervisors have been trained to seek assistance and understand the organization’ s policies and past practices as well as the law.

There are many things employers can do to protect themselves and minimize their exposure to claims of discrimination.

  1. Have an “Open Door” Policy. Encourage employees to come to management with any concerns they may have. Allow them the opportunity to discuss their feelings in a safe environment, free of threat of retaliation. Show employees that their concerns are taken seriously and you value their opinions. This creates a loyal, productive work force and reduces the risk of employees seeking resolution with an outside governmental agency like the EEOC, Labor Commissioner or DFEH. .TPO provides such a policy for handbooks.

  2. Ensure managers are well-trained. Train managers on Harassment Prevention and the fundamentals of effective leadership, making sure they have a basic understanding of state and federal employment laws. It is essential that they understand their level of authority, the implications of the decisions they make and how they might affect the organization as a whole. When tracking performance, ensure that managers are specific in their notations and document areas of opportunity as well as success. TPO provides Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace training as one of our many programs.

  3. Create policies that are consistently enforced and viewed as fair. It is ethical to create promotional and disciplinary policies that support the organizational goals. Communicating performance and behavioral standards ensures all involved understand those expectations and minimizes confusion. Have a structured Problem Solving policy to proactively facilitate resolution of any employee concerns that arise. TPO incorporates policies and tools to assist managers in our handbooks and HR Administration Kit.

  4. Consult a Human Resources Expert or Employment Law Attorney. Human Resource Professionals and Employment Law Attorneys are knowledgeable about State and Federal employment laws and previous court decisions associated with them. Human Resources Professionals are also skilled in the interpersonal intricacies of the workplace. Having a solid HR Business Partner can benefit an organization in more ways than one. Members can call TPO free for such support and clients can call for a reasonable hourly rate for assistance with any issue whether compliance or interpersonal.

Decisions based on discretion, which may be perceived as discrimination can be costly to defend. Whether an employer is ordered to pay thousands of dollars or not, the time, energy and expense of defending such a claim is often underestimated. An organization would be smart to ensure that their practices are consistent and legally compliant to support employment decisions when or if they are challenged. Give us a call for more information about TPO’s proven strategies to to assist your organization in mitigating risk.

Article written by: Tasha Blakely, PHR

n Mission bell manufacturing

n High Ridge House

n Big Sur Campground and Cabins


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: "Pacific Ag Rentals is one of TPO's newest members. What made you decide to join, and how do you feel TPO contributes to Pacific Ag's success so far?"

Bart Walker, Vice President: "My Father started Pacific Ag Rentals (PAR) in 2001 with 4 people. Through his great vision and leadership we have grown the company to 54 full time employees covering all growing regions of CA from the Oregon border to south of Phoenix in Arizona. Our HR Department title had been held by several different people and was made up of an employee manual that was my Senior Project in 1994 and a yearly subscription to a web site HR service that sent out a few posters once a year. I knew the record keeping and regulations would increase when we grew to 50 employees so I started looking for a service to handle our HR needs.

Derek Derdivanis, local Chair of Vistage International, told me about TPO and the services they provided. I called Robert and he met with me to discuss our HR needs and how TPO could fill them. Susan Kettmann, SPHR, was assigned to be our main contact; all of the TPO Team Members are nationally certified as Senior Professionals in HR and highly experienced specialists in their field. Susan let us know of all the services that were needed to be put in place and we made the decision which items to prioritize and implement.

In less than two months we were up to date with all of our employee record keeping, required training, custom employee manual, job descriptions and all of the forms required by law in an easy to use binder. I don’t have to know how to implement an HR program I just need to know somebody who does; TPO is my somebody. I am very happy with TPO and what they have delivered. I know I am only one phone call away from a real person to answer my HR questions."


The people at Pacific Ag. Rentals have been in the agriculture business for over 30 years serving California and Arizona with quality and dependable Farm Equipment. Since the beginning, Pacific Ag. Rentals has been oriented to serving and fulfilling the needs of agriculture interests with quality implements, tractors, parts, hardware, and other necessities at the best prices possible.

We specialize in short and long-term renting, leasing and financing any size of equipment package. Being a medium sized business allows us to be flexible and creative in financing equipment. You can buy outright, or rent the equipment for a while and return it when you are finished, or we can put it on a lease to own payment plan. We have a full service shop that keeps our equipment running smoothly. We have radio dispatched service trucks that can repair down equipment in a hurry. Our mechanics have been working in the field for over 20 years and are experienced to handle concerns that arise from the daily use of farm equipment.

