How to Behave Around California’s Salary History Ban

It can be tough keeping up with all of the changes coming out of Washington and Sacramento; it seems every hour there’s an announcement on new or modified regulations in the workplace.

On January 1st, 2018, California unveiled a new law prohibiting employers from using an individual’s prior salary as a factor in setting pay rates. This law extends to public and private employers, as well as their agents, and it mandates that employers may not seek any information about an applicant’s current or past “compensation and benefits.”

That’s right. California’s salary history ban makes it illegal for employers to ask candidates how they are currently (or were formerly) compensated at work.

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Unlimited PTO

Unlimited Time Off? Seriously?

Often, we look to innovation leaders for insight and creative solutions on how to implement new policies within the workplace. We borrow some of these ideas when change is necessary in our own organization, such as offering telecommute options, employee perks, referral programs…and the list goes on. Staying relevant in today’s market is a tough job for any employer, and now that employees are being offered flexible and remote work options, , snack machines, gym memberships, meditation and yoga classes on-site, how do the smaller companies keep up? How do you attract the type of employee you want in your company, without compromising core values and business needs? Read more

Balance Billing: Out of Network Coverage and What It Means To You

On July 1 Sacramento kicked a surprise ball past the goalie and I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about it, because this affects all of us.  As an insider in the insurance industry we’ve been dealing with this problem for years (and if you know me I’ve been ranting about this on our blog since 2014).  What am I talking about?  AB 72 – Balance Billing: Out of Network Coverage. Read more

Compensation Technology Tools

Narrowing the gender pay gap is a hot topic these days. One of the ways to combat wage inequity is through banning the salary history question most candidates are faced with. Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico are states that passed laws banning salary history. Cities like New York and Philadelphia have followed suit. More so now, recruitment teams must rely on software applications to provide real-time and market-driven view of compensation.

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Flexible Work Options as an Attraction Tool

How does telecommuting enable you to snag the best talent?

What are the pros & cons?

I have been working as a remote employee since 2006. Presented with an opportunity to build a human resources department from the ground up whilst juggling twins, I leapt at the chance to build my career while still being a mom. Read more

Bridging the Generation Gap

With the Greatest Generation (or “Traditionalists”), Baby Boomers, Generations X and Y, Millennials, and Linksters (or “Generation Z”) all snuggled up together in the workplace, it’s bound to be anything but boring!

For the first time in history, 6 different generations must come together in the workforce. Diversity is strength but with so many different work styles jumbled together, it comes as no surprise that this is one of the biggest challenges facing companies today.

Here are a few things to consider when managing the Generation Gap in your organization. The biggest mistake companies make? Pretending the gap doesn’t exist and not managing it at all.

Teach Your Supervisors About Generational Differences

One of the most important abilities good leaders possess is the ability to know what makes their employees “tick,” and much of this is generational in nature. While there is a wealth of knowledge online, Read more

Health Reimbursement Plans: How the New Law Affects Your Small Business

The 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 13, 2016, will now allow small employers to offer standalone health reimbursement arrangements that may reimburse individual market insurance premiums, among other types of medical expenses. This law took effect on January 1, 2017, and is a big change for small employers who were previously not allowed to offer such benefits unless the employee participated in a group health plan provided by the employer. By giving small employers more options when it comes to health benefits for their employees, President Obama has allowed these employers to create total rewards packages to rival larger employers, and hopefully entice and retain star talent. A qualified small employer HRA may now be offered by employers with less than 50 full-time and full-time equivalent employees that do not offer a group health plan to any of their employees. Read more

Total Rewards: What Speaks to Your Employees?

When coming up with a total rewards plan for your organization, make sure you consider several things. You want to make sure that you are offering your employees things that they really want. A great way to find out what this might be is to conduct an employee survey, assess your company culture, and find out what makes your employees happy. Not all rewards will motivate all employees in a similar way, but by examining the workforce you are employing, and taking a survey of what makes them feel valued, you can make the right steps in the coming year so that you are reaping the best results for your total rewards plan. Loyalty from employees will save you time and money on turnovers, and will also improve your company morale. So it’s a win-win if you can learn to speak your employees’ language in terms of what they need out of their workplace. Read more

Final Overtime Ruling: How Does It Affect Your Business?

The final overtime ruling was issued back in May of this year by the federal government regarding salary requirements for exemption status. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), overtime exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional employees is based on a minimum salary requirement (among other factors such as time spent on certain tasks, managing others, and much more). Usually, California labor law is more generous to employees than the federal law, but as it stands now, the federal law is actually more substantial. Which means California employers must follow the federal standards of $913 per week or $47,476 per year in order for an employee to be classified as exempt under these categories. The final ruling becomes effective as of December 1, 2016 so make sure you are in compliance with this, and perform the necessary classification studies and exempt/nonexempt status reviews before the deadline or your organization can face hefty fines for noncompliance. Follow this link for more information from the Department of Labor:

If I haven’t completely bored you to tears with the nitty gritty on this topic, here’s a few basics that we can all benefit from learning in terms of how this actually applies in the workplace in our day-to-day lives.

1. The salary cap for overtime pay will be doubled! So this means a lot of people will likely be affected by the change. Make sure you review your employee exempt status ASAP.
2. Consider the pros and cons of giving some of your employees a nice raise…in order to keep them in the exempt status that makes them ineligible for overtime pay.
3. Consider the effect of changing hours for these employees in order for your company to stay in compliance. Cutting hours may sound like a solution from the employer’s perspective, but consider how that could result in turnover or other potential issues for your organization if employees are unhappy with the results of those changes.
And here’s an interesting fact for you to consider. According to @YahooFinance, “Since 1975, the share of workers who qualify for overtime pay has plummeted from 62% to 7%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. With the new rules, 35% of workers will be eligible.” Time will tell if these new numbers will impact the workforce as expected. Stay tuned in to your favorite HR blog (that’s us, by the way!) for updates as this unfolds.

Show Me the Money! Minimum Wage Laws in Your City


Conducting periodic reviews of the wage that you pay to your employees is always a good idea. We suggest setting up a regular salary schedule review period for different categories of workers (administrative employee salary reviews in 2017, general labor positions reviewed in 2018, etc.) to make sure that everyone is addressed in a timely and efficient manner. The first step in this review is to make sure that all employees are at and above the current state minimum wage. So to get started, find out what the minimum wage is in your state by following this link:


In California, where a large number of our clients currently headquarter their businesses, the minimum wage is set at $10.00 per hour as of this blog post. As of January 1, 2017, that amount will be raised to $10.50 per hour for companies with more than 25 employees. Gradually, there are increases set every year until January 1, 2023 when all companies (even those with less than 25 employees) in the state of California will be required to set the minimum pay at $15.00 per hour.


However, some cities also have their own minimum wage requirements. The City of Los Angeles will be raising their minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2020. San Francisco’s minimum wage rate is $13.00 per hour as of July 1, 2016. Confused yet?


With a state such as California that is often viewed as employee-friendly, employers can expect to see changes such as this continue in the future. There should be a designated human resources professional in your office, or someone that you outsource and can be reached by employees to answer questions about the minimum wage in your workplace. For companies that have offices in different cities, you must be sure to stay on top of the minimum wage increases for each of those locations. The easiest way is to stay connected via the Department of Labor website, as well as the city website pages that affect your company. This link is also helpful for our Los Angeles clients:


If you have any questions or need clarification on your minimum wage policies, feel free to give us a call to review!