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On September 17, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 1159 (SB-1159). This bill provides outbreak definition guidance and requirements for reporting COVID-19 exposures, which includes reporting to your workers’ compensation carrier the date an employee tested positive, possible exposure locations, and other important reporting information.

To help ensure compliance with timely reporting regarding an employee testing positive for COVID-19, we have provided a convenient COVID-19 Positive Test Report Form.

The information provided on the form is used to determine if an outbreak occurred beginning 07/06/2020 through 12/31/2022, to assist with applying presumption criteria.

With each new regulation, compliance related to COVID-19 protocols can be a challenge for employers. HRtoGo will continue to provide up-to-date information to assist with this challenge.

For more information please contact our office at info@hrtogo.com, 916-444-6200 or your HR Consultant directly.

HR Hot Topic – Covid-19 Positive Test Report Form Reminder

HR Hot Topic - Harassment Prevention Training Reminder

REMINDER: The extension to complete the required training under SB 1343 by January 1 has passed. 

California Governor, Gavin Newsom, signed SB 778, emergency legislation which extended the existing sexual harassment prevention training deadline under SB 1343, to January 1st, 2021 – an extension of one full year.

The extension allowed employers more time to comply with the training of those non-management personnel that were not previously required to complete harassment and discrimination prevention training. The extension also allows managerial personnel that were required to complete the training to stay on the two (2) year cycle schedule. 

The Impact of SB 778

  • Employees trained in 2018 would still comply with the new January 1, 2021 deadline.  
  • Employers who trained supervisors in 2017 under prior law, known as AB 1825, should still train those employees accordingly in order to maintain their two-year cycle. 
  • What remained unchanged is the requirement for seasonal and temporary employees, who (effective January 1st, 2020) must be trained within 30 calendar days after their hire date or within 100 hours worked, whichever occurs first.

SB 1343 Training Requirements:

  • Supervisors must receive two hours of sexual harassment prevention training (specific for managers and supervisors).
  • Non-supervisory employees must receive one hour of sexual harassment prevention training. The training must be provided within six months of hire or promotion, and every two years thereafter.  

Action Required:

If an employer has not provided their employees with the required training, better to provide late than never.   

If you have not already, take advantage of our easy-to-use, online training solution for employees to complete the SB 1343 requirement. For more information, please contact our office at info@hrtogo.com, 916-444-6200 or your HR Consultant directly.

HR Hot Topic – Harassment Prevention Training Reminder

STATE MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE – 01/01/2021

What you need to know
The State of California will implement the next phase of minimum wage increases.

Beginning on 01/01/2021 the state minimum wage will increase for those employers that have 25 or fewer employees.

The schedule is as follows for employers with 25 or fewer employees:

    • On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage will increase to $13 per hour.
    • On January 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour.
    • On January 1, 2023, the minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour.

Also beginning on 01/01/2021 the state minimum wage will increase for those employers that have 26 or more employees.

The schedule is as follows for employers with 26 or more employees:

    • On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour.
    • On January 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour.

Salaried Employees Affected

    • The minimum salary threshold for the administrative, executive and professional exemptions is $54,080 annually for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
    • The minimum salary rate is $58,240 annually for employers with 26 or more employees.

Action Required
For those that have 25 or fewer employees, hourly wages must meet the minimum wage of $13.00 per hour and salaries for exempt employees must meet the annual minimum of $54,080.

For those that have 26 or more employees, hourly wages must meet the minimum wage of $14.00 per hour and salaries for exempt employees must meet the annual minimum of $58,240.

Be Aware
Certain cities have adopted a minimum wage that exceeds the California minimum.  Employers that fall under such a local minimum wage ordinance are advised to review the requirements. 

HR Hot Topic – Minimum Wage Increase

Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 685, a new law establishing stringent COVID-19-related notice and reporting requirements for public and private employers.

It also boosts the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 enforcement authority.

The new law takes effect January 1, 2021, but employers should quickly become aware of its complicated requirements in order to ensure compliance in January.

If an employer receives notice of a “potential exposure to COVID-19,” the employer must, within one business day, take the following actions.

