By Linda H. Evans,
Senior Associate.


Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Coming Soon to California
This is a heads up to any employer with employees in California! Starting July 1, 2015, a new law will make California the second state to require all employers, with few exceptions, to provide employees with up to three days of paid sick leave. (Do you know which state was first to require this? Keep reading!) There is no exception for a small employer. Employees who are covered by a CBA that meets certain requirements will not be covered by this law, and there also will be specific exceptions for employees who provide in-home support services to the aged, blind, or disabled individuals. Nor will the law apply to an employee who has worked less than 30 days in California as of July 1.


If an employee is eligible for the sick leave, it will accrue at the rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked with the maximum amount being 24 hours or three days per year. Accrued sick leave can be carried over to the next year, but employers can cap the total amount of carried over paid sick leave at 48 hours or six days. The rate of pay for sick leave will be the employee’s hourly wage. The California Labor Commissioner will develop a mandatory workplace poster that describes the sick leave rights. And the first state to require mandatory paid sick leave? It was Connecticut.


Health Care Provider Personally Liable for $1.1 Million
The Sixth Circuit has found the owner of a medical clinic personally liable for a $1.1 million award of back pay and fines because H-1B visa and J-1 waiver fees were improperly deducted from the pay of the employees, who were physicians. These fees are considered business expenses that employers may not deduct. In addition, the physicians were not paid the wages required by the DOL’s Labor Condition Application (LCA), an important part of the H-1B petition. This case is a cautionary tale for employers who employ foreign nationals. Employers were already required to pay the H-1B fees, but this new case means they may have to pay the J-1 waiver fees as well. As employers of the H-1B highly skilled temporary workers face pressures to reduce costs, it is critical to understand the LCA’s set limits on how much compensation can be reduced. In this case, the Court further held that the Immigration and Nationality Act permits the corporate veil to be pierced if state common law allows it, as Tennessee did in this case. That’s why the owner was personally liable. OUCH!!


Overtime Strikes Again to the Tune of $4.5 Million
And hot off the press . . . two big energy companies have agreed to pay nearly $4.5 million in back overtime wages to 2,677 current and former chemical and refinery employees. The amounts do not include liquidated damages. The DOL found that the companies failed to pay workers for the time spent in pre-shift mandatory safety meetings, plus the companies failed to record the time workers spent at the meetings. More than 1,100 of the workers are from the greater Houston area.




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