Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal

Breathing in Gratitude

2018 has already shown itself to be a formidable. More than a few around me are dealing with health issues, and is a constant reminder to love the moments I have with loved ones.  It is never easy to accept that the easiest way to make God laugh is to make plans for life. So I continue to breathe in gratitude and remind myself that so much of life is transitory and only what I decide to hold on will remain. That means spending quality time with loved ones and others that bring you joy. Remembering that work is a means to an end not the entire thing. That each moment I spend in judgement rather than gratitude means less love.

As I near the end of my trip in India. I am struck with how much perspective distance can provide. I began 2018 with lots of resolutions, but forgot that while that’s great, it is important to also have the  why. As my loved ones deal with difficult times, it is a reminder to not lose sight of the truly important in life. So I begin today by breathing in gratitude, and being present in the moment.

employment law, Legal

New California Employment Laws: Legal Reasons #64

  • Stop asking about salary history – AB 168 bars employers from asking job applicants about their previous salary. The legislation’s goal is to narrow the gender gap by preventing employers from basing offers on prior salary and thus, presumably, perpetuating historical discrimination. This will also remove the perceived gap in negotiating power between an employers and employees who must disclose their prior salary. Employers should ensure that their job applications don’t seek prohibited information and that those interviewing applicants know not to ask these questions.
  • More employers must offer parenting leave – SB 63, officially titled the Parental Leave Act, requires employers with between 20 and 49 employees to offer parenting leave that mirrors the Family Medical Leave Act. The new Act allows employees who work for a covered employer to take 12-weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave if they have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the 12-months prior to taking leave.  Employees can take leave only for the purpose of bonding with a newborn child, adopted child or foster child within a year of the birth or placement. Covered employers will also need to maintain health coverage under the same terms as an active employee. The Act also prohibits discrimination and retaliation against an employee for taking parental leave.The Parental Leave Act does not require employers to pay any portion of the leave but requires that employees be able to use accrued sick and vacation time. Employees can apply to have a portion of the parental leave paid for through the state’s Paid Family Leave program.  As we’ve previously explained, San Francisco requires some employers to pay a remaining portion of parental leave.
  • Expanded harassment training – California requires at least biannual harassment training for supervisors in companies with 50 or more employees. Having given a dozen sessions of the  training in the last month, I can assure you that there’s no shortage of material to talk about. But as of January 1, 2018, SB 396 requires that the training include information on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. If your handbook doesn’t specifically prohibit discrimination and harassment on those bases, you’re overdue for a revision.
  • Ban the box – Following the leads of San Francisco and Los AngelesAB 1008prohibits employers with five or more employees from:
    • Asking on employment applications about criminal convictions;
    • Asking applicants about criminal convictions before making a conditional offer of employment;
    • When conducting background checks on applicants, considering, distributing, or disseminating information about prior arrests not leading to conviction, participation in diversion programs, or convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, expunged, or otherwise nullified.

Employers who wish to rely on criminal conviction information to withdraw a conditional job offer must notify the applicant of their preliminary decision, give them a copy of the report (if any), explain the applicants right to respond, give them at least five business days to do so, and then wait five more business days to decide when an applicant contests the decision. There are exceptions for employers who operate health facilities hiring employees who will have regular access to patients or drugs.

  • Minimum wage increases – On January 1, 2018, the California state minimum wage goes up to $11.00 per hour for businesses with 26 or more employees and $10.50 per hour for smaller companies. The inimitable Sahara Pynes discusses which cities are raising their minimum wages here.
Family, Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal

Leaving 2017 for 2018

As I sit here in India in the morning quiet, I think about what it is that I wish from 2018.  A lot of the resolutions I began and continued. I am proud of all that I accomplished, yet there is a deep hunger inside me that tells me there is so much more I can do. I want to continue being uncomfortable, continue doing things I never did before, continue my vision to be a published author, a successful law firm, and finally get to the bane of my fitness existence; the pull up.

I love the new year because it is a reminder that as with all ends, there is always a beginning, a change to do over or commit to new chapters in my life. There is so much to do, but it is not just for the sake of doing but to leave a legacy, to leave the place better than I found it.