  1. The employer must provide written notice to all employees (and their exclusive representative, if any) and the employers of subcontracted employees, who were on the premises at the same worksite as the “qualifying individual within the infectious period,” that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Written notice may be provided in person, email, text message or other form of communications the employer normally uses if it can reasonably be anticipated that the employee will receive it within one business day. Additionally, the notice must be in both English and any language understood by the majority of employees. The new law also requires that the notice to any exclusive representative must contain the same information required in Cal/OSHA’s Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, unless the information is inapplicable or unknown to the employer.
  2. The employer must provide “all employees who may have been exposed” (and their exclusive representative, if any) with information regarding COVID-19-related benefits to which they may be entitled under federal, state or local laws, including, but not limited to, workers’ compensation, COVID-19-related leave, company sick leave, state-mandated leave, supplemental sick leave or negotiated leave provisions, as well as anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination employee protections.
  3. The employer must notify all employees (and their exclusive representative, if any) of the disinfection and safety plan that the employer plans to implement per the guidelines of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Employers should note that the new law uses three different phrases, in quotes above, to describe employees to whom notices must be given.
These notice requirements are triggered when an employer receives “notice of a potential exposure to COVID-19,” which the law defines as notification:

  • From a public health official or licensed medical provider that an employee was exposed to a “qualifying individual” at the worksite;
  • From an employee or their emergency contact that the employee is a “qualifying individual;”
  • Through the testing protocol of the employer that the employee is a “qualifying individual;” or
  • From a subcontracted employee that a “qualifying individual” was on the worksite.

In addition to the notice requirements above, AB 685 requires employers to notify their local public health agency within 48 hours of a COVID-19 “outbreak,” as defined by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Employers should note that the definition of “outbreak” under this law differs from the definition under SB 1159, which is related to workers’ compensation.

Because the new law specifies very detailed notice requirements with very little time to provide them, employers should become familiar with them quickly.

HR Hot Topic – AB685

Employee Harassment & Discrimination Prevention Training (SB 1343 Compliant)

Seminar location: Online via webinar
Date: Thursday, November 12th
Time: 9:00am – 10:30am
Price: $25 per person
Please reserve your spot no later than November 10th.
To reserve your spot, please email info@hrtogo.com or use the following link: 

https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8711103382693239051

If you experience any technical issues with the above link, please contact info@hrtogo.com. 24 hour cancellation notice is required.

Description: All employers with five or more employees are required to provide non-supervisory employees with at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training (SB 1343) no later than January 1, 2021.

Seminar – November 12th – Sexual Harassment & Discrimination Prevention Training

Dealing with Sticky HR Situations
Seminar location: Online via webinar
Date: Thursday, October 8th
Time: 9:00am – 10:30am
Price: $25 per person

To reserve your spot, please email info@hrtogo.com or use the following link: 
https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/352399383941985295

If you experience any technical issues with the above link, please contact info@hrtogo.com. 24 hour cancellation notice is required.

Description: Today’s ever changing, technology driven and fast paced workplace can be a challenge for supervisors. How should you respond when an employee stops into your office and wants to share something with you, but doesn’t want you to do anything about it?  What do you do if an employee starts crying in your office?  Are you responsible for responding to employee interactions on Facebook or other social media sites?  Join us for a session designed to help you navigate these kinds of complicated, awkward and sticky HR situations.

Seminar – October 8th – Dealing with HR Sticky Situations

Governor Newsom signed SB 1159 on September 17, 2020 that created new laws, which impact California employers who have employees who test positive for COVID-19.

Specific aspects of the new law apply to California employers who have 5 or more employees. The new law states that if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs at a place of employment it is assumed employees who test positive for COVID-19 contracted it at work.
This law creates new reporting obligations for employers.

Definition of an Outbreak

An outbreak occurs if, within a 14-day calendar period, one of the following happens:

    • Employers with 100 employees or less at a specific work location and 4 or more employees test positive at that specific location; or
    • Employers with more than 100 employees at a specific work location and at least 4% of employees test positive at that specific location; or
    • A specific place of business is closed by local public health department, State Department of Public Health or school superintendent due to risk of infection with COVID-19.A “specific work location” means the building, store, facility or agricultural field where the employee worked at your direction.  Many workers may transition between multiple places of employment during their shift. So tracking the locations that they are required to work at is essential.

Reporting Requirements

Employers are now required to report to their claims administrator when the employer is aware that an employee tested positive for COVID-19.  The report must be made within 3 business days. 

Employers are required to report the following to the claims administrator:

    • Notice that an employee has tested positive. Do not include any Personal Identifiable Information (such as SSN, DOB, etc.).
    • The date the specimen was collected for the positive test.
    • Positive PCR COVID-19 test or other FDA approved viral test. Serologic (antibody) testing is not a viable test.
    • All locations where employee worked at your direction during the 14-day period prior to the positive test result.
    • The highest number of employees who worked at the employee’s specific work location(s) in the 45-day period preceding the last day that the employee worked there.

If an employer is aware of an employee who tested positive prior to the effective date of this statute, between July 6, 2020 and September 16, 2020 they have until October 29, 2020 to report those cases.

In addition, the employee must:

    • Have worked on or after 7/6/2020; and
    • Have worked outside their home or residence at the employer’s direction; or worked to provide home health care services to another individual at their home or residence; and
    • Have a positive PCR COVID-19 test or other FDA approved viral test (does not include serologic (antibody) test) within 14 days after performing the labor or services; and
    • The positive COVID-19 test must have occurred during a period of outbreak at the employee’s specific place of employment.

