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TPO brings you periodic information-packed briefings to keep you up-to-speed on timely HR topics and resources.

External HR Support Briefing: September 22, October 15, November 17 & December 15


TPO's popular prescheduled workshops are presented on a wide range of important regulatory and leadership topics.

You Can't Always Get What You Want (3-Hours): September 15

Essential Wage & Hour (3-Hours): September 30

HR Q&A Live (2-Hours): October 13

FMLA/CFRA/PDL Compliance (3-Hours): November 19


California law requires organizations with 5 or more
employees (including contractors, on-call staff, and
temporary employees) to provide harassment training
by 1/1/2021 and thereafter:


EMPLOYEE - September 23, October 28 & December 9

SUPERVISORY - September 24. October 29 & December 10


EMPLOYEE - September 16, October 21 & December 16

SUPERVISORY - September 17, October 22 & December 17


1. HR ITEMS OF INTEREST - California
      by Melissa Irwin, SPHR, PHRca, SHRM-SCP, TPO

2. REMINDER - 2020 Holiday Season
      by Caron Pearce, TPO

3. QUICK TIP - Planning a Holiday Week Closure this Year?
      by Melissa Irwin, SPHR, PHRca, SHRM-SCP, TPO

4. HR Q&A - Remember FFCRA
      by Michaelle Stanford, PHRca, M.A., TPO



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


Presumption of Worker’s Comp. (AB 196) If passed, this bill would establish a “Conclusive Presumption” of Injury that contraction of COVID-19 by all “essential workers” is a workplace injury.

Rehiring Laid-Off Employees (AB 3216) If passed, this bill would require certain California travel- and hospitality-related employers (hotels, event centers, airport hospitality operations, janitorial services, building maintenance or security services) to offer its laid-off employees specified information about job positions that become available for which the laid-off employees are qualified, and to offer positions to those laid-off employees based on a preference system in order of seniority. This would apply to any employee who was employed by the employer for 6 months or more in the 12 months preceding the state of emergency giving rise to the application of this section, and whose most recent separation from active service was due to a public health directive, government shutdown order, lack of business, a reduction in force or other, economic, non-disciplinary reason related to the state of emergency.

Bereavement Leave (AB 2999) If passed, this would create a new 10- business days of unpaid leave of absence for employers with 25 or more employees (3-days for employers with fewer than 25 employees) for bereavement leave for the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner, regardless of how long the employee has worked for the employer.



At the time of this article, the different state and federal proposed relief packages are numerous and complicated. Rather than trying to stay ahead of this curve, for now, employers are left guessing what the outcome will be. TPO will provide relevant HR-related information as it is available.

Interested in reading more about legislative bills and the process?
Federal legislation: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/legislation.xpd For CA legislation: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/



Due in part to that the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which granting paid COVID-related leaves, only applies to employers with 500 or more employees, it is one of the reasons some CA cities and counties are adopting their own COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave requirements to “fill the gap” so to speak. This can be very confusing for employers with operations in multi cities/counties. Areas currently with their own ordinances include: the cities of Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, Long Beach, Sacramento and Santa Rosa as well as Unincorporated Los Angeles County and Unincorporated San Mateo County.



Following is a list of Critical Covid-19 resources. Make sure you check these websites frequently as most have recurring updates. TPO uses these resources constantly in our consulting and as we provide TPO COVID-19 Alerts.

CA CDPH Employer Playbook For Safe Reopening: https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/employer-playbook-for-safe-reopening--en.pdf

CA County Variance: https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap-counties/

CA Industry Guidance: https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/

Federal CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses & Employers: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

County Health Departments: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/LocalHealthServicesAndOffices.aspx

Federal Department of Labor: FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT (employers with less than 500 employees)
General Recap: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave
FAQs: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions

CA EDD Unemployment Assistance: https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

CalOSHA: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/coronavirus/Health-Care-General-Industry.html

CA Labor Commissioner: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/2019-Novel-Coronavirus.htm

DFEH: https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2020/03/DFEH-Employment-Information-on-COVID-19-FAQ_ENG.pdf

IRS COVID-19: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/covid-19-related-tax-credits-for-required-paid-leave-provided-by-small-and-midsize-businesses-faqs

National Council of Nonprofits: https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/thought-leadership/how-are-other-nonprofits-navigating-these-unchartered-waters

Remember, you can read all the past 32 (and counting) on our website!
TPO COVID-19 Resource Alerts: https://www.tpohr.com/tpo-covid-19-resource-alerts/


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...Blink and it will be here tomorrow

by Caron Pearce, TPO


Now is a good time to review your current holiday policies and consider what the expectationsare for the 2020 Holiday Season. Policies can always be changedby the employer, but you do need to communicate those changes with as much advance notice as possible.

  • Is COVID-19 the Grinch who stole Christmas?
  • What is your reality today?

It is not a regulatory requirement to allow time off, or to pay for time off not worked on holidays. It is also not a requirement to pay special “holiday” rates for time worked on holidays. If providing holidays with pay is in your current written policy you are considering changing, then a policy addendum would be necessary.

