Here you can find the latest weekly emails from Accuchex.

January 2, 2018

[Infographic] The Cost of New Hires in 2018

One of the many challenges an employer may face is navigating the costs of finding and bringing on new hires. When it comes to a new hire, there is more to consider than the prospective salary, you must also consider the accumulated costs of the recruiting, screening, interview and hiring process, as well as training and onboarding.

It is vital that employers understand these costs to maintain a cost-effective and profitable business. We’ve created an infographic to help illustrate what you may spend while hiring a new employee in 2018.

Click here to view the infographic.

3 Essential Payroll Management Tools

Payroll processing can be an incredibly labor-intensive task involving vast amounts of detail-oriented work with recurring deadlines and a growing body of rules and regulations that you must comply with.

HR and payroll professionals tasked with managing their company’s payroll procedures often rely on a number of resources to assist them in their work. There are some fundamental tools that are underutilized which can help smooth even the most complex payroll situations. We’ve compiled a list of these tools and how they can help you better manage your payroll process.

Read more about these essential payroll management tools.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: Do you recommend reducing hours as a disciplinary measure?

Answer: No, I don’t recommend reducing hours as a disciplinary measure. Discipline is most effective when it directly addresses the performance or behavioral issue the employee is having. The aim is to improve performance or correct behavior. Reducing hours, however, doesn’t accomplish either of those objectives or deal with the problem directly.And if reducing hours isn’t a common practice in your workplace, an employee could challenge your decision as inconsistent with your policy or discriminatory.

Instead, I would recommend that you follow a progressive discipline process, possibly with a performance improvement plan…

Click here for more information on disciplinary measures.

December 19, 2017

3 Policy Handbook Best Practices for HR Management

A policy handbook or manual is a vital tool and resource for any business.  According to some experts, many small businesses do not have an employee handbook, an employee orientation process or proper termination procedures. Yet these tools and processes can be the first line of defense in avoiding a costly employee lawsuit.

Owners and HR managers often find creating these handbooks to be challenging and time-consuming. To help businesses create an effective handbook we’ve compiled some of the best practices to keep in mind when developing your policy manual.

Read more about employee handbook best practices.

2018 Labor Law Posters

Do your labor law posters include the new laws for 2018? Accuchex offers an enhanced labor law poster service that is designed to meet the latest federal and state requirements placed upon your business. With our labor law poster service, we will provide you with:

  • An initial space-saving laminated poster
  • E-updates when changes are made to any labor laws
  • An updated state and federal labor law poster every year

 

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: Does an I-9 form need to be updated when an employee has a name change? What about other forms?

Answer: When an employee changes their legal name, you are not required to update their I-9. However, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends maintaining correct information on I-9s. You can easily update an employee’s I-9 by…

Click here to learn more about updating I-9 forms.

December 12, 2017

9 Labor Laws to Note for 2018 [Infographic]

With the latest California legislative session having come to an end, there are a number of new labor laws that employers should take note of. Most of these laws will become effective beginning January 1, 2018 with a few having subsequent effective dates.

As a business owner or HR manager, one of your top priorities is to be familiar with new rules and regulation because compliance is never optional. We’ve developed an infographic that illustrates 9 new labor laws that you need to be aware of. These new laws cover a wide variety of topics and place a number of new requirements on employers in both the private and public sector.

Click here to view the infographic

IRS Updates for Tax Year 2017

Each year the IRS makes changes, updates forms, and issues new instructions. It takes a large amount of due diligence for a business to keep up with all of the IRS changes and updates for every tax year. We know that not everyone has the time to keep up with these but there are some changes and new items that warrant special note. We’ve created a brief overview of the more significant updates, changes, and notifications that will affect most employers and HR management going into 2018.

Read more about the IRS Updates for Tax Year 2017.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: We’ve received a complaint about harassment. How should we respond?

Answer: When a company suspects that an employee has violated its harassment or discrimination policy, we always recommend conducting a complete (and well-documented) investigation into the allegations. This includes speaking with the employee who made the complaint, the accused employee, and any witnesses they name.

The investigation generally includes a series of interviews conducted by an impartial manager, company officer, or Human Resources representative. This individual should approach the investigation process without a presumption of guilt or innocence and with the commitment to treat the situation as fairly as possible. It’s also helpful to…

Learn more about responding to harassment claims.