Additionally, if a claim becomes accepted under this section an employee is required to exhaust any paid sick leave benefits specifically available in response to COVID-19 before temporary disability benefits may be paid.

Key Reporting Questions

What if the employee refuses to give me their test result?

    • You do not have to report employees who do not provide you with their written test results. However, if you are able to verify an employee has a positive PCR test (i.e. they show you their positive PCR results but do not provide you a copy) you must report it.

When should I report this data?

    • If you have five (5) or more total employees;
      • Within three (3) business days of knowledge (or when it should reasonably have been known) that there was a positive test on or after September 17, 2020.
      • If you know of positive test results that occurred between July 6, 2020, and prior to September 17, 2020, you must report each positive test occurrence by October 29, 2020.
    • If you have less than five (5) total employees, you are not required to report any additional data outside the claim reporting process.

Do I have to submit a COVID-19 Positive Test report even if my employee does not want to pursue a workers compensation claim?

    • Yes, the law now requires employers with more than five (5) total employees to report every employee who tests positive for COVID-19 by a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test regardless of whether or not a workers’ compensation claim will be filed.

Note: reporting a positive case does not generate a claim nor does a claim qualify as a report.

What if I know it was not work related (i.e. employee just got back from vacation, his/her family got it first, etc.)

    • You are required to report all positive cases, regardless of if you believe your employee did not get it at work.

With each new regulation, compliance related to COVID-19 protocols can be a challenge for employers. OmegaComp HR will continue to provide up to date information to assist with this challenge.

HR Hot Topic – What Employers Need to Know About COVID-10 Reporting

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced revisions to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in the wake of a recent court decision.

The revised regulations became effective September 16, 2020
 Important for employers to note the following changes and clarifications:

Requiring Documentation for FFCRA Leave
The initial FFCRA regulations required documentation to be provided to the employer before any sick time is taken. The recent court decision vacated this requirement. Therefore, employers may not require the employee to submit documentation prior to the commencement of FFCRA leave.  The content and the need for documentation was not eliminated and employers can and should continue to require employees to provide documentation supporting their need for FFCRA as soon as possible.

Work Availability Requirement
FFCRA leave continues to be available only if the employer has work available for the employee to perform and the employee is unable to work due to reasons related to COVID-19. Therefore, if the employer has no work for the employee due to business closure, a furlough, etc., then the employee is not entitled to FFCRA leave even if they would otherwise qualify. Reaffirms and provides additional explanation for the requirement that employees may take FFCRA leave only if work would otherwise be available to them, meaning paid leave is only available if a qualifying reason was the “but for” cause of the employee’s inability to work (not due to closure of a worksite or business or lack of work); Reaffirms and provides additional explanation for the requirement that employees may take FFCRA leave only if work would otherwise be available to them, meaning paid leave is only available if a qualifying reason was the “but for” cause of the employee’s inability to work (not due to closure of a worksite or business or lack of work);

Intermittent Leave
Due to the possibility of spreading COVID-19 in the workplace. It would be contrary to the purpose of the FFCRA to allow someone to take emergency paid sick leave intermittently (unless caring for a child whose regular day care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19). Therefore, for employees who work on-site, the DOL reaffirms its decision to only allow intermittent leave for expanded FMLA leave purposes. However, intermittent leave may be available for any FFCRA qualified reason if an employee is teleworking, as there is no risk the employee would spread COVID-19 at a worksite. The employer approval for any intermittent leave remains in place.

As with any request for FFCRA leave, employers should consult with employment counsel on any request for FFCRA leave before denying such a request to prevent compliance mistakes.

The Health Care Provider Exception
The DOL also limited the “health care provider” exception (which excluded certain employees from FFCRA eligibility) to employees who are “capable of providing health care services,” including “diagnostic services, preventive services, treatment services, or other services that are integrated with and necessary to the provision of patient care.”

Food service professionals, IT professionals, building maintenance workers, HR professionals, or other individuals who do not provide health care services even though their work effects health care services are no longer included in the definition of health care providers.

Under the new definition of “heath care provider” individuals may work in various settings such as but not limited to, hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, medical schools, local health departments, nursing or retirement facilities, nursing homes, home health providers, laboratories, or pharmacies.

The limitations now require employers in the health care industry to undertake a position-specific analysis to determine which employees meet the new definition of “health care provider.”

Final Thoughts
Employers can expect further updates between now and the end of the year pertaining to this mandated benefit and the application of the various eligibility scenarios.

HR Hot Topic – DOL Issues Important Changes Regarding the FFCRA

Assembly Bill 2257, which went into effect immediately upon passage, expands the exemptions under AB 5 concerning independent contractor status.

