Here you can find the latest weekly emails from Accuchex.

July 4, 2017

Employer Cybersecurity and Epayroll

Employers are responsible for an increasing number of tasks and safeguarding employee information is one of them. With cybercrime on the rise and increasing every year, employers must be extra careful about how they handle their employees confidential information.

To ensure proper safeguarding of employee data, check out our blog that discusses steps that you can take to minimize security breaches in the workplace.

Read our blog on employer cybersecurity and epayroll.

Wage Statements Checklist

There are nine categories of information that you must include in every wage statement. These are required whether the wage statements are distributed electronically or by hard copy. Failure to meet these requirements can result in penalties of up to $4,000 per employee.

View the employee wage statement checklist that was developed to ensure compliance.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: What is the technical or otherwise common definition of an employee’s termination date? Is it the date the on which the termination occurs or the last date the employee performed work?

Answer: Typically, the termination date is the day that the actual termination occurred. It may or may not coincide with the final day of work, depending on the circumstances.

For example, many companies have a no-call, no-show provision in their attendance policy (e.g., three days of no-call, no-show will result in termination), after which an employee is terminated based on job abandonment. In such a scenario, the date of termination is after the third day of no-call, no-show, which does not coincide with the employee’s last day of work. Alternatively, the employer or employee may give advance notice, as is often the case when employees are simply moving on in their career or the employer is conducting a layoff. In that case, the termination date is the employee’s final day of work.

Visit our HR Administration FAQ page to read more.

June 28, 2017

California Law Alert

Minimum Wage Increases

Seven municipalities in California have passed minimum wages that are higher than the state rate and will go into effect or increase on July 1, 2017.

Emeryville
For employers with 56 or more employees: increase from $14.82 to $15.20 per hour
For employers with 55 or fewer employees: increase from $13.00 to $14.00 per hour

Los Angeles City and unincorporated areas of LA County
For employers with 26 or more employees: increase from $10.50 to $12.00 per hour
For employers with 25 or fewer employees: increase from $10.00 to $10.50 per hour

Malibu
For employers with 26 or more employees: increase from $10.50 to $12.00 per hour
For employers with 25 or fewer employees: increase from $10.00 to $10.50 per hour

Pasadena
For employers with 26 or more employees: increase from $10.50 to $12.00 per hour
For employers with 25 or fewer employees: increase from $10.00 to $10.50 per hour

San Francisco
Increase from $13.00 to $14.00 per hour

San Leandro
Increase from $10.00 to $12.00 per hour

Santa Monica
For employers with 26 or more employees: increase from $10.50 to $12.00 per hour
For employers with 25 or fewer employees: increase from $10.00 to $10.50 per hour

Domestic Violence Victim Leave Notice

The California Department of Industrial Relations recently released a new notice regarding California’s Domestic Violence Leave Law. Employers with 25 or more employees must provide this notice to all new hires (as part of a new hire packet is acceptable) and to any employee upon request. The notice is available for download on the HR Support Center by searching California Domestic Violence Notice.

Expanded Protections for Transgender Employees

Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), California already protects transgender employees from employment discrimination with respect to hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment. New regulations going into effect July 1extend those protections by requiring that employers take affirmative steps to acknowledge and respect an employee’s gender identity. Here are the key provisions of the new regulations:

  1. Names and Pronouns: Employers must use an employee’s preferred name and pronoun and may only use a different name indicated on government-issued identification (e.g., birth certificate or passport) if required to do so by law.
  2. Gender/Sex Inquiries: Employers may not require or request proof of an individual’s sex or gender, gender identity, or gender expression.
  3. Transitioning: The new regulations make it clear that FEHA protections extend to people in transition, perceived to be transitioning, or post-transition. The process of transitioning may include changes in name and pronoun usage, facility usage, participation in employer-sponsored activities (e.g., sports teams), or undergoing hormone therapy, surgeries, or other medical procedures.
  4. Grooming and Dress: Employers may not enforce dress codes or grooming standards or requirements that conflict with an employee’s gender identity.
  5. Facilities: Employees must be allowed to use the restroom, locker room, or other gendered facility that corresponds with their own gender identity.

There are no required notices, but employers should ensure that all levels of management are familiar with the new regulations and take appropriate steps to comply.

Further Restrictions on Use of Criminal Histories

The Fair Employment and Housing Council released new rules related to the use of criminal histories in employment decisions, which take effect July 1.

The new rules are in line with the guidance that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has provided since 2012, and require that employers consider whether their use of criminal histories will have an adverse impact on any protected class. If an applicant or employee claims that the policy or practice of using criminal histories has an adverse impact on a protected class, the employer will have to show that the policy was job-related and consistent with business necessity. This is a test we have long advised employers to use as a best practice (particularly those in California).

Under the new regulations, even if an employer can show job-relatedness and business necessity, it must also prove that there was no less discriminatory policy or practice that could have been used to achieve the same result. Employer policies should also specifically allow for individual assessment, which should consider the nature of the offense, how long ago it took place, and how it relates to the position, if at all.

The new rules also include a notice requirement. Applicants or employees must be notified if an adverse action will be taken because of their criminal history and given an opportunity to address any factual inaccuracies. If a record is shown to be inaccurate, it must not be considered.

