n  TPO Celebrates 20 Years!

n  Training_Calendar

n  Save the Date!

n  Legislative Update

n  Upcoming Briefings

n  W&H Quick Tip

n  TPO New Members

n  South Valley Internet

n  Upcoming NCHRA Events

n  HR Q&A



Training Calendar

CA Employment Essentials

A training series focusing on the regulatory compliance and HR best practices - the information & skills supervisors & managers need to keep themselves and the organization out of hot water!

n September '11

Management Excellence Series

A training series focusing on practical leadership and communication skills to help managers develop or refine their effectiveness as leaders!

n October '11

Training Calendar

n Harassment and Discrimination Prevention

September 22

n Workers' Compensation

October 06

External HR Support Briefing

n Join us for breakfast

September 01

This program is for ALL employers, including new & current TPO members and affiliates. Learn about options and alternatives available to employers considering the economies and efficiencies of external HR support for all or part of their employment-related demands – along with information about TPO’s highly successful membership model.

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September 6, 2011 marks TPO’s 20th year serving the HR needs of our incredible clients and members! Looking back, we feel a combination of pride and gratitude for our sustainability and countless opportunities to impact the well-being of our client’s operations and the people within them. It is through the confidence you place in us, and the professional commitment and contributions of our current and past staff that we are able to mark this significant milestone.

A special thanks to Melissa Irwin, who has been a powerful force in TPO’s success for 17 of our 20 years! And we absolutely could not be where we are without the unbelievable skills and support of Blanca Corcoles and LaTonya Olivier and the rest of our team! We look forward to many more years of providing much needed HR consulting support, training and licensed investigations. Again, thank you for the opportunity to be of service!


Providing a unique service to employers since 1991 by helping solve their


  1. Confusion regarding the thousands of state and federal employment laws.

  2. Frustration with personality conflict and employee relations issues.

  3. Concern that managers are not properly trained on laws and leadership skills.

  4. Interest in running an effective, strategically aligned operation.

  5. Finding expert HR help that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Article written by: Jill Russell, SPHR

TPO and Littler will guide you through an informative day,
balancing both Legal and Leadership Best Practices to prepare you for 2012!

2012 Employment Law & Leadership Conference

Click here for early bird registration!


The CA Legislature has until September 9 to pass bills to the Governor, who in turn has until October 9th for his final signing into law or veto. Since TPO’s last report, the status of important employment-related bills is as follows:

CA Legislation

Signed into Law by Governor Jerry Brown

  • Organ and Bone Marrow Leave Clarification (SB 272) Provides employers with clarity on these mandatory leaves, including that: 1) the one-year period referenced in the statute is 12 consecutive months from the date of the employee’s request for leave, not a calendar year, 2) the days of leave are business days, as opposed to calendar days, and 3) the benefits of an employee must be maintained at the same level during the paid leave, as if he/she had continued to work during that period. If you wish to put a policy regarding this new leave into your handbook, contact your TPO representative.

Vetoed by the Governor

  • Card Check Bill (SB 104) Would have eliminated the secret ballot election and replaced it with the submission of representation cards signed by over 50% of the employees.

Pending in Legislature

  • Bereavement Leave (AB 325) If passed would require employers to provide an employee with up to four days of unpaid bereavement leave upon the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner. Bill Status: Pending in Senate.

  • Payroll Cards (AB 51) If passed would put restrictions on the use of payroll cards. Bill Status: Pending in Assembly.

  • Credit Checks (AB 22) If passed would limit employers’ ability to use consumer credit reports to only where the information contained in the report is “substantially job-related,” which is narrowly defined by the bill to only managerial positions, employees of the city, county, or state Department of Justice, law enforcement, or a position for which a report is required by law. Bill Status: Pending in Senate.

Failed Deadline

  • Medical Marijuana (SB 129) Would have prevented employers from firing, or refusing to hire workers who use medical marijuana, as long as they are not impaired on the job. Pre-employment drug testing would have required exceptions for employees who have a prescription for medical marijuana. Termination of any employee who uses marijuana at the workplace, during working hours, or who is impaired during working hours would have been allowed. Bill Status: Failed Deadline.

Federal Pending HR Legislation

  • Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act (H.R. 2364, S. 1283) - Would expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) coverage to a same-sex spouse, domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, parent-in-law, son- or daughter-in-law, child of a domestic partner, or adult child or sibling who has a serious health condition.

  • Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act (S. 1196) - Like the House employment immigration bill (H.R. 2000), the Senate version would require all employers to use the E-Verify electronic employment verification system, increase employer penalties for violations of immigration law, and eliminate the current Form I-9 process.

  • The Healthy Families Act (H.R. 1876, S. 984) – Would allow employees to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 56 hours (seven days) annually.  

  • Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1519, S. 797) and the Fair Pay Act (H.R. 1493, S. 788) - Would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to promote pay equity.

  • Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act (H.R. 1440) – Would expand FMLA to allow both private and federal employees to take parental involvement leave to participate in or attend their children's and grandchildren's educational and extracurricular activities, and to clarify that leave may be taken for routine family medical needs and to assist elderly relatives, and for other purposes.

  • Payroll Fraud Prevention Act (S. 770) – Would impose new reporting requirements on employers, increase penalties for classification violations, and establish new protections for workers who believe they have been misclassified as non-employees.

  • Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act (H.R. 2000) – Among other provisions, would create a four-year phase-in period during which all employers would eventually be required to use E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of their potential and current hires.

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA




Steps to Take Now to Keep Employees on Track!

August 25, 2011, 8:30 – 10:00am

GAMES ORGANIZATIONS PLAY – Refresh Your Workplace with FUN Learning Tools (presented by TPO)

Take control of the impact you have on workplace morale and commitment.

September 8, 2011, 8:30 – 10:00am


Cost Cutting Options to Consider in Today’s Economy!

October 27, 2011, 8:30 – 10:00am

Location for all briefings: TPO’s Professional Development Center, 60 Garden Court, Monterey.

Can't Join us in Monterey?

ALL Briefings are also available via Webinar!**

Cost: *One Free seat for Members, $35 for non-members

**Games Organizations Play is currently not available via Webinar.

Click here for more information and to register!

“Planning a Holiday Week Closure This Year?”
… decisions need to be made now for a smooth closure.

HOLIDAY CLOSURES: We know the warm sun is shining bright; however, the 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 is on Sunday December 25 and New Year’s is on Sunday 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 especially during the holiday season when money is also frequently tight for your employees.

  • Employees in Salaried, Exempt Positions: Remember, employees in such positions are paid for any workweek in which they perform any work, subject to full or partial day deductions from vacation/PTO 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; which can apply this calendar year if your workweek coincides between the holidays. In order to require a salaried, exempt employee to use vacation/PTO during a full-workweek closure; such requirement must be communicated in writing at least 90 days in advance.

General to Both: Remember that an employee who answers a company cell phone or logs into the company email system for messages, etc. is doing work for the company’s benefit and has put in hours of work. You may want to make certain employees understand they are not to work even remotely during the week if you do not want to end up paying for time actually worked. When making these decisions, look at your employee handbook and past practices to guide your future decisions, and use your TPO Annual Membership benefits to give TPO a call for assistance.

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA

n A.W. Shucks - carmel

n pinnacle healthcare - yuma

n rava ranch - king city

n big sur river inn - big sur

n romie lane pediatric group, inc. - monterey

We look forward to the opportunity to provide each of 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 HR experts! Thank you for joining!

TPO: "South Valley Internet (SVI) has been a TPO member for 9 years. How do you feel TPO contributes to your company’s success?”

Elise Brentnall-Alexander,Vice President/Chief Operations Officer: "We have been long term partners and members of TPO for several key reasons. I can completely rely on their integrity, professionalism, HR knowledge and business expertise. No matter which consultant provides us with support, we receive consistently reliable and direct advice. No long and involved lectures on this law and that. Just cut to the chase so I can get on with the business of our business. TPO enables us to take care of complicated employee relations and compliance issues correctly so we can focus on being successful and staying on the leading edge of our fast- paced technology industry. They are the experts so we don’t have to be.”

About South Valley Internet

SVI is headquartered in San Martin, California and delivers powerful voice and data solutions to businesses as well as data solutions to the home nationwide. SVI offers a wide array of broadband communications products and services from hosted applications and professional services to broadband access, capacity and network management. Our solutions are customized to meet the customer's needs today, and scale as their business grows. Companies coast to coast rely on SVI to gain and maintain their competitive edge. By delivering superior productivity tools and support SVI ensures an excellent customer experience.

Call today for your free audit 800-899-4125 or visit us at www.garlic.com.

