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.