As a reminder, the following criminal records should not be considered in California:

  • Arrests that did not result in conviction (unless trial is pending)
  • Detentions that did not result in conviction
  • Sealed records
  • Convictions that have been judicially dismissed, including through expungement
  • Misdemeanor marijuana convictions more than two years old
  • Participation in pre-trial or post-trial diversions programs
  • Proceedings in juvenile court

June 27, 2017

New Overtime Guide

Did you know that complaints regarding overtime can end up being some of the costliest employee complaints a business may face and that they often lead to legal claims? Over the past year, overtime rules have provided employers with many challenges. Not only do employers have to juggle the issue of exemptions and exceptions, they also have to be aware of the differences between federal and state rules. These rules have been a major source of confusion as overtime legislation has been disrupted by injunctions and new laws that have been proposed.

To address this confusion, we have developed a guide for employers that covers everything you need to know about overtime.

Click here to download the guide.

Employee Onboarding Best Practices

Your onboarding process for new hires presents both great opportunities and potential disasters. When done correctly, new employee onboarding can lead to greater job satisfaction, lower turnover, higher performance, and lowered stress. In order to have an effective onboarding process, it is vital that employers and HR staff understand best practices and are aware of mistakes that can derail the onboarding process.

In our blog post, we discuss seven common mistakes made by management when bringing new employees into the fold and the steps your company can take to develop an efficient onboarding process.

Learn more about employee onboarding.

Payroll Management FAQ of the Week

Question: Our company won a municipal contract but now we are required to report a “Certified payroll”. What does that mean?

Answer: Certified payroll is a specialized data input format of hours worked and labor costs for a specific job and is used to generate a report that complies with the Form WH-347 from the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. This involves, among other things, payroll input on a daily basis, job codes, pay codes and report parameters. Certified payrolls must be handled within the context of all the normal requirements for state and federal tax deposits, quarterly and year end reporting.

Check out more of our frequently asked payroll management questions.

June 20, 2017

California Paid Sick Leave Updates

Recently the California Labor Commissioner issued an update to a few points on its California Paid Sick Leave FAQ page. These updates sought to provide additional guidance and clarification for employers on the status of so-called grandfathered” paid time off (PTO) policies and disciplinary actions for unscheduled absences.

Employers should read these newly updated points and review their paid sick leave and attendance policies to ensure compliance.

Click here to read the updates.

Payroll Tax Filing for Independent Contractors

Full and part time employees already require a great deal of compliance for employers. But managing California labor laws and pay for independent contractors has another level complexities for employers. There are several problems that employers often encounter when dealing with payroll tax filing for independent contractors.We have put together three major points to keep in mind in order to stay compliant during the tax year.

Learn more about payroll tax compliance for independent contractors.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: What is the purpose of a performance improvement plan? Can’t we just terminate employment for poor performance?

Answer: The use of a performance improvement plan (PIP) can help reduce the risk inherent in any termination. A PIP is used to help employees whose performance has slipped, become inconsistent, or otherwise needs improvement.

It’s safest to terminate an employee when you have documentation that justifies the legitimate business reasons for the termination. If you’re terminating for poor performance, this documentation should include past warnings for poor performance, explanations of the consequences for the employee if they didn’t improve, and evidence that the employee failed to do so.

A great way to do all this is with a PIP, which specifies your expectations for employee performance, defines what success looks like going forward, sets regular meetings with the employee to discuss their progress, and explains the consequences for failing to meet and sustain improved performance within an established time frame.

If the employee continues to under perform or fails to sustain improved performance, you may need to move on to termination. If you’ve been using a PIP, you will have the documentation to demonstrate that you gave them a chance to improve. This record will make it more difficult for the employee to challenge the reason for a termination.

Visit our HR FAQ page for more commonly asked HR questions and answers.

June 13, 2017

Payroll Outsourcing Guide

Many business owners make the mistake of assuming their payroll is better handled in-house. It makes sense to want to control your data, protect information, and reap financial savings. But, managing your own payroll can be costly in many more ways than you imagined and can end up being very time-consuming.

This guide will help you understand the key benefits and services of payroll outsourcing and the ROI you can expect.

Click here to download the guide.

Rules for Employee Classification

Employee classification has become increasingly critical for employers. Mis-classifying employees is a common mistake and one that can result in significant liabilities.

As an employer, you are expected to exercise sound judgment in classification of your workers. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of the factors and guidelines for classifying employees is necessary to avoid potential risks. We have identified three rules based on court cases to help you determine how to properly classify your employees.

Read more about the rules.

New Bathroom Regulations

According to CalChamber, the California Office of Administrative Law approved new regulations that specifically address protections for transgender persons, including equal access to use of facilities. This new regulation will go into effect on July 1, 2017 and is meant to expand upon the existing protections under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Click here to read more about the new bathroom regulations.

June 6, 2017

Employee Rest and Meal Breaks Guide

California labor laws for employee rest and meal breaks have proven to be a regulatory maze for employers. Employers must juggle many issues such as split shifts, employee classification, and post-shift activities. Without due diligence, it can be very easy to overlook certain requirements and any potential oversight can lead to costly claims, penalties, and even employee lawsuits.

