2016 HR Updates

As we head toward the end of 2016, we want you to be aware of several new laws,  changes and reminders for California employers. We wish all of you a great Q4 and look forward to working with you in 2017!

1. Federal white collar exemptions (executive, professional and administrative & computer professional) salary requirement rise to $47,476 (effective 12/1/16): Employers will need to analyze their salaried jobs to ensure they still meet exemption salary requirements –or transition the employees to non-exempt status and pay overtime. Note that 12/1 is a Thursday, so employers will need to make changes for the payroll period in which December 1 falls (if needed). The new rules allow non-discretionary bonuses, incentive payments and commissions to count for up to 10% of the minimum salary, provided these amounts are paid at least quarterly.

We continue to see employers struggle with employee classification issues and the pains of labor claims for back overtime and break penalties. The HR Matrix can help you ensure your classifications are correct. Contact us for more information on our FLSA review services.

2. Harassment policies (effective 4/1/16): Employers with five or more  employees in California, policies must now contain the following:

  • List all protected groups under the FEHA
  • Allow employees to report to someone other than a direct supervisor
  • Instruct supervisors to report all complaints to a designated party
  • State that all complaints will be followed by a fair, complete and timely investigation and that the employer will maintain confidentiality to the extent possible
  • State that remedial action will be taken if any misconduct is found
  • State that employees will not be retaliated against for complaining or participating in an investigation
  • State that supervisors, co-workers, and third-parties are prohibited from engaging in unlawful behavior under the FEHA
  • Employers must distribute written policies to current and future employees. If 10% or more of the workers in a given location speak a language other than English, an employer must also translate its policies into those alternative languages.

3. Employment posters – There were several updates to federal and state posters this year. We recommend all employers update their all-in-one posters with no later than the 1/1/17 versions.

4. Employment applications – Our attorneys are advising us to remove the “have you ever been convicted” question from applications, and make offers contingent on background checks. If your company has an established background/drug check policy, we suggest noting that in recruitment ads and job applications.

5. Minimum Wage – Goes up to $11.00 per hour on 1/1/17.

6. Notice re Employment Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking – the Labor Commission will be providing a new required posting on this current law in early 2017.


  • ACA reporting: Qualified large employer reporting is due by February 28th.
  • Arbitration Agreements: We strongly recommend updating existing arbitration agreements with an attorney, if they are more than two years old.
  • OSHA 300 Log: Most employers who had over ten employees during the prior year must post the annual OSHA 300A summary by February 1st.
  • Overtime Calculations: We continue to see clients struggle with accurately calculating overtime for employees who with multiple rates. Employees who earn wages at more than one rate must have overtime calculated on a “regular rate of pay,” which includes all wages, non-discretionary bonus and commission earned during the workweek, divided by the number of hours worked.
  • ERISA Compliance: Employers who offer health insurance benefits are obligated to comply with ERISA requirements and provide a Wrap Summary Plan Description (SPD) to employees. Some brokers and various Third Party Administrators can provide this document for employers.
  • Commuter Benefits: Employers with more than 50 employees in Santa Rosa are subject to the Bay Area Commuter Benefits program requirements.
  • AB 1825 – Sexual harassment and anti-bullying training for CA supervisors is required for employers with over 50 employees in the state or nationwide. Training must be provided every two years, and within six months of an employee becoming a supervisor. HR Matrix Solution: The HR Matrix provides a custom and engaging interactive training that will ensure you meet the requirements of providing sexual harassment training. (Includes new requirements on bullying.) Contact Us for more information


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