December 5, 2017

New Labor Law Will Restrict Employee Hiring Questions

California Assembly Bill 1008, known as the “ban-the-box” bill goes into effect on January 1, 2018. This bill adds a section to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) which contains new state-wide restrictions on the types of questions an employer can ask regarding an applicant’s criminal history.

While there is existing legislation that prohibits state and local agencies from asking applicants to disclose conviction information until their qualifications for the position have been determined, California AB 1008 extends this prohibition to all employers in California who have five or more employees. This will greatly restrict an employer’s ability to make hiring and personnel decisions based on the criminal history of an individual. This bill will make it unlawful for these California employers to…

Click here to read more about California AB 1008.

Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Last year, nearly 27,000 charges of sexual harassment were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Victims and witnesses of harassment often refrain from reporting due to the harasser has the power to retaliate or because the organization has not set up adequate channels for reporting. In other cases, victims report the harassment, but nothing is done about it. The harassment is excused, and the complaints are rebuffed. Word gets around that the organization tolerates harassment, and people cease reporting it internally.

It’s the employers responsibility to ensure that the workplace is a safe and secure place. While no one can prevent all harassment from happening, employers can and should do everything in their power to prevent it and appropriately respond when it occurs. To that end, the EEOC has several preventive measures that it recommends.

Learn more about preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.

Updated Paid Sick Leave Guide

It’s officially that time of year. This year’s flu season looks like a bad one and its expected to be coming early. It’s important for employers to understand what they are legally required to provide employers for paid sick leave.

We’ve developed a guide that covers a variety of California paid sick leave law topics, including:

  • Overview of AB 1522
  • What does the law do?
  • How the law will impact your business
  • AB 1522 policies and procedures
  • Recently updated law clarifications

Download your copy and make sure your business is prepared for the flu season.

November 28, 2017

New California Immigration Labor Law Adds Burden to Employers

Among the new California labor laws enacted recently, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450) is particularly challenging for employers. This new law adds three sections to the Government Code and two new sections to the Labor Code. This law removes the option of granting voluntarily consent to ICE employee and mandates several new notification requirements.

  1.  Employers or their representatives must obtain warrants and subpoenas from federal immigration agents before granting them access to nonpublic areas of the work site or permitting them to inspect certain employee records.
  2.  Employers must provide their current employees with a notice of any inspection of I-9 forms, or other employment records, within 72 hours of receiving a notice of a scheduled inspection…

Click here to read the rest of the new employer mandates.

Identity Theft and Payroll Tax Filing

The IRS recently launched their National Tax Security Awareness week. It began on Monday, November 27 and will include topics that focus on threats to individuals and businesses and provide steps to help them better protect themselves from cybercriminals.

Additionally the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry have recently enacted a series of defenses that have made significant impact on tax-related identity theft and will help better protect taxpayers in the future. While the IRS and states have put many new defenses in place, they’ve also acknowledged that they need help from individual taxpayers, tax preparation specialists and businesses in order to guard against identity theft.

Learn more about protecting yourself from identity fraud and cybercriminals.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: Should we ban romantic relationships in the workplace?

Answer: Depending on the nature of the relationship, how you handle workplace romances is mostly up to your organization’s preference or policy.

If the employees do not report to one another and are engaged in a mutually consenting relationship, no action may be needed. Some organizations prefer to ban office dating, but I find this difficult or impossible to enforce and often not worth the time and effort. It can also create a Big Brother-like feeling, reducing trust between management and employees, and often forcing relationships to be kept secret. Some employers choose to use…

Click here read more about allowing romantic relationships in the workplace

November 21, 2017

IRS Announces New Guidance for ACA Penalties

The IRS recently indicated that it would begin assessing tax penalties under the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employers shared responsibility. On November 2, 2017, they added the first-ever official, detailed guidance regarding how penalties under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 4980H will be communicated to employers.

The new section also explains how employers may respond and make payments to tax penalties that have been assessed under the ACA employer shared responsibility…

Click here to read more about the new IRS ACA guidance.

Maternity Leave Guide

Maternity leave laws are a confusing topic for both employers and employees. When an employee lets you know that their family is expecting a child, it’s important to know what you are required to do and what you can’t do under both federal and state laws.

We’ve developed a guide to help eliminate confusion regarding maternity leave. In our free guide, we’ll cover a variety of topics including:

  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
  • Paid Family Leave Program (PFL)
  • State Disability Insurance Program (SDI)
  • and the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDL)

Download your copy of the Maternity Leave Guide.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: How do I keep an employee at-will but require them to give notice before leaving?

