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!

Dates of Upcoming Series:

CEE Begins: March 8, May 10

LES Begins: April 5, Sept 6

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:

2018 Schedule Coming Soon

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

Dates of Upcoming Briefings:

New Parent Leave Briefing: Dec. 13, Jan 24

External HR Support Briefing: Feb. 21

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 ENGLISH: March 28, June 7


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

2. HR Q&A - Salary History
      by Pat Wilkinson, SPHR, TPO

3. CA WAGE & HOUR QUICK TIP - Commute Time Versus Travel Time
      by Melissa Irwin, SPHR, PHRca, SHRM-SCP, TPO

5. REMINDERS - Training
      by Gina de Miranda, M.A., SPHR, PHRca, SHRM-SCP, TPO

California and Federal HR Legislation

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

New CA Laws and Regulations (effective 1/1/2018 unless noted)

New Parent Leave (SB 63) – This law requires employers with 20-49 employees to provide 12 weeks of a protected leave of absence for new   parental bonding with a newborn baby or a newly placed child for adoption or foster care. To be eligible, employees must have worked 12 months at anytime for the employer and actually worked 1250 hours in the past 12 months. If an employee takes this leave, the new law requires employers to maintain and pay for health insurance premium payments. Employees must be returned to the same or comparable position after the leave. No adverse employment actions may be taken against an employee who uses this leave.

  • TPO Note: TPO will be providing a Handbook policy addendum to TPO Members at no charge.
  • Click Here to Attend a 1.5 hour Briefing on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 9:00 am-10:30 am. FREE for Members

Salary History (AB 168) – This law prohibits an employer with 5+ employees from seeking or using salary history information of an applicant for employment to consider whether to hire the applicant or what to pay the applicant. The law also requires an employer, upon reasonable request, provide the pay scale assigned to the position to an applicant for employment.

  • TPO Note: TPO provides an updated Application for Employment and Employment Verification Form (reference check) to TPO Members at no charge.

“Ban-the-Box” (AB 1008) – This “ban-the-box” law now prohibits employers with 5+ employees from asking about criminal 1convictions on an Application for Employment. Inquiries and consideration of conviction history may be made only after a conditional offer of employment has been made. In order to rescind the conditional offer, an “individual assessment” of the convictions as it relates to the job must be made and the background check report provided to the applicant.

Harassment Training

Immigration Worker Protection Act (AB 450) –  This law prohibits an employer from providing a federal immigration enforcement agent access to nonpublic areas of a place of labor without a warrant, except as specified. Additionally, employers are required to notify employees of Form I-9 inspections performed by federal immigration enforcement officials.

Labor Commissioner Authority (SB 306) –  This law allows the DLSE to initiate investigations of employers it suspects discharged/discriminated against an individual in violation of any law under the department’s jurisdiction—with or without receiving any complaint from an allegedly aggrieved employee. The department can proceed without a complaint when suspected retaliation occurred during the course of adjudicating a wage claim, during a field inspection, or in instances of suspected unlawful immigration-related threats.

Construction Contractor Liability (AB1701) –  For certain contracts, this law provides that direct contractors assume and are liable for unpaid wages, benefits, or contributions that a subcontractor owes.

Human Trafficking Posting Requirements (AB260) –  Expands an existing posting requirement (for alcohol retailers, airports, emergency rooms, and adult or sexually-oriented businesses) to now include hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns.


Reminder The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Revised EEO-1 Report. A revised EEO-1 report requires largeprivate employers including federal contractorsandsubcontractors with 100 or more employees to report summary pay data. The first deadline for the 2017 EEO-1 report will be March 31, 2018 and every March 31 after that — a change from the long-standing previous September 30 deadline.

Go to  for more information.

NEW Mid-Year! Pronouns and Names. As of 7/1/2017 the CA Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) provides that employers are legally obligated to respect the names, genders and pronouns preferred by the employee.

  • They / Them / Theirs – “Tyler ate their food.” It is acceptable to use in the singular context.
  • Ze (zee) / Hir (here) / Hir (here) – “Tyler ate hir food because ze was hungry.”
    • Ze (or zie or xe) replaces she/he/they. Hir replaces her/hers/him/his/they/theirs
  • Just my name please! – “Tyler ate Tyler’s food.”

