CALIFORNIA LABOR CODE, NLRA, WAGE AND HOUR (CALIFORNIA)–New Year Requirements (Reminder)

Employers are also reminded that several new laws become effective on January 1, 2012. These include: payment of health insurance premiums for employees on a pregnancy disability leave; restrictions on the use of credit reports by employers; and a written notice to all new hires stating rates of pay, payday, and other employer and workers’ compensation carrier information. The Labor Commissioner’s office has issued a template for this written notice. It can be found at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/LC_2810.5_Notice.pdf (PDF version) or http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/LC_2810.5_Notice.doc (Word version).

See October 14 and October 25 GMK Alerts for additional information on these new requirements.

NLRA Poster/Election Procedures

IMPORTANT: The NLRB has again extended the beginning date for posting the NLRA poster. The new compliance date is April 30, 2012.

This new date is also the effective date for the NLRB’s final rule which amends its election procedures. These amendments will generally result in elections taking place much more quickly. Legal action and potential legislative action may affect these proposed amendments. Nonetheless, it is a reminder to all employers to be aware of areas of vulnerability that could lead to a union-organizing effort.

Reporting Time Pay Clarified

In California an employee must be paid “reporting time pay” of at least two (2) and not more than four (4) hours when the employee is furnished less than half of the usual or scheduled day’s work. However, in Aleman v. AirTouch Cellular, the Court of Appeal recently ruled that when a meeting is scheduled for a specific period of time, and the employee is paid for more than half the scheduled time, the employee is not entitled to reporting time pay.

If an employee is asked to report for a meeting of unspecified duration on a day in which he did not expect to work a scheduled or usual shift, the employer is only required to pay the employee the two-hour minimum.

Additionally, in Aleman the court ruled that an employee is only entitled to an additional one hour of pay at minimum wage (the “split shift” premium” when an employee’s work schedule is interrupted by non-paid, non-working periods other than bona fide meal or rest periods) when his/her wages for the day is less than the number of hours worked plus one times the minimum wage.

What this means for you

If employees are required to report to work for a short period of time – such as for a meeting – the time and duration of the meeting (or other reporting) should be scheduled at least far enough in advance to avoid a claim that it was “unscheduled” and the meeting should take at least one-half of the scheduled time for no reporting time payment to be due. If there is no expectation of a scheduled or regular work period (such as when an employee is asked on short notice to report for an individual short meeting of unspecified duration and then is terminated or not otherwise put to work), the employee must be paid the two-hour minimum.

When an employee has attended meetings prior to a workplace injury, on a day they were not scheduled to work, the wages earned for the meeting and/or reporting time pay must be considered in calculating average weekly earnings. If an employee attends a meeting after an injury and while on TTD, this creates a wage loss when they are compensated for the meeting and/or reporting time pay by the employer.

All employers are also reminded to ensure that employees receive at least the minimum wage for all hours worked, and at least a total payment that includes an additional hour at minimum wage when the employee must report to work for a second time.

For assistance with these requirements, please contact GMK employment law attorney Jeanne Flaherty at 818-755-0444 or jflaherty@gmklaw.com.