Current Employer Notifications, News and Publications

ALL California Employers Must Have
Injury and Illness Prevention Programs
January, 2020
 
 

1.

Important Update to Lactation Accommodation
Policy Necessary by January 1
Reprinted by permission / Cummins & White LLP
 
 

2.

2020 Minimum Wage Rates and Increases
Due for Many California Cities
Jan, 2020
 
 

3.

All CA Employers Must Have Injury and Illness Prevention

(1. Continued from above)

 

A unique element of Cal/OSHA is it requirement that All California employers are required by Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations’ Section 3203 to “establish, implement, and maintain an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program” (IIPP).  Employers with 10 or more employees must have the IIPP in writing but employers with fewer than 10 employees may communicate to and instruct employees orally in general safe work practices with specific instructions on hazards unique to the employees’ job assignments.

 

Despite the IIPP requirement being “on the books” since 1991, many employers with establishments in California still do not have an IIPP. In fact, Cal/OSHA issues more citations under the IIPP standard than any other standard—thousands each year—many of them for a complete failure to have an IIPP. During a Cal/OSHA inspection, one of the first documents asked for is the IIPP, and failure to have one can carry a penalty up to $25,000.

Employers who don’t follow the law expose themselves to not only penalties and Cal/OSHA fines, but also a violation could lead to criminal prosecution, if an employee is injured or becomes ill from a known but concealed danger on the job.

A common misperception is that certain employers do not need an IIPP.  Many of the employers making this false assumption are running low-hazard establishments, like professional-services offices, or have only a few employees. Yet ALL employers with establishments in California, regardless of size or industry, are subject to the IIPP requirement.

So, what is an IIPP? It’s a simple written workplace safety program that is meant to protect your employees. But not just any written workplace safety program. Cal/OSHA requires that an IIPP include eight essential elements:

1.     Responsibility

2.     Compliance

3.     Communication

4.     Hazard Assessment

5.     Accident/Exposure Investigation

6.     Hazard Correction

7.     Training and Instruction

8.     Recordkeeping

In fact, workplace violence or even threats of illness (contagious viruses for example) often fall under the California IIPP regulations as potential workplace hazards. Under these types of circumstances, a California employer may have the duty to “communicate” and to “remedy” a potential hazard under the IIPP standard.  (The current Coronavirus threat could potentially fall under the IIPP employer responsibilities for an affected California employer)

Importantly, even if you have a general safety and health program, Cal/OSHA may say it’s not an IIPP unless it’s a written program that explicitly covers the foregoing eight elements.

Further, to be effective, your IIPP must

·       fully involve all employees, supervisors, and management,

·       identify the specific workplace hazards employees are exposed to,

·       correct identified hazards in an appropriate and timely manner, and

·       provide effective training.

The IIPP regulation provides some limited exceptions, but they pertain to the content of the program or how its implementation is documented. There is no exception to the requirement that an IIPP be established, implemented, and maintained.

 

For more information on this or any related workplace health, safety or environmental compliance issue, please contact Eric Martin at ACG CONSULTING SERVICES 

 

Main Office (949) 452-1840

 

ACG Consulting Services, Inc. has been assisting employers since 1973 by providing a helpful and experienced resource for guidance specific to employment, human resources, health, safety and environmental compliance. For further information regarding ACG Consulting Services or for question specific to the information contained within the current employer bulletin, contact Eric Martin at 1-949-452-1840 or email; 

emartin@american-consulting.com 

 

Important Update to Lactation 

Accommodation Policy Necessary by Jan 1

(2. Continued from above)

 

Under Legislation passed late this year (SB142), California modified current law

regarding lactation accommodation in the workplace.  The amended law, effective January 1, 2020, adds requirements for rooms set aside for lactation.  Rooms must have seating and an area to place lactation equipment, electrical outlets or an extension cord, and be free of hazards.  A refrigerator and sink with running water must be available at a location near to the employee’s workspace.  Employees are also authorized to take a break at any time to express milk, not just during regular break times.  There is an exception to the accommodation requirements for employers with less than 50 employees who can prove that accommodation would create an undue hardship. 

Importantly, the new law requires that a written lactation policy be distributed, either in a handbook or in a separate policy. This requirement applies to all employers.  The policy must state that employees have the right to lactation breaks and describe how a request may be made and that a written response will be given if lactation cannot be accommodated.  Further, the policy must state that employees can file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner if accommodation is unlawfully denied. The bill makes a failure to comply with these provisions a failure to provide a rest break under the Labor Code.

