Audit Your HR Practices Early in 2019 to Find Hidden Traps that May Bite You
Posted January 15, 2019

With 110 new employment laws now in effect, it's more daunting than ever to be a California employer! You try your best to treat your people well and to keep up with a seemingly infinite number of employment laws - but it can be overwhelming, resulting in paralysis by analysis.

For employers who want to be the most proactive, LightGabler has developed a 27-point Human Resources Checklist covering over 100 categories that we will review with you. The process takes about two hours to complete (depending upon your issues and questions), and we guarantee that it will get you that much closer to the ultimate goal of complete 2019 compliance.

In the meantime, here are four action items to jump-start the compliance process:

  • Make sure your new hire paperwork is up to date. In 2018, California joined the "ban-the-box" movement, barring employers with five or more employees from inquiring about an applicant's criminal history on the employment application (and check your on-line version as well!). California also prohibits all inquiries into an applicant's pay history and state and local new hire forms have been updated.
  • Update your employee handbook. Have you updated your handbook to capture all of the new law changes? For example, as of January 1, 2018, companies with 20 to 49 employees within 75 miles of each other must provide their employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the New Parent Leave Act. Is your leave section up to par? In 2019, California passed new national origin definitions and significant sexual harassment changes. Have you updated your EEO and Harassment Prevention policies to capture these changes?
  • Audit your paystubs. Labor Code section 226(a) lists nine items you must have on your paystub, along with the sick time accrual. Employers must provide notice of this accrual with each pay period, so the paystub is the logical place to document all paid time off. A missing start of the pay period or incorrect legal company name on the paystub (not just on the check), can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars of penalties. We can review copies of your hardcopy and electronic paystub to make sure you are in compliance.
  • Recalculate your overtime bonus calculations. On March 5, 2018, the California Supreme Court clarified the correct formula for calculating the required overtime increase on a non-discretionary flat sum bonus. In our experience, many employers do the calculation incorrectly, or not at all! Unfortunately, the Court made this liability retroactive, exposing employers to four years of potential liability. There is a simple way to calculate the increase in a non-discretionary flat sum or fluctuating bonus based on overtime worked by a non-exempt employee, and we can walk you through the process quickly.

With just a little bit of effort, forward-thinking employers can stay ahead of California's litany of compliance "gotchas." A little preventative action can go a long way to thwart costly lawsuits, and, even worse, devastating class actions. Make HR compliance your New Year’s resolution and start off 2019 with peace of mind. For further information, contact your LightGabler attorney or call our main line at 805.248.7208.

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