Well, the California legislature is at it again. Governor Brown signed several laws that change how employers do business in California. Most of the new laws are effective January 1st and require immediate action, so don’t put this off!
1. Update Your Handbook
You must now add “gender expression” and “genetic information” to the list of protected characteristics in your EEO and Anti-Harassment policies.
You must now maintain an employee’s health insurance benefits at the same level of benefit during an employee’s Pregnancy Disability Leave. Handbooks must be modified to reflect the new requirement.
2. Revise or Create Offer Letters & Commission Agreements
All employers must now provide the terms of employment in writing prior to commencing work. In addition to standard information regarding pay rates, the offer letter must specify overtime rates, the regular paydays, and the contact information for the company’s Workers’ Compensation Carrier. You will also need to provide written notice when any of the designated items changes.
The Labor Commissioner has drafted a template employers should use to comply with new Labor Code Section 2810.5(a). You can download the template here.
Beginning January 1, 2013, all employees paid on a commission basis must receive written copies of the commission plan specifying “the method by which commissions shall be computed and paid.” Given the complexity of many commission plans, do not wait until the end of 2012 to contact your employment counsel to review the plan and ensure your bases are covered.
3. Rethink Your Hiring Practices
The penalties for willfully misclassifying employees as independent contractors just went up. This is an extremely high-risk area; so consult with knowledgeable counsel about your workforce status.
Stop conducting financial background checks on applicants or employees until you speak with knowledgeable counsel regarding revisions to California’s privacy laws. A new law limits which employers can conduct financial background checks and which employees can be the subject of such background checks.
There are many more laws coming into effect in 2012. If you would like to receive a more detailed review of the changes, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “Send me the update.”Phillip J. Griego & Associates 95 South Market Street, Suite 520 San Jose, CA 95113 South Bay: 408-293-6341 East Bay: 925-364-4655
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