Monday, December 29, 2014

Mileage Reimbursement/OSHA Illness and injury prevention

2015 Updates
The mileage reimbursement rate for business miles is going up to 57.5 cents per mile.  2014 rate 56 cents.
23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes.

AB 326
This amends the Labor Code to allow email reporting of fatalities or serious work related injuries.  You are required to report within 8 hours of becoming aware of an incident.

I am always surprised that employers still don’t know that they are required to have a written illness and injury prevention program in place.  Not only this, but it must be available to employees, and you must update it and refer to it in your safety meetings.  This is the number one fine that OSHA gives out and can cost you thousands of dollars if you do not have it available when you are inspected by OSHA.
Please see the Cal OSHA website for help in developing one.

It is the end of the year and we all make New Year's resolutions.  My request to you is to make a resolution to contact your Assembly person and State Senator during the year on small business issues in 2015.  We can make a difference if we get involved.  You will continue to get emails from me outlining small business issues.  Just follow up on some of these issues or pick an issue of your choice.
I  would also like to know what issues you think Small Business California should be looking into.  We will be sending out our annual survey in February and I hope you will take a few minutes to complete this.  All the best to you in the New Year.

Scott Hauge
Small Business California
2311 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA  94116

Monday, December 22, 2014

Labor Enforcement Task Force Follow Up

Last week Lori Kammerer and I met with Christine Baker head of the Department of Industrial Relations and 4 of her staff members. The topic was the underground economy. Many of you are impacted by the underground economy where employees are paid on a cash basis thereby eliminated the cost of taxes and workers compensation. This clearly puts you at a competitive disadvantage.

The industries targeted by the Labor Enforcement Task Force are
Agriculture where 72% of the businesses looked at were out of compliance
Automotive where 94% were out of compliance
Beauty Salons where 72% were out of compliance
Construction  where 81% were out of compliance
Garment where 87% were   found out of compliance
Manufacturing  where 71% were found out of compliance
Restaurant where 75% were found out of compliance.
Other where 74% were found out of compliance.

Clearly there is a serious problem for compliant businesses in these industries.

I have attached the report for Labor Enforcement Task Force for 2013-2014 and below you will see contact information to report businesses you know are not compliant. Many of you have told me there  is no follow up when you report these businesses and Christine assures me they take these complaints seriously.
Please let me know what has been your experience in this area.

Good afternoon Scott, Lori

Thank you for taking the time to meet with us today.
I wanted to send you some follow up information on the Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF)
We welcome referrals and leads on underground economy activity from both employers and employees. The public can contact LETF by any of the following methods:

Here is a link to the LETF webpage:
I have also attached a copy of the LETF Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Report (Scott, this is the same report that I gave you today)

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Dominic Forrest
Acting Chief, Labor Enforcement Task Force
Department of Industrial Relations
1515 Clay Street, 17th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 622-3969

Click here for the copy of LETF Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Report

Scott Hauge
Small Business California
2311 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA  94116

Thursday, December 18, 2014

ADA/ Sick Leave/ Clinic by the Bay

Two bills have been introduced to deal with lawsuits under Americans with Disabilities Act. They are AB 52 by Gray and AB 54 by Olsen
Small Business California  is looking closely at these but we don’t have a lot of details. It is my understanding they will provide for a fine of $1000 and give a business 120 days to take care of the violations.
It is not clear who will be opposed but I am sure some in the disability community will come forth. It is hoped that the $1000 fine will make this more attractive to many in the disabled community.

January 1 is fast approaching and it will be required that all businesses  to post information about the new sick leave law. The law will not take effect until July 1 2015 and basically will require 3 days paid sick leave for all employees. What is important for you to know is that employees start  accruing sick leave from the date of hire not at the end of 90 days when they become eligible for sick leave. If you want the poster let me know.

I have written frequently about the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic by the Bay in SF. I am the cofounder of this and it is a free clinic for the working  uninsured. Even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act many people will still not be eligible for health insurance or cannot afford it because of the cost of the insurance ,deductibles and copayments. I would like to encourage you to make a contribution and if you do so before Jan 1 2015 I will match your contributions up to  a total of $5000. You can contribute on line at or send a check made payable to Clinic by the Bay and mail it to me at 2311 Taraval St SF 94116. I need to know of your contribution by December 31. Given mailing time let  me know by return email of your contribution.
Thank you.

Scott Hauge
Small Business California
2311 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA  94116

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cadillac Tax/ Primary Physicians/ Injury and Illness Prevention Programs

One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act is a so called Cadillac Tax for high benefit employer based health plans. A 40% excise tax will be charged to employers for amounts in  excess of the thresholds. The thresholds   for an individual  is $10200 and for a family $27500. Included in the threshold is
All premiums for paid by employer and employees for health insurance
Money contributed by employees and employers to a Flexible Spending Account, Health Reimbursement Account and a Health Savings Account.
Money paid for employee assistance account.

This will take effect in 2018. It is projected to raise $80 billion over a 10 year period.

This is a major topic of discussion for union plans and for larger companies but I have heard little discussion about the impact on small businesses. Are you impacted by this? What will you do if you are impacted?

Everyone knows the inefficiency  of the health care system in the US. One thing that has not been widely discussed  is primary care. Did know  that primary physicians account for just 6% of the cost of our health system but primary care accounts for almost 50% of the office visits. Clearly specialist are performing task that should be done by primary physicians. The problem is made worse in that we have a shortage of Primary Care physicians and right now the picture is not bright for  bringing into the system more primary physicians. Not sure what the answer is for this problem because people going into medicine are paid significantly more as specialist.

For those of you in the Oakland area see information about a training  program helping small businesses develop an Injury and Illness Prevention Program.

