Have you heard that California is a very employee-friendly state? What does that mean to you as someone wanting to hire or already hiring?

Being a California employer means you need to make sure you’re compliant with laws the state never bothers to let you know they’ve passed. There are numerous forms either the state or federal government requires you to give new employees… and there are fines for failure to provide those documents. Of course, there is other documentation you also need to provide occasionally.

You’ll also need to ensure your hourly (non-exempt) employees take the legally required meal and rest breaks. California has very strict rules for this and companies are getting sued frequently over these laws. Just so you know, if an employee is going to work more than 6 hours, they must take at least a 30-minute meal break that begins within the first 5 hours of their day. If the employee takes the lunch late or doesn’t take at least 30 minutes, you’ll owe an extra hour of pay that day called “penalty pay” on the pay stub.

You may have heard that California recently enacted a new law providing every employee with paid sick leave. No matter the size of company or the number of hours the employee works, every employee will earn 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. You can limit use to 3 days per 12-month period but must allow them to accrue up to 6 days so your plan can’t zero out at the end of the year.

Bottom line, having employees in California requires appropriate documentation to ensure you are protecting your company… and, please, don’t think you can do it yourself. It’s a jungle out there!

About Your Columnist

CJ Westrick is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers all things human resources and managing people in the workplace. CJ Westrick, SPHR, has been in human resources (HR) management for over 20 years and has maintained her SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) national certification since 2002. She started HR Jungle, a human resources consulting firm, in 2006 to provide senior-level HR expertise to businesses without internal HR.

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