Each January, California entrepreneurs are “never surprised” when our state includes more employers in additional laws and regulations. One might think these folks feel they’re graded higher by the amount of new legislation and regulations they create, instead of how these changes will bring about a more positive business environment and create more job opportunities.
We’ll go over 3 new laws and regulations all California employers need to know, then finish up with one piece of good news you may not be aware of.
Change #1: Sexual Harassment Training
- The old regulation: Prior to 2019, the threshold for sexual harassment training applied to organizations with 50 or more employees.
- The new regulation: Now employers with 5 or more employees will be required to perform this training. The regulators have yet to write and publish the guidelines, which allows employers to comply by the end of 2019.
- More information: Here’s some reference information for you about Senate Bill 1343: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1343
We recommend you seek employment advice from an HR professional about this legislation and how it may affect your organization. That consultation may help you avoid a decision that brings added legal expenses and consumption of your time. If you would like an introduction to an HR Professional, just ask.
Change #2: OSHA 300A Digital Submissions
- The old regulation: Employers in selected industries with 20 or more employees must post their OSHA 300A form in their workplace.
- The new regulation: Employers in selected industries who employ 20 or more employees must nowpost not only their OSHA 300A form in their workplace, but they must electronically submit this document directly to federal OSHA.
- Background information: For employers who have a presence in the State of California, Cal/Osha is the California government entity that enforces the federal OSHA rules and regulations, along with those that may be unique to California.
- Why this new regulation is problematic: Even though federal OSHA created this reporting process, Cal/Osha is not set up to accept electronic information from employers, so they’re relying on federal OSHA to collect this data. At this time, it is not clear how the information in the 300A Form will be handled.
- Reporting deadlines you need to know: With the confusion about this reporting process, and very little publicity about this change, many employers may have already missed the first reporting deadline of January 1, 2019 for the employer calendar year of 2017. The deadline to post your workplace 2018 300A Form was February 1, 2019. The deadline to submit your calendar year 2018 300A electronically is March 2, 2019. So, it is best to electronically report this information ASAP.
What’s the process to electronically submit the OSHA 300A form?
- First, do you have 20 employees or more? If the answer is no, it does not apply to your business.
- Second, you will need to determine how your business operations are classified by the national system used by government today. Each type of business is assigned a numerical code called a NAICS number. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the economy. This link will help you find your code, or a code that applies to your business operations: https://www.naics.com/search/
- Third, you will need to determine if your business operations fall within the electronic reporting requirements. Courtesy of Reliance Safety Consultants, here’s a link to a list of those industries that are required to make this type of reporting: http://files.constantcontact.com/b1db9245701/a7727dba-f53d-4a3f-84af-b0f48f95f856.pdf
- Need more help? Federal OSHA has devoted space on their website to guide you through their electronic reporting process. Their process is called “Injury Track Application.” Here’s the connection to their instructions about how to report your 300A Form electronically: https://www.osha.gov/injuryreporting/index.html
So, give it a try and let us know how it goes. We are available to help you when we can.
Change #3: Who Is an Independent Contractor?
- What do I need to know? The California Supreme Court Decision and test to determine who is an independent contractor will affect many employers’ costs of doing business and the way they conduct their operations. It also has potential legal ramifications. There has been much criticism of this “simplified” decision of the court, and many in the legal community feel it is too far-reaching and doesn’t provide a solution to real-life workplace situations.
- Recommended reading: You will want to read the Capitol Weekly comments available here: http://capitolweekly.net/court-who-independent-contractor/
- More information: More detailed information is available from the Sacramento Employer Advisory Council (SEAC)through their recent recorded webinar. This is the link to the presentation summary & recording: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/webinar-recording-navigating-worker-classification-and-independent-contractor-status-tickets-55947269790
- Get help: You can also reach SEAC with your questions:
Ali Mata, Sacramento Employer Advisory Council (SEAC)
Voice Mailbox: 916.484.4647; Fax: 916.993.3170; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The SEAC website is: www.saceac.com
We recommend you seek employment advice from an HR professional about this ruling and how it may affect your organization. That consultation may help you avoid a decision that brings added legal expenses and consumption of your time. If you would like an introduction to an HR Professional, just ask.
Good News! A Change in Workers’ Compensation Experience Modification
- What’s the change? The new formula to calculate an employer’s annual Experience Modification excludes the first $250 of each claim from the Experience Modification calculation.
- Why did this change happen? According to the rating bureau that creates these calculations, WCIRB, “this change removes any financial incentive to not report the cost of small or ‘first aid’ type claims to your insurer… new formula also places a clear and direct emphasis on reducing the occurrence and cost of workplace injuries as reflected in the actual primary losses.”
- More information: For more information, this link will connect you directly to the WCIRB summary of this news: https://www.wcirb.com/erp2019
Hopefully, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) is correct, and employers will benefit through less administrate work and lower premiums. Time will tell.
You have questions about these topics or others? Contact me by email email@example.com; office phone 800-346-6216 x8758; mobile phone 925-285-6790.