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!

Dates of Upcoming Series:

CEE Begins:

March 5

NEW EMPLOYMENT ESSENTIALS Crash Course is a 6-hour training of employment essentials crash course that provides the HR Compliance Fundamentals training your people managers need to know.

Register for Crash Course:

May 7

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!

Dates of Upcoming Series:

LES Begins:

April 9

TPO's popular prescheduled workshops are presented on a wide range of important regulatory and leadership topics. Many are available to attend via webinar.

Dates of Upcoming 3-hour Workshops (9:00am - Noon):

2020 Coming Soon!

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: February 18

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

Dates of Upcoming HDR:


Harassment, Discrimination & Retaliation: December 5, March 26


Harassment, Discrimination & Retaliation: December 12, March 31


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

2. HR Q&A - Holidays Are Upon Us!
       by Caron Pearce,TPO

3. CA WAGE & HOUR QUICK TIP - Rest and Meal Periods
      by Melissa Irwin, SPHR, PHRca, SHRM-SCP, TPO

4. Reminder - Tis the Season
      by Tonja Posey, IPMA-SCP, TPO

5. Featured Article - Melissa Irwin Celebrates 25 Years with TPO

6. Member Spotlight - Carmel Bach Festival

7. Welcome New Members

HR Legislation

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

New CA Laws and Regulations

(effective 1/1/2020 unless noted)

New CA Law - Harassment Training EXTENSION (SB 778) This emergency legislation took effect 8/31/2019 which extends the sexual harassment prevention training deadline (SB 1343) from January 1, 2020, to January 1, 2021. Employers with 50+ employees follow the law from 2015 (AB1825) for supervisory positions.

Employers with 5-49 Employees:

Employers with 50 or More Employees:

Seasonal and Temporary Employees (hired for less than 6 months):

NEW CA LAW – Arbitration Agreements (AB 51) Bans employment arbitration agreements made as a condition of employment. This new law is expected to be litigated to determine if it is preempted by federal law.

NEW CA LAW – Harassment Claims (AB 9) Extend the window of time for workers to file harassment, discrimination or retaliation complaints with the state from one to three years.

NEW CA LAW – Settlement Agreements (AB 749) Prohibits “no rehire” clauses in settlement agreements.

NEW CA LAW - Discrimination on the Basis of Hairstyles Associated with Race (SB 188) – Bans discrimination on the basis of hairstyles associated with race. The CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) expands the definition of “race” under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to include both hair texture and protective hairstyles that are closely associated with race, including (but not limited to) braids, locks, and twists.

NEW CA LAW – Independent Contractors (AB 5) Codifies into the Labor Code the “Dynamex” decision, which created the new “ABC” test for determining whether workers should be classified as either employees or independent contractors. The bill also carves out some exemptions such as insurance agents, hair stylists, doctors, lawyers, accountants, direct sellers. Essentially, an individual is presumed to be an employee unless the company can prove all three of the following:

A. the worker is free from control; and
B. the worker performs work outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
C. the worker is engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business.

NEW CA LAW - Paid Family Leave Insurance (SB 83) Beginning July 1, 2020, will extend from 6 to 8 weeks the maximum duration of paid family leave insurance (PFLI) benefits.

NEW CA LAW – Organ Donation (AB 1223) Requires an unpaid leave of up to 30 days a year. This is in addition to the current law for employers with 15+ employees for a paid leave of up to 30 days.

NEW CA LAW – CA Consumer Privacy Act Exemption (AB 25) Provides a one-year exemption from the CCPA for employment information related to consumer data collection rules.

NEW CA LAW – Civil Penalties (AB 673) Permits employees to recover civil penalties for unpaid wages.

New! Federal Salary Threshold increases on 1/1/2020 from $455 to $684 per week ($35,568 per year for a full-year employee), however CA has higher thresholds (see next item)!

Reminder! CA Minimum Wage Increases CA minimum wage increases to ultimately $15.00 per hour on 1/1/2022 through yearly increases. Employers with 25 or fewer employees have an extra year to comply.

$12.00  1/1/2019 $   960.00 weekly, $4,160.00 monthly, $49,920 annually
$13.00  1/1/2020 $1,040.00 weekly, $4,506.66 monthly, $54,080 annually
$14.00  1/1/2021 $1,120.00 weekly, $4,853.33 monthly, $58,240 annually
$15.00  1/1/2022 $1,200.00 weekly, $5,200 monthly, $62,400 annually
And then annual increases based on the CAConsumer Price Index (CCPI).

Reminder! CA 2020 Exemption Increases.

Reminder! CA Agriculture Overtime Phase-In. As passed in 2017, the then “Ag” standard 10-hour day (60 hours a week) is lowered by half an hour each year starting 1/1/2019 until it reaches the typical CA employer standard 8-hour day (40-hour week) by 2022. Therefore, starting 1/1/2020, the overtime threshold is a 9-hour day (54 hours a week). Employers with 25 or fewer employees have an additional 3 years to comply.

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Are you Ready?

by Caron Pearce, TPO

QUESTION:   Do we have to offer time off for any holiday?

ANSWER:  No, you are not required to offer time off for any holiday. Other than Federal & Government offices, employers can decide which holidays, if any they will recognize.

QUESTION:  If we decide to give time off to an employee, or to close the business for a holiday, must we compensate employees for the time off?

