Wednesday January 17, 2018

4 HR management trends coming to 2018

Business trends come and go, but they impact our daily work lives. When it comes to HR management, evolving technology and a shift in workforce needs will continue to shape the trends we’ll see in 2018. 

As HR professionals seek ways to operate more effectively, let’s examine four of the key trends the human capital management experts at EPAY Systems believe will hit your radar screen as 2018 unfolds.


1. Flexible work schedules on the rise

“Flexible work arrangements” is a term you’ll continue to hear in the year ahead. One reason: Millennials now make up the largest generational share of the workforce, and work-life flexibility is a priority for this demographic.

More than half — 52% — of HR professionals said their companies currently offer flexible work arrangements to at least some employees, according to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey. Even more interesting, SHRM members reported that retention improved when companies simply announced they were launching flexible work arrangements — that’s how much workers want this.

Some experts predict that employers who offer flexible work schedules will see gains in recruitment and morale, as well as a reduction in turnover.

Of course, not all companies are in a position to offer flexible work schedules. But for companies managing aggressive recruiting and retention goals, it’s certainly food for thought.

2. A growing remote workforce

Eighty to ninety percent of the American workforce would like to work remotely at least part time, according to a study by Global Workplace Analytics. No wonder telecommuting has increased by 115% in the last decade!

Employees who telecommute report higher morale, lower absenteeism and greater willingness to work overtime. It’s good for the environment, too — no commuting.

And contrary to what you might think, multiple studies indicate that remote workers demonstrate greater productivity, while saving employers on office space. (For example, American Express reports saving $10 to $15 million per year in real estate costs because of its telecommuting program.)

However, many executives remain uncomfortable with the idea, and not all jobs or industries lend themselves to telecommuting. But the demand isn’t likely to go away. If talent acquisition is key to your company’s growth strategy, offering a remote work option — even part-time — could be a smart move.

3. Social recruiting on the move 

Eighty-five percent of companies use social media as a recruiting vehicle. It’s so pervasive, it even has its own name now: social recruiting. While LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook remain the big three, where will it go from here?

In 2018, we will see more companies leverage mobile recruiting platforms. According to Pew Research Center, 28% of all Americans (and 53% of 18 to 29-year-olds) use their smartphones for job hunting. Half of them have completed a job application using their phones. If your company’s hiring platform isn’t mobile friendly, you’re missing out.

In addition, employers may be turning to professional/association social networking sites to recruit this year. It’s a more targeted way to hone in on experienced applicants and reach passive job candidates. Why not give it a try?

4. Using technology for HR program management

We continue to see vast advances in HR technology in every area, from time and attendance systems and benefits administration to recruiting and performance management programs.

According to Sierra-Cedar’s 2017-2018 HR Systems Survey, 50% of companies have purchased a cloud-based HR application. The migration to the cloud continues.

In addition, you can expect to hear about:

  • The adoption of continuous performance management systems. For years, employers have been moving away from an annual review process and toward an ongoing performance management process. Look for human capital management systems that actively support such year-round activities.
  • Using granular analytics to refine HR processes. While companies have been demanding HR analytics for a while, many organizations are still figuring out how to best put them to use. From recruiting metrics that allow employers to shorten the hiring process to time and attendance data that pinpoints field management issues, employers will dig in to HR analytics in increasingly meaningful ways.
  • Increased use of mobile time tracking apps. According to the Sierra-Cedar study, there’s been a 50% increase in mobile time tracking over last year. This tracks with the other trends discussed above. Employees are using their phone for more job-related activities. Employers are becoming more flexible in terms of where and when employees work. It only makes sense that HR systems like time and attendance software are able to follow along.

Michelle Lanter Smith is chief marketing officer at EPAY Systems, a SaaS provider of integrated human capital management technology for medium to large organizations with a decentralized hourly workforce.

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This may be the key to increasing employee productivity: Financial education at work

Many companies do not realize this, but many of their employees struggle with an escalating epidemic that is affecting today’s workforce. 

One in three employees report that issues with personal finances serve as a distraction at work, according to a report published by the Center for Financial Services Innovation. Financial stress contributes to lost productivity, increased absences and healthcare claims, higher turnover and costs associated with workers who cannot afford to retire on time, the report also found.

The potential solution? Financial literacy education in the workplace. Financial consultant Kyle Sanders is here to share why and how this can help not only employees, but also their workers.