It’s important for employers to keep themselves apprised of the latest rules and regulations. We have developed a free guide that covers everything you need to know about rest and meal break laws.

Click here to download the guide.

California Minimum Wage Impact On Employers and Workers

On January 1, 2017 the California minimum wage increased to $10.50 an hour on the heels of new legislation that is designed to usher in a minimum wage threshold of $15.00 an hour by the year 2022. For business owners, the fiscal impact of this law is real and immediate. If your business doesn’t have a plan in place to deal with the rising cost of minimum wage compliance, the consequences can be dire.

It is best to understand all of the possible impacts that this may have on your business and may even require changes to existing workplace policies.

Learn more about the impact that California’s rising minimum wage may have on your business.

HR Tip: Summer Internships

School is out for the summer and that means college students are looking for internships. Did you that the Department of Labor has six specific and hard-to-meet criteria for when an employee can be classified as an unpaid intern? If the position doesn’t satisfy all six, the worker must be classified as a paid intern (or simply an employee). Before advertising for or hiring an unpaid intern, ensure the following:

  • The internship is similar to training which would be given in an education environment;
  • The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  • The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  • The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern (on occasion its operations may actually be impeded);
  • The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job after the internship; and
  • The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship

May 30, 2017

HR Management Trends in 2017

Towards the end of each year, experts sound off on what they deem to be the coming trends in the industry. HR management is no different and predictions were made for 2017. So what is really trending so far this year?

We’ve gathered information on the latest HR trends that companies are taking advantage of this year. Some of these trends include:

  • AI and Chatbots for HR
  • A Blended workforce
  • Employee-Centric Hiring

Click here for more information on the top 10 noteworthy HR management and workforce trends of 2017.

Business Savings with Paperless Payroll

We’re already halfway through 2017 and the end of Q2 is coming up. Transitioning your payroll process into a truly paperless payroll system can have measurable cost savings. Paperless payroll also has many benefits in addition to cost savings such as:

  • a more accurate and streamlined payroll process
  • secure offsite data storage
  • employees having instant access to their wages on payday
  • and more…

Transitioning to paperless payroll is a great option for any company still using paper time sheets, paychecks, and pay stubs. It’s never too late to adopt a new payroll process.

Check out our blog for more information on the benefits of paperless payroll.

HR FAQ of The Week:

Question: What do you advise regarding screening social media accounts during the hiring process?

Answer: We strongly recommend against reviewing a candidate’s social media accounts during the interview process. By doing so, you could be exposed to information about the protected classes to which your candidate belongs. For instance, if you went to their Facebook page, you might discover their race, age, or religion. If your ultimate hiring decision was challenged, you would need to prove that those characteristics were not a factor in your decision.

We recommend basing hiring decisions only on the information you obtain through the application, resume, interviews, and reference checks. The goal of the application and interview process is to find the most qualified candidate for the position you’re trying to fill. You shouldn’t need to get into the private lives of candidates to make that determination, and the risk of doing so makes it inadvisable in any case.

Visit our HR FAQ page for answers to commonly asked HR questions.

May 23, 2017

Overtime and Employee Classification

Overtime pay is a tricky issue for employers. Due to complex and, at times, vague laws the potential for employee lawsuits is high. Understanding employee classification is key for employers who want to protect themselves from lawsuits and legal dangers regarding overtime pay.

Click here to view our infographic on overtime and employee classification.

Common Payroll Compliance Mistakes

Payroll compliance can be challenging for employers, however failure to comply with labor laws can be very costly. Payroll issues are one of the most common employee complaints that lead to legal claims. However, non-compliance can also lead to fines, government penalties, poor employee morale, and lots of time and labor involved in re-doing paperwork, correcting existing errors and filling out additional forms.

Protecting your business with the knowledge of common payroll compliance mistakes and how to avoid them.

HR FAQ of The Week:

Question: We want to hire an administrative assistant. Can we classify this person as an independent contractor during a 90-day try-out period and then, if they work out, hire them as a full-time employee at the end of the 90 days?

Answer: It’s highly unlikely that an administrative assistant would meet the criteria for classification as an independent contractor. The IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor, along with state agencies, have specific criteria for determining who is an employee and who is an independent contractor. These criteria focus on the overall relationship workers have with their employer, with particular attention to who controls when, where, and how the job gets done, as well as who has the opportunity for financial profit or loss. Administrative assistants typically do not have that level of control over their work, so they’ll almost always be classified as employees.

Visit our HR FAQ page for answers to commonly asked HR questions.

May 16, 2017

Labor Law Updates: Overtime Pay and Paid Family Leave

There are two labor laws that have been updated recently that employers should be aware of. On May 2, the U.S House passed a bill that will give employees the ability to choose how they are compensated for overtime work. The new rule would allow employees of the private sector business to convert their accrued overtime pay into paid time off if they choose. However, this law isn’t as clear cut as it may seem.

The second law regarding paid parental leave went into effect on January 1, 2017. San Francisco’s Paid Parental Leave for Bonding with New Children Ordinance requires employers to provide six weeks of fully paid parental leave for the purpose of bonding with a new child. This mandate has additional requirements for employers with 50 employees or more.