Discretionary bonuses are exactly that, they are not guaranteed. However, if you have not ever missed one and this is a first for you, you may want to sensitively communicate why it’s not happening this year.

If what has been normal during the holidays past is looking quite different today, you might want to consider setting theexpectations to your employees with as much advance notice as possible and consider communicating in writing any anticipated changes before the last quarter of the year.

As always, you will want to weigh the balance between financial  savings, and employee morale.

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...make decisions now for a smooth closure!

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

We know the warm sun is shining bright; however, the winter holidays are just over 3 months away and if your organization is deciding (or has decided) to close during the holidays; make sure you are in compliance with CA wage and hour requirements that may require 90 days’notice! This year Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on Fridays.

Take a look at the calendar and make some decisions, which might include:

  1. closing on your designated holidays,
  2. closing between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, and/or
  3. changing your usual holidays to accommodate business, customer and/or employee preferences.

As you decide, keep in mind:

This article is a brief overview of a complex matter. Please contact TPO with any questions!



by Michaelle Stanford, PHRca, M.A., TPO

Beginning April 1, 2020 and through December 31, 2020, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), employees may take an Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) that provides partial compensation and return to work job protections for employers with fewer than 500 employees.

EFMLA is for when the employee is unable to work (or telework/remote work) due to a need to care for the employee’s child under 18 years of age if the school or place of care has been closed or the child care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency related to COVID-19. The first 10 days are unpaid (though an employee may use paid Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) if such time is available), the remaining 10 weeks are paid. Payments for qualifying childcare/school reasons are 2/3 the regular rate of pay, up to $200 daily and $12,000 aggregate.

TPO Note: EFMLA is not available to employees who are on a temporary furlough/lay-off/leave, or to pastemployees who were terminated as part of a permanent lay-off.

School's in...Now What?

Here’s an example of what one of our members is doing!

"As an essential business, we are being creative. Every parent seems to have a different need. The stress on them is UNBELIEVABLE! We have written agreements/understandings and then check ins frequently. Several of our parents are working from home 1/2 days on critical school days. One brings her 13-year-old into work twice a week (the student is in a private office with windows). One employee works from home except one day a week. Everyone’s been pretty understanding so far."

TPO Reminder:  While working to be creative and flexible, ensure that all employees are treated consistently when considering flexible schedules and accommodations.

Q. Now that most schools are officially opening for the fall, do I have to provide emergency family and medical leave to my employee if their child’s school is open for partial or complete online learning?  

A. Yes. According to the Department of Labor’s (DOL)  FFCRA Q & A’s #70, if the physical location where your child received instruction or care is now closed, the school or place of care is “closed” for purposes of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave. This is true even if some or all instruction is being provided online or whether, through another format such as “distance learning,” your child is still expected or required to complete assignments.

Q:  Can my employee take expanded family and medical leave intermittently while their child’s school is open for partial or complete online learning due to COVID-19 related reasons, if I am not teleworking?

A:  Yes, according to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) FFCRA Q & A’s #22, but only with your permission. Intermittent expanded family and medical leave should be permitted only when you and your employer agree upon such a schedule. For example, if your employer and you agree, you may take expanded family and medical leave on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but work Tuesdays and Thursdays, while your child is at home because your child’s school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons, for the duration of your leave.

The Department encourages employers and employees to collaborate to achieve flexibility. Therefore, if employers and employees agree to intermittent leave on a day-by-day basis, the Department supports such voluntary arrangements.  For more information visit the DOL at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions

Before automatically assuming taking EFMLA is the only option for your employee, first have a conversation to explore whether there is a different solution that minimizes the amount of time the employee needs to request.  For example, could the employee work the weekend?  Work the morning before the school session starts or in the evening?

As always, TPO recommends caution before denying an employee leave. Gather all the facts as there may be other aspects or leave of absence to consider.

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Gillian Stearns, HR Manager

"First Alarm has been partnering with TPO since 2018. As an HR professional, I rely on TPO to keep me updated on the constantly changing human resources landscape. The COVID-19 pandemic has added its own complex element to the HR world. I tell people I now have two jobs: My “regular job” and my “COVID job.” Throughout this pandemic, I have reached out to TPO weekly, if not daily, for information, advice, and current guidelines. TPO’s guidance has enabled First Alarm to successfully navigate through these complicated times and keep its employees and customers safe!"

Our Story

First Alarm has been protecting businesses and homeowners for more than 40 years. The company, which began as a modest security force in Santa Cruz County, is now one of Northern California’s premiere commercial and residential security providers.

Through growth, experience, and acquisition, First Alarm has become a name widely recognized for safety and dependability.  Today, First Alarm is one of the largest security companies in the country. Our corporate office is located in Aptos, California, and is one of the most modern security centers in the industry.  We also operate satellite facilities in San Jose, Monterey, and Rohnert Park.

Today, First Alarm and our sister company, First Alarm Security & Patrol, Inc., field a team of more than 600 security professionals who help protect homeowners, businesses, school districts, government facilities, and industrial complexes in communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

For more information 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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