Brownness

New Month New Me?

A new month always brings a form of excitement and panic for me. I look at the my year goals and realize with some I am well on my ways and on others I haven’t looked at them since the beginning. Then begins the self-doubt and beating myself for  not doing enough. And then it turns into a whirlwind of emotions and ideas and thoughts and then I take a pause. A breath. Then one more. Then a longer one. And as I calm down I am grateful for all that I have managed. I reflect on what I got to do and how far I have come.

As to the items I haven’t gotten to, I acknowledge my breakdown, but it’s also a time to reassess. If someone is continually overlooked every month, maybe it is not as important to me as I thought or maybe, just maybe, I am scared. And if that’s the reason it means I have to get to it now rather than later. so I start this month with gratitude and hope.

I hope you do, too!

Brownness, Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal

Present Nostalgia

It’s been a mixed bag of emotions.  From berating myself for not doing well at Crossfit to belly filled laughter with an old friend who happens to be a Bhangra celebrity to tearing my hair out at operations at my studios, it has been another full week. I am noticing a new pattern in my life. Challenges come up. I handle them. Then when sometimes I am about to give up, an old picture of something or someone comes up, or I am reminded of an old memory, and so instead of feeling overwhelmed, a sense of peace comes over me.

As I stretch myself with the law office, Ziba, Crossfit, Writing. BNI, Artesia Chamber, it hits me that when I see all these are chores. I get a reminder in the form of nostalgia of how much fun it all can and has been. It is easy to construe all this work or really see it as a form of growth. Sure, it is not possible to do all of them well at the same time, however this is where structure, organization and passion come into play. I can either complain about or do something about it. So I communicate, renegotiate, or complete it. I keep moving, using Nostalgia as my fuel that one day I will look back, and reflect with pride, laughter or a lesson learned.

Happy Monday!

Brownness, employment law, Legal

5 Things Small Businesses Should Be Aware of:Legal Reasons #65

California’s state minimum wage increased for California’s employers on January 1, 2018.  California’s minimum wage law provides for two different rates based on the size of the employer, and the minimum wage increases are reflected in this chart:

Date Minimum Wage for Employers with 25 Employees or Less Minimum Wage for Employers with 26 Employees or More
January 1, 2017 $10.00/hour $10.50/hour
January 1, 2018 $10.50/hour $11.00/hour
January 1, 2019 $11.00/hour $12.00/hour
January 1, 2020 $12.00/hour $13.00/hour
January 1, 2021 $13.00/hour $14.00/hour
January 1, 2022 $14.00/hour $15.00/hour
January 1, 2023 $15.00/hour

 

Once the rate reaches $15 per hour, it will be adjusted annually based on inflation.  Here are five potential pitfalls California employers need to be careful to avoid with the increase in the state minimum wage.

 #1: Who is considered an employee?

California’s Department of Industrial Relations website provides the following explanation:

Labor Code section 1182.12 defines “employer” as: “any person who directly or indirectly, or through an agent or any other person, employs or exercises control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of any person [and] includes the state, political subdivisions of the state, and municipalities.”

Any individual performing any kind of compensable work for the employer who is not a bona fide independent contractor would be considered and counted as an employee, including salaried executives, part-time workers, minors, and new hires.

 #2: The salary level to qualify as an exempt employee increases based on the state minimum wage.

Employers need to review the base salary for all exempt employees to ensure the employees meet the salary required to be exempt.  To be exempt from the requirement of having to pay overtime to the employee, the employee must perform specified duties in a particular manner and be paid “a monthly salary equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment.” (Lab. Code, § 515, subd. (a).)

With the increase in the state minimum wage in 2018, the equivalent of two times the minimum wage of $10.50 per hour for small employers equals $43,680 per year, and two times the minimum of $11.00 per hour for large employers equals $45,760 per year to qualify for the white collar exemptions.

It is important to note that the salary basis test is set according to the California state minimum wage, not the applicable minimum wage that may apply in the various local city and counties in California.

#3: Which minimum wage rate applies if the number of employees raises and falls below 26 employees throughout the year? 

The California Department of Industrial Relations provides that: “An employer with 26 or more employees at any time during a pay period should apply the large-employer minimum wage to all employees for that pay period.”  Changing the rate of pay for each pay period raises another pitfall about the notice employers are required to provide employees before changing their rate of pay ( #4 below).

 #4:  Employers are required to update the notice to employees setting forth the employee’s rate of pay. 

California employers are required to provide non-exempt employees with certain information upon hire as required by the Wage Theft Protection Act.  The law became effective in 2012 and is codified at Labor Code section 2810.5.  Many employers use the Labor Commissioner’s template to meet this notice requirement.

However, employers who pre-populate the form will need to revise the forms to ensure that the wage rates comply with the increased minim wage rate in 2018.  Likewise, it is a good practice to review the notices mid-way through the year to ensure compliance with  the various local cities and counties (such as Los Angeles and Santa Monica) that typically increase their minimum wage rates in July each year.

 #5: Employers still need to comply with local city or county minimum wage requirements if those laws provide a higher minimum wage rate. 

Employers need to review any applicable local city or county laws that may provide for a higher minimum wage than the state minimum wage requirement.  Employers must comply with the highest minimum wage rate applicable to their workforce.  It is also important to review the local minimum wage ordinances as many ordinances differ in how to determine if the employer is small or large, and usually contain their own notice requirements.

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.

Brownness

Pregnancy Disability Leave Overview: Legal Reasons #58

​​Employers with five or more employees are covered by California’s pregnancy disability leave law.

Covered employers

PDL is state law. Employers with five or more employees are covered.

Maximum amount of leave

The actual time designated as disability related to pregnancy is determined by the employee’s health care provider. The maximum amount of time available is four months, or 17 1/3 weeks per pregnancy. Note that if an employee is disabled longer than four months, she may be entitled to a leave as a reasonable accommodation for her pregnancy-related or other disability.

Employee eligibility

Employees who work for covered employers are eligible for PDL upon hire.

Reasons for leave

PDL can be used for any time the eligible employee is disabled by pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition.

Employer responsibilities

Post required posters, include a PDL policy in your employee handbook and send a notice to any employee who needs PDL.

Interaction with other leaves

Can run concurrently with federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) absences but not with California Family Rights Act (CFRA) absences.

Ending the employment relationship before the leave expires

The employee cannot be subject to adverse employment action because she used PDL. Seek legal counsel before terminating anyone on PDL.

Return to work

The employee is entitled to reinstatement to the job she held before PDL began.​

Brownness

When to ask for Child or Spousal Support: Legal Reasons #54

When should you ask for child support or spousal support?

In terms of the divorce process, if you are inclined to ask for support or if you need it, you have to do it as soon as possible and ideally around the same time as the initial filing. Because of one the factor in family code 4320 is need, if you do not ask for spousal support for a very long time – let us say your divorce takes two years and you don’t ask for support – the court is not likely to find that you need it when you request it later. Therefore, whether you are the husband or wife, if you need the money, ask for it right away. Checking off the box in your petition or response is not enough, all it accomplishes is to notify the Court that it is a decision it needs to make at some point. You have to formally file a request for spousal support. Most of the time, the person needing the money is the one filing the request. I have never seen somebody who may be responsible for paying spousal support be the one to file a request to have the Court issue an order. It is “almost always” the responsibility of the person who needs the support to submit a request as close to the beginning of the divorce as possible.