Click here to learn more about these important labor laws.

Outsourcing HR Management

Over the last few years, an increasing number of small-business owners have found that they need help with managing benefits administration and other HR tasks. Additionally, many small employers feel that they are not quite large enough to justify having full-time HR personnel on staff.

Outsourcing your HR management can be an ideal solution. It can meet your need for HR support as well as other functions such as:

  • Developing an employee handbook
  • Processing payroll
  • Securing and overseeing medical benefits and retirement plans
  • Handling worker’s compensation claims

Discover what outsourced HR management can do for your company.

HR FAQ of The Week:

Question: Do we have to pay an employee who drove to a canceled meeting?

Answer: Wage and hour law requires that employees are paid for all time that they are “suffered or permitted” to work. The question here is whether an employee’s attempt to go to a canceled meeting would count. If the employee had been previously notified of the cancellation and had not actually performed any work, you could likely make the case that it should not be counted as working time. However, depending on the amount of time the employee attempted to work and given the fact that there is some risk that your employee could claim they were working, many employers would choose to go ahead and pay the employee for making an effort to do work.

I do recommend reminding your employees to double check their schedules before they clock in and drive to any secondary locations. If an employees forgetfulness has been a repeated pattern, you might consider whether formal disciplinary action is appropriate.

Visit our HR FAQ page for answers to commonly asked HR questions.

May 9, 2017

Employee Rest and Meal Breaks

California labor laws for employee rest and meal breaks have proven to be a regulatory maze for employers. Employers must juggle many issues such as split shifts, employee classification, and post-shift activities. Without due diligence, it can be very easy to overlook certain requirements and any potential oversight can lead to costly claims, penalties, and even employee lawsuits.

It’s important for employers to keep themselves apprised of the latest rules and regulations. We have developed a free guide that covers everything you need to know about rest and meal break laws.

Click here to download the guide.

Income Tax and A Mobile Workforce

On March 7, 2017 the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act was introduced to Congress. This bill is intended to protect employers and their employees who travel for work for short periods of time. These employers are currently subject to a myriad of nonresident state income tax reporting requirements.

Workers and businesses across the country will be impacted by this bill and should be aware of what this bill will establish.

Learn more about the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act.

HR FAQ of The Week:

Question: Can we ask an applicant why they are leaving their current job?

Answer: Yes, you may ask a candidate why they left a previous job or why they are looking to leave their current job. It’s fine to ask this question during the interview, but we recommend you collect this information ahead of time by asking about it on an employment application. In the section where the applicant lists their previous employment experience, you can ask that they provide their reason for leaving each job. When you see the reasons an applicant left previous positions, you may spot trends in the applicant’s employment history. These trends may be cause for follow-up questions during the interview or reason enough not to schedule an interview at all.

If you ask about previous or current employment during the interview, be mindful of the direction the response goes. As with all interview questions, you’ll want to redirect the candidate if they start to share sensitive information. For example, if a candidate says they left past employment due to medical reasons, you’d want to steer them away from sharing any details about the medical condition and refrain from documenting anything about it. Instead, you could ask them to simply state whether they provided notice of their need to resign and whether they left on good terms.

Visit our HR FAQ page for answers to commonly asked HR questions.

May 2, 2017

Do your Employee Wage Statements Comply with the Law?

There are nine categories of information that you must include in every wage statement. These are required whether the wage statements are distributed electronically or by hard copy. Failure to meet these requirements can result in penalties of up to $4,000 per employee.

California businesses can protect themselves against these risks by checking their employee wage statements against our checklist which was developed to ensure compliance.

Click here to view the employee wage statement checklist.

Saving With a Green Payroll Process

Smart business owners and managers are constantly looking for ways to cut costs and save money. Implementing a green payroll can prove to be a great business strategy. A well designed green payroll process can save time, money, and resources.

Discover the benefits of going green.

HR Tip of the Month: Calculating Overtime

Calculating overtime can be a complicated task.  You must juggle employee classifications, exemption status, and pay close attention to hours worked. Even with a careful eye, there can be many errors that occur during the calculation process.

The best way to prevent future mistakes is to follow best practices for calculating overtime and understand common calculation errors that may arise during this process.

Click here to read our newly developed HR tip page for more information on calculating overtime.

April 18, 2017

The Importance of Proper Employee Classification

Clarifying the status of certain employees has always been a challenge for employers. Incorrectly classifying employees as independent contractors is a real risk for many employers. The potential for liability of past years of incorrect employee status can be crushing for a business and we cannot over emphasize the importance of proper classification.

We’ve developed a blog that discusses the guidelines for properly classifying employees, the consequences a business may face for misclassification, and important issues to consider during the classification process.

Click here to learn more about properly classifying employees and independent contractors.

AUMA’s Impact on Workplace Drug Policies

California has joined other states in legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults. So what does that mean for businesses and their workplace drug policies? In this blog we discuss:

  • What the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) Allows
  • How it will impact workplace policies
  • and Employers and Medical Marijuana Use

Click here for more information on how the AUMA may affect your workplace drug policies.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: An employee has requested company wage guidelines. Are we required to show these to them?

