CA EMPLOYMENT ESSENTIALS (CEE) is a 6 module training series of employment essentials focusing on regulatory compliance and HR best practices. Hiring to Separation: What Management and HR MUST KNOW!

MANAGEMENT EXCELLENCE SERIES (MES) is an 8 module training series focusing on practical leadership and communication skills to help managers DEVELOP OR REFINE THEIR EFFECTIVENESS AS LEADERS!

Dates of Upcoming Series:

CEE Begins: August 6

MES Begins: September 9

TPO's popular prescheduled three-hour (9am - noon) workshops are presented on a wide range of important regulatory and leadership topics. Many are available to attend via webinar.

Dates of Upcoming Workshops:

Up To & Including Termination: August 11

TPO brings you periodic briefings presented by knowledgeable subject matter experts on a variety of timely employment topics.

Dates of Upcoming Briefings:

Paid Sick Leave (PSL): May 14, June 17

Health Care Reform (ACA): June 11

PSL Applies to ALL CA Employers, regardless of size. This law has lots of complicated angles, up to and including employee relations!

Dates of Upcoming Webinars:

Paid Sick Leave (PSL): May 19 & June 24

TPO's H&D prevention training goes above and beyond to address all forms of harassment and discrimination (age, race, religion, disability, etc.) that today's managers must be prepared to prevent and address.

Dates of Upcoming H & D:

Harassment & Discrimination Prevention:  June 10, August 25, Ocotber 6 & December 10

Spanish Language Harassment & Discrimination Prevention: 
October 13


1. LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - California & Federal
      by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, TPO

2. HR Q&A - Can I Accept a Doctor's "Note-Pad" Note for Return to Work?
      by Kathrine Parsons, SPHR-CA, TPO

3. CA WAGE & HOUR QUICK TIP - CA Minimum Wage
      by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, TPO


Califonia and Federal HR Legislation

by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, TPO

State legislatures are well into the new session. Employment related bills that are noteworthy to watch:

  • Double Pay on the Holiday Act - Assembly Bill (AB 67) if passed would require an employer to pay at least two times the regular rate of pay to an employee for work on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Location: Assembly Committee
  • $100,000+ Salary Exemption- Assembly Bill (AB 1470) if passed would exempt from overtime pay an employee with a total gross annual compensation of at least $100,000 if that employee also regularly performs any of the exempt duties or responsibilities of an executive, administrative, or professional employee as set forth in the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders. Location: Assembly Committee
  • Minimum Wage - Senate Bill (SB 3) if passed would increase the minimum wage by $3.00 over the next two and a half years and impose future automatic increases tied to inflation. Location: Senate Committee
  • CA Family & Medical Leave Act (CFRA) - Senate Bill (SB 406) if passed would modify the current company eligibility requirement from 50 or more employees to 5 or more employees. Location: Senate Committee
  • Paid Sick Leave “clean up”- Assembly Bill (AB 304) if passed would clarify many components of the new law, including that an employer is not required to reinstate accrued Paid Time Off (PTO) to an employee rehired within one year of separation from employment, that was paid out at the time of termination, resignation, or separation. Location: Assembly Committee
  • WaiversAssembly Bill (AB 465) if passed would prevent agreements that include any waiver as a condition of employment of labor protections. Location: Assembly Committee
  • Scheduling Restrictions (retail and food establishments) - Assembly Bill (AB 357) if passed would penalize major retailers (amount not yet decided) for changing a worker’s schedule without two weeks of warning. Applicable to employers with 500 employees and 10 stores.  Location: Assembly Committee           
  • Paid Sick Leave to Include In-Home Workers - Assembly Bill (AB 1522) if passed would reverse the exemption of in-home workers from current PSL requirements. Location: Assembly Committee 
  • Expansion to Paid Family Leave Insurance - Assembly Bill (AB 908) if passed would expand from the current 6 weeks, up to 10 weeks of wage replacement benefits. Location: Assembly Committee 
  • Flexible Work Schedules - Assembly Bill (AB 1038) if passed would allow employees to choose a workday up to 10 hour a day within a 40 hour week with no daily overtime. Location: Assembly Committee 
CA’s CFRA Rule Change Amendments to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) regulations have been approved and will take effect July 1. The changes align CFRA more closely with the federal FMLA, provides guidance on definitions of terms, and other clarifications of interpretation. The mandatory poster will change, though the new version is not available: you can check for the new poster, "Notice B" Family Care and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability Leave” at .