Updated! 2018 Annual Exemption Compensation Increases. While most exemptions require a salary to be paid, the following are exemptions for employees paid hourly providing the duties requirements are met.

  • Computer Software Exemption: The minimum hourly rate is $43.58 (previously $42.35); the minimum monthly salary is $7,565.85 (previously $7,352.62); and the minimum annual salary is $90,790.07 (previously $88,231.36).
  • Licensed Physician and Surgeon Exemption: The minimum hourly rate is $79.39 (previously $77.15).

Reminder CA Minimum Wage Increases –  A reminder that 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 with the increase.

Minimum Wage Date Weekly Monthly Annually
$11.00 1/1/18 $880.00 $3,813.33 $45,760
$12.00 1/1/19 $960.00 $4,160.00 $49,920
$13.00 1/1/20 $1,040.00 $4,506.66 $54,080
$14.00 1/1/21 $1,120.00 $4,853.33 $58,240
$15.00 1/1/22 $1,200.00 $5,200 $62,400
And then annual increases based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Reminder Expanded Paid Family Leave (PFL) Insurance – A reminder that beginning 1/1/2018 CA PFL insurance payments increases to 60% of wages, capped at $1,100 a week (previously the amount was 55% capped at $1,011 a week); includes a new provision that will allow for 70% of wages for earning $20,000 or less annually; and removes the one-week waiting period.

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...Will not asking for it negatively impact our hiring process?

by Pat Wilkinson, SPHR, TPO

QuestionI know that starting 1/1/2018 CA employers can no longer ask for an applicant’s salary history or from their past employers. I am concerned that will limit our ability to hire the best candidate. Any suggestions?

Answer: Salary information is data that is nice to have, but really it is does not have to be a deal breaker when pay is just one particular aspect of an employee's satisfaction, motivation and engagement with their employer. Here are some specific tips:


1. Job Descriptions: TPO advises that employers ensure that their screening process is effective to clearly indicate the knowledge, required skills and preferred skills/experience, and abilities (KSAs) that measure how well candidates BEST FIT an open position. Many employers post ads without having effective job descriptions documented, and every candidate needs a clear vision of what they will be expected to perform during their introductory period and beyond at a 100% functional level.  This is one of the most overlooked areas of communication to new hires because often hiring managers are just focused on filling the gap, and not hiring effectively for the continuum. Candidates need a clear statement of what success looks like.

2. Salary Requirements: It is important to ask candidates what their salary requirements are; however, many will decline to state this because they know that if their expectations are deemed out of line their candidacy may end there. Alternately, if their previous pay was low that gives the employer insight into the level of work previously performed and clearly could reduce the initial job offer rate of pay.  Candidates will likely ask what the pay scale is, and employers (if they want highly qualified candidates) should be prepared to answer this question effectively.

3. Total Compensation: Some employers are fine with providing straight forward factual pay ranges/amounts, but most are not and for good reasons. After determining that a candidate meets all the basic qualifications for the position, TPO suggests that this is an opportunity for employers to promote their Total Compensation offerings and specific culture. Total Compensation includes base salary/rate, bonus/commission, shift/pay differentials, medical, dental, life, disability, life insurance, retirement savings accounts, as well as paid holidays, vacation, sick leave, flexible work schedules, telecommuting, child care discounts, employee concierge services, educational/training benefits, mentor programs, internal promotion policies, etc.  Employers can also emphasize the effective use of technology, tools and open work environments. There are a variety of ways to communicate pay scales without providing too many specifics. More importantly, creating an effective Total Compensation summary that highlights the full range of potential benefits of working for the employer will EXPAND the conversation beyond just a base rate offer. This proven approach is much more effective in "reeling" in high-caliber talent and enables a more meaningful and thorough conversation about all the attributes of the position and the workplace. 

4. Incentive Plans: The use of incentive plans can have a big impact in soliciting top candidates because high performers want to be rewarded for above average performance. They know they get results and thrive where they are rewarded accordingly. If an employer is having difficulty recruiting fully qualified candidates, they may want to consider implementing signing bonuses that require 1-2 years of successful performance to waive repayment or performance-based incentive plans tied to specific, measurable objectives.

