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Training Calendar

Training Calendar

n Harassment and Discrimination Prevention

November 13

External HR Support Briefing

n Join us for breakfast

December 05

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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The Region's Premier Employer Conference!

Don’t miss our TPO/Littler 9th Annual Employment Law & Leadership conference on January 30, 2013. Littler will update you on new employment laws for 2013 providing increased protections for employees, more employer obligations, and greater penalties you need to know about, including:

  • Breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding

  • "Religious dress practice" and "religious grooming practice"

  • Strengthened standards and increased penalties regarding wage statements

  • Amended Written commission agreements rules

  • Increased fines and misdemeanor status for non payment of all wages due

  • Amendments to CA’s False Claims Act

  • Increased exemptions in the wage garnishment law

  • Changes to many statutes replacing "mental retardation" with "intellectual disability

  • The California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust Act, a law which creates the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings.

  • Changes in existing law for driving a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device

  • New FCRA Summary of Rights requirement

  • Newly signed Password Protection Law

www.tpohr.com/event for more information and to register!







TPO Members attend FREE* as part of their Annual Membership!

(*Based on number of authorized representatives)

 **Charge for participants above the number of your authorized representatives.

Click here for early bird registration!

Based on questions asked by TPO clients, Paid Family Leave is a very misunderstood benefit – caused primarily by its misleading name! Think about it this way:

PFL is Money, not Time.

To help employees understand this, I suggest referring to it as “PFL insurance”. PFL insurance is a (partial) wage replacement benefit administered by the California EDD, and it applies to all California employers with 1 or more employees. It’s technically part of the SDI Program, and that’s why in 2004 the SDI deduction from pay checks was increased. That increase is funding the PFL insurance program. That’s also why an employee goes to the EDD to apply for PFL insurance benefits. The following are some of the most common questions that come up.*

What is the purpose of PFL insurance benefits?

  • There are times when a working parent to wants to bond with a new baby or care for a seriously ill parent, child, spouse, or registered domestic partner. This includes bonding time after a Pregnancy Disability Leave. Paid Family Leave insurance benefits are a partial wage replacement when an employee needs to take an approved leave of absence for these reasons. PFL insurance benefits are NOT for an employee’s loss of wages due to their own serious health condition.

Who is eligible for PFL insurance benefits?

Eligible employees:

  • Employees are covered under this program from their first day of employment.

  • Must be covered by SDI (or a voluntary plan) and have earned at least $300 in your base period from which deductions were withheld.

  • Must complete EDD claim forms and submit to EDD no earlier than 9 days, but no later than 49 days after the first day the family leave begins.

  • Must supply medical information to EDD that supports the claim that the person being cared for has a serious health condition and requires the employee’s care.

  • Must provide documentation to EDD to support a claim for bonding with a new biological, adopted, or foster child.

  • Must use up to two weeks of accrued, unused vacation or PTO IF required by the employer – prior to receiving benefits.

Who is NOT eligible for PFL insurance benefits?

Ineligible employees include those who:

  • Already receive SDI benefits or Workers’ Compensation benefits

  • Are not working, or looking for work, at the time the family leave begins

  • Are not suffering a loss of wages

  • Do not provide documentation to EDD from a treating physician of the need for care (for whom the employee is providing care)

  • Is in custody due to the conviction of a crime

Is there a waiting period before the benefits begin?

  • There is a seven day waiting period before benefits begin for each different person who requires care within a 12-month period. The exception is when the mother is taking PFL to bond with her newborn child; in that situation, as soon as she is off SDI, PFL will begin with no waiting period.

How much is the PFL insurance benefit, and how long does it last?

  • Benefits are based on the employee’s past earnings in the highest quarter of the base period. It provides benefits of approximately 55% of lost wages, and range from $50 to $987. An employee must earn $23,305.46 in a calendar quarter during the base period in order to receive the maximum benefit of $987. Benefits can continue for up to 6 weeks in a 12-month period.

Are the PFL insurance benefits that an employee receives taxable?

  • Benefits are taxable for federal income tax, but not for California income tax.

Can PFL insurance benefits be “coordinated” with vacation, sick and/or PTO?

  • Yes. These benefits can be “coordinated” with vacation, sick time, or PTO. Remember the employer can require the use of two weeks of vacation/PTO before benefits begin. One of the weeks can be used during the 7 day waiting period. The employer can also require the use of other accrued, unused paid time to supplement PFL insurance benefits. In that case, most employers will want to make sure the employee does not receive a combined amount of more than 100% of their regular gross earnings.

If you have additional questions about PFL insurance, call your TPO consultant. We’ll happy to help!

*Source: DE2511 Rev 6(8-09)

PFL insurance pamphlets are part of TPO’s HR Administration Kit.

Article written by: Kathrine Parsons, SPHR-CA

Governor Jerry Brown passed 568 bills into law. Those that most impact HR and Employment follow:


  • Religions Dress and Grooming (AB 1964) – Adds "religious dress practice" and "religious grooming practice" as a belief or observance to existing protections against religious discrimination in the FEHA. The new law requires “reasonable accommodation” which can include “the wearing or carrying of religious clothing, head or face coverings, jewelry, artifacts, and any other item that is part of the observance by an individual of his or her religious creed." “Religious grooming practice" can be broadly construed "to include all forms of head, facial, and body hair that are part of the observance by an individual of his or her religious creed."

