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Minimum Wages On The Rise In California

Jan 21, 2008
Attention California Employers: On January 1, 2008, the Minimum Wage rises to $8 per hour from $7.50. So, you will need to make appropriate adjustments to your payroll systems. Further, many employers also are raising their employee's wages that are above the minimum wage in order to retain them.

Other big changes effecting California Employers in 2008 are:

New I-9 Forms, employment verification forms will be required effective December 26, 2007, for all new hires. Expect an increase in work place raids. So, do preventative audits now, and make contingency plans for what to do if you are raided.

Expect a tidal wave of class action wage and hour lawsuits for unpaid overtime, missed meal and rest periods, and working off the clock. The California State Supreme Court ruled this year that the remedy for a missed meal or break period is considered to be a "wage" and not a "penalty".

Therefore, the statute of limitations is now 4 years and not 1 year, creating a huge incentive for class action lawsuits. Accordingly, do a preventative audit now to determine whether you have misclassified any exempt employees or independent contractors. Be sure that employees are taking their 30 minute unpaid meal periods and there 10 minute paid rest breaks and, most importantly, that they are documented.

Expect a flood of Sexual Harassment Lawsuits. Therefore, it is imperative that all employers who have 50 or more employees provide their supervisors with a minimum of 2 hours of sexual harassment prevention training to be in compliance with the law. Further, employers must have written Sexual Harassment Policies. It is not enough just to have them; you must implement them and effectively communicate them to your supervisors and employees.

In addition there are a number of minor changes that are more of a paperwork nuisance for small businesses, such as, AB 650, which requires all employers to notify workers about eligibility requirements to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, a federal program to aid low-income workers. The notices must go out at the same time or within a week of the IRS W-2 form or 1099 form used for independent contractors.

AB 338, which extends the eligibility time for temporary disability payments.

AB392, which requires employers with at least 25 employees to give workers as many as 10 unpaid days off when a spouse is on leave from military deployment.
AB 869, which requires state labor code enforcers to cross-check with payroll records to make sure all employers are providing workers compensation insurance.

2008 is sure to be a busy year on the employment front for California employers. In order to comply with the ever changing requirements of California law, and to stay out of court, you need to consult with competent employment law counsel.
About the Author
For information and a free evaluation of your case, contact us at:
Law Office of Eli M. Kantor 9595 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 405 Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (310) 274-8216
Or visit our websites at:
http://www.sexualharassmentprevention.net
http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com
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