New I-9 form issued by USCIS

On July 17th the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new version of the I-9 form (used to verify work eligibility).  The new form can be completed electronically or in paper and pen format.  The new form must be used for all new hires on September 18, 2017 and going forward, however, I recommend that your hiring managers begin using them immediately in order to get used to the new forms and instructions.  Below is a link to both forms and instructions.

https://www.uscis.gov/i-9

Failure to comply with the most current I-9 forms and instructions comes with significant fines from the USCIS.  Please let me know if you need assistance with the new forms.  If your company relies heavily on non-citizen employees, I strongly encourage you to develop a relationship with a competent immigration attorney.

DOL Will Revisit Salary Level for Exempt Employees July 2017

You may recall that last year the US Department of Labor (DOL) adopted a rule that any employee who is considered exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act must make at least $47,476 per year.  That rule was to become effective December 1, 2016.  However, a court injunction blocked that rule from becoming effective on November 22, 2016.

For the first time in recent history, this Federal ruling actually went further than California employment law which mandates an annual salary threshold of two times the current minimum wage, or $43,680 per year.  (Some cities and counties have adopted their own minimum wage that will affect this threshold). Read the rest of this entry »

Federal Judge Temporary Injunction Tables December 1 Deadline for DOL Regs

US Department of Labor regulations that were scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016 have been tabled for now.  This is the change in the salary test for exempt employees which basically doubled the salary that an employee would have to make in order to be considered exempt from overtime and other wage and hour provisions.

Today, a Federal judge issued a temporary injunction on behalf of 21 states and 50 business organizations on the basis that the new regulations would be overly burdensome to employers.  This injunction temporarily blocks the regulation from becoming effective on December 1, 2016 pending a trial on the merits of the case.

Before we all celebrate, the injunction is temporary.  It is unclear how the new Trump administration will act toward this issue but for now, the December 1st deadline is postponed indefinitely.  Also, remember that California could issue it’s own regulations that could copy the Fed rules that are now on hold.

It is important to note that there are two tests regarding exemption:  one is the salary test but the other is the duties test which very narrowly defines the kind of work, the level of authority and the amount of independent judgement an employee is allowed to exercise.

Stay tuned, but for now Happy Thanksgiving!

More Employees May Be Earning Overtime Under New US Rule

You may have heard about a new US Department of Labor regulation regarding overtime compensation which will become effective on 12/1/16.   This new rule may require that you make changes to the status of employees with respect to time recording, overtime and meal and rest periods.

What it boils down to is a new definition of who can be an exempt employee – that is, one who does not receive overtime pay and does not need to follow rest and meal period rules.

Usually, California employers do not need to be too concerned about Federal changes because California law is very often stricter.  In this case (at least for now), the new Federal definition of who can be exempt is stricter than CA law.

This is a big deal and will require some strategic planning to address the following questions:

  1. Who is currently designated as exempt in your organization and what has been the rationale for that exemption?
  2. If your employees who are currently exempt will not be exempt under the new rule, what will you do to comply with the new rules?
  3. If you are must make changes, when and how will you implement the changes?
  4. What collateral impact will the changes have on your non-exempt employees and how will you address them?
  5. How do these changes affect your compensation structure with regard to CA equal pay provisions?

I encourage you to begin to address these issues now in order to develop a strategic plan, long before the compliance deadline, so that you can include this element in your overall business strategic plan.

Please contact me for assistance if need it.

California Fair Pay Act – Take Action Now to Protect Your Business

California employers need to pay attention to the California Fair Pay Act which became law on January 1st of this year.

This law provides an important clarification regarding the meaning of “equal pay for equal work” that is not just words. In a nutshell, equal work has been defined in terms of “a composite of skill, effort and responsibility…performed under similar working conditions”.  Previous law referred only to “equal” work. Read the rest of this entry »