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!

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

SEASONAL EMPLOYER SOLUTION SERIES (SESS) is an 3 module workshop series focusing on Exiting, On-Boarding and Managing seasonal employees. TURN-KEY TRAINING & TOOLS!

Dates of Upcoming Series:

CEE Begins: Mar. 9, May 11, Aug. 10 & Oct. 12

LES Begins: April 6 & Sept. 7

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:

Strengthening Teams: Dec. 15

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

Dates of Upcoming Briefings:

External HR Support Briefing: Feb 22

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: Dec. 8


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

2. HR Q&A - Holiday Season
      by Kathrine Parsons, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, TPO

3. CA WAGE & HOUR QUICK TIP - Increased Salary Thresholds Starting 1/1/2017
      by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, TPO

4. REMINDERS - USCIS Revises Form I-9

California and Federal HR Legislation

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

Following are the major employment-related legislative developments from 2016 that will affect business in 2017:


SIGNED by the Governor - NEW laws! Effective 1/1/2017 unless otherwise stated

Minimum Wage Increases (AB3) – The Governor signed into law that CA minimum wage will increase from the current $10.00 per hour to ultimately $15.00 per hour on 1/1/2022 through yearly increases. Employers with less than 25 employees have an extra year to comply with the increase.

  • TPO Tip: A complete breakdown of increases by year, including the subsequent increases in the minimum exempt salary threshold was provided in TPO’s prior eNews. Click here to review prior article!

State-run Retirement Plan (SB1234) – The Governor signed into law a state-run retirement program for workers who don't have an employer-sponsored plan. It requires employers with 5 or more employees to automatically enroll their workers and deduct money from each paycheck, though workers can opt out or set their own savings rate. The account could also be carried from job to job, allowing them to accumulate larger balances in a single account. Due to the amount of prerequisites that first must be met before this program is ready to roll-out, the exact implementation date is not yet known.

Equal Pay, Gender Salary History (AB1676) – The Governor signed into law prohibiting that prior salary, by itself, as a justification of any disparity in compensation under the bona fide factor exception to the prohibition on discrimination based on gender.

Equal Pay, Race or Ethnicity (SB1063) – The Governor signed into law an expansion to the state’s equal pay statute, prohibiting an employer from paying any of its employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of another race or ethnicity for substantially similar work.  

Agricultural Overtime (AB1066) – The Governor signed into law a gradual removal of the existing overtime exemption allowed for agricultural employers. New overtime rules will start in 2019, lowering the current 10-hour-day threshold for overtime by half an hour each year until it reaches the standard eight-hour day by 2022. It also will phase in a 40-hour standard workweek for the first time. The governor will be able to suspend any part of the process for a year depending on economic conditions. Employers with 25 or fewer employees will have an additional three years to comply with the phasing in of these overtime requirements.

New-Hire Notice Requirements  (AB 2337) – The Governor signed into law a requirement that employers provide a written notice to new-hires and other employees upon request that provide information on leave rights (for medical treatment or legal proceedings) as a possible victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The Labor Commissioner is charged with providing an appropriate form by 7/1/2017 and employers are not required to comply until the form is available.

All-Gender Toilet Facilities  (AB 1732) – The Governor signed into law that starting 3/1/2017, all single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or government agency to be identified as all-gender toilet facilities.

  • TPO Tip: Replace any single-user toilets facilities with the appropriate all-gender signs.

Juvenile Criminal History (AB1843) – The Governor signed into law prohibiting employers from inquiring into any “adjudication” made by the juvenile court. “Adjudication” is a final determination by a court as to whether the juvenile committed the crime of which he or she is accused.

  • For health care facilities, AB 1843 allows employers to request the applicant to disclose a juvenile adjudication for a felony or misdemeanor for a sexual offense or drug possession that was rendered within the prior five years. However, as with other employers, that applicant would not have to disclose any juvenile adjudications for arson, murder, kidnapping, assault with a firearm, discharge of a firearm and numerous other serious felony offenses.

E-Cigarettes and Vaping (SBX2-5) – The Governor signed into law a package of bills relating to smoking. In part, the new legislation will treat the use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices that contain nicotine as “smoking” – thus extending existing smoking bans to cover such products.

  • TPO Tip: Most handbooks already address “smoking” in the workplace. Employers may want to revise the policy to specifically address e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

Arbitration (SB1241) – The Governor signed into law a bill related to arbitration that states employers  cannot require employees who primarily reside and work in California to 1) adjudicate a claim in another state when the claim arises in CA, or 2) apply another state’s law to a controversy that arises in CA.

Pay Stubs (AB2535) – The Governor signed into law a technical clarification made to existing regulations that actual hours worked need not be reported on paystubs for any employee exempt from overtime, whose pay is not determined in any way by hours worked.

Expanded Paid Family Leave (PFL) Insurance (AB908) - The Governor signed into law that starting 1/1/2018 CA PFL insurance payments will increase to 60% of wages, capped at $1,100 a week (previously the amount was 55% capped at $1,011 a week). A new provision has been added that will allow for 70% of wages for earning $20,000 or less annually.