It is critical that a compliant policy be distributed after the first of the year, because the new law provides that employees who are denied accommodation are entitled to the same penalty (one hour of pay) as when meal or rest periods are not provided.  A non-compliant policy opens the door for plaintiff-side attorneys to bring claims for penalties, including as a class action basis or under the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA).

If you have not had your handbook recently updated to reflect this new law, we recommend that you either distribute an amended handbook or a separate policy to avoid possible lactation accommodation complaints or penalty claims.

 

If you have questions or need assistance with drafting a compliant policy, ACG CONSULTING SERVICES will be happy to assist your business.

 

ACG CONSULTING SERVICES, INC

 

Phone: (949) 452-1840

2020 Minimum Ware Rates and Increases Due for Many CA Cities

(3. Continued from above)

 

First, we remind all clients of ACGACG that the recent DOL increases in salary basis under the Fair Labor Standards Act will have really no effect upon California employers and classification of Exempt employees. Due to the fact that cities in California with increasing rates in 2020 will be well above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 as well as the salary basis threshold which is much higher in California than under Federal standards. 

However, going forward for the year 2020, California, will have several minimum wage updates at the city level.  A reminder also that in 2023, regardless of how many employees a company has the state minimum wage will be increasing to $15.00. 

Employers should remain mindful of the following respective to 2020 minimum wage rates:

  • All minimum wage changes will require a posting update

  • State law does not provide for a separate wage for tipped employees

  • Some cities will update rates in the summer of 2020

 

Below is a list of California cities whose minimum wage will increase at the start of 2020, as well as the new rates. (Also included below is a list of updates coming in the summer of 2020.)

Related: 2020 State Minimum Wage Updates

2020 California City Minimum Wage Rates

Yes, all cities with increasing rates in 2020 will be well above the federal minimum wage of $7.25.  The 2020 STATE RATE for California will be $12 for small employers and $13 for large employers (this rate is what the “salary basis threshold is based upon, not local or city minimum wage rates).

Meanwhile, many cities will breach the $15 threshold — the level many lawmakers and minimum wage activists want to see implemented nationwide as part of the “Fight for $15.”

Employers should also remain aware that certain cities have separate rates tied to the type of job duties performed — for example hotel workers in Santa Monica.  We strongly suggest that employers should check California jurisdictions where they have operations to ensure they are paying the correct rate for their employees.

Jan. 1, 2020 Increases

Cupertino 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $15.35, up from $15

Daly City 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $13.75, up from $12

El Cerrito 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $15.37, up from $15

Los Altos 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $15.40, up from $15

Menlo Park 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $15, up from the state rates

Mountain View 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $16.05, up from $15.65

Oakland 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $14.14, up from $13.80

 Palo Alto 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $15.40, up from $15

Petaluma 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $15 for employers with 26 or more employees (up from $11)

  • Increasing to $14 for employers with 25 or fewer employees (up from $12)

Redwood City 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $15.38, up from $13.50

San Diego 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $13, up from $12

San Jose

  • Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $15.25, up from $15

San Mateo

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $15.38, up from $15

Santa Clara 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $15.40, up from $15

Sonoma 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $13.50 for employers with 26 or more employees (up from $11)

  • Increasing to $12.50 for employers with 25 or fewer employees (up from $12)

South San Francisco 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $15, up from $12

Sunnyvale 

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2020

  • Increasing to $16.05, up from $15.65

Summer 2020 California Minimum Wage Increases

The following cities in California have scheduled minimum wage increases beginning as of July 1, 2020.  Some increases scheduled for the upcoming 2020 summer are tied to the consumer price index and are therefore not yet currently known.

Below are California cities and their current minimum wage rates.

  • Alameda – $13.50

  • Belmont – $13.50

  • Berkeley – $15.59

  • Emeryville – $16.30

  • Fremont – $13.50

  • Los Angeles – $14.25

  • Malibu – $14.25

  • Milpitas – $15

  • Pasadena – $14.25

  • San Francisco – $15.59

  • San Leandro – $14

  • Santa Monica – $14.25

 

For more information on this or any related wage and hour issues feel free to contact Eric Martin at ACG CONSULTING SERVICES, Inc. 

Main Office (949) 452-1840

The information contained in this bulletin should not be considered as providing any legal advice or legal opinions of any kind.  It is intended to only provide practical guide and information on new minimum wage rate laws in California.

 
Contact ACG at 949- 452-1840 for more information on our Human Resources Services