The Northern CA Human Resource Association (NCHRA) provides training opportunities for HR professionals. TPO has facilitated many of their programs with the following upcoming opportunities:

SPHR/PHR Certification Test Preparation Course (Gilroy) 12-week course beginning 8/17 6-9 PM Cost $1040 non NCHRA members

Seminar -- 9/29/2011 9 AM – 3:30 PM

Key Elements of a Successful HR Strategy Cost $329 non NCHRA members
Successful organizations spend time and money developing organizational depth and "bench strength," guided by a strategic agenda. Business professionals intimately involved with people initiatives are poised to achieve company goals in this area. Discover how to best leverage your unique position to inform and support the strategic goals of your organization.

Seminar -- 11/16/2011 9 AM – 3:30 PM

Motivating and Retaining Employees: What They Really Want Cost $329 non NCHRA members
It has become more challenging to ensure your employees are satisfied in their positions. Are they motivated to do the best job they can for your organization? Are they being honest about their needs in the workplace?

If you find yourself taking stabs in the dark to develop employee recognition and retention programs, this course is for you!

California Certification Test Preparation Course (Monterey – TPO Offices) 2-day course 12/2/2011-12/3/2011 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM Cost $625 non NCHRA members

Seminar – 12/13/2011 9 AM - 3:30 PM

Working Across Generations: We're Not So Different Cost $329 non NCHRA members
Take an amusing, yet enlightening look at the differences and similarities of today's workforce, and gain a better understanding of what each generation needs from their leaders. Specifically, you'll learn to:

  • Identify and work within different values and preferences

  • Explain and live by "The Platinum Rule"

  • Tailor your communication messages appropriately

We have a few employees who have worked here for more than ten years. They frequently max out their vacation accrual and now our management team is thinking about paying out some of their accrued vacation. Can we do this?

Yes, you can cash out either accrued, unused vacation time, or PTO. Before doing so, however, it’s wise to take a moment to ask yourselves a couple of questions:

  • Why do these employees have so much time accrued and unused?

  • Is it time to develop a more practical vacation/PTO policy?

  • What are the pro’s and con’s of not taking time off?

  • What will be the actual effect on the company’s bottom line?

First the facts

  • An employer can pay an employee for their accrued vacation/PTO time as requested by the employee, or perhaps on a scheduled basis – at the end of the calendar or fiscal year, for example. Because an employer can for the most part determine the rules regarding their vacation/PTO benefit, the employer can even require a pay out instead of carrying it over from one year to the next.

  • All accrued, unused vacation appears as a liability on the company’s balance sheet. Your CFO will need to be an integral part of your decision to pay out any vacation/PTO balances. S/he will know the best revenue generating and/or cash flow quarters of the year. And, quite frankly, that can be the most important factor in making your decision.

Now some additional considerations:

  • Is your accrual schedule based on tenure and/or position within the company too generous? Should it be amended to be more practical? How many employees would be affected? If it is literally only one or two employees, perhaps a portion of their accrual can be paid out at the time the policy is amended.

  • If you decide to update your time off policies, keep in mind the demographics of your work force and what they value most. For example, employees of Gen X or Y may well value the time off more than the cash. Baby Boomers may well prefer the cash than the time. Additionally, some industries more commonly have cash-out policies such as hospitality and agriculture. In other words, adjust your policy to get the best bang for the buck.

  • Some employers like it when employees hit their accrual maximum because they won’t need to accrue any more time (e.g., liability) on the books.

  • If the policy is not amended and your employees continue to accrue time off faster than they can realistically use it, they may appreciate the opportunity to periodically receive cash in lieu of the time off. This can be a morale builder if they know they aren’t losing out on a valuable benefit.

  • How much time will you let, or require them, to cash out? Keep in mind that employees who claim they don’t have time to take vacation because they are too busy are the first ones to suffer burn out. Taking that idea further, burn out can lead to problems in for form of mistakes, irritability, stress, and turnover. Some employers allow only a portion of the total accrual to be paid out; keeping a balance of approximately one week to be used at it was intended – for relaxing and rejuvenation.

A well thought out decision will create a more motivated – and more productive – work force.

Interested in creating a policy in your Employee Handbooks allowing employees to cash-out time, give your TPO Representative a call!

Article written by: Kathrine Parsons, SPHR

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Employment Upd@te is a publication of  TPO HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. Copyright ©2004-2011. All rights reserved.
TPO's Employment Upd@te may not be reproduced or re-transmitted without change or modification of any kind. The information provided is designed to be accurate in content. TPO provides human resource consulting and is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. Readers are advised to consult legal counsel on matters involving employment law or important personnel policies & practices before adoption or implementation.