5. Creative Marketing:  What is your current onboarding experience like for new employees? Is it unorganized, boring, tedious, confusing or is it more of an afterthought once the candidate is selected? Candidates, particularly millennials, are looking for a fun and rewarding place to work, a place where coworkers become friends and managers are good coaches. Does your organization just want warm bodies to fill openings, or is your recruiting targeting highly engaged and experienced talent? Your approach to recruiting, selection, onboarding and engagement has a direct impact to the bottom line. If an employer can create a reputation as a "great place to work," it can greatly enhance its ability to recruit qualified candidates even if they are not the top payer in the area.

In conclusion, salary history is data that is nice to have, but really it does not have to be a deal breaker when pay is just one particular aspect of an employee's satisfaction, motivation and engagement with their employer.

TPO can provide expert guidance for our members and clients to strategically enhance their current recruiting, selection, onboarding practices to drive more effective hiring decisions.


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...the difference!

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

Commute: Going to the initial job site and home from the final job site.

Commute Time is not compensable as time worked.

Commute Expenses are not required to be reimbursed (mileage, tolls, etc.).

  • Where the position requires that the initial job site for the day varies depending on business needs (for example, the first job site might be one of three locations in the county), it is a commute to the first site and no time is required to be compensated, nor expenses reimbursed. Employers should be clear with applicants and employees about required job sites for the position.


Travel: Any directive to for the employee to go to an other than agreed-upon, typical job site (for example to an out of town conference or running business errands), as well as travel between job-sites (for example starting work at one job site and completing work at a different  job site within  the same day).

Travel Time is compensable as time worked and therefore must be logged and paid to employees in non-exempt positions.

Travel Expenses are required to be reimbursed (mileage, tolls, etc.). Most employers will use the approved IRS business reimbursement rate (usually released by the IRS in December). The rate is .535 for 2017.





A “Commuting and Travel Time” policy is available for your  Employee Handbook – give us a call!


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A Place for Harrassment Prevention and Diversity

 by Gina de Miranda, M.A., SPHR, PHRca, SHRM-SCP, TPO

Sexual harassment cannot seem to leave the front page of the media recently.  Beginning in June of 2017 which ended with the removal of the CEO of a global transportation startup to the near daily headlines involving politicians, entertainers, and executives, this year has frequently been about sexual harassment in the workplace.

Preventing problems like these and their often expensive aftermath is capturing the attention of business owners and corporate executives alike.  It has also been reported that some managers/executives are rescheduling meetings to avoid meeting alone with   those who may be presumed to share a different gender and/or sexual orientation.


Is this good or bad for the workplace?  On one hand, avoiding being alone with people  who share a different gender and/or sexual orientation will dampen speculation, but on the other hand, it may cause avoidance with key mentoring relationships and could stifle diversity in the management level ranks.  So what is the answer?  How can companies develop the kind of non-sexual comradery that enhances companies, provides growth to all employees and eliminates the emphasis on sex that underlies many of these problems?

In California, companies with more than 50 employees are required to provide harassment prevention training for supervisors every two years, beginning within 6 months of promotion to a supervisory role.  The HR tip of this article is: Maybe more training with another focus is in order for companies?   Perhaps it is time for companies to incorporate diversity training along with the CA-required harassment training.  Diversity training emphasizes how different cultures, backgrounds and genders  enhance  the performance of the workplace. TPO HR can help you put together this type of training for your organization.

Interested in more on this topic? Attend TPO’s Employment Law and Leadership Conference on 1/11/2018 for this break-out session: RESPECT & INCLUSION: Leveraging Cultural Differences & Diversity in the Workplace!

Dennis Hungridge, M.A., SHRM-SCP, SPHR, TPO Consultant/Training & Development Specialist

Do a quick mental scan of the people you work with. Notice anything? It’s diverse and includes a rich variety of backgrounds, styles, perspectives, values and beliefs! Join us for a fast-paced and active discussion of how leveraging cultural differences and diversity at work can spark your organization’s performance. Click Here to Register!


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