Answer: Unfortunately, an employer may not simultaneously utilize the at-will employment provisions and require that an employee provide notice ahead of separation. Instead, I recommend requesting that employees provide notice as a professional courtesy so that you have time to make plans for their replacement or cover their duties, making the transition smoother for their co-workers and customers.

Beyond this, you may…

Click here read more about at-will employment.

November 14, 2017

Have you planned for the FUTA Tax coming at the end of the year?

When a state’s unemployment insurance funds are depleted, it can borrow from the Federal Unemployment Account (FUA). However, if such loans are not repaid within two years that state is designated as a credit reduction state. California is one of these states meaning that employers are required to pay a higher tax which goes towards paying the debt. While it is projected that this year is the final year that FUTA will be in effect, employers need to prepare and account for the extra payment they must make.

If you need help determining your FUTA tax payment, don’t hesitate to contact us for complimentary FUTA tax advice.

DOL Files Appeal to Halt Overtime Ruling

The ongoing issue of the Department of Labor’s 2016 Final Overtime Rule has recently taken another turn.  On October 30, the DOL filed to overturn part of the court injunction issued in September 2016.

The brief signaled that it was not supporting the specific salary exempt overtime threshold set by the previous administration.  However, according to a Department of Labor Official, “By filing the appeal, the department is seeking to maintain their ability to establish overtime regulations. For employers, this yet another confusing turn of events regarding the Obama-era overtime rule.

Click here to read more about the ongoing saga of the Final Rule.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: Can We Reject a Candidate Because They Have a Thick Accent?

Answer: There is risk in rejecting the candidate based on their accent, as this may be perceived as national-origin discrimination, which is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII, and says the following regarding accent discrimination:

In assessing whether an individual’s accent materially interferes with the ability to perform job duties, the key is to

Click here read more about equal opportunity employment.

November 7, 2017

The 2018 Labor Law Posters Are Here

Do your labor law posters include the new laws for 2018? Accuchex offers an enhanced labor law poster service that is designed to meet the latest federal and state requirements placed upon your business. With our labor law poster service, we will provide you with:

  • An initial space-saving laminated poster
  • E-updates when changes are made to any labor laws
  • An updated state and federal labor law poster every year

Learn more about our California Labor Law Poster Service.

It’s Time To Review Your Paid Sick Leave Days Policy

The flu season is upon us once again which means it may be time to review your sick leave policy. In California, employers are legally required to provide employees with paid sick leave to care for themselves or sick family members. Additionally, it vital that your business has a plan in place to inform employees of paid sick leave policies and provide them with written copies as this is required by law.

While making sure these policies are properly implemented may seem like a challenge, maintaining an updated and compliant sick leave strategy can help ensure labor law compliance, lead to more accurate record keeping, and increase productivity.

Click here for more information on paid sick leave compliance.

What Is In Your Service Animals in the Workplace Policy?

While you don’t need to have a specific policy on service animals in the workplace.  It’s important to understand the proper steps to follow if an employee requests to bring a service animal to work.

Click here read more about service animals in the workplace.

October 31, 2017

Maternity Leave Guide

Maternity leave laws are a confusing topic for both employers and employees. When an employee lets you know that their family is expecting a child, it’s important to know what you are required to do and what you can’t do under both federal and state laws.

We’ve developed a guide to help eliminate confusion regarding maternity leave. In our free guide, we’ll cover a variety of topics including:

  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
  • Paid Family Leave Program (PFL)
  • State Disability Insurance Program (SDI)
  • and the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDL)

Download your copy of the Maternity Leave Guide.

New Labor Laws for 2018

The 2017 California legislative session came to an end last month. Governor Brown signed into law a variety of new labor laws that will impact employers in California. Before the beginning of the new year, employers should review these new obligations, set a plan for compliance, and prepare to enforcement these new requirements.

To help employers understand the new laws they will face in the new year, we have compiled a list of the significant labor laws that will take effect on January 1, 2018.

Click here to view the new important labor laws for 2018.

California Minimum Wage Increases Are Coming in 2018

The minimum wage for the state of California is currently $10.50 per hour for businesses employing 26 or more workers. For employers with 25 or less, the current wage is set at a minimum of $10.00 for 2017. In the beginning of 2018 these hourly wage amounts are set to increase to $11.00 and $10.50 consecutively.

