HR Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Top HR Frequently Asked Questions?

 

 

 

Question 1: We require our employees to wear a company polo shirt at work.  Can we provide one shirt per year and have employees pay for a new shirt if it starts looking worn or is damaged during the year? Also, do we have to pay for the maintenance of the shirts?

Answer:  According to  Section 452 of the Labor Code, an employer must provide and maintain uniforms, regardless of the cost.  You would not be permitted to charge employees for shirts or for replacement shirts when their first-issued one wears out or is damaged. 

Uniform maintenance reimbursement is not required with respect to uniforms of wash & wear material that require only washing and tumbling dry.

Employers must continue to maintain uniforms that require daily, special, or other routine laundering due to heavy soiling or use, and uniforms requiring ironing, dry cleaning or repairs.

Question 2:  We want to hire a summer intern.  Do we have to pay them?

Answer:  A business can provide unpaid internships for students receiving academic credit or completing a requirement for a vocational degree.  If the student is not receiving credit, he/she should be treated as an employee and paid at least minimum wage. (You also have the option to pay a learner’s wage during the first 160 hours of employment or 90 days, whichever comes first, which is 85% of minimum wage or $6.80.)

According to the Department of Labor, other criteria is required if you are not treating the intern as an employee and will not pay them a wage:

  • The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school.
  • The training is for the benefit of the trainee.
  • The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under close observation.
  • The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded.
  • The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the completion of the training period.
  • The employer and the trainee understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.

 

Question 3: When an employee is out on an extended medical leave due to a work injury, do they continue to accrue vacation?

Answer: There is no legal requirement to provide vacation benefits to employees.  If you do offer vacation benefits to employees, you are not required to continue vacation accrual during leave.  (However, if you continue vacation accrual during non-workers’ compensation leaves, you must follow the same practice for workers’ compensation leaves.)

If you have a medical leave policy, it should specify how long vacation will continue to accrue during leave.  If your policy does not have provisions regarding vacation accrual, you should rely on your past practice.  It is typical to continue vacation accrual during the paid portion of leaves only.

FAQs…In More Detail

Medical Coverage for Leaves

Question:  How long are employers required to continue paying medical premiums for employees who are on an unpaid medical leave of absence?  Answer:   Not as long as many employers may think.   Outside of a couple of legally regulated leaves and collective bargaining...

Termination Package

Question: What Must I Give Employees  Who Are Leaving Our Company? Answer:  Employees who are separating employment in California must receive specific documents on their way out the door.  Make sure yours are up to date. At minimum, an employee leaving voluntarily or...

Layoffs – UGH!

Question:  We have to cut expenses significantly - and it's come down to reducing headcount. What should we consider? Answer: I'm pretty tired of hearing about this economic down turn, how about you?  Unfortunately, we have heard from many clients challenged with...

Suspending for Discipline

Question: We want to suspend an employee to get his attention.  What do you think? John has been late a number of times over the last six months. His supervisor has given him a verbal warning, and a written warning. He's been warned that one more tardy this month and...

Outside Salespersons

Question: What is the minimum pay required for outside salespersons in California? Answer: If a Salesperson is away from the office more than 50% of the time, selling services or products, they may be considered “exempt” from overtime as an Outside Salesperson. If...

Sexual Harassment Training

Question: Are we required to train all California supervisors/managers in sexual harassment prevention (AB1825?) Answer: If you have 50 employees or contractors in California, you are required to train your supervisors/managers on AB1825 within 6 months of hire and...

Employing Minors

Question: Can we employ a minor who is age 16? Answer: Yes, but there are restrictions on the employment of minors under the age of 18 that would apply in this case. You must acquire the required work permit before employing a minor. Permits are required year-round,...

Meeting Time

Question: If we have an employee working from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and then have a mandatory meeting the same day from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., do I just pay him for the hour for the meeting (at the overtime rate) or do I have to pay him for 2 hours because he went...

Leaving Early

Question:  We have couple of employees who work eight (8) hours per day.  Currently they take one (1) hour lunch breaks after working 4 hours.  Is it permitted if they take a 30 minute lunch break and then end their day 30 minutes earlier?  The employees would prefer...

Pregnancy Disability Leave

Question: Our employee has been out on pregnancy disability leave for eight (8) weeks and plans on taking an additional six (6) weeks off after their pregnancy disability ends. She does not qualify for FMLA or CFRA. Do I need to do anything? Answer: If the employee is...

Extended Medical Leave

Question: When an employee is out on an extended medical leave due to a work injury, do they continue to accrue vacation? Answer: There is no legal requirement to provide vacation benefits to employees.  If you do offer vacation benefits to employees, you are not...

Summer Intern

Question:  We want to hire a summer intern.  Do we have to pay them?Answer:  A business can provide unpaid internships for students receiving academic credit or completing a requirement for a vocational degree.  If the student is not receiving credit, he/she should be...

Uniform Maintenance

Question: We require our employees to wear a company polo shirt at work.  Can we provide one shirt per year and have employees pay for a new shirt if it starts looking worn or is damaged during the year? Also, do we have to pay for the maintenance of the shirts?...

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