Answer: No. Some employers choose to disclose the salary ranges for jobs, but you are not required to show an employee your company wage guidelines, nor do you need to share with them what other employees make or what criteria you use to determine their individual salaries.

However, you may need to allow employees access to their own personnel file or payroll records upon request if doing so is required by state law or your company policy, and I would not advise preventing employees from discussing their wages or other terms and conditions of their employment. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act protects the right of employees to discuss these matters with each other.

– Answer provided by Margaret, PHR, SHRM-CP from Accuchex HR Support Center

Visit our HR FAQ page for answers to commonly asked HR questions.

April 11, 2016

The Importance of Proper Employee Classification

Clarifying the status of certain employees has always been a challenge for employers. Incorrectly classifying employees as independent contractors is a real risk for many employers. The potential for liability of past years of incorrect employee status can be crushing for a business and we cannot over emphasize the importance of proper classification.

We’ve developed a blog that discusses the guidelines for properly classifying employees, the consequences a business may face for misclassification, and important issues to consider during the classification process.

Click here to learn more about properly classifying employees and independent contractors.

AUMA’s Impact on Workplace Drug Policies

California has joined other states in legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults. So what does that mean for businesses and their workplace drug policies? In this blog we discuss:

  • What the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) Allows
  • How it will impact workplace policies
  • and Employers and Medical Marijuana Use

Click here for more information on how the AUMA may affect your workplace drug policies.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: An employee has requested company wage guidelines. Are we required to show these to them?

Answer: No. Some employers choose to disclose the salary ranges for jobs, but you are not required to show an employee your company wage guidelines, nor do you need to share with them what other employees make or what criteria you use to determine their individual salaries.

However, you may need to allow employees access to their own personnel file or payroll records upon request if doing so is required by state law or your company policy, and I would not advise preventing employees from discussing their wages or other terms and conditions of their employment. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act protects the right of employees to discuss these matters with each other.

– Answer provided by Margaret, PHR, SHRM-CP from Accuchex HR Support Center

Visit our HR FAQ page for answers to commonly asked HR questions.

April 4, 2017

Are You in Compliance with California’s Rest Break Laws?

California rest break violations are one of the most common lawsuits filed in the California court system today. These rest break violations are costing employers millions of dollars each year.

The best way to protect your company from violations is to familiarize yourself with the legal rest break policies and practices. We’ve developed a checklist with all the information you need to know to comply with rest period rules.

Click here to make sure your company is in complete compliance.

The Real Cost of Employee Lawsuits [Infographic]

Employees may file a legal claim against their employers if they feel the employer has violated or failed to protect their rights. Whether these lawsuits are filed to seek compensation or to remedy the situation – they can often have a long lasting monetary impact on a business.

We’ve developed an infographic that illustrates how these lawsuits could damage your company and the best ways to avoid common workplace lawsuits.

Learn more about what an employee lawsuit could cost your company.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: Can you provide guidance on what personal items are appropriate for display on employee workspaces? We’d like workstations to look professional and organized, and we’re concerned that some currently displayed items (small toys, etc.) give the office an unprofessional and cluttered feel.

Answer: Employers typically decide what amount and type of personal items are appropriate based on the culture of the organization. In a workplace that needs to maintain a formal and professional image — perhaps because it has frequent visitors — the employer may want individual workspaces to look neat and tidy. Casual workplaces probably don’t need the same restrictions. Basically, it comes down to what you’re comfortable allowing.

Unless there is an ongoing problem with what employees are putting in their work areas, I recommend against having a specific policy on the matter. Flexibility is often best as it allows employees to be creative and make their workspaces their own. For what it’s worth, when there are things in the workplace to psychologically interact with (like plants, personal photos, and art), employees tend to be more productive and engaged.

– Answer provided by Russell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP from Accuchex HR Support Center

Visit our HR FAQ page for answers to commonly asked HR questions.

March 28, 2017

Do Your Employee Wage Statements Comply With The Law?

There are nine categories of information that you must include in your employee wage statements to avoid liability. These rules apply whether the wage statement is distributed electronically or in hard copy. Failure to meet these precise requirements can result in penalties and subsequent violations.

Click here to learn more about this important compliance information.

5 Critical Reasons for Conducting a Payroll Audit

Payroll presents a number of compliance challenges for HR and payroll professionals. One of the best ways for a company to maintain its compliance is with an audit.

Payroll audits should be a regular function of your payroll process because they can help you ensure that records are accurately and properly maintained and help identify problems before they become issues.

Discover why a payroll audit is an essential component of your payroll process.

When was the last time you updated your employee handbook?

Employee lawsuits can cause serious damage to your company. The average cost of a lawsuit is $125,000 and can often take over a year to resolve. Many employment lawsuits can be prevented simply by having an up-to-date employee handbook that is compliant with state and federal laws.

March 21, 2017

Do You Know What Your Employees Expect From You?

As a payroll management professional, it can be easy to lose sight of what employees truly value from their workplace. We’ve developed an infographic based on a survey of 30,000 workers conducted by the American Payroll Association.  This infographic illustrates:

  • What employees expect from their employers
  • What matters the most to them – wage or benefits?
  • Which benefits are most important to employees
  • and more…

Click here to view the infographic and gain insight into your employees.