  • TPO Tip: PFL is a state-run insurance program. It does not guarantee a leave of absence; rather, it provides supplemental wage replacement where an employer has approved a leave of absence.


Federal Salary Threshold Increase ON HOLD! As of 11/22/2016, the US District Court in Texas issued a preliminary injunctionblocking the U.S. Department of Labor from implementing the revised FEDERAL salary threshold increase  that was to increase to $913 per week ($47,476 annually) beginning 12/1/2016. Still unsure is if the Labor Department will appeal the decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and also unknown is the position of the incoming administration of President Trump. Stay tuned!

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Revised EEO-1 Report. The EEOC has approved a revised EEO-1 report that will require large private employers including federal contractors and subcontractors with 100 or more employees to report summary pay data. The first deadline for the new 2017 EEO-1 report will be March 31, 2018. The EEO-1 report will be due every March 31 after that — a change from the long-standing previous September 30 deadline.

Interested in reading more about the bills and the process?

Federal legislation:

California legislation:


CA November Ballot, Recreational Marijuana Use.

California voters approved Proposition 64, the “Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act”, which legalizes recreational marijuana for individuals over the age of 21. From an employment standpoint, it will not:

CA Annual Updates for Overtime and Meal Period Exemption effective 1/1/2017

Computer Software exemption:

    • The minimum hourly rate of pay exemption increased to $42.39 from its previous rate of $41.85;
    • The minimum monthly salary increased to $7,359.88 from its previous rate of $7,265.43; and
    • The minimum annual salary exemption increased to $88,318.55 from its previous rate of $87,185.14.

    Licensed Physician of Surgeon exemption:

    • The minimum hourly pay for licensed physicians and surgeons increased to $77.23 from $76.24.

Electronic EDD Filing

A 2015 law, effective 1/1/2017 for 1) all employers to electronically submit employment tax returns, wage reports, and payroll tax deposits to the Employment Development Department (EDD) and 2) employers with 10 or more employees are required to electronically submit returns, reports, and payments. For more information go to

Government Contractors

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...Are You Ready?

by Kathrine Parsons, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, TPO

Question:  As the holiday season draws near, what wage & hour or HR practices should we keep in mind?

Answer:  Great question!  You will want to remind your managers and staff about the following.  Some of these items deserve further discussion prior to implementation, so be sure to contact your TPO consultant for more information.


  • Mandated Benefits and Voluntary Benefits – It’s important to keep in mind that some employee benefits are mandated by law such as SDI, Social Security, Paid Family Leave Insurance, Paid Sick Leave, etc. Others are voluntary; private employers can provide them if they wish, and can afford them.  Examples of voluntary benefits are vacation, PTO, and holidays (see below). This fact alone answers many questions for employers and employees.
  • Advance Notice – Know the advance notice requirements for each of your time off benefits.  If swamped by multiple requests for time off during the holidays, meeting the advance notice requirement (or not) may help in the approval process, or in prioritizing requests.
  • Holiday Pay – There are two important points to remember.  First, private employers are not required to be closed on holidays, nor are they required to provide premium pay to employees in non-exempt positions when employees work on holidays. The second point is that overtime is based on actual hours worked, therefore hours paid as holiday pay are not considered when calculating hours worked.  Remember that employees in exempt positions do not get holiday premium pay; rather, their salary continues uninterrupted on that day.
  • Floating Holidays (aka Personal Days) – There are two types of floating holidays, assigned and unassigned.  Assigned floating holidays are those tied to a specific event (example: the employee’s birthday, date of hire anniversary, etc.).  If your organization provides unassigned floating holidays, your employees are allowed to choose when to use this time off.  Some employees choose to use their floating holidays during the holidays.  Refer to your employee handbook for the parameters around this benefit. Your policy may include a time frame for taking the time off (example: within 30 days of your birthday) and advance notice requirements. These paid hours are not hours worked and therefore do not count toward overtime.
  • Holiday Week-long Closures – Many organizations close between December 25 and January 1. 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. This year Christmas is on Sunday December 25 and New Year’s is on Saturday January 1st, which means that for many employers, the closure would bridge an entire “workweek”.
Employees in Non-Exempt Positions: Need only be paid for actual hours worked. If the organization chooses to close for days/weeks, the employee can be required to use accrued but unused vacation/PTO; similarly, an employer can deny an employee’s request to use accrued but unused vacation/PTO during the holiday closure (an approach those who are in a cash-flow crunch might choose), however, carefully consider the employee-relations impact of such actions.
Employees in Salaried, Exempt Positions: Remember, employees in such positions are paid for any workweek in which they perform any work, subject to partial day deductions from vacation/PTO/sick for their own personal reasons, in accordance with company policy. Therefore, if the organization is closing for 3 days of the workweek and the employee worked 2 days in the workweek, s/he must be paid for the full week. Salaried, exempt employees who do not work any of the workweek do not need to be paid for that workweek.
  • Vacation – If your organization offers paid vacation time off, refer to your policy for related requirements.  The policy may include rules for minimum or maximum amounts of time that can be taken at one time, a requirement that time must be earned before taken or advance notice. These paid hours are not hours worked and therefore do not count toward overtime.
  • Unpaid Time Off – If your company allows unpaid time off (employee has used all their vacation/PTO, or there is no vacation/PTO benefit) be careful to approve or deny requests in a fair and consistent matter.  As always, consult your policy for related parameters.

