Question:

Question:  I started a new business in the summer and think I am doing everything correctly as an employer.  Is there anything I’m required to do at the beginning of the new year?

Answer:

Answer:  With the new year come new laws and new workplace posters.  In California, all employers, no matter how small, must meet workplace posting obligations.  The 2014 posters that employers have displayed will be out of date as of the new year, and employers must plan to obtain 2015 versions of the California and federal posters.  Posters can be obtained directly from government agency websites as well as from private vendors.
Some of the notices that must be posted by all employers include the following:

  • Healthy Workplaces/Healthy Families Act of 2014, which is the new paid sick leave law in California;
  • Applicable California wage order;
  • Information on equal employment opportunity;
  • Minimum wage, both California and federal;
  • Employee rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA);
  • Notices about unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and paid family leave;
  • Cal/OSHA information regarding safety and health protection on the job;
  • Notice to employees concerning injuries caused by work (issued by the Division of Workers’ Compensation);
  • Notice of workers’ compensation carrier and coverage;
  • Information on prohibited workplace discrimination and harassment (issued by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing);
  • Notice specifying the regular paydays and time and place of payment;
  • Emergency phone numbers;
  • Notice concerning the Employee Polygraph Protection Act;
  • Whistleblower protections;
  • Notice regarding right to vote.

Certain notices are specific to employer size or industry.  For example, employers with five or more employees must post information on Pregnancy Disability Leave, and employers with 50 or more employees must post information on the California Family Rights Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.  Employers using hazardous or toxic substances must provide information about rights of employees working with such substances.  Licensed farm labor contractors must post a statement of pay rates.  Many of these notice requirements set forth specifics about the poster size and whether it must be translated into languages spoken by the employer’s workforce.
Employers must display these workplace posters in an area accessible to all employees and applicants, such as the break area or the human resources office.  Employers that do not have a central office with four walls must still comply with posting requirements.  They may, for example, have binders accessible to employees with all of the required posters.  Even individuals with just one employee working in their home must meet these requirements, putting the notices in the kitchen or some other area frequented by the employee.
Employers must update the posters and notices when there are changes in the law during the year. Employers should remember that they must not only post these notices but comply with their provisions.  It is a good idea to take the time now to read the fine print and ensure that all requirements are being met.  Taking these precautions now will help to ensure that 2015 will be a happy new year.  For more information on workplace postings go to the California Department of Industrial Relations website at www.dir.ca.gov/wpnodb.html.