In addition to the statewide minimum wage level increase, a dozen municipalities in California with have seperate minimum wage increases that are slated to begin in January 1, 2018.

Click here to view the minimum wage increases for these specific cities.

October 24, 2017

California Bans Salary History Inquiries

Beginning January 1, 2018, California employers will no longer be able to ask applicants about their current or previous salary or hourly rate of pay. Employers also have additional requirements regarding the potential mention of an applicants salary or wage history during the application process.

For example, if the employer becomes aware of an applicant’s salary history they cannot use that information to determine the rate of pay offered unless the information was volunteered by the applicant. Additionally, employers must provide an applicant with…

Click here to read more about salary history inquiries.

New Employers: Avoiding The Top 3 Payroll Mistakes

Owning a business after being an employee can be very worthwhile.  However, when you get to the point where you need employees, it’s crucial to realize that you may need to be involved when it comes to payroll.  As an owner you want to ensure the best chance of success for your business which is why it’s vital to understand the typical payroll mistakes that should be avoided.  Some of these mistakes can lead to an increased cost of labor, burden your HR, and even incur major penalties from the government.

Learn more about the top payroll mistakes to avoid.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: Can an employee submit a new W-4 at any time?

Answer: Yes, an employee may submit a new W-4 anytime they have changes. Often, they’ll submit a new form when they know they’ll be changing exemptions, adjustments, deductions, or credits on their return.

For example, an employee may want to increase their withholding by decreasing the number of dependents they claim. Or they might want to…

Read more about W-4’s.

October 17, 2017

7 Tips for A Solid Policy Manual

Your company’s employee policy manual is a critical document for your business success. Yet it can be a challenge to create one that is concise and sufficient. While an employee handbook is a good tool for avoiding litigation by clarifying and publishing, it can actually lead to potential lawsuits if not done correctly. That is why care must be taken to ensure that policies do not violate any federal or state laws or override the at-will employment relationship.

We’ve put together 7 policy manual tips to help you develop a manual that is concise and comprehensive enough to provide sufficient and accurate information.

Click here to read more about policy manuals.

5 HR Trends for 2018

It’s that time of the year when HR industry experts share what they see as the coming trends for the next year. To continue attracting top talent, it is vital that HR managers and recruiter strive to stay up to date on hiring practices, and improve their recruiting and results. This year it is projected that technology will be a fundamental part of HR management trends.

Some of the newly predicted trends include HR bots, remote workforce, dynamic positions and more.

Learn more about HR management trends for 2018.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: Can the same person be both an employee and an independent contractor?

Answer: According to IRS guidelines, it is possible to have a W-2 employee who also performs work as a 1099 independent contractor so long as the individual is performing completely different duties that would qualify them as an independent contractor.

Some legitimate examples that we have seen of this circumstance are…

Read more about classifying employees.

October 10, 2017

Does Your HR Management Process Include A Disaster Recovery Plan?

In 2017, we have seen the vast destruction that can result from natural disasters such as hurricanes and fires. It’s been around a month since Hurricane Harvey and Irma and businesses are starting to see the lingering impact that a natural disaster can have. The economic losses from Harvey alone are estimated between $70 to $200 billion and the damages from Irma have yet to be determined.

The disasters of 2017 have shown us that it is essential for any business to have a disaster recovery plan. In the event of an unexpected incident, a contingency plan will help HR departments ensure that critical functions of their business can be quickly restored and replaced when needed and avoid further critical disruption.

Click here to learn more about disaster recovery plans.

Employee Classification: The Contractor Vs. Employee Dilemma

Employee classification has become one of the most consequential legal determinations that an employer may face. State investigators are placing more and more attention on employers and the Department of Labor has hired scores of new auditors solely to investigate employee misclassification. In fact, the federal government has predicted that its crackdown on employee misclassification will net over $7 billion in additional federal revenue over the next 10 years.

With the ramifications so high, there is no room for guess work when it comes to classification. It is vital that every employer properly understands how to classify their employees and stay in compliance with the federal requirements.

Click to learn more about the rules for employee classifications.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: Are job descriptions required by law?

Answer: Job descriptions are not required by law, but they’re certainly great to have and serve several purposes.