When employees spend time worrying about their personal finances, productivity is what takes the biggest hit. Not only are they abusing company time, but important work is not completed, further placing companies in a dire situation. Moreover, workers recognize the severity of this epidemic, whether their companies do or not, as employees admit their concerns with personal finances interfere with their quality of work, the Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation found.

For these reasons, there is a very compelling business reason for employers to advance the well-being of their workers through financial literacy education in the workplace.

Increasingly, companies are beginning to recognize the value in non-traditional, company-supplied benefits that will strengthen employees’ financial wellness. In fact, according to a 2015 study conducted by Aon Hewitt, 93 percent of 250 employers surveyed said they want to do more to enhance employees’ financial well-being than providing 401(k) matching.

The desire to provide unique employee benefits isn’t the only reason financial literacy education in the workplace is gaining in popularity. Today’s workforce also demands a benefit that enhances their entire family’s financial knowledge for two very significant reasons. First, we are entering what’s being referred to as “The Great Transfer of Wealth.” Secondly, many parents aren’t very comfortable speaking to their children about money and could use some guidance on how to raise financially literate children.

Research from the Boston College Social Welfare Research Institute states the Baby Boomer generation will transfer $41 trillion in assets to their Gen X and millennial children in this Great Transfer of Wealth our country is currently experiencing. This large financial transfer has led many parents and grandparents to wonder how they can have important financial conversations with their heirs to ensure the inheritance will be responsibly managed.

However, the problem with this realization is that many parents do not speak to or educate their children about money. This means a considerable amount of money will be put in the hands of potentially fiscally incompetent children who are at risk of making poor money management choices with their inherited money.

Moreover, it is especially essential parents and grandparents learn how to have these conversations with their children, as 60% of wealth is lost to a lack of communication and trust, according to Roy Williams and Vic Preisser, the authors of the book Preparing Heirs.

This learned knowledge can begin in the workplace. For companies interested in providing family-focused financial literacy education to employees, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration when planning for this type of benefit. For instance, companies should ensure outside presenters are qualified financial consultants with knowledge of the topic. Employers can also select between differing event platforms, such as a lunch-and-learn or after-hours events. Regardless of specifics, employers can enhance this benefit by offering this education on an annual basis.

With many American workers suffering from financial distress combined with the reality that our nation’s Great Transfer of Wealth is making parents question if their children are fiscally responsible enough, providing family-focused financial literacy education in the workplace may be key to increasing employee productivity.

Kyle Sanders is the owner and lead financial consultant of Legacy Consultants Group, a financial advisory firm located in Indianapolis. His workshop, “Raising Financially Fit Families,” is designed to educate parents and grandparents on the ways to teach their children about finances. For more information, email Sanders.

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Strange ADA lawsuit shines light on the right way to handle smelly co-workers

If someone in your office has a bad odor, there are some tactful ways to deal with it. Bringing in air fresheners and telling everyone else in the office to do the same? Not so much.


Amber Bridges, a team leader, was fired because of how she chose to deal with a smelly co-worker. Instead of talking to the co-worker or getting a manager to intervene, Bridges got almost everyone in the office to bring in air fresheners. The employee in question went to HR and complained of a hostile work environment. Managers agreed that she was being discriminated against due to her smell, and they fired Bridges.

In an even weirder turn of events, Bridges decided to file a lawsuit claiming that her termination was the result of her association with a “disabled” co-worker, therefore she should’ve been protected under the ADA as well.

If you’re scratching your head over this lawsuit, you’re not the only one. Evil HR Lady Suzanne Lucas is confident this case will get tossed immediately, since Bridges’ discriminatory actions against the employee were the reason for her termination.

But it begs the question: What’s the right way to handle a smelly employee?

Interactive process is key

Lucas says this whole mess could’ve been avoided if someone had simply talked to the employee. A manager has every right to ask their workers to come to the office showered and in clean clothes. If bathing isn’t the issue, the next step would be getting the employee to see a doctor and fill out ADA paperwork — chronic body odor is covered, as long as the proper steps are taken.

Once an employee’s body odor is covered under the ADA, the interactive process needs to take place to find an accommodation that works for everyone. The best solution very well could be putting air fresheners around the office, but that can only happen after a conversation with the employee takes place. There could be several other possible solutions, such as giving the employee their own office.