Greetings! We are announcing another "IIPP for Small Business" training ~ this time in Oakland. These trainings are specifically designed for small businesses ~ less than 50 fte ~ to help ensure their IIPPs are complete and up to date.

It will be Tuesday, January 20th from 1 - 5pm at the State Building (1515 Clay Street, Room 11). Pre-registration is required. Please visit our website for more information and to register:

Thank you!

Donna Iverson
Public Education Specialist
Labor Occupational Health Program / UC Berkeley


Scott Hauge
Small Business California
2311 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA  94116

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tip of the week - storms

I don’t usually send this type of email but with the storms coming up I thought it might be helpful.

Before the winter rain storms get under way, take some time to prepare your property and try to protect against damage. 

  • Check that all the gutters and downspouts are clear of debris, and try to direct the flow of water away from your home or building. 
  • If you have any broken or downed tree limbs remove them so they do not cause a hazard.
  • Even though the storm drain in your immediate vicinity might be your city’s responsibility, take a few minutes to check that it looks clear as well. 
  • Put away any outside furniture (or holiday decorations) that might be picked up by the wind. 
  • Make sure you have good, operating flashlights and radios, and that you and your family are prepared to be without power if necessary
  • Make sure to charge any electronics, cell phones, laptops etc, so that you have a way to communicate if power or phone lines go down.
  • Be safe, try to stay off the roads if possible! 
Keep in mind that your insurance policy will probably not cover losses caused by wear and tear.

Scott Hauge
Small Business California
2311 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA  94116

Monday, December 08, 2014

Sick Leave Law In California

Please find information on paid sick leave below from the California Employers Association. You will see that putting up a poster is required beginning Jan 1, 2015.  Of particular importance is the recommendation that you wait to change your employee handbook until more information is received from the state.
Thank you Kim for sending this!


The Healthy Workplace, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB 1522) was signed into law in 2014.
The basic intent of the law is to provide all employees with at least three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave each year.

What does this mean for you as an employer?
Effective January 1, 2015 ALL employers must post a Paid Sick Leave Notice in their place of business.  Effective July 1, 2015, ALL employers, both public and private, will be required to provide paid sick leave to all of their employees, with a few exceptions (unionized workers, home health care providers and airline flight crews).

What does AB 1522 mean for employees?
Under AB 1522, ALL employees who work in California for 30 or more days in a calendar year will earn paid sick leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked!  This accrual method begins as of 7/1/15 and employees must be allowed to use any accrued time after 90 days of employment.  (Former employees that are re-hired within one year are entitled to have previously accrued and unused paid sick days be reinstated.)

Employers will be allowed to limit an employee's use of paid sick days to three (3) days per year and can cap accrual of paid sick leave at six days.

Another option to the accrual method described above is to give employees all of their paid sick leave up front. This has been called "front loading", "the lump sum method", or "granted leave".  In each case, employers are permitted to grant three or more days of paid sick leave at the start of the year to their employees to avoid the administrative burdens of tracking accrual and carry over.

When can employees use AB 1522?
Employees can use AB 1522 to take paid leave for themselves or a family member for preventive care or care of an existing health condition or for specified purposes if they are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Family members include the employee's parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, and sibling.  Preventive care would include annual physicals or flu shots.  For partial days employers can require leave be taken in two hours increments, but otherwise the determination of how much time is needed is left to the employee.

Existing law already requires employers that provide paid sick time to allow employees to use half of their yearly allotment for "kin care" (care of their sick child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner).  The new law does not repeal "kin care" but expands it to include grandparents, grandchildren and siblings.

Employers with more generous plans will have to allow employees to use 1/2 of the annual sick leave entitlement for Kin Care.

Posting, Notice and Record Keeping Requirements
In addition to accounting for and providing the accrued leave, employers are required to:
  • Display a Paid Sick Leave Poster as of 1/1/2015
  • Include the amount of paid sick leave accrued on employees~itemized wage statements
  • Retain all paid sick leave records for three years
  • Use the revised Wage Theft Prevention Act Notice on or before 7/1/15
What if I already provide paid sick leave for my employees?
California employers who already provide at least three days of paid sick time, will now have additional administrative requirements, including:
  • Recording an employee's sick leave balance on itemized wage statements, or another writing, on each pay day.
  • Carry-over of accrued sick leave with the cap of six days.
  • Documentation showing hours worked as well as paid sick days accrued and used by an employee.
Rate of Pay
Employees should be paid their regular rate of pay for sick leave.  However, if your employee is paid different hourly rates, is paid a commission, is paid by piece rate or flag rate, etc. then you must "Divide employee's total wages, not including overtime premium pay, by the employee's total hours worked in the full pay period of the prior 90 days of employment" to determine an hourly rate to be paid for sick leave.

What's the good news?
Employers are not required to pay out accrued sick time at termination.

California Employers Association is here to assist you in navigating this new law. We have webinars dedicated to this topic in December, February and again in June.  We can assist you in developing a Paid Sick Leave Policy that fits your company's needs.  By July 1, 2015 you will be informed and ready to address this new law with your employees and in your employee handbook.

Recommendation and Source Information
Don't change your policy or create a new one just yet! This bill was just passed and there are still many unanswered questions. A list of frequently asked questions was released the first week of December, and we anticipate there will be more to come. For now, get informed, ask questions and watch for our updates.

Updated WageTheft Notice:

  • Thursday, December 11th - noon to 1:00 pm
  • Wednesday, December 17th - noon to 1:00 pm
  • Wednesday, February 4th - noon to 1:00 pm
  • Wednesday, June 10th - noon to 1:00 pm

Scott Hauge
Small Business California
2311 Taraval Street
San Francisco, CA  94116