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Human Resources – Pay and Train When You Should; Avoid Fines


By Cheryl Chong


Hours worked on holidays, Saturdays and Sundays by non-exempt employees are treated like Square_Employee-Holidays-calendar-Dollarphotoclub_98933984hours worked on any other day of the week. California law does not require that an employer provide its employees with paid holidays, that it close its business on any holiday, or that employees be given the day off for any particular holiday. If an employer closes its business on holidays and gives its employees time off from work pursuant to their policy or practice, these hours can be without pay. An employer is required to reasonably accommodate an employee who requests time off for religious reasons. This time off as an accommodation does not have to be paid. There is nothing in the law that mandates an employer pay an employee special premium pay for work performed on a holiday, Saturday or Sunday, other than the overtime premium required for work performed in excess of eight hours in a workday, forty hours in a workweek or for hours worked on the seventh day worked in the employer’s workweek.

Must I Comply With AB 1825?

Since 2005, California companies with 50 or more employees must provide two hours of interactive sexual harassment prevention training to supervisors within six months of hire or promotion, and every two years thereafter. The 50 employee or more threshold includes full-time, part-time and temporary workers who are working anywhere in the world. You must include all employees and contractors, including those that reside or work outside of California. Under the regulations for AB 1825, “having 50 or more employees” means employing or engaging 50 or more employees or contractors for each working day in any 20 consecutive weeks in the current calendar year or preceding calendar year.

Harassment claims can cause very serious damage or in the worst scenario, put your organization out of business. Such claims hurt productivity and morale, can make it harder to engage and retain qualified employees, and can damage your organization’s reputation through negative media coverage. Additionally, dealing with a harassment claim will cost you a minimum of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees, and even larger amounts in settlements, judgments, and punitive damage awards, among other things.

By educating and training your employees, you may not completely prevent or eliminate potential issues. However, you would have a better defense in mitigating or defending a claim by showing that you took extra steps to comply with State and Federal training mandates and to protect your organization and employees.

 What is Wage Theft and the CA 2016 minimum wage?

Wage theft is the illegal practice of not paying workers, withholding of wages or denial of benefits for all of their work including; violating minimum wage laws, not paying overtime, forcing workers to work off the clock or making them punch out early and having them continue to work, employee misclassification, illegal deductions in pay, withholding properly earned pay and much more.  It is a major problem statewide. Specifically, in Los Angeles alone, low-wage workers lose $26.2 million in wage theft violations every week–making it the wage theft capital of the country.

California has many strong labor laws on the books and, in fact, is the one state that has many employee protections, but wage theft persists because of lack of enforcement. When workers attempt to report wage theft violations, the process can take years, and businesses often shut down or change names during this time to avoid getting caught or taking responsibility.

A review of wage claim data from 2008-2011 and found the majority of companies ruled against by the labor commission and courts never paid back any wages. 83 percent of workers who hold a court-ordered claim to receive their unpaid wages never see a dime. In the current system, it is easy for unscrupulous employers to avoid the consequences of their actions. In fact, employers often close up shop or open up their business under another name to avoid paying their workers.

Effective January 1, 2016, the minimum wage in California goes up to $10 per hour. Although there are some exceptions, almost all employees in California must be paid the minimum wage as required by state law. There are some employees who are exempt from the minimum wage law, such as outside salespersons, individuals who are the parent, spouse, or child of the employer, and apprentices regularly indentured under the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards. Additionally, some California cities or municipalities have their own minimum wage requirements so be sure to check regularly to ensure that you are on the most current and correct wage rate that applies to your company and in order to avoid liability issues and fines.


CherylSince Doug Moore has retired, Cheryl Chong has joined VMA as our Human Resources Director and your #1 source for assistance responsible for counseling on HR matters like family leave, discrimination, sexual harassment and wage and hour compliance. She has a Bachelors and Masters degree from Chapman University in Orange, CA, along with 20+ years of HR experience in the trenches. Think of her as an extension of your HR department, courtesy of VMA. Please feel free to reach out for answers or introduce your organization by calling 800-659-3363 or cheryl@vma.bz.

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