First, a job description, when accurately written, should reflect the actual work done. The applicant or employee can see what will be expected of them and to what they’ll be held accountable. The job description helps eliminate any confusion about what job duties are assigned to the employee. It will also prove useful when conducting performance evaluations and goal setting, as you will have a clear description of what the employee is expected to accomplish in their position.

Second, a well-written job description will list the…

Read more about job descriptions.

September 26, 2017

Labor Law Compliance Issues That Can Hurt Your Business [Infographic]

Businesses in California are subject to an ever increasing number of labor laws and regulations that govern the employment relationship. It requires diligence and an ongoing effort to stay up to date on both state and federal labor laws. Additionally, it is important that employers and HR managers know what issues to be aware of in order to properly protect their company.

We’ve developed an infographic that illustrates five of the most common HR compliance issues that small businesses typically face.

Click here to view the infographic.

Workforce Management System ROI Calculator

A workforce management suite can provide your business with a powerful system that makes it easy to optimize the performance of your supervisors, employees, and company. A cloud-based WFM system can also provide many benefits such as saving money, providing anywhere/anytime access, and easy implementation.

Are you interested in upgrading to a workforce management suite? Calculate your potential savings with our easy ROI calculator.

Check out the Accuchex ROI calculator.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: Are we allowed to look through an employee’s email while they are still employed?

Answer: The short answer is yes, you can monitor employee email. As a general rule, employees should not have an expectation of privacy when using company computers or email accounts. That said, the law is not perfectly cut and dry, so you should have both a legitimate business reason for doing so and a policy that puts employees on notice that you do – or could – review their email.

If you decide to monitor employee email, I recommend that you…

Click here to learn more about monitoring employee email.

September 19, 2017

HR Compliance Best Practices

For many employers and small business owners, the possibility of an employee lawsuit is a major issue. Many employers are quick to think that unsettling issues such as discrimination and harassment are the main employee related claims they may face. However, there are more common tasks such as recruiting and hiring, employee classification, and wage requirements that can go awry and end up leading to a lawsuit.

We’ve collected some of the best practices that HR management can follow to ensure compliance and minimize the risk of an employee lawsuit.

Learn more about HR compliance best practices.

HR FAQ of the Week: DACA Phase Out

Question: I’ve heard about the DACA program ending. What does this mean and what do I need to do?

Answer: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on September 5th that they have initiated the “orderly phase out” of the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DACA program allowed certain people (sometimes called “Dreamers”) who came to the United States as children – and who met several key requirements – to request deferred action from deportation for a period of two years. That deferred action could then be renewed, subject to approval. DACA also provides eligibility for temporary work authorization.

At this time, we don’t recommend that employers take any immediate action related to the DHS announcement. It’s important not to attempt to identify DACA recipients based on I-9s, ask employees whether they are DACA participants, or make staffing decisions based on a potential loss of work authorization. These actions could increase the risk of…

Read more about the DACA phase out.

What You Should Know About Payroll Service Agreements

Processing payroll every month is time-consuming and often fraught with potential issues. For many small businesses, the cost of a payroll agreement can actually be less than keeping their payroll process in-house.

In order to find the right payroll management provider for your business, it is important to have a clear understanding of your payroll services agreement. This agreement grants a payroll services firm the authority to process your employee payroll and it can also include other optional services that may benefit your business.

Click here to learn more about payroll agreements.

September 12, 2017

Updated California Paid Sick Leave Guide

Although the Sick Leave Law of 2015 is not recent news, there is still a lot of employer confusion regarding sick leave laws. Paid Sick Leave is an issue that every business struggles with and one that can create friction in the workplace if not properly understood by both parties. We’ve developed an updated guide with new clarifications from the Department of Labor to help eliminate any confusion about this law.

Download the free guide.

Overtime Rule Doubling Minimum Salary for White Collar Workers Officially Dead

On August 29th, Judge Mazzant in the Eastern District of Texas issued his ruling on the Department of Labor’s overtime rule changes. The rules, which were slated to go into effect on December 1, 2016, have been on hold since he issued an injunction last November. As anticipated, the Judge ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs, finding that the DOL had overstepped its authority by making the new minimum salary so high.

The Department of Labor will…

Click here to read more.

Do You Have Questions About Pregnancy Leave?

We are developing a guide on pregnancy leave. We know this is a confusing and complex issue for employers and we would be interested in hearing any questions you may have on this topic.

If you decide to ask a question, simply fill out this form and we will do our best to cover it in our guide.