The Benefits of An Automated Time and Attendance System

Time and attendance systems are an integral part of every business operation. Managing time and attendance in your business should be a simple and efficient process.  For many small businesses, however, this isn’t always true.

A quality time and attendance solution can not only save your company time and money, but can also add value to your company in many different ways.

Click here to discover the benefits of an automated time and attendance system.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: Do we need to investigate rumors of harassment even if no one has made a complaint?

Answer: Yes, I recommend you investigate. A company always has some inherent liability in relation to discriminatory or harassing comments or behavior. The level of liability usually correlates to the nature, severity, and context of the comments, the position of the employee who made them, and what the employer does or does not do about it.

Since you have knowledge of a potential situation, I recommend you investigate the matter and take appropriate disciplinary action if it turns out your anti-harassment policy was violated. As you conduct the investigation, document the discussions you have as well as your findings, and reassure those you interview that their participation will not result in retaliation.

– Answer provided by Emily, PHR, from Accuchex HR Support Center

Visit our HR FAQ page for answers to commonly asked HR questions.

March 14, 2017

New Labor Laws Affecting Workplace Drug Policies

California recently joined a number of states by legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults in November 2016. The provisions of this new law regarding the legalization of marijuana and workplace protections took effect the day after the election on November 9th.

Since then, both employees and employers have been left with many questions as to the potential impact on their workplaces.

Click here to learn how these labor laws may influence your workplace drug policies.

The Real Costs of Your Payroll Process [Infographic]

Payroll management is a critical component of any business. Properly paying your employees on schedule requires a great deal of time. And as we all know, time is money.

We’ve developed an infographic to help illustrate the real costs a business can incur by doing their own payroll.

Click here to discover how much your payroll process may be costing your company.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: An employee of ours has gone on FMLA leave to care for a family member, and she asked us via email to tell her co-workers the reason she’s taking time off. Is this okay?

Answer: In general, when an employee is out, I recommend informing coworkers only that the employee is on a leave of absence. The reasons for the leave are not any of the coworkers’ business, and the employee might not want the reasons known by others. Moreover, sick leave, family leave, and disability laws often specifically protect this information.

In this case, since this employee has specifically asked you to inform the other employees that she will be out on a “family care” leave, and you have this request from the employee in writing, you should be fine sharing this information. In the absence of any such written request from an employee, however, I would recommend defaulting to stating only that an employee is off work on a leave of absence, letting the employee share additional information at their discretion.

– Answer provided by Margaret, PHR, SHRM-CP from Accuchex HR Support Center

March 7, 2017

5 Common HR Compliance Issues Small Businesses Face

HR professionals are tasked with understanding and navigating numerous labor laws and regulations to help ensure their organization avoids costly fines and penalties. They are often the buffer between their company and potential lawsuits, as well as harm to the organization’s reputation. To better protect your company, it is important to know what issues to be aware of and how to prevent them.

We have put together a blog on five of the most common HR compliance issues that small businesses face.

Click here to learn how to prevent these compliance issues.

3 Reasons for Automating Your Payroll

Payroll management is at the heart of every business and it is often one of the most time-consuming functions of any business. Because there is so much at stake, it is vital to minimize the potential for error in your payroll process.

Payroll management software can provide a cost-effective solution that can automate your payroll and reduce human error while saving your company time and money.

Click here to learn how your business can benefit from payroll automation.

Filing Deadlines Tightening for Corporations

The recent change to filing deadlines means that flow-through entity return deadlines are now due before investor return deadlines. For partnerships and S-corporations operating on a calendar year this means they will have a new deadline of March 15. For calendar year-based C-Corporations the updated deadline has been moved from March 15 to April 15.

For businesses that provide health benefits, the new deadline for proof of insurance coverage, Form 1095, was January 31. In addition, new deadlines of February 28 by mail and March 31 for e-file, have been set for Forms 1094-B and 1095-A, B and C.

February 28, 2017

Manage Your Payroll Better with a Green Payroll Process

Every HR manager wants to have an efficient payroll process.  A green payroll approach can do just that.

Despite all the push to “go green” in the U.S., the number of businesses still relying on paper-based payroll is high.  What many companies don’t understand is that adopting a green payroll process can help their company save in many different ways, not just in paper cost.  We have developed an infographic to illustrate how going green can help your company save in time, money, and resources.

Click here to view our infographic on the benefits of a green payroll.

Overtime Pay for Exempt and Non-Exempt Employees

In May 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL), under the Obama administration, announced an extensive revision of the overtime rules under the FLSA.  This included nearly doubling the minimum salary requirements for exempt employees.  Under the new rule, those employees who earned less than the new minimum salary requirement of $47,476 would no longer meet the overtime exemption and would be entitled to overtime compensation for any hours worked over 40 hours in a work week

However, with the injunction in December, the overtime rule has been left in a state of limbo which leaves employees wondering what rules still apply.