Bottom line: A lot of unusual things can be covered under the ADA, so exploring this route first is never a bad idea.



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Rejected candidates could be the key to better hiring

There’s room for improvement in every company’s hiring process, and a lot of the answers lie with the rejected candidates. 

Many recruiters make the mistake of not communicating enough with applicants they don’t want to hire. Not keeping them in the loop can reflect badly on the company, and not asking for feedback can result in poor hiring practices going unnoticed.

Danielle Weinblatt, founder of recruiting automation software company ConveyIQ, has suggestions on how to give and get candidate feedback that will make the experience better for everyone involved.

‘The black hole’

When job seekers apply for a position and never hear back, they call that “the black hole”– and unsurprisingly, it is the most dissatisfying part of the hiring process.

This can happen when a keyword search eliminates them, or recruiters received too many applications to respond to.

“The black hole” can also happen when a company has no intention of filling the position. Sometimes, recruiters just want to see what talent is out there, and they keep interesting candidates in mind for later. The problem is, applicants usually don’t know this, and become frustrated with the company when they don’t hear back.

Weinblatt approves of general talent searching, but only if the company is upfront about it. When done openly, this method can build solid relationships with candidates. It’s incredibly important for the company to communicate with their applicants, letting them know what they are looking for, and when, Weinblatt says.

Staying in communication with candidates, even with the ones that get rejected, can result in them reapplying in the future, and also sharing their positive experience with other job hunters.

Survey everyone

When it comes to getting feedback from candidates, typically a survey is given to those who were offered the job. There’s a big bias problem with this, Weinblatt says. By only getting feedback from the candidates you wanted to hire, you’re missing out on the thoughts of applicants you rejected. Also, by giving the survey at the end of the process, it’s impossible to pinpoint where any dissatisfaction came from.

Weinblatt says to give surveys to every candidate at every stage of the hiring process. This will help you know exactly where improvement is needed. Maybe a certain hiring manager is the problem, or maybe your 45-minute online application turns people off.

Making the surveys open-ended is crucial, too. Instead of having applicants rate things on a scale, ask them what they disliked the most about the process, or what their ideal situation would be.



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Court voids key parts of EEOC’s wellness regs: Here’s what happens next

When a federal court asked the EEOC to reconsider its rules on wellness incentives under the ADA and GINA, it expected the agency to move swiftly with its response.
And it looks like the court wasn’t too happy with the agency’s efforts.

The court just “vacated” – i.e., voided – the wellness rules that pertain to incentives and the ADA and GINA beginning on Jan. 1, 2019.

How we got here

First, some background on how we got to where we are now.


The lawsuit in question, AARP v. EEOC, centered around the legality of the EEOC’s recent wellness regs.

Specifically, the case hinged around the notion of a “voluntary” wellness program. Under the EEOC regs, employers can offer incentives of up to 30% of the total cost of coverage for self-only coverage for participation in company-sponsored wellness programs that include components like health-risk assessments (HRAs) and biometric screenings.

The AARP argued that such an incentive ran counter to the “voluntary” requirements of the ADA and GINA because employees who can’t afford to pay a 30% increase in premiums would essentially be forced to give up protected information that they wouldn’t have chosen to disclose otherwise.

In other words, the way the EEOC’s current regs are written allow for involuntary programs that could put workers at risk of being discriminated against, according to the AARP’s lawsuit.

Double the cost for most

U.S District Court for the District of Columbia Judge John D. Bates sided with AARP and agreed the EEOC hadn’t explained the reasoning behind its wellness compliance regs with respect to both the ADA and GINA.

In a memorandum, Judge Bates said allowing employers and insurers to offer a 30% incentive for wellness program participation wasn’t “sufficiently remedied” by the fact that these programs were supposed to be completely voluntary.

Bates expanded on this stance by stating that there was nothing “that explains the [EEOC’s] conclusion that the 30% incentive level is the appropriate measure for voluntariness,” and that such an incentive “is actually not consistent with HIPAA.”

He went on to add that “the ‘voluntary’ provision of the ADA to permit incentives of up to 30% is thus deeply flawed.”

Then, Judge Bates, went on to specifically spell out the problem he found with the EEOC’s incentive percentage (for both ADA and GINA purposes) by stating:

“.. based on the average annual cost of premiums in 2014, a 30% penalty for refusing to provide protected information would double the cost of health insurance for most employees. At around $1,800 a year, this is the equivalent of several months’ worth of food for the average family, two months of child care in most states, and roughly two months’ rent.”