September 6, 2017

Overtime Rule Doubling Minimum Salary for White Collar Workers Officially Dead

On August 29th, Judge Mazzant in the Eastern District of Texas issued his ruling on the Department of Labor’s overtime rule changes. The rules, which were slated to go into effect on December 1, 2016, have been on hold since he issued an injunction last November. As anticipated, the Judge ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs, finding that the DOL had overstepped its authority by making the new minimum salary so high.

The DOL will not be appealing the decision, but labor or employees’ rights groups could theoretically take their place in the lawsuit. However, the DOL has said they would not enforce the 2016 rules, so any further action toward implementation will ultimately be ineffective.

The DOL has, however, put out a Request For Information (RFI), seeking public comment that will presumably help it formulate an all-new set of rule changes. To view the RFI in full and leave a comment, go here.

August 15, 2017

Lawsuits in the Workplace

Despite the best efforts of a business, break laws are too often overlooked or violated. The legal consequences for this can be quite costly, especially in California where we have some of the United State’s strictest employment laws and this includes break laws.

There have been several workplace lawsuits regarding break laws in the legal spotlight lately. These lawsuits highlight how important it is for employers to comply with break laws and highlight the potential consequences of failing to do so.

Click here to read more.

HR Best Practices for Compliance

One of the constant fears for employers and small businesses owners is the possibility of an employee lawsuit. A lawsuit can end up crippling a company and open them up to the possibility of further investigation and potential penalties.

There are issues such as hiring, employee classification, and wage requirements that call for following HR best practices in order to ensure proper compliance and minimize the risk of lawsuits and penalties.

Learn more about HR best practices.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: How do we calculate whether we’re covered under FMLA?

Answer: To be covered under FMLA, private sector employers need to employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. The 20 calendar workweeks do not need to be consecutive.

When counting your employees, you would include any employee whose…

Click here to read more about calculating if your covered under FMLA.

August 8, 2017

Calculate Your Employee Turnover Cost

No business wants to see good employees leave, but what many businesses fail to appreciate is the very real costs associated with employee turnover. According to the Department of Labor and Statistics, an employee leaving can cost a business up to 33% of that employee’s total compensation including both salary and benefits. Additionally, employees leaving can have a major impact on employee morale in the workplace.

Click here to calculate your employee turnover cost and learn more about how to reduce employee turnover.

Specialized Payroll Requirements

Most businesses have a fairly basic payroll structure and needs. However, some businesses have complicated payroll requirements that can be very challenging. Industries such as construction, agriculture, and educational institutions must comply with a myriad of filing and reporting requirements and therefore have specialized needs when it comes to managing payroll.

Learn more about specialized payroll solutions for your industry.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: We have good reason to suspect an employee has been stealing from the register. How should we respond?

Answer: I would recommend suspending this employee and conducting an internal investigation. You may also want to report the theft to law enforcement depending on the circumstances.

An internal investigation generally includes interviewing any employee who may be involved and any potential witnesses about what they saw . You’re looking for…

Click here to read more about investigating theft in the workplace.

August 2, 2017

[Infographic] The Real Costs of Payroll Processing

Businesses of all sizes carry out payroll processing without understanding the true costs involved. What some companies don’t know is that keeping payroll in-house may not be as much of a cost-saving decision as many perceive it to be. We’ve developed an infographic that illustrates the actual costs of payroll processing to help employers understand what their payroll process is costing them.

Discover the true costs of your payroll process.

Introducing: The HR Fitness Test

Take the test to identify your potential HR gaps and illustrate your strengths. After the test, you’ll receive feedback on how you’re doing along with suggestions on the areas that you can improve. From there you will know what to focus on in order for your organization to be compliant and protected.

Not an Accuchex HR customer but would love to take the fitness test? Connect with us to schedule a tour and learn more about MY HR Support Center and the many tools included in our all-in-one HR solution.

Reminder: New Domestic Violence Notice

Assembly Bill 2337 went into effect on July 1, 2017. California employers are now required to provide new employees with a written notice about the rights of victims of domestic violence. The Labor Commission has released a form in both English and Spanish that employers can use to comply with this requirement.

July 25, 2017

Update On The FLSA Final Rule And Overtime Pay

On June 30th, President Trump’s U.S. Department of Labor filed a brief with the Court of Appeals indicating that the DOL will not seek to reinstate the high salary thresholds previous proposed by the Obama administration. This brief also announces the new administration’s position on the ongoing litigation over the FLSA overtime exemption rules and included a request of the Court of Appeals regarding the power to set different salary levels.