Click here to learn more about the current enforceable overtime laws for exempt and non-exempt employees.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: We’d like to start giving cost of living raises to employees on their anniversary dates. What’s the best way to calculate these pay increases?

Answer: When the information is available, employers typically use the consumer price index (CPI) to calculate cost of living increases. It measures the change in prices consumers pay for goods and services such as housing, food, and medical care. Most heavily populated cities have their own CPI.

Most cities often see a small increase each year, but it is important to note that the CPI can also remain the same or decrease. It’s not guaranteed that a cost of living increase will occur based on the CPI. You can find the CPI for your urban area by searching the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

If you tie salary increases to the CPI, I recommend that your policy neither guarantee annual raises nor decrease compensation when the CPI decreases. If you choose to guarantee a raise each year, you could have a minimal percentage increase that applies in those years in which the CPI does not increase. However, I typically recommend basing pay increases on merit, market factors, and profitability of the company.

– Answer provided by Ophelia, SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP from Accuchex HR Support Center

February 21, 2017

Navigating Meal And Rest Breaks And California Labor Laws

When it comes to California labor law, meal and rest period rules can be extremely technical and complex for HR compliance. There are a number of potentially contentious issues such as split shifts, employee classifications, and post-shift activities. All of these issues take time to research in order to ensure proper compliance. We’ve created a blog that addresses these potential problem areas to help you save time and understand these complicated issues.

Click here to learn more.

5 Problems Threatening Your Payroll Process

In a recent survey more than half of the businesses polled stated that there is room for improvement in their payroll process.  We have identified five common problems with typical payroll management processes for companies doing payroll in-house, and some tips on how to resolve them. The five common problems that can disrupt your payroll process include:

  • Administrative Overwhelm
  • Organizational Issues
  • Incompatible Software
  • Tracking Employee Absence
  • Compliance Issues

Read more about the solutions to these common payroll problems.

Retaliation Tops the Workplace Discrimination List

Every year The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides detailed breakdowns of the workplace discrimination charges. Retaliation is regularly at the top the list, and 2016 was no different. According to the EEOC’s report, retaliation accounts for over 45 percent of all charges filed.

With such high amounts of retaliation claims, prevention is critical for California Employers. According to Calchamber some best practices for preventing retaliation includes: training for supervisors on what constitutes retaliation and on your policy against retaliatory practices, and carefully reviewing discipline and termination decisions that involve individuals who participated in a complaint of unlawful workplace conduct.

Click here to read more about the EEOC’s Workplace Discrimination Report.

February 14, 2017

Why Payroll Management Should Be a Strategic Function in Your Business

Managing your payroll effectively is one of the most important business strategies. For many industries, payroll is often one of the biggest expenses. It is so important to develop an effective strategy for maintaining accuracy, timeliness, and compliance without having to hire or commit extra resources and staff to your payroll department.

Click here to discover more strategies for managing your payroll effectively.

California Sick Leave Law and Paid Sick Leave [Infographic]

Even the most diligent of employers may be at risk for not being in complete compliance with the California Paid Sick Leave Law.  Some businesses are still under the impression that this law may not apply to them, however unlike the California Family Rights Act or the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Paid Sick Leave Law has no size requirement and applies to all employers both big and small. This infographic helps illustrate important highlights of the California Paid Sick Leave Law.

Click here to view the infographic.

FAQ of the Week

Question: What is the difference between vacation time and PTO?

Answer: Vacation policies are intended to be used for the specific purpose of vacation or leisure time, and employers who offer vacation time generally offer sick leave as well. The alternative to having two separate benefits is a singular Paid Time Off (PTO) benefit, which may be used for any purpose the employee chooses.

Some states consider vacation and PTO (but not sick leave) to be accrued wages. Consequently, those states require payout of unused vacation and PTO at termination and have rules limiting use-it-or-lose-it policies. For example, an employee who resigns with three sick days and three vacation days would only have to be paid for the three vacation days. If the same employee resigned with six days of PTO remaining, they would need to be paid for all six.

February 7, 2017

New 2017 California Labor Law Guide

California employers have been faced with a number of new labor laws in 2017. Most of these changes took effect on January 1st. As a result, it’s important to review your current policies and practices to ensure compliance. We’ve developed a guide that details the major labor law updates that employers in California need to know about.

Click here to download the 2017 California Labor Law Guide.

The New Administration’s View on the Federal Overtime Rule

The White House recently instructed federal agencies to freeze all pending regulations. The new administration has indicated that it was not favorable towards former President Obama’s expanded update of federal overtime pay rules.

Click here to learn more about the new administrations views on labor law.

IRS Warns of W-2 Phishing Scam

The IRS has released a warning regarding a W-2 Form Scam that is targeting Payroll and Human Resource Departments. This scam aims to collect employee names, SSN’s and income information by spoofing emails from corporate officers to request employee W-2 Forms.

Cick here to read the IRS alert.

January 31, 2017

Top Reasons Why Employers Get Sued & Best Practices to Avoid Employee Lawsuits

HR professionals are tasked with understanding and navigating labor laws and regulations. Often times they are the buffer between the company and costly and time-consuming lawsuits.  One of the best way to protect your company is knowing the common mistakes that can lead to employee lawsuits and the practices your HR department can put in place to avoid them.