Despite pointing out so many problems with the EEOC’s regs, Bates decided not to kill the current regs, claiming such a move would wind up causing “significant disruptive consequences.”

Therefore, the court ordered the agency to reconsider the current regs.

Wasn’t ‘timely’ enough

And it’s how the EEOC chose to respond that drew a court’s ire.

The EEOC responded by saying it didn’t expect to issue new proposed regs until August 2018, with final rules likely by August 2019 and an effective date of early 2021.

The court didn’t consider that timetable “timely” enough.

In vacating the rules, the court said it would:

“hold EEOC to its intended deadline of August 2018 for the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking. . . . But an agency process that will not generate applicable rules until 2021 is unacceptable.”

Remember: Until Jan. 1, 2019, employers are technically still required to comply with the current wellness regs the EEOC issued.


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The 3 key employer brand elements that attract and retain talent

Yes, pay, benefits and culture are critical when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. But an employer’s brand also plays a vital role. Matt Handford, the SVP of People for Hootsuite, the world’s largest social media monitoring platform, explains the key elements of a company’s brand strategy — and how such a strategy can be an invaluable part of attracting and retaining talent.

In a world where attracting and retaining talent is one of the core issues facing companies today, what steps can be taken for an employer to be strategically positioned to leverage the best talent pool in their market? It can be a daunting task, and one that doesn’t have a singular route to success, but one avenue that is seeing more importance both among employers and potential employees, is how well a company’s brand stands out.

According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, employer branding has become strategically more important to CEOs, HR and marketing leaders with a third looking to build their global employer brand by 2020. Clearly there is an understanding that a strong brand is important, but how can companies develop a brand that resonates and feels authentic to potential employees? Consider three key elements that support the backbone of any brand strategy.

1. Build a Strategic Plan

It should go without saying that in order to develop a strategic and effective brand persona, there needs to be a plan behind it. First off, it’s critical to understand that a brand is not the perks or salary associated with working at your company. While perks like dog-friendly offices, free beer, extra vacation and ping pong are elements of creating a positive workplace it does not, and should not, define you as a brand.

Take a critical look at your current brand and define what you want to be known for; when a potential employee thinks of your company, what is the ideal perception you want to create? By thinking from that perspective, you can work backwards and develop steps to increase your brand’s strategic positioning until you are attracting the type of talent that aligns with your vision. Ultimately you want to capitalize on what makes your brand unique, and build from there.

Keep in mind that this strategic vision should look towards the long-term, with multi-year goals. You’ll want to create both short and long term strategies that work in tandem, and review those goals to actual results and the effectiveness in building your desired brand persona.

2. Implement that Plan with Integrity

Once you’ve developed your strategic brand, how you choose to implement that strategy is important. In fact, just because you want your company to be perceived in a particular manner, doesn’t mean that it will. The best brands are ones that live up to their persona and are able to develop a brand strategy that is built with integrity and trust.

Trust is a critical element in ensuring your brand strategy remains intact. While trust is often associated with a social science, people actually appear to have a complex biological reaction to trust, that increases oxytocin levels which thereby strengthen our bonds with the subject (think “brand love” or brand loyalty).

Conversely, people seem to have an almost innate sense of when a brand is being inauthentic, which can have a lasting effect and damage future prospects. Take into account how your brand strategy works into your realistic activity as a company, and what you can do to reenforce authentic brand experiences.

We consider an authentic brand experience as offering a ‘window’ into the company. Essentially giving the public an opportunity to peek behind the curtain and get a glimpse into the true nature of what it means to be a part of that company. It’s important that this ‘window’ be as transparent as possible; as mentioned, any disingenuous attempt to cloud the reality of your business will eventually be discovered.

3. Empower Employee Advocacy

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, you need to provide an outlet for your employees to champion your brand. As with most any other brand or product nowadays, the single most ‘trustworthy’ source of information comes from our peers. Research conducted by Edelman found that employees ranked higher than CEO’s, board members or senior management when it came to brand credibility.

Encourage current and future employees to champion your brand, showcasing the elements of what makes your workplace stand out from the rest.