Healthy Families Act (H.R. 932 and S. 497) If passed, would allow most private-sector employees to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave per year. The law would apply to employers with 15 or more employees, and permit workers to accrue an hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 56 hours per year. Smaller employers would be required to provide unpaid leave.  Location: Congressional Committee

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 815) If passed, would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Location: Congressional Committee

Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 862) If passed, would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes. Location: Congressional Committee


Interested in reading more about the bills and process?

Federal legislation:

California legislation:


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"Can I Accept a Doctor's "Note-Pad" Note for Return to Work?"

by Kathrine Parsons, SPHR-CA, TPO

Scenario:  Your employee has been on a leave of absence (or extended sick time) for a medical reason, and now it’s time for him to return to work.  He brings in a note from his health care provider.  You know the one I mean -- a quick scribble on a small page from an Rx note pad, and it says only that he can return to work on a certain date.

Your question: Is the note sufficient?

TPO says no, and here’s why.  There is important information missing on the note pad that will keep your employeesafe,and that will minimize your company’s exposure to potential claims based on ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements for reasonable accommodation.  An employer is responsible to:

  • Inform the health care provider about the physical demands and environmental conditions that are required forthe employee to provide the essential functions of his/her job.  Please note:  We no longer use the term “doctor” because there are multitude of different health care providers that can provide medical services (dentist, chiropractor, mid-wife, etc.).
  • If there are restrictions, exactly what are the restrictions? Pushing, pulling, bending, standing, lifting, etc.?  Can you reasonably accommodate the restrictions?
  • Know whether your employee can return to a regular schedule (e.g., 40 hours per week).
  • Know whether your employee can return to unrestricted work, or with restrictions.
  • If a regular schedule is not possible, how many hours per day/week is recommended?  Can you reasonably accommodate the limitation?
  • How long is restricted work likely to last?  This is important so that you know how to get the employee’s regular work covered.

Based on the answers to these questions, you have solid information on which to base your next steps, which mayinclude:reasonable accommodation (in its many forms), temporarily delegating work among your existing staff, hiring a temporary employee, etc.   Unfortunately, theaforementioned “note pad” note contains none of this information.

TPO’s recommendation:  Always use TPO’s Physician’s/Practitioner’s Authorization to Return to Work form in conjunction with our Analysis of Job’s Physical Demands & Environmental Conditions form.  The combination of these forms will provide the health care provider, and the employer, with all the information you need to make strategic, fact-based decisions on how to move forward.

** These two forms are included in TPO’s HR Administration Kit. **

If you have an employee with unique circumstances that you would like to discuss in detail, contact your TPO consultant!

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...and exceptions in the CA Bay Area and Southern CA!

by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, TPO

CA Minimum Wage:

$9.00 per hour, since July 1 2014 (increases to $10 per hour, effective January 1, 2016.)

Bay Area City Exceptions:

Currently  seven  Bay Area cities have local ordinances requiring a higher minimum wage than CA’s. More information, including posters can be found at the city website listed:

Southern CA Exceptions (applicable to hotel workers):

Sub Minimum Wage:

Though not applicable to cities with higher minimum wage ordinances, CA and Federal rules differ for the payment of a sub-minimum wage (“opportunity wage”) for learners. Combining the state and federal rules it would mean you can pay lower than minimum wage as follows:

  • 85 percent of the minimum wage, rounded to the nearest nickel, but not less than $7.65 per hour (based on the July 1, 2014, minimum wage).
  • For the first 160 work hours
  • Must be younger than 20.
  • Must have no previous similar related experience in the occupation





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Introducing Our Newest TPO Team Members

Maria Avila, Bilingual/Bicultural HR Consultant

Maria is an enthused and versatile professional with over 15 years of experience in the field of Human Resources (HR).  She has worked in a number of diverse organizations and her expertise spans the agricultural, financial, real estate, construction, law enforcement, wine, retail and manufacturing industries, including Fortune 500 companies.   Maria’s unique background has enabled her to bring an innovative, practical and fresh perspective to HR issues.  Her expertise in delivering focused career direction is built on a unique combination of honesty, a natural ability to connect with people, and a passion to see clients through to success.