AB 5 Recap

AB 5 solidified the use of the ABC Test for employee status adopted in the California Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court.

The ABC test presumes a worker is an employee and places the burden on the hiring entity to demonstrate otherwise. To establish that a worker is an independent contractor, a hiring entity must prove all of following three elements:

  • Part A: The worker is free from the hiring entity’s control and direction in connection with his/her performance of the work, both under the contract for performance of the work and in actually performing the work;
  • Part B: The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
  • Part C: The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business of the same nature as the work performed.

If the hiring entity fails to show that the worker satisfies each of the three elements, the worker is treated as an employee, not as an independent contractor.

AAB 2257 Overview

AB 2257, at the core, does not change the use of the ABC Test for independent contractor status. Rather, it allows for new statutory exemptions and alters some existing exemptions. Notable exemptions are as follows:

  • Section 2776: Business-To-Business Exemption: AB 2257 maintains the exemption for “bona fide business-to-business contracting relationships” where a contractor “acting as a sole proprietor, or a business entity formed as a partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership or corporation contracts to provide services to another such business; also, where a “public agency or quasi-public corporation” has retained a contractor.
  • Section 2777: Referral Agency Exemption: AB 2257 includes clarifications of the referral agency exemption, which may exempt from the ABC Test the relationship between an individual operating as a sole proprietor or a business entity and a business that refers that individual’s services to clients. The exemptions include graphic design, web design, photography, consulting, youth sports coaching, caddying, wedding or event planning, services provided by wedding and event vendors, and others. The referral agency expansion was one of the most significant changes in AB 2257.
  • Section 2778: Professional Services Exemption: AB 2257 expands the list of occupations that may qualify for an exemption from the ABC Test under the professional services exemption. AB 2257 removes the submission cap placed on certain contractors of various types such as still photographers, freelance writers and instead requires that businesses refrain from displacing existing employees who performed the same work at the same volume as the individual providing the services.
  • Section 2779: “Single-Engagement Event” Business-To-Business Exemption: AB 2257 creates an exemption from the ABC Test for individual businesspersons who contract with one another “for purposes of providing services at the location of a stand-alone non-recurring event in a single location or a series of events in the same location no more than once a week. The ABC Test will not apply in this instance provided certain criteria are met (including a lack of control over the work, a written contract specifying payment amounts, use of own tools, vehicles, equipment and each individual’s maintenance of his or her own business location).

Other Exemptions
Subject to certain requirements, AB 2257 adds exemptions for the following occupations: manufactured housing salespersons; certain occupations within the music industry, certain individuals engaged by international exchange visitor programs; and competition judges (including amateur umpires and referees).

Enforcement Powers Enhanced
AB 2257 provides district attorneys the ability to file an injunctive relief action against businesses suspected of misclassifying independent contractors. Previously limited to the Attorney General and certain city attorneys.

Excluded Industries
A number of industries that have lobbied for exemptions remain excluded. Such industries include, among others, gig economy companies, franchising, trucking and the motion picture and television industries. These industries will undoubtable continue their efforts.

Conclusion
The immediate task for many businesses is to understand how AB 2257’s amendments affect their business relationships.

Navigating through the constantly changing legal landscape for independent contractor status can be daunting. If your business is currently using, or is planning to use independent contractors to assist with any business needs, be sure to get legal advice to avoid making mistakes and stay compliant with the current changes.

Click to view entire AB 2257 Bill 

HR Hot Topic – New Legislations Regarding Independent Contrators

HR 101 for Supervisors

Seminar location: Online via webinar
Date: Thursday, September 10th
Time: 9:00am – 10:30am
Price: $25 per person
Please reserve your spot no later than September 8th.
To reserve your spot, use the following link: 

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6190242077209797390

If you experience any technical issues with the above link, please contact info@hrtogo.com. 24 hour cancellation notice is required.

Description: Being a supervisor can sometimes feel overwhelming.  There are so many employment laws especially following the COVID outbreak that it’s difficult to know what you need to do, and what you can’t do.  In addition, you are responsible for working with your staff to help them be as productive as they can, and it’s not always clear how to do that.  You also need to know how to manage poor performance and keep your staff engaged, which can be even more challenging now that a major portion of workforces are working remotely.  This class will cover the basics, and you will walk away with an understanding of the most critical legal obligations. We will provide you with some tips on how to manage your staff for peak performance, how to handle some difficult situations you might encounter as a supervisor and discuss virtual team building exercises, which can help your remote workers overcome the difficulties of feeling isolated and disconnected.

For more information, contact our office at 916.444.6200 or your HR Consultant!

Seminar- September 10th – HR 101 for Supervisors (Webinar Format)

Talk to a team member today

Contact info 1730 I St #240 Sacramento, CA 95811