ANSWER:  No, you are only required to pay non-exempt employees for hours worked; if exempt employees perform any work during a workweek, you must not deduct their pay.



QUESTION:  If my employees work on a company recognized holiday, am I required to pay them at a premium hourly rate for “holiday pay”?

ANSWER:  No, you are not required to pay any additional pay for hours worked, other than their base hourly rate.  Though many employers do pay a holiday rate in order to be competitive; if such a rate is paid, note it is not “overtime” unless actual overtime was worked, rather, it is a “holiday” rate.

QUESTION:  What if a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday?

ANSWER:  Most companies state in their policies that holidays falling on a Saturday are recognized on Friday and those falling on Sunday are recognized on Monday.  However, an employer is able to make any schedule they want, which often depends on their business needs.

QUESTION:  What is the best way to address holidays?

ANSWER:  Have a well-written holiday policy in your handbook which outlines recognized holidays, indicate which holidays the business will be closed. Also, address if some or all employees are required (or can volunteer) to work, and if they will receive premium holiday pay or their base pay.

If you do not have a holiday policy, make sure to communicate to your employees with as much advance notice as possible, so you and the employee can plan accordingly.  However you decide to administer your holiday policy, stick to it. If you need help with any policy, or a handbook, TPO is happily able to assist!

Have questions? Contact TPO today!


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...for Holiday Party Best Practices!

by Tonja Posey, TPO

Tis the season to gather and be jolly! Employees anticipate holiday parties as an opportunity to gather with their co-workers outside of the workplace. Many campanies host an annual holiday party which, within the past several years, has raised concern for employers. Bah humbug!

Employers should not be discouraged from hosting a holiday party.  Holiday parties, if planned correctly, are beneficial as they boost employee morale and show appreciating for the hard work of their employees.

While planning your holiday gathering, employers are encouraged to consider the following best practices to avoid potential legal claims:

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...penalty pay!

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


Penalty Pay: For each meal and/or break period a non-exempt employee is not “authorized and permitted” to take, an employee is owed an extra hour of pay as a penalty (up to one hour a day for multiple missed breaks). This hour does not count toward the overtime threshold.

Example: If a non-exempt employee works 11 hours and due to pressing business needs was not able to take two of the three 10-minute breaks as well as either of the 30-minute meal periods, the employer owes a total of two hours of penalty pay for the missed breaks (up to one hour a day) and the missed meal.

What rate to pay the hour of penalty pay?
A California state appellate court has recently ruled that the correct rate for paying meal and rest period premiums is one hour of pay at a non-exempt employee’s base hourly rate, not the regular rate of pay used for calculating overtime wages.

What is the difference?

  • Base hourly rate – the rate of pay the non-exempt employee was hired to work. For example, $15.00 per hour.
  • Regular rate – The rate of pay the non-exempt employee earns when the following examples are considered: commissions, non-discretionary bonuses, piece-rate, value of meals/lodging, and multiple rates of pay. Which would be more than the base hourly rate.





TPO Note: This is one appellate court decision. It will likely bounce around the courts until it ultimately might land at the CA Supreme Court. In the meantime, TPO's recommendation is the more risk-adverse position of paying the higher "regular rate," which is also the rate overtime must be paid at.

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

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Celebrates 25-Years of TPO Excellence!

Congratulations to Melissa on this fantastic milestone. Thank you for countless contributions to TPO, our clients and members, your current and past colleagues. Among many other celebrations, we created this word cloud featuring her most outstanding traits. We couldn’t agree more!


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Steve Friedlander, Executive Director

"The Carmel Bach Festival is one of the longest-running summer music festivals in the world, 82 years, 12,000 patrons and counting. We have anunusual business model in that the Festival has only six full-time staff members, but during the Festival month of July, we have a population explosion when an additional 130 employees, including vocal and instrumental musicians, stage crew members, special guest artists, and a variety of operational support persons join us for the month. TPO is helping us be bigger and better than we could be by ourselves relative to managing a work force of that size and following best practices and maintaining compliance with all the rules and regulations around personnel management. We’re updating our staff handbook, bringing in the HR Administration Kit, revising job descriptions, participating in various training sessions, and taking advantage of TPO’s expertise, quick response and collaborative style to address a variety of issues and opportunities in connection with multiple regulatory and employee relations matters. The Carmel Bach Festival is off to a great start with Michaelle Stanford and the entire TPO team and look forward to a continuing mutually-beneficial business relationship. "

The Carmel Bach Festival began in 1935 as a community-oriented four-day series of concerts at the Sunset School Auditorium and the Carmel Mission Basilica.  Over the years, it grew to become a two-week celebration with more than 40 concerts, recitals, masterclasses, lectures, open rehearsals and other family and community events in July at the Sunset Cultural Center and a half-dozen other venues around Monterey County. 

The Festival's mission is to celebrate the works, inspiration and ongoing influence of Johann Sebastian Bach by immersing audiences in a festival experience integrating music, community engagement, education and ideas. Under the leadership of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Paul Goodwin, President Cyril Yansouni and Executive Director Steve Friedlander, the Carmel Bach Festival offers innovative artistic programming that appeals to a wide range of audience, great music, high artistic standards and an iconic Carmel-by-the-Sea location.

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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