You’ll discover that there will be those that embody the true nature of a ‘Champion’, with a common passion for broadcasting your culture, getting involved with causes that matter, and spearheading ideas that can help bring to life your employer brand. By empowering these individuals, you’ve created an advocacy program that has far reaching effects both internally and externally.

Champions don’t exist in a bubble, and require company support and the tools needed to broadcast their message. Ensure that a company Champion has the ability to share their voice, both internally and externally.

Ultimately building a strong brand strategy takes time and a serious commitment to understand what your company represents and the talent it wishes to attract. By taking the time to think critically on the issue, a company can develop a brand that no longer struggles to attract and retain talent, but draws in those that are aligned both strategically and culturally.

Matt Handford is the SVP of People for Hootsuite, the world’s largest social media monitoring platform, with more than 16 million users worldwide, with customers representing more than 800 companies in the Fortune 100.


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Court: Here’s when you don’t have to pay workers’ comp for at-work injuries

Just because a tragic event happens while an employee is doing their job doesn’t mean the company is on the hook for workers’ comp benefits.

That’s the key takeaway from Lisa Kelly v. Card Heating & Air Conditioning.

In the case, Card Heating & Air Conditioning technician Martan Kelly, Jr. told his supervisor he was feeling weak, tired and had a kink in his neck from sleeping poorly the night before.

‘Take the rest of the day off’

Kelly’s supervisor offered him the rest of the day off, but Kelly declined. Instead, he was given a light duty assignment.

The assignment required Kelly climb a 12-15 foot ladder to run a wire through the attic of the building.

A short time after starting the task, employees heard moaning coming from the attic and found Kelly lying incoherent on the floor, bleeding from his head, face and leg.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later. The cause of death was a heart attack (an autopsy showed heart disease and major artery blockages).

Kelly’s widow filed a workers’ comp claim for survivors’ benefits, claiming his heart attack occurred as a result of his employment.

She backed up this claim by stating he didn’t have any health problems, didn’t complain about chest pain, never saw a heart doctor and wasn’t on any medications. But she did acknowledge her husband smoked a pack a day for the last 30 years.

The company denied the claim, and the case eventually went to a state court on appeal.

2 criteria for proof

The court said the burden is on the claimant (the widow) to show that a fatal heart attack is work-related. Specifically the claimant must show the heart attack:

  • arose in the course of employment, and
  • was related to employment.

Kelly’s heart attack happened at work, so there’s no question it arose in the course of employment.

The question is whether it was related to employment. Because Kelly came to work not feeling well and a doctor asserted in court he had been suffering from insufficient blood flow to the heart eight to 12 hours before coming to work, he was at risk for a heart attack regardless of what he did that day.

While some tragedies are unavoidable, firms can limit their liability. Two things the supervisor got right:

  1. he tried to send him home for the day, and
  2. assigned him light duty when the employee refused.

Cite: Lisa Kelly v. Card Heating & Air Conditioning

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IRS changes course with 2018 mileage rate: What’s different this year?

The IRS just issued the standard mileage rates for 2018, and the latest figures are a departure from what HR pros are probably used to seeing from the feds.

After several years of decreasing the rates, the IRS is bumping up the mileage rates for 2018.

This year, the standard mileage rate increased to 54.5 cents for each mile driven for business purposes, an increase of one cent from 2017’s amount.

In addition to the standard rate, the feds bumped the mileage rate for medical or moving purposes by a cent as well. For 2018, the medical or moving mileage rate is 18 cents per mile.

The mileage reimbursement rate for charitable service, however, will remain unchanged at 14 cents per mile in 2018.

Of course, companies can reimburse employees at a higher amount than the standard rates. But if employees are reimbursed for business travel at a higher amount than the IRS rates, then that amount becomes taxable income.

Another reimbursement option

If employers don’t want to use the miles driven reimbursement approach, IRS offers another option: Reimbursing workers for the fixed and variable costs of owning and operating an automobile.

IRS sets a maximum standard automobile cost to calculate these payments.

So, for 2018, the cost can’t exceed:

  • $27,300 for cars (down $600 from 2017), and
  • $31,000 for trucks and vans (down from $300 in 2017).

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Will companies really shower workers with tax law bonuses, or is it all hype?

The President said companies are giving big bonuses to their workers because of the “Tax Cut Bill,” and the national media is offering a number of examples to back up this claim, but will the new law actually benefit most employees?

It all depends who you ask.

