Top Ten Wage and Hour Myths in California
If there’s one thing California HR pros appreciate reassurance on, it’s the constantly shifting laws surrounding wage and hour. Join Alexander Chemers and Julia Luster for their crucial session at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update. This January is the perfect time to reassure yourself – and your company – that you’re operating in compliance for 2020.
In their session, The Top Ten Wage and Hour Myths, Alexander and Julia will address common misconceptions about California wage-and-hour law. This includes areas where employers frequently leave themselves exposed to lawsuits. In addition, our speakers will tackle such pitfalls as meal period and rest break compliance, accurately paying employees for all hours worked, and wage statement formatting.
Chemers and Luster will provide critical takeaways such as:
- Neutral time rounding policies are riskier than you think;
- Many meal period and rest break policies have outdated language; and;
- The risks from paying bonuses and commissions often outweigh the benefits.
Wage and hour laws are some of the trickiest and most costly to get wrong. In order to stay on top of the latest case studies, this PIHRA 2020 Legal Update session is not to be missed. California employers, business owners and HR pros will gain crucial insight to navigate the new changes effective in 2020. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to defend your organization and minimize wage and hour risks.
Keynote Speaker Spotlight: Alexander Chemers & Julia Luster, Ogletree Deakins
Special thanks to contributing writer and PIHRA Programs Chair, Baskaran Ambalavanan, who conducted this interview with PIHRA 2020 Legal Update presenters Alexander Chemers and Julia Luster.
PIHRA: Neutral timing offers more risks than benefits for the employers with off the clock work, de minimis work doctrine, etc… What are the best practices to handle employee varying time punches?
Julia & Alexander: Accurately tracking employee hours is vital to every business that employs hourly workers. By doing this, employers can more easily process payroll in a timely manner and ensure compliance with the California Labor Code and other applicable law. This is even more vital as courts continue to erode or eliminate employer-friendly policies, such as the de minimis doctrine.
Some best practices to avoid class and collective actions include:
- Performing audits of timekeeping and payroll systems to identify risks and prioritize solutions. Although auditing itself may present some risks, if completed by an attorney, the resulting assessment can be attorney-client privileged;
- Implementing “attestations” as part of clock in and out, which can confirm whether the hours are complete and accurate, flag whether a meal or rest premium may be required, and track potential problem areas with time punches;
- Training managers and supervisors regarding proper practices and policies related to employee time recording.
How often you would recommend employers review the meal break and rest break period policies language?
Julia and Alexander: California has very specific and strict requirements related to meal and rest break periods. A large proportion of class and collective actions include claims for meal and rest period violations. Employers should regularly monitor changes in meal and rest break law though HR organizations to stay current on the laws. If an employer has never asked an attorney to review its policies, or several years have gone by without review of the applicable policies, attorney review can help identify potential risks and minimize future exposure.
Bonuses and commissions are the key drivers for performance. What are the risks involved?
Julia and Alexander: Although bonuses and commissions can help incentivize high performers and hard workers, the more complex a pay scheme is, the more likely it is to conflict with California law. For example, it can inadvertently result in an inaccurate “regular rate” or “overtime rate” calculation, and lead to underpayments. Even minimal underpayment can expose an employer to liability. Because of that, pay structures should be monitored regularly for compliance in both principle and application.
How can employers balance the business needs vs risks with pay for performance?
Julia and Alexander: Pay for performance connects compensation with specific measure of job performance or specific goals. One example of pay for performance is the piece rate model. This incentivizes production and can increase output in various industries while rewarding productive workers. Unlike Federal law, California law does not allow productive and non-productive time to be lumped together to satisfy minimum wage requirements for all hours worked. Further, non-productive time spend in rest and recovery must be treated differently than other non-productive time. Unless handled with care, it can expose the employer to potential liability.
Why are you excited to present at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update?
Julia and Alexander: We’re excited to present at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update to discuss the top 10 wage and hour myths we regularly see in our practice. We’re also excited to help California employers identify potential risks and traps they may face now or in the future!