We have a large fleet of John Deere, CAT and Kubota tractors ranging in horsepower from 45 to 550hp. We are the local dealer for Laser Guided land leveling systems, AUTOFarm and Trimble GPS Systems, Harlo 2WD and 4WD field forklifts, Balzer flail shredders, and a direct supplier of aluminum irrigation pipe and fittings. We carry a large range of tillage equipment, starting from shovels and sweeps to discs and rippers.

We are easy to do business with.
Challenge our Team with your needs,
I know we can save you some money...

For more information please visit www.pacificagrentals.com.

HELP! Have all of the federal FMLA new rules taken effect, and how do I make those work in California?

HR people everywhere are sorting out the new regulations. The last round of changes are out if you can ever say that about a governmental program.

TPO has redesigned our class that we call FMLA/CFRA/PDL Compliance which is one of our most well-attended TPO Institute programs. We have just updated it to reflect all of these changes and the guidance provided by the Federal Department of Labor (DOL).

The new changes to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) created two new leave categories that are not included in the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) which means there are more times FMLA will not run concurrently with CFRA. This will also mean that California employees will be more likely to take a total of 24 weeks under the two programs.

Other changes in either the law itself or the directions of the DOL include such things as:

  • Requirement that employers provide an Employee’s Rights and Responsibilities notification as soon as the determination of the employee’s eligibility is made.

  • Requirement that employers provide appropriate information about an employee’s job along with the initial notification if the employer will require a fitness for duty assessment upon return to work.

  • Allowing an employer to review an employee’s eligibility for protected leave by reviewing only the last 7 years (Note: CFRA does not allow this).

  • Provides more than the previous 12 weeks for leaves related to a Service Member’s medical condition.

These are only a few of the changes, and the implications for employers have many tentacles.

In response to this new coordination issue, TPO has developed a brand new workshop which we will begin offering in June on Administering and Coordinating Leaves in California. This class will require participants to have an updated HR Administration Kit from TPO or at least an updated FMLA/CFRA Leave Compliance program from TPO as we will utilize the tools there to allow participants to work through various scenarios of leave coordination and integration.

Of course, as a TPO Member, you will also have the ability to give TPO a call whenever the leave actually occurs for coaching through the process.

While it may look completely overwhelming, but it can be managed once you understand the principles and practices of all of the leaves provided to employees as well as the financial support products associated with them such as Short Term Disability, State Disability Insurance, Paid Family Leave and any leave bank time you may provide.

Getting good training on the program and having a support system is your best bet. Hope to see you soon at one of our programs.

Article written by: LaTonya Olivier, SPHR-CA

TPO has created a series of programs and products that provide HR Practitioners with the knowledge and tools needed to effectively manage all of the leaves provided by your company.

FMLA/CFRA/PDL Compliance – A Fundamental Training class on how to integrate the leaves as required by law. Learn the intent of each part of the leave process and the requirements as well as best practices. ($89 for Members/$109 for Non-Members)*

TPO Leave Compliance System – A complete program to guide you through the ins and outs of managing leaves in California. It includes guidance customized to your company’s leave programs as well as all of the forms, letters and tracking you need to manage it. ($575 for Members/$750 for Non-Members)**

Administering Leaves in California*** – Focuses on utilizing the Leave Compliance System. This is a workshop where participants will actually be walking through scenarios and completing the work required at each step. Real life (simulated) experience! ($89 for Members/$109 for NonMembers)

DVD’s of each training course – Attendees for either course can purchase a DVD of the class to review over and over. ($35 each for Members/$60 each for Non-Members)


Purchase the complete package now and get both classes and the Compliance System plus the DVD’s for a special price

$750 Member/$950 NonMembers

*Ask us about affordable Membership that provides great benefits as well as price reductions!

**Ask us about pricing for a complete HR Administration Kit that provides not only the Leave Compliance, but forms, guidance and information for all the life stages of employment.

***This class will require participants to have an updated HR Administration Kit from TPO or at least an updated FMLA/CFRA Leave Compliance program from TPO.


Classes Scheduled for

TPO Leave Compliance System
May 26 – 9 AM – Noon – Monterey
June 30 – 9 AM – Noon – San Jose

Administering Leaves in California
May 30 – 9 AM - Noon - Monterey
July 21 – 9 AM – Noon – San Jose

Administering FMLA Leave (Employers not covered by CFRA/PDL) To be announced – call to get on our waiting list!

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Employment Upd@te is a publication of  TPO HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. Copyright ©2004-2010. 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.