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: March 5, 2015

MES Begins: April 9, 2015

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:

Managing Change: November 19, 2015

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

Dates of Upcoming Briefings:

Auditing The HR Function: March 17, 2015

If you want to hone your leadership skills… add to your core competencies…and keep filling your talent bucket – but don't have time for a live training seminar? Check out and log on to TPO's 2014 Webinar Leadership Skills Series!

Dates of Upcoming Webinars:

Leadership Essentials - Empowerment: November 12, 2014

Communication Styles: January 14, 2015

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:  December 11, 2014, March 25, 2015

Spanish Language Harassment & Discrimination Prevention: 
May 7, 2015


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

2. DIVERSITY - A Beautiful Thing
      by Kathrine Parsons, SPHR-CA, TPO

3. CA WAGE & HOUR QUICK TIP - Comp. Time
      by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA TPO

4. MANDATORY SICK TIME- Does This Affect Us?
      by Chris Hawkins, SPHR-CA TPO


Califonia and Federal HR Legislation

by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, TPO

The deadline has passed for the Governor to sign or veto bills. Following are those most closely impacting employment:

Signed into Law:

Paid Sick Leave - Assembly Bill (AB 1522) Requires that California employees who, on or after July 1, 2015, works in California for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment is entitled to paid sick days, to be accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked. An employee will be entitled to use accrued sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment, however an employer may limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours or 3 days in each year of employment. Employers may not discriminate or retaliate against an employee who requests paid sick days. 

Sexual Harassment - Assembly Bill (AB 2053) Adds “abusive treatment” to required sexual harassment (AB 1825) training.                                                                                   

Arbitration Agreements - Assembly Bill (AB 2617) Limits the enforcement of arbitration agreements that are not written within allowable prescribed constraints.                     


Liens Against Employers - Assembly Bill (AB 2416) if passed would have allow an employee a wage lien upon real and personal property of an employer, or a property owner for unpaid wages and other  compensation owed the employee, and certain other penalties, interest, and costs.                    


Fair Employment Opportunity Act (H.R. 3972 and S. 1972) If passed, would prohibit employers from discriminating against job applicants based on their unemployment status.
Location: House or Representatives and Senate, respectively.

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

Restoring Overtime Pay for Working Americans Act (S.2486)  If passed, would amend the salary thresholds for executive, administrative, and professional employees over a three-year period from the weekly compensation floor of $455 per week to $1,090 per week; thereafter, the salary thresholds would be indexed to inflation. The measure would also increase from $100,000 to $125,000 the minimum annual salary level that would exempt highly-compensated employees from overtime eligibility. Finally, the bill would require that an employee not spend more than 50% of his or her weekly work hours performing duties that are not covered by such exemptions. Location: Senate

Interested in reading more about the bills and process?

Federal legislation:

California legislation:


Back to the top

Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA
     TPO Senior Consultant/Training Specialist


Who knew that 20 years ago when Melissa walked through the door of our office in Carmel to start her new job with The Personnel Office, that we were on a 20 year journey together. That skinny little recent college grad with a degree in Marketing and minor (Melissa Minor at the time...) in HR who was then selling wine - would evolve into the super star she is today. We remember when she met her husband Scott, attended her beautiful wedding, showered her over two beautiful children, have watched her balance her gifts, love and attention between TPO, raising her amazing children, being a wonderful wife, daughter, sister, and friend to so many.

Melissa has been a key ingredient to TPO’s success over the years. Her enduring commitment to staying on the leading edge of ever-changing employment regulations, ensuring that our internal systems and data serve as an accurate and reliable base for the expertise we provide, her innovations and ideas for how we can change and grow to meet the needs of our clients, her best-in-class training skills – and more contributions than can be counted have benefited anyone and everyone she’s touched.

We had no idea in 1994, but certainly cherish now, what an amazing person, employee and friend we welcomed into our world.

Happy 20, and thank you a thousand times over...

Jill & Robert
(and your team of comrades and grateful clients!)

Back to the top

Mandatory Sick Time!!??!!...Does This Affect Us?

by Chris Hawkins, SPHR-CA, TPO

With very few exceptions, under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, all California employers MUST provide their California employees with at least 3 days (24 hours) of paid sick leave per year effective July 1st, 2015.

What if I already offer paid sick leave? 

Well then, you’re well on your way!  As long as your current paid sick leave is at least twenty-four hours (3 business days) per year, the paid sick leave accrues at a rate of at least one hour per every thirty (30) hours worked, and employees are entitled to use accrued paid sick leave on or by the 90th day of employment, you shouldn’t have to adjust your current paid sick leave policy.  However, there are other compliance issues to be aware of such as reporting requirements and records retention.

