California’s complex employment laws prompted 22,000 calls to the CalChamber Labor Law Helpline in 2018. On the latest episode of CalChamber’s The Workplace podcast, CalChamber President Allan Zaremberg and Erika Frank, CalChamber Executive Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel, discuss the most frequently asked questions — a good indicator of the compliance issues that are the most challenging for California businesses.
“There are so many questions that are out there for the California employer,” says Frank. “It’s quite challenging without having resources available.”
What’s hot on the helpline today? Erika Frank says the Labor Law Helpline is ringing off the hook with questions about the new mandatory sexual harassment training requirements.
The new law requires that all employers with five or more employees provide 1-hour training for employees and 2-hours training for supervisors.
“We are realizing through a lot of the questions we are receiving, employers are starting to know more about it, starting to hear about it, but the devil is always in the details and there’s a lot of questions about who can do the training, when does the training needs to be completed,” Frank says.
Among the most common topic areas that generate calls for the Helpline are: meal and rest breaks, California paid sick leave rules, overtime rules, and leaves of absence.
“Our Helpline advisers are former labor commissioners and attorneys. While none of us can provide legal advice, we can help employers by giving them the information they need and helping them understand what the legal requirements are,” says Frank.
Zaremberg mentions the fact that California laws are so different from the rest of the country that many of them surprise callers.
Frank agrees and points out that things are further complicated because a number of localities also have their own ordinances.
Note: The California Pregnancy Disability Leave law applies to employers with five or more employees. Not “all employers” as mentioned in the discussion starting at 5:55 in the podcast.
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More About the Helpline
CalChamber’s Helpline service is a member benefit for the exclusive use of our Preferred and Executive members. Through our HR Advisers, this service provides CalChamber members with a better understanding of employment-related laws, regulations, court cases and administrative procedures.
In addition to speaking with members directly, our Advisers can sometimes direct callers to relevant resources including opinion letters, government forms and information contained on HRCalifornia.