Yes, a number of major corporations have pledged to pass along some of the savings they’ll reap from the new 21% corporate tax rate (down from 35%) in the form of raises, bonuses and new investments in human capital.

One major example is AT&T. The company announced it would give a $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 U.S. workers and invest $1 billion in the U.S. economy because of the new tax law.

Here are a few additional examples, courtesy of The Daily Signal:

  • Aflac: $250 million boost in U.S. investments and increased 401(k) benefits, including a one-time contribution of $500 to every employee’s retirement savings account.
  • American Savings Bank: $1,000 bonus to 1,150 employees, nearly the entire workforce, and increase minimum wages from $12.21 an hour to $15.15.
  • Aquesta Financial Holdings: $1,000 bonus to all employees, and increase minimum wages to $15 per hour.
  • Associated Bank: $500 bonus to nearly all employees and increased minimum wage to $15 per hour, up from $10.
  • Bank of America: $1,000 bonus for about 145,000 U.S. employees.
  • Bank of Hawaii: $1,000 bonus for 2,074 employees, or 95% of its workforce, and increase minimum wages from $12 to $15.
  • BB&T Corp.: $1,200 bonus for almost three-fourths of associates, or 27,000 employees, and increase minimum wages from $12 to $15.
  • Boeing: $300 million boost in investments to employee gift-match programs, workforce development, and workplace improvements.

Industry insiders, such as Adam Michel, policy analyst for economic studies at The Heritage Foundation, see the moves corporations are making as proof tax reform is working. According to Michel:

“Raises, bonuses, and new investments spurred by tax reform show that the Republicans’ tax reform is working how they said it would. Business across America are putting their tax cuts to work for the American people. This first wave of stories is great news, but the real benefits are yet to come. Tax reform expands the economic pie so that more Americans will be better off.”

‘Good marketing but …’

Others, however, feel it’s too soon to point to such a small sampling of bonuses and wage increases as proof the tax law will delivered as promised.

William Klepper, a management professor at Columbia Business School, said:

“It’s good marketing, but you don’t have a trend yet. It’s premature at this point.”

In fact, according to the White House’s own calculations, just 18 companies in the S&P 500 will dole out bonuses or boosted wages and/or benefits because of the tax law.

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5 new California laws for 2018 that could affect all HR pros soon

With the new year came new rules for California employers. And even if you don’t do business in the Golden State, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these new regulations, which could wind up affecting your state sooner rather than later. 

Here are five new California laws that went into effect January 1st.

1. “Ban the box”

California has become the most recent state to prohibit employers from asking about criminal convictions on job applications, which used to be a simple “yes” or “no” question. Criminal history can’t even be brought up in an interview now, either. Once a conditional job offer is made, the employer may ask about any convictions, and decide whether the nature and gravity of such an offense would conflict with the duties of the position.

If conviction history is used to deny an applicant, the employer must explain why they were disqualified. The applicant has five days to dispute the accuracy of the conviction information or provide evidence of rehabilitation. The employer must consider this new information before making a final decision.

This new rule prevents employers from automatically rejecting a candidate just because they have a criminal record.

2. Salary history ban

Not only will questions about criminal history be removed from job applications, but inquiries about salary history will be gone as well. Following the lead of Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York City and Philadelphia, California employers can no longer use salary history to determine whether to extend a job offer or how much to pay that future employee.

Employers can still ask what a candidate’s salary expectations are. Also, if someone voluntarily discloses their past salary, that information can be used.

3. Small business family leave

People who work for companies that have between 20 and 49 employees now can receive 12 weeks of family leave to bond with a new child within one year of birth or adoption. The leave is unpaid, though some employees are eligible for compensation if they’ve worked at least 1,250 hours in the year before their leave began. California employers must also maintain health coverage during the leave.

4. Expanded harassment training

The current requirements for sexual harassment training include two hours of interactive training for all supervisors, repeated every two years (at companies with 50 or more employees). For 2018, that training will be expanded past typical sexual harassment and bullying, and cover harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.

Also, California employers can no longer inquire about a candidate’s gender or gender identity on job applications.

5. Minimum wage increase

At California companies of 26 or more employees, the minimum wage is now $11 an hour, and $10.50 an hour for companies smaller than 26 employees. In order for salaried employees to be exempt from overtime, this year they’ll have to make at least $45,760 annually.

California joins 17 other states that recently bumped up the minimum wage in 2018.



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