Maria’s strengths are a broad knowledge of human resources functions and processes.  As a Director of Human Resources, her role encompassed nationwide responsibility for all aspects of HR to include all administrative, talent acquisition, organizational development, employee relations, information systems, training, and safety and workers compensation.  She is equally passionate about serving the concerns of front line employees, the developmental needs of supervisors and managers, and as a business partner to executives.  Maria has successfully transformed HR responsibilities into a more strategic thought process for her business partners.  She offers clients strategic planning capabilities.  She has implemented safety training programs resulting in decreased work-related injuries and illness and significant reductions in workers’ compensation costs.   Most recently, Maria led safety program initiatives that resulted in 95% reduction of workers compensation claims.  Maria also achieved the OSHA Golden Gate Recognition Award for manufacturing and agricultural companies.   It is this wealth of knowledge, commitment and high level of service that Maria offers her clients. 

Maria holds an Associate of Arts Degree in Administration of Justice and has completed coursework in Human Resources and Communications.  She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Legal Studies through San Jose State University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management with a Concentration in Human Resources Management through Golden Gate University in San Francisco.  Maria also holds a California Real Estate License and Peace Officers Standards and Training (P.O.S.T) Certificate.  Her professional and community affiliations include the Society for Human Resource Management, California Chamber of Commerce and California Realtors Association. Maria is scheduled to sit for her Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification in the summer of 2015.

Getting Results for Clients

  • Instrumental in providing organizational development strategies to facilitate change.
  • Implemented recruitment and applicant system which significantly reduced vacancy turnaround time.
  • Developed a company-wide safety training model program resulting in additional revenue and profitability.
  • Restructured workers compensation programs. Obtained optimal outcome resulting in the reduction of claims and major decrease of Experience Modification Factor by 100%. 
  • Revamped talent management programs designed to increase employee engagement and productivity. 

Accomplished facilitator in Workplace Violence/Bullying Prevention, Harassment and Discrimination Prevention, Safety and Workers Compensations, Employment Regulations - while being sensitive to the needs of a diverse employee workforce.

To Contact Maria, Click Here

Dennis P. Hungridge, M.A. SPHR,

Training & Development Specialist

Dennis is a nationally certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation as certified by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and brings a 20-year record of successful program design, development and delivery across a wide range of Human Resource and Organizational development topics, in competitive business, hospitality, higher education and non-profit organizations.

Taking full advantage of a wide and varied background, Dennis uses his expertise in adult learning (M.A., Adult Education/Training, SFSU, 2004) to create learning environments that bring out the best in learners, while focusing learning outcomes on the business needs of the organizations with which he has worked.

Dennis has created training programs in Leadership & Management; Communication; Team Development; Diversity and Inclusion; Project Management; and more. In his 20 years in the HR and Training field, Dennis has worked with hundreds of managers and non-managers alike, always crafting content and programs to meet the needs of both the learner and the business.

Widely read in the areas of Organizational Development and Adult Learning approaches, Dennis was instrumental in creating:

  • New Hire Orientation and On-boarding protocols for several large organizations.
  • Employee Support and Development protocols to replace annual performance evaluations with a more effective one-on-one performance conversation between manager and direct reports.
  • Management and employee professional development programs that focused on success behaviors and outcomes in all of the areas listed above.

Dennis combines a thorough understanding of Human Resource needs with strong track record for employee learning and development, to deliver value-added programs to any organization.

To Contact Dennis, Click Here

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We look forward to the opportunity to provide 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 nationally certified HR experts!
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