As an association we strive to keep you up-to-date on relevant information for your business. Please review the information below from Jaimee Wellerstein of CALSAGA Legal Advisor Bradley & Gmelich and Anne Laguzza of CALSAGA Network Partner The Works Consulting regarding ensuring that your Employee Handbook is 2021 ready

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Dear CALSAGA Member:

It is time to review your Employee Handbook!

Although it is recommended that you review and update your Employee Handbook annually, as California law continually changes, 2021 brings with it particularly important and unique new considerations and requirements. Here are just some key changes:

  • New Expanded Employee Leave Requirements: Effective January 1, 2021, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) will now apply to employers having as few as five employees (before, it applied only to larger employers with 50 or more employees), and will also expand and extend leave rights to employees who care for grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, adult children, and other family members with serious medical conditions.
  • New COVID-19 Leave Provisions: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave laws were passed earlier this year, providing expanded emergency family and medical leave, as well as emergency paid sick leave. While they were originally set to expire at the end of 2020, it looks like the pandemic will require these leave provisions to be extended into the new year. If you haven’t already implemented FFCRA and COVID-19 sick leave policies and incorporated them into your Employee Handbook, now is the time to do so.
  • Cal/OSHA Workplace Safety Plans: COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere any time soon. With COVID-19 has come a wave of new workplace safety rules, Cal/OSHA compliance standards, and COVID-19 prevention and reporting requirements. If you haven’t already developed a Cal/OSHA compliant workplace safety plan, this should be a priority.

We are fast approaching the end of this unprecedented year, and if you haven’t started your compliance review and updates yet, it may be a little challenging to complete it by the beginning of the year. So, what should you do? Never fear, help is here!

  • First, review your entire Employee Handbook cover to cover and make sure that any internal policy or practice changes are accurately reflected in your written materials.
  • Next, engage an employment attorney or human resources consultant to review the Employee Handbook and incorporate any new requirements in regards to revised and/or new laws and regulations.
  • Then, finalize the Employee Handbook and re-distribute to all employees.
  • Obtain signed acknowledgement forms from each employee confirming receipt of the Employee Handbook, At-will Employment and Harassment Prevention policy.
  • Finally, ensure that you train your staff and/or management personnel to implement the policies and practices set out in the Employee Handbook, and seek guidance or counsel from your employment attorney or human resources consultant if you require any clarification.

This year, maybe more than ever, employers should make the review of company policies and procedures a top priority!

Jaimee Wellerstein, Partner and Employment Team Head, Bradley & Gmelich LLP and Anne Laguzza, CEO, The Works Consulting are available to discuss how they can help support your business through this process.

Jaimee K. Wellerstein, Esq.
Bradley & Gmelich LLP

Anne L. Laguzza, M.A.
The Works Consulting