Events and News

 

IRS standard mileage

The IRS standard mileage reimbursement rate for the use of a car will be 56.5 cents per mile.

 

Written commission arrangements stating the precise method of commission payments are now required. A signed copy of the contract must be provided to each employee covered. The terms will remain in effect until superseded or terminated in writing.

 

Employee Social Media Privacy Interests are protected by AB 2674

Employers are prohibited from requiring or requesting that employees or applicants disclose their user name or password information for any personal social media or that they divulge any personal social media except when needed for certain investigations.

 

AB2674 eliminates some confusion regarding employees’ rights to inspect personnel files.

Employers are required to retain personnel files for at least 3 years following termination of employment, and to permit current and former employees (or their representatives) to inspect and receive a copy of their personnel records within 30 days of a request to do so.

 

SB 1255 amends the Labor Code to define an “injury” for purposes of violating the itemized wage statement statute

Employers are required to provide specified information to employees on a wage statement each time wages are paid. If an employee “suffers an injury” as a result of an employer knowingly or intentionally failing to comply, the employee is entitled to recover damages against the employer.

 

SB 1038 eliminates FEHC.

Basically, the biggest change is that the Commission’s duties are transferred to the DFEH who will be able to bring civil actions on behalf of complainants directly to court and require mandatory dispute resolution.

 

Effective December 30, 2012, 28 pages of new Pregnancy Disability regulations go into effect.

Many of the changes are technical, but there are some significant changes that become effective. One major change is that Notices employers are required to provide to employees affected by pregnancy have completely been reworded. Another change is that employers must notify employees in writing of any medical certification required each time certification is required. A third change is clarification of the term “four months” of leave, which now includes various ways to calculate the leave and defines the period as the number of days the employee would normally work within four calendar months (one third of a year equaling 17-1/3 weeks) if the leave is taken continuously following the date the pregnancy disability leave commences. Additional changes include: a) an expanded definition of when a woman is “disabled by pregnancy”; b) clarification of an employer’s responsibilities regarding reasonable accommodation or transfer of employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions; and c) an expansion of protections to include that it is unlawful to discriminate against or harass an applicant or employee based on “perceived pregnancy”

 

Billions of dollars in new taxes went into effect on January 1, 2013 to fund provisions in the health care law passed in 2010.

The new taxes include an increase in the payroll tax on wages, a tax on investment income (including interest, dividends and capital gains) and a new tax on medical devices. Single taxpayers earning more than $200,000 and married couples earning more than $250,000 will be taxed an additional 0.9% (2.35% total) for earnings over that base amount. The new tax on investment income also is to support Medicare. That 3.8% tax will be imposed on the lesser of the individual’s net investment income or the amount by which the individual’s modified adjusted gross income (AGI) tops $200,000 (single) or $250,000 (married filing jointly). New limit on health care flexible spending plans. There had been no limit to the amount of contributions to a flexible spending arrangement (FSA), which allows an employee to set aside a portion of earnings to pay for qualified expenses as established in a cafeteria plan. Allowable contributions to health FSAs are capped at $2,500 per year starting January 1, 2013. The dollar amount will be indexed to inflation after 2013.

 

Health Insurance Continuation for Pregnancy Disability Leave: SB 299

Employers with 5 or more employees must provide Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) of up to 88 working days (4 months) for employees. Until now, unless those employees were also covered by Family Medical Leave (which applies to employers with 50 or more employees), there was no requirement to continue and pay for their health insurance benefits during the PDL. Effective January 1, though, the law changes. All employers with 5 or more employees will now be required to continue and pay for health coverage under their group health plan for an eligible female employee who takes PDL (if covered under the employer's group plan at time of leave). The coverage will extend for the length of the PDL, up to 88 working days during a 12-month period commencing on the date the leave begins.

If an employer provides benefits for other disabilities for a length of time greater than 88 working days or 4 months, they are required to provide benefits for pregnancy leave to the same extent and for the same length of time.

 

Notice of Pay Details:  AB 469

When you hire non-exempt (hourly) employees, you are now required to provide them with a written notice that includes: 

  • The rate of pay and whether they are paid hourly, salary, piece rate, commission, etc., and include the overtime rate.
  • Any allowances, if any, claims as part of the minimum wage, i.e. meals and lodging.
  • The regular pay day designated by your company.
  • The name of the employer including any "doing business as" names.
  • The physical address of the employer's main office or principal place of business and any mailing address, if different.
  • The telephone number of the employer.
  • The name, address and telephone number of the employer's workers' compensation carrier.  

Should any of the information in the initial notice to the employee change, the employer must provide the specific changes to the employee within seven (7) calendar days unless these changes are reflected on a timely wage statement or other writing required by law.

The Labor Commissioner will provide a template for employers to use (and we will make sure you get a copy).  And, the Labor Commissioner can require that additional information be included in that written notice.

 

Commission Agreements:  AB 1396

Effective January 1, 2013, if you have employees who are paid by commissions, you are required to have a written contract stating how the commissions will be paid and calculated.  And, the employee must receive a copy of the contract.
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Gender Expression:  AB 887

This Bill amends the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to include gender identity and "gender expression".  This means that employers must make it clear that discrimination on either basis is prohibited, and employees must now be allowed to dress consistently with both the employee's gender identity and gender expression.  The definition of "gender expression" is "a person's gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person's assigned sex or birth."

 

State and Federal Contracts - Minimum Wage Violations:  AB 551

The maximum penalty for contractors and subcontractors under certain state and federal contracts has increased from $50 to $200 per calendar day for each worker paid less than the determined prevailing wage.  The minimum penalty is also increased from $10 to $40 per day for violations of prevailing wage obligations.  In addition, the penalty for failing to respond to a written request for payroll records within 10 days has increased from $25 to $100 per calendar day, per worker

 
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Minimum Wage Violations - Administrative Penalties:  AB 240 

Effective January 1, the Labor Commissioner can now award liquidated damages in an amount equal to twice the wages unlawfully unpaid, plus interest.  Under existing law, liquidated damages could be awarded in any complaint before a civil court only.  

 

Human Resource Management|The Evans HR Group