Click here to learn more about protecting your company from employee lawsuits.
California Labor Law: Reporting Time Pay

From reporting time pay to overtime pay, labor laws regarding scheduling continue to be a pain point for many employers.  It is vital for HR professionals and business owners to understand the labor laws regarding scheduling and their potential impact.

Reporting Time Pay remains a puzzling topic that often results in confusion for both employers and employees.

Click here to learn more about reporting time pay.

Last Word of Advice from My HR Support Center

Question: Can we tell employees not to discuss their pay?

Answer: Discussing wages or salary is considered protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), so you should not take any action – in policy or in practice – to prohibit employees from discussing their pay, nor should you discipline employees for doing so.

More specifically, Section 7 of the NLRA protects the rights of employees to act together to try to improve their pay and working conditions or to fix job-related problems. Your best defense against tension and complaining about wages is to ensure that pay rates are fair and that any differences in wages between employees in similar jobs have legitimate justification.

January 24, 2017

Payroll Management: The Cost of New Hires

As an employer, it is important to understand the cost of hiring a new employee.  Not only do you have to consider the ever-increasing wage scale, but it is also critical to factor in the extra expense of family leave, paid sick leave, and other costly benefits.  We have developed an infographic to help you understand the true costs of a new hire in California.

Click here to view our infographic.

It’s Time to Start Thinking About Outsourcing

Outsourcing your HR and payroll management has been a rising trend for businesses.  Due to the increased regulations, complexity, and compliance demands being placed on HR professionals, more and more businesses are deciding to outsource their HR and payroll management.

Considering the alternatives such as outsourcing can be a cost-effective and strategic option.

Click here to learn more about outsourcing your HR and payroll management.

Don’t Forget to Use The New I-9 Form

The grace period for using the old I-9 form has ended. Starting on January 22, 2017 all employers are required to use the new form.  This form was updated to help reduce technical errors and includes many changes.

Click here to familiarize yourself with these new changes.

January 17, 2017

Work Comp, Audits & Payroll, Oh My!

Every business that has employees and a workers compensation policy can relate to the panic generated from the anticipation of the dreaded annual audits.  There is much confusion about how these audits actually work, especially if you partake in Payroll Billing, also known as Pay-as-you-Go billing.  What many people may not know is that Payroll Billing can provide many benefits that help alleviate the stress and guesswork of your workers compensation audits and calculating your worker’s compensation insurance premium.

Click here to learn more about payroll billing and workers compensation audits.

HR Trends for 2017

Human Resources is a continually changing industry and being able to anticipate upcoming trends can give your HR department a strategic edge.  There are a variety of new staffing, tech, and corporate culture HR trends to take into consideration this year.

Click here to view our list of HR trends for 2017.

Alert: Important Rest Period Ruling

On December 22, the California Supreme Court came to an important decision in a case regarding employee rest periods.  In the case of Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., the court ruled that on-call rest periods are not permissible.  This ruling will have ramifications for employers in California.

Click here for information on rest periods and the Augustus v. ABM Security Services case.

January 10, 2017

California Sick Leave Law: Are You Up To Date?

The original paid sick leave law was passed two years ago and amended last year, however many companies are still catching up. There were several changes to the latest amendment that impact compliance with notification for employers.

Click here to ensure your business is in compliance.

Is It Time To Consider a Payroll Management Company?

It’s a new year and it may be time to make some changes within your company.  While the thought of changing your payroll process may seem daunting and should be considered carefully, it is important to consider the many benefits of hiring a payroll management company for your business.

Click here to learn what a payroll management company can do for you.

Reminder: W-2 and 1099 Deadline Approaching

As an employer and small business you are responsible for filing the W-2 and 1099 forms for employees and independent contractors. The deadline for filing both the W-2 and 1099 to the IRS is January 31. According to the IRS website, this new deadline is aimed at making it easier for the IRS to detect and prevent refund fraud.

Click here for information on the W-2 and 1099 form deadline.

January 3, 2017

California Labor Laws and Employer Compliance [Infographic]

As a new installment of labor laws goes into effect on January 1, 2017, California employers will be forced with the task of making sure they are in compliance with these new laws. We have prepared an infographic highlighting 10 laws that employers and hr managers should acquaint themselves with for the new year.

Click here to view our infographic and make sure you are in compliance.

California Minimum Wage Adjustments [Infographic]

California labor law for wage and salary requirements mandates that almost all employees must be paid the state minimum wage, with some exceptions.

The minimum wage is set to increase on January 1, 2017, and will continue to increase through 2020. We have developed an infographic to help demonstrate the minimum wage increases over the next few years and how this will impact employers in California.

Click here to view our infographic on the minimum wage update.

Update on the effects of the FLSA injunction

The Department of Labor’s new federal overtime rule was set to go into effect on Dec. 1, 2016. But on November 22, a U.S. district judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction.

This has left employers throughout the country in a state of uncertainty.  Many businesses had already begun paying higher salaries and overtime to eligible employees in the months leading up to the effective date, while others have been left uncertain if they should comply with the previously proposed changes.

Click here for the latest update on the FLSA overtime rule.