In a case widely lauded as pro-employer, the California Court of Appeal in the Fourth District recently agreed with the trial court that a health staffing company's use of time-rounding software to track its employees' required meal breaks was fair and neutral and allowed under state law.
There are many legal and practical reasons for California employers to keep accurate, careful records of hours worked and wages paid. For example, federal and state tax and other deductions must be correctly calculated. California law also requires employers to include detailed payroll calculations on pay stubs.
The Institute for Women's Policy Research published a fascinating study in November 2018 that revealed that the gap between the pay women and men receive is more serious than traditional data has shown. Using a sophisticated, multi-year analysis that considered periods of time when people were out of the labor market or worked part-time, the authors concluded that instead of the usual figure cited based on government data that women earn 80 cents on the dollar as compared with men, 49 cents on the dollar is more accurate.
Many sections within California's labor code aim to protect workers and set expectations for employers. Regardless of a business' size, employees have certain rights regarding the payment they receive, including how employers must communicate payment. To properly document wages, employers must provide complete, accurate paystubs each time that the wages are paid.
We recently wrote about a major California Supreme Court case called Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court that on April 30 adopted the new "ABC Test" for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. Dynamex answered this question for purposes of interpreting a state wage order that governs wage-and-hour requirements in the transportation industry.
May employers ask workers to perform brief, minor tasks while off the clock? This is the central question of Troester v. Starbucks, in which a former Starbucks shift supervisor alleged that the company did not properly compensate him for work he was regularly required to perform after clocking out, including transmitting data to corporate offices, activating the store alarm, turning off lights and locking up, walking other workers to their cars or waiting with them for their rides, and occasionally putting away patio furniture that had been left outside. Starbucks argued that the time spent on remaining closing tasks was too negligible to require tracking and compensation.
When competing for talented employees, many businesses look for new ways to provide flexibility to current employees and attractive options to potential hires. Taking advantage of California's alternative workweek is one way to accommodate the lifestyles of many employees, whether they have child care needs, work a second job or just want an extra day off. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, flexible or alternative workweeks are on the rise nationwide.
Employers have plenty to think about as the year wraps up, from hosting safe employee holiday parties to managing year-end payroll. However, California employers should also take some time to make sure they'll be in compliance with all the new state employment laws that will go into effect in the beginning of 2018. Here are five things to pay attention to.