    • TPO Tip: Be prepared to “pause” and consider reasonable accommodation as these issues come up!

  • Social Media (AB 1844) – Prohibits an employer from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant for employment to disclose a username or password for the purpose of accessing personal social media, to access personal social media in the presence of the employer, or to divulge any personal social media. This bill would also prohibit an employer from discharging, disciplining, threatening to discharge or discipline, or otherwise retaliating against an employee or applicant for not complying with a request or demand by the employer that violates these provisions.

    • TPO Tip: Focus on job-related activities and appropriate, effective recruitment practices!

  • Breastfeeding (AB 2386) – Amends The Fair Employment and Housing Act’s (FEHA) term "sex" to also include “breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding.”

    • TPO Tip: In addition, remember lactation accommodation in the workplace is required!

  • Written Commission Agreements (AB 2675) – Per a law passed last year, Written Commission Agreements are required by 1/1/13. This law clarifies that “commission” does not include: short-term productivity bonuses such as are paid to retail clerks, temporary variable incentive payments that increase but do not decrease payment under the written contract, and bonus and profit-sharing plans, unless there has been an offer by the employer to pay a fixed percentage of sales or profits as compensation for work to be performed.

    • TPO Tip: Make sure your agreements are written in plain language so there are no surprises to the employee regarding pay!

  • Personnel File Inspection (AB 2674) – Expands employer requirements to include, among other provisions: 1) must now provide a copy of the contents of file if asked, 2) must now provide a form for employees to request to review/copy, 3) the employer can "redact" (remove, blacken-out, etc.) names of non-supervisory employees from the files, 4) former employees have the same rights as current employees, 5) if terminated for violation of law, workplace harassment or violence in the workplace, can meet at other location or can mail, and 6). employers have 30 days to provide the copy and/or viewing.

    • TPO Tip: This changes many employer’s policy of only providing copies of items the employee signed. Contact TPO if you would like a sample form to use!!

  • Retirement Plan (SB 1234) – Requires all private non-unionized employers who do not offer a retirement benefit to enroll their employees in a government-created defined benefits retirement plan, “the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program”. Employees may opt out of the program.

  • Workers’ Comp. Reform (SB 863) – Implements a variety of reform to potentially lowers costs for employers, including implementing an independent medical review system and streamlining the permanent disability schedule.

  • Wage Garnishment (AB 1775) – Increases the amount of wages exempt from garnishment from the federal standard (the lesser of 25% of an individual's weekly disposable earnings or the amount by which the individual's disposable earnings for the week exceed 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage) to a new higher California standard (the lesser of 25% of an individual's weekly disposable earnings or the amount by which the individual's disposable earnings for the week exceed 40 times the California minimum hourly wage).

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA

How to Determine Pay without a Timecard
...use your best guess!

A common complaint from managers:

“If an employee doesn’t turn in their timecard, they shouldn’t get paid!”

The CA Labor Commissioner disagrees!

If an employee does not turn in the timecard, CA employers are obligated to pay the employee based on the best guess (which sometimes feels like using a crystal ball). The spirit of the regulation is that the manager knows what the employee is working (or should know) since s/he is supervising the work.

If you find that the payment was not accurate, then a payroll adjustment can be done when the real numbers are verified.

This issue, though, is really more about performance expectations. Coach the employee to better know the reasons for timecards. Coach the manager to better monitor their staff. In both situations, if the matter is not resolved, it may become a performance factor leading to disciplinary action, even separation of employment. Managers should know that their own performance is in part determined by how well they ensure employees follow work rules.

  • TPO Tip: This matter can be minimized by having an appropriate lag-time between when timecards are due and when paychecks are cut so there is ample time to gather appropriate data. Gone are the days of turning in timecards in the morning and getting paid in the afternoon!

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA

n NH3 service company, inc. - Salinas

n alvarez technology group, inc. - Salinas

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!

Rumor has it that the terms of a sales person’s commissions can no longer be agreed upon by a handshake. Fact or fiction?

The fact is that a new law in California, effective January 1, 2013, requires commission agreements to be in writing. Why should you care? The new law will apply to all employers, regardless of size, industry, product or service who pays commission wages/earnings to any employee as part or all of the employee’s general compensation/earnings plan. The new law applies to CA employers and their employers located inside and outside California.

The requirements don’t end at putting the agreement in writing. The law requires that the written agreement also define the method by which commissions are earned and computed, and how and when they are paid. Include all details of advances, splits, returns/refunds, separation of employment, and similar terms of the agreement.

Labor Code section 2751 defines commission as: “compensation paid to any person for services rendered in the sale of such employer’s property or services and based proportionately upon the amount or value thereof.” For purposes of this law, the term "commissions" does not include short-term productivity bonuses, discretionary bonuses, or other bonus and profit-sharing plans which may be paid quarterly or annually, providing that the bonus plan is not based on “a fixed percentage of sales or profits as compensation for work to be performed.”

“Commissions” must be paid at least once a month. It’s more complicated if you offer a draw. In California, employers who choose to offer a draw must pay these sums at least twice a month, similar to “wages”.

Contact us for support regarding your required written commission agreements at 800.277.8448 or log on to www.tpohr.com for further information about our services.

Article written by: Chris Hawkins, SPHR

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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.