Question:

I was recently promoted to be the human resources manager for a hospitality business. I want to review all of the employment practices of the business to learn about my new job but I don’t know where to start or what to look for. Where should I start?

Answer:

Auditing the wage and hour practices of your business is an excellent idea, especially because the Department of Labor plans to add 107 full-time staffers to increase investigations of employer practices. The Wage & Hour Division expects to conduct an additional 3,250 investigations in 2012, which will mainly target industries with higher rates of violations.
These industries include:

  • construction
  • child care
  • home health care
  • grocery stores
  • janitorial businesses
  • poultry and meat processing
  • business services, and
  • landscaping

In reviewing your company’s employment practices, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the business paying all workers at least the minimum wage? California’s minimum wage is currently $8.00 per hour, except in San Francisco, where it will be $10.24 effective January 1, 2012.
  • Is overtime being paid correctly? In California overtime is generally owed if an employee works more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week, so you have to look at the daily and weekly hours worked.
  • Are the workers properly classified? Make sure if you have independent contractors, they meet the test for independent contractor status. Also, each employee must be classified as exempt from overtime, or nonexempt, based on the duties they perform and the wage they earn. Each job should be analyzed carefully.
  • Do the written job descriptions accurately reflect the duties of the job?
  • Are time records accurate and complete? Records should be kept for at least four years showing non-exempt employees’ total hours worked each day, the start and end time of the work day and meal periods, the total hours worked in the payroll period with the applicable rates of pay, and the total wages paid each payroll period. Make sure the pay stub provided to the employee contains all required information. See
    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/PayStub.pdf
  • Are the I-9 forms current, signed and complete? Make sure you have a valid I-9 for every employee. See http://www.uscis.gov I-9 Central.
  • Is the business complying with payday requirements? A notice must be posted showing the day, time, and location of the regular payday. Non-exempt employees must be paid twice per month on specific dates. See http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_paydays.htm for the specific rules.
  • Do you provide a new hire notice to new employees? Effective January 1, 2012 most private employers have to provide a written notice to each non-exempt employee at the time of hiring. The notice must specify the rate of pay, the regular payday, the employer’s name, address and phone number and any dba’s, the name and address of the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier, and other specific details.

For additional information on California’s wage and hour laws, check
http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/DLSE-FAQs.htm; or
http://www.dir.ca.gov/wpnodp.html.
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