The new law also specifies that unused, accrued sick days must carry over to the next year, up to a permissible accrual cap of 48 hours (or 6 days).  If the employees are given the twenty-four (24) hours minimum leave at the beginning of each year, with no eligibility or waiting period, then no accrual or carry-over is required.

Employers must also provide employees with a written notice, on the pay stub or other documents provided on payday, that indicates the amount of sick leave available.  Also, be aware that all employees, including part-time, temporary and exempt are included under this new regulation.

As always, the rate of sick leave must be paid at the employee’s current hourly wage or rate of pay.  However, employers are still not required to provide compensation for accrued unused sick days upon separation of employment, regardless of how these days are accrued, carried over or not, as long as treated separately from accrued vacation time as part of PTO.

Back to the top

Diversity is a Beautiful Thing

by Kathrine Parsons, SPHR-CA, TPO

Smart employers champion diversity in the workplace. They understand that employees from a wide-variety of backgrounds who speak different languages are a great asset to the organization.  Not only do different cultures, education and experiences add richness to the business, it raises the level of customer service that can be provided.  Diverse employees are better able to improve the customer’s experience by speaking in the customer’s language of preference.  Chances are good that those customers will return, and share their positive experiences with their friends and family.

Introducing new people and new cultures into the workplace can be exciting, and a little confusing at the same time.  Co-workers may not be accustomed to hearing different languages, and may find it a little uncomfortable.  Some employees may wish that all employees speak only English at work, and that can become a sensitive subject.  Federal and State anti-discrimination laws protect an employee’s “national origin”.  This has been broadly interpreted to mean the country that the applicant, employee or his/her ancestors came from.  An employer cannot discriminate against employees or applicants based on national origin or ancestry, and an employer cannot deny a person an employment opportunity because that person’s foreign accent makes them unable to communicate well in English, unless you show that the ability to communicate effectively in English is necessary to the job and a bona fide occupational qualification.  In fact, (federal) EEOC guidelines generally prohibit English-only policies.

California laws limit an employer’s ability to adopt or enforce an “English-only” policy in the workplace.  If you have five or more employees (unless you are a nonprofit religious association or religious corporation), an employer cannot adopt or enforce a policy that limits or prohibits the use of any language in any workplace, unless:

  • The language restriction is justified by a business necessity; and
  • Employees are notified of the circumstances and time when the language restriction must be observed and of the consequences for violating it.
  • Business necessity” means an overriding legitimate business purpose.
  • The language restriction is necessary for the business’s safe and efficient operation.
  • The language restriction effectively fulfills the business purpose it is supposed to serve; and
  • An alternative to the language restriction would not accomplish the business purpose equally well with a lesser discriminatory impact

The goal of every employer should be to balance such diversity with the need for safety, efficiency and team inclusiveness.  In order to promote an environment where all employees can understand each other, some employers require employees to communicate in the English language while working. This ensures that the entire team knows what is being communicated and allows individuals to provide additional, relevant information as needed. While this rule applies during work time, it does not apply to non-work time, including before/after work and meal or rest periods.

Above all, it is important for all employees to know that the employer does not discriminate against any individual for any unlawful reason - including race or national origin.

Back to the top

"Comp. Time"...A Fine CONCEPT, but NOT For Private Employers!

by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, TPO

Compensatory Time Off (Comp. Time) is where the employee works overtime but doesn't get paid for it and rather puts it in the “bank” for future use (days, weeks or months in the future). It is not an allowable practice for non-exempt employees in the private sector (it is allowable with some exclusions in the public sector).

Non-exempt employees must be paid for all time suffered or permitted to work, including at the overtime rate where applicable.

When a non-exempt employee incurs overtime, pay it in that pay period.

  • If you would then like to reduce hours worked later in the week/month (to stay on budgetary task for example), that is the employer’s option.
  • Similarly, if the employee would like to request working shorter hours in the coming week/month (to keep actual hours worked in check), the employer could consider the request and approve or deny

Two related issues:

  1. Make-Up Time: It is allowable for a non-exempt employee to request for their own personal reasons to work late one day and make it up in the same workweek; however it has to be in writing for each instance and time worked on any one day cannot exceed 11 hours. Again, make-up time cannot be at the request of the employer, only at the request of the employee for their own personal reasons. (a Make-up Time request form is in your HR Administrative Kit).
  2. Exempt Positions: The idea of an employee in an exempt position “earning” Comp. Time is generally not congruent with the nature of an exempt position. An exempt employee is paid to get the job done regardless of the number of hours worked; sometimes they work more, sometimes less, but the salary remains the same. Be careful of setting up the expectation of an employee in an exempt position earning Comp. Time. When exempt employees track actual hours worked it can lead to the perception that it might be a non-exempt position.

If you would like to discuss this issue further, please give your TPO Representative a call!

Back to the top

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!
Thank you for joining!

Click on logos to learn more!

Back to the top