Click here to learn more about what this means for the FLSA Final Rule and overtime pay.

It’s Time to Think About Revising Your Policy Manual

A company’s policy manual is its blueprint for internal operations. It is a written guide to how the company interacts with employees and runs its business. One of the most important aspects of any policy manual is that it is up-to-date. With the increasing number of government rules, regulations and policy mandates and the rise in employee related litigation, it is a good strategy for every company to regularly review and update their policy manuals.

Read more about revising your policy manual and questions to ask during the revision process.

What Are The Costs of Misclassification?

Question: We have an employee claiming they shouldn’t be classified as exempt from overtime. If it turns out they’re right, what are the penalties for misclassification?

Answer: The cost of misclassification will depend on several factors, such as how many employees are misclassified, how much extra money they would have been paid if properly classified, how the misclassification is discovered, and how your employees react to it.

Generally, if an employee goes to the federal Department of Labor and says they have been misclassified, the DOL will investigate, and they will very likely look at…

Read more about the costs of misclassification.

July 18, 2017

Creating an Engaging Workplace

Did you know that about 70% of employees are not engaged at work? It has been proven that poor engagement leads to less productivity, less creativity, higher absenteeism, and higher turnover. Fortunately, low engagement isn’t inevitable. With the right conditions, your employees will be committed and driven to helping their co-workers and organization thrive.

Check out these tips for creating working conditions that will inspire and empower your employees and lead to an engaging workplace.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: We want to terminate an employee who doesn’t fit with our culture. Can we do this? Do you foresee any issues?

Answer: First things first, check your policies and any correspondence (like an offer letter) that have been given to the employee to ensure that you have established an at-will employment relationship. Most employers state that employment is at-will, meaning an employee can be terminated at any time, with or without notice, and with or without cause, for any reason not prohibited by law. If an at-will employment relationship exists, you may terminate the employee for not fitting in with your culture, but there are certainly some things to consider beforehand.

Terminated employees sometimes challenge their employer’s decision to terminate them, alleging discrimination or some other unlawful employment practice. Your best defense is to…

Learn more about terminating employees due to workplace culture fit.

New Form I-9 Released

A revised version of Form I-9 was released on July 17. Employers are free to continue using the Form I-9 with a revision date of 11/14/16 N until September 17th. Starting on September 18, employers must use the newly revised version. Employers must continue following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9.

Revisions to the Form I-9 instructions:
We will change the name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
We will remove “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment.”

Revisions related to the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9:
We will add the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) to List C. Employers completing Form I-9 on a computer will be able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C of Section 2 and Section 3. E-Verify users will also be able to select Form FS-240 when creating a case for an employee who has presented this document for Form I-9.

We will combine all the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350 and Form FS-240) into selection C#2 in List C.

We will renumber all List C documents except the Social Security card. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security on List C will change from List C #8 to List C #7.

July 11, 2017

New Overtime Guide

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.

Download the guide.

Improve Your Payroll Process With Automated SMS

Handling payroll is a tough job for most human resources departments. With the implementation of automated SMS, it can be much easier to handle employee payroll and ensure everything is accurately recorded. Additionally, automated SMS can provide several ways to help your payroll process run smoothly and reduce costs.

Click here to learn more about automating your payroll management.

HR FAQ of the Week

Question: Can we require exempt employees to clock in and out?

Answer: While it doesn’t violate the FLSA to have an exempt employee clock in and out, I recommend only tracking exempt hours if there is a business reason to do so. There are some valid reasons for tracking exempt employee hours. For example, an employer may opt to track an exempt employee’s hours for purposes of client billing, grant tracking, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 401(k), or hours-based benefits calculations such as vacation accrual. That said, exempt employees are paid to do a job, not necessarily to work a required number of hours. As a general rule, I recommend focusing on whether the job is getting done instead of attempting to track amount of time spent in the office.

While you may choose to track the hours of exempt employees, please ensure the information is not used to take deductions from an employee’s regular salary, unless such deductions are allowable under both state and federal law. An exempt employee’s salary should not fluctuate based on the number of hours worked within the workweek. Prorating an exempt employee’s salary based on hours worked may result in the loss of the exemption

Visit our HR Administration FAQ page to read more.

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.