Are you doing business in California? Based on our experience, California is one of the most complicated places to manage employees. In some cases, the laws are not only complicated, they’re just plain annoying. Many laws have taken away flexibility that the employee and the employer want. For example, employees and employers cannot easily set up a flexible work schedule, unless they follow a complicated Alternative Work Schedule (AWS) process. If employers fail to follow the AWS process in accordance with all the required steps, they may be liable for back wages.
In celebration of our 5 years in business, here is a list of the Top 5 Most Common Mistakes Made by Employers:
1) Owners and Managers not knowing, understanding and/or complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules (e.g., overtime) related to Exempt vs. Non-Exempt classification of employees. [For more information, read my Exempt vs. Non-Exempt article]
2) In many cases, as a result of failing to comply with #1, employers often are not in compliance with the Meal and Rest period rules. If you are not requiring your “non-exempt” employees to clock in/out for their meal periods in California, you are setting yourself up for risk. For the Meal Period law, the risk includes repayment for the 30 minutes employees say they didn’t get lunch, on top of paying a one (1) hour meal period penalty for each day the employee says he or she missed a meal period.
3) Misclassifying someone as a 1099 (aka: independent contractor). The government wants its payroll taxes! So, unless and until your 1099’s meet the complicated IRS 20 factors test, then they are considered employees, in the eyes of the government.
4) Weak hiring practices. Did you know that past performance is the best predictor of future performance? [Click here to read “5 Keys to Successful Talent Acquisition"]. Here are the most common hiring mistakes:
- Hiring out of desperation (the “warm body” syndrome) with little or no screening.
- Not using a behavioral style interview.
- Not taking the time to scrutinize the employment application
- Not checking references or, in some cases, running a background check
5) Trying to do HR yourself. Well-intentioned managers can get themselves into trouble if they don’t know what they’re doing. Whether it’s a harassment or discrimination claim, employee discipline, terminations, policies, recruiting or any number of HR practices, it pays to have expert advice and help.
You don’t have to spend your time trying to learn how to be an HR expert. Our firm can easily assess your needs and help you put systems and policies in place that will support you in managing through complicated California and Federal employment law. Call us today for a consultation – 707-526-0877, ext 11
About the author: Brenda Gilchrist is the Principal/CoFounder of the HR Matrix, llc. Brenda and her team provide outsourced HR support, including onsite and virtual support, including HR audits, advice and consultation, handbooks, policies, employment programs, compensation design, performance management, payroll/HR systems, training and development and recruitment. Contact Brenda Gilchrist to discuss your HR needs at 707-526-0877 x11