As I left 2017, surrounded by some family, my thoughts went to my dad and aunt, and excitement at seeing my family in India very soon. It is fitting that I am in a country that gives me so much joy, feels familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, and reminds me of my history. I am reminded of my blessings, and I am full of gratitude for all that I have in my life. I leave 2017 sadder but stronger, and I begin 2018 with hope and gratitude.

Happy Monday and 2018 all!

Brownness, employment law, Legal

The New Parent Leave Act: Legal Reasons #63

Biracial mom on bed with her multiethnic black infant son (baby is 3 months old)

Under the New Parent Leave Act (Parental Leave), employers with 20 or more employees must provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child.

Compliance with this new law is essential. You will be liable if you fail to provide an eligible employee with Parental Leave, fail to guarantee the employee the right to return to the same or comparabl​e position at the end of Parental Leave, or take any adverse action against an employee for taking Parental Leave or for exercising his/her rights under the law.

Who’s Eligible for Parental Leave?

The New Parent Leave Act applies to:

  • Any person who directly employs 20 or more persons to perform services for a wage or salary; and
  • The state and any political or civil subdivision of the state and cities, regardless of the number of employees.

To be eligible for Parental Leave, an employee must:

  • Have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months;
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before taking leave; and
  • Work at a worksite that has at least 20 employees within a 75-mile radius.

Duration and Timing of Leave

Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of Parental Leave to bond with their new child. The leave must be taken within one year of the child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement.

The 12 weeks of Parental Leave is in addition to the up to four months of Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) available to a pregnant parent. An employee eligible for PDL and Parental Leave can take up to four months of protected leave when disabled by pregnancy and then an additional three months of Parental Leave.

If both parents work for you and both are eligible for Parental Leave, you must allow both to take Parental Leave. However, you are not required to provide more than 12 weeks total for both employees. You may allow the employees to take the leave simultaneously, but are not required to do so.

 

Employer Notice Requirement

The New Parent Leave Act requires that employers provide employees with a guarantee of reinstatement before an employee begins his/her Parental Leave. If you fail to provide this guarantee of reinstatement before the employee’s leave begins, you will be treated as if you refused to allow the employee to take Parental Leave and can be held liable for a violation of the law.

Employers should ensure that all employees taking Parental Leave are provided a guarantee that the employee will be reinstated to the same or comparable position at the conclusion of the employee’s Parental Leave. The guarantee should be in put in the handbook or an additional policy that all employees are aware of.

Returning to Work After Leave

When an employee returns from Parental Leave, you must reinstate the employee to the same or comparable position. If you need to terminate an employee on Parental Leave or have concerns about reinstatement, seek legal counsel.

Family, Inpsiration

Essential Time

Yesterday, we laughed so much our stomachs hurts, and it was just family. It is times like these that continually remind how blessed I am to have the family that I do. It is not strange to me to always invite my cousins to any event we are going to, and that most of us count each other as great friends. This week, I am excited to end (most) of the month with one of my favorite cousins and his family while we prepare to end the year in India and begin 2018 there as well.

More and more, it has become clear to me that it is essential to have recharge buttons set up in life that remind me of why it matters to do what I do. It is way to wallow in self-pity, frustration, and grief. But if done right, there are moments like yesterday when all you do is laugh and feel comforted by being surrounded by people who truly love you.

Happy Monday!

Family, Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal

Stretching My Mind With Gratitude

This weekend, I got a chance to go to two holiday parties, a brunch with my old leadership group and then ended the night with family time with my cousins. It was a great reminder that when I open myself up to new experiences, new relationships form, and older ones get stronger. I joined BNI out of a fear of public speaking and networking and my crossfit gym because of my fear of free weights. Thanks to the Legacy Program of MITT, I got a chance to reunited with my old friends, and it energized me to do more for 2018!

The previous week I attended my writer’s critique group holiday party where it re-energized my commitment to continue writing and begin submitting my work to contests. I realize now that it takes work to be part of so many things, but they all serve me in so many ways. I got a chance to volunteer much more than previous years, and I am grateful that I have adopted the attitude of getting comfortable being uncomfortable.

I want to live a life of transformation and giving back. I want intimate time with loved ones, but most of all I want to live a life of my creation that is not filled with regret, doubt and resentment.  Yes, there are rough days. Days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed, or even facing my fears. But it is on those days when I get up that I am better for it. Failure is an option, but it doesn’t have to be the default choice.

Happy Monday!