Finally, make sure your actual practices match your written policies!

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...ready of not, here they come!

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

While late-breaking notice on 11/22/2016 causes a “HOLD” on the federal salary threshold that was due to increase on 12/1/16, employers must still follow both Federal and State exempt salary thresholds!


The current federal minimum salary threshold to qualify under the Executive (Managerial), Professional or Administrative exemption is $455 per week ($23,660 annually).

  • Federal Salary Threshold Increase ON HOLD! As of 11/22/2016, the US District Court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor from implementing the revised FEDERAL salary threshold increase  that was to increase to $913 per week ($47,476 annually) beginning 12/1/2016. Still unsure is if the Labor Department will appeal the decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and also unknown is the position of the incoming administration of President Trump. Stay tuned!








The California minimum salary threshold to qualify under the Executive (Managerial), Professional or Administrative exemption increases with each CA minimum wage increase, and is always at least two times the current minimum wage. It will change from the current threshold of $800 per week ($41,600 annually) to:

Penalty Pay: For each meal or break period an employee is not “authorized and permitted” to take within the above parameters, the employee is owed an extra hour of pay as a penalty. This hour does not count toward the overtime threshold.

1. 1/1/2017 $840 per week ($43,680 annually)
2. 1/1/2018 $880 per week ($45,760 annually)
3. 1/1/2019 $960 per week ($49,920 annually)
4. 1/1/2020 $1,040 per week ($54,080 annually)
5. 1/1/2021 $1,120 per week ($58,240 annually)
6. 1/1/2022 $1,200 per week ($62,400 annually)

  • Note that the Federal amount is higher than California until 1/1/2019…that doesn’t happen often!


What to Do Right Now

  • Identify your exempt positions currently earning less than the above amounts, both for this December and into the future!
  • Decide with senior management if, and/or when, your organization will increase exempt salaries, or re-classify the positions as non-exempt.
  • If re-classified as non-exempt, train the employee on timekeeping requirements, overtime, rest/meal breaks and not responding to emails/texts/calls off the clock.
  • Even if your positions meet the above thresholds, now is the perfect opportunity to review and reconfirm that your exempt positions still meet the duties test.  Consider: Has the position changed over the last few years? When was the job description last updated?  If the position clearly remains exempt – great.  If you have any doubts at all then further examination is recommended.

Click here for TPO’s five-page document on the topic of salary thresholds and exempt versus non-exempt classifications.

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

By January 22, 2017, employers must use only the new version, dated 11/14/2016. Until then, they can continue to use the version dated 03/08/2013 or the new version.

The changes are designed to reduce errors and enhance form completion using a computer. Among the changes in the new version, Section 1 asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used,” and streamlines certification for certain foreign nationals. Other changes include:

  • The addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly.
  • The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators.
  • A dedicated area for including additional information rather than having to add it in the margins.
  • A supplemental page for the preparer/translator.
  • The instructions have been separated from the form, in line with other USCIS forms, and include specific instructions for completing each field.

The revised Form I-9 is also easier to complete on a computer. Enhancements include drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates, on-screen instructions for each field, easy access to the full instructions, and an option to clear the form and start over. When the employer prints the completed form, a quick response (QR) code is automatically generated, which can be read by most QR readers.

For more information, go to the USCIS website,

Download the new I-9 documents here

For TPO clients who have the HR Administration Kit, save the new files to the "Upon Hire" section of your electronic Kit documents.

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Bob Corliss, President & CEO

“Management practices and HR policies require constant review, revision and subsequent comprehensive training to remain in compliance with the volume of regulations and requirements. At Robert Talbott, we strive to maintain HR practices that promote positive employee morale and loyalty. Over the years, we have relied on TPO as a trusted resource to safeguard that our employment practices are compliant. TPO ensures that we have sound hiring, performance management and training strategies, and; that our employees are engaged and satisfied with their employment. The TPO team guides our internal HR team in a consistently professional and responsive way to support Robert Talbott’s short and long term success.”

About Robert Talbott, Inc.

At Robert Talbott, we pride ourselves on our dedication to quality and craftsmanship. We understand that the finest materials and time-tested processes are the foundation for classic style and impeccable clothing—and that is precisely the reputation which we have steadfastly maintained over the course of more than half a century. Our garments represent our understanding of style and workmanship, whether made in our Italian officinas or in our very own Monterey, California workshop. From our early beginnings as a cottage industry in Carmel, California, to our current position as one of the most distinguished manufacturers of fine clothing, the story of Robert Talbott is quite literally that of the American Dream, realized. As makers, manufacturers, and purveyors of utterly distinctive design sensibility, we are committed to bringing you an iconic, American brand whose quality is second to none, all inspired by our heritage in the Monterey Bay Peninsula.

For more information:

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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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