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Montage Minute: LA City Minimum Wage & Paid Sick Leave!

Employers in the City of Los Angeles face new changes to minimum wage and paid sick time requirements, starting in July 2016.  Effective July 1, 2016 the minimum wage for Los Angeles employers with 25 employees or more will increase from $10 an hour to $10.50 an hour!  In addition to the minimum wage increase, City of Los Angeles employers now must provide increased paid sick time to all employees.  The new minimum paid sick time is at least six paid sick days — California state law requires only three days or 24 hours.

The City of Los Angeles is bigger than you might think.  If you are unsure whether you are in the City, check a map.  Los Angeles is not alone, the cities of Santa Monica and Pasadena also have paid sick time ordinances that are more generous than the state law.

In Los Angeles, smaller businesses, those with under 25 employees, will have another year before they will need to implement these changes.

to read more: Minimum Wage in LA

To view the new required wage and paid sick poster for City of Los Angeles, visit:
Legal Law Poster (English)

Legal Law Poster (Spanish)

“Karen Dinino is senior counsel at the Century City office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, where she focuses on employment and entertainment litigation, and president of her own HR practices consulting firm, EmployMentor, Inc. Karen takes a risk management approach to employment law, working closely with clients to prevent lawsuits. When lawsuits arise, she actively represents clients in state and federal court and administrative cases. Karen regularly provides employment issues counsel and training to national and international businesses tip-toeing through California’s unique legal minefield. When she isn’t lawyering, Karen often is writing. With her artist sister, Linda Woods, she is the author of two popular books on art journaling, and has been featured on The View.”

Montage Minute: Congratulations to Our Client Dara Mir


Congratulations to Mr. Mir and all of the 2016 winners!

Celebrating its 30th year, the awards program recognizes entrepreneurs in over 145 cities in 60 countries who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

Dara Mir, President of 9to5 Seating and an amazing client of ours, was the recipient of this award for Manufacturing & Distribution.

To learn more…2016 EY of the Year Awards

Montage Minute: United Healthcare Offers Support for People Affected by Orlando Shooting

UnitedHealthcare and Optum, the health benefits and services companies of UnitedHealth Group, are taking immediate action to support people affected by the recent mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The company is opening Optum’s Help Line, providing affected residents access to specially trained mental health specialists.

For more information visit:  United Healthcare Orlando Support
or call their toll free number (866)-342-6892

Source: United Healthcare

The Health Care Reform Bill—a quick overview for the busy executive curious about compliance

As featured in – Los Angeles Business Journal

The Health Care Reform Bill—a quick overview for the busy executive curious about compliance

I meet with a lot of employers who ask me to “bottom line this thing” for them.  Often, executives who don’t have time to get into the weeds of the legislation, will see me in their hallways, and take advantage of our time together to ask me some high level questions about their compliance.  It’s a big piece of legislation—and certain rabbit holes can be especially ethereal.  However, for the purposes of a general overview, I’ve compiled an “FAQs” of sorts.  If anything here piques your interest, you may want to call your broker/advisors, or at the very least, shoot HR a quick “hey, are we doing this?” email.

First of all—offering insurance.  Technical “employee count” can get a little wonky, but for the most part, you should know if you have 50 employees.  If you are under 50 employees, you have no new requirements to offer insurance.  In other words, the legislation does not impose that requirement upon you.  As was the case in the “pre-ACA world” (aka 2010 and prior), employers will want to consider offering insurance mainly for the purposes of recruitment and retention.  If you do have 50 or more employees at your company, you will probably want to offer insurance.  Obviously “recruitment and retention” can depend somewhat on your industry, but for the most part, an employer choosing to pay the fine is a bad bet.  Not only are you at risk of seeing the higher level talent pool go to competitors, but you will be paying a pretty hefty fine as well.  The fine is not tax deductible, it is indexed every year, and this year’s penalty is $2,160 per year, per person.  You can deduct 30 people from the amount you’re ultimately fined on, but even still, after paying a couple thousand dollars per person to the government in a non-deductible fashion, you’ll probably be feeling a little sting there—let alone any troubles you might see in attracting/keeping top candidates.

So, if you do offer insurance, what type should you offer?  Well, for compliance purposes, you need to make sure the plan is at least robust enough (from a coverage standpoint) by ensuring its “Actuarial Value” is at least 60%.  In addition to the type of plan, you need to be compliant with its “Affordability” –aka how much you deduct from employees’ paychecks to sign up for your plans.  Long story short, you need to have at least one option in your portfolio that is within 9.5% of the employee’s income.  In other words, it doesn’t matter what they ultimately sign up for, and any “higher cost” buy-ups are fine, so long as an option at least existed for the employee to get self-only coverage at a premium that does not exceed 9.5% of his/her income.  Note I said “self-only” coverage—in other words, the legislation doesn’t care how expensive it is to add a spouse or children.

Once you know what type of coverage you’ll offer, and the price points for those plans, you need to know which of your employees you will offer the coverage to.  Most employers have a mix of part time and full time employees, so your overall roster of people will have a division of some people that do get offered insurance, and some people who are told they’re not eligible.  Determining eligibility for the plans is actually pretty complicated, so the only thing I’ll say about this is that you do not want to mess this up.  The most expensive mistake an employer can make would be to pay for insurance, but not get the eligibility correct, because you’ll end up paying the costly pay or play penalty on top of all of your premiums.  Make absolute sure that someone, somewhere at your organization is an expert in tracking employee eligibility.

Those are the main aspect of the employer’s responsibility.  Apart from this, you will want to be sure your reporting is going well.  Most companies are leaning on their payroll vendor, but between them, your benefits advisors, or your HR team, the last piece of compliance you’ll want to check on is making sure your reporting went smoothly.

This is just enough information to make you dangerous—as I mentioned at the top of the article, there is so much complexity that to dive deeper is really another conversation for another day, but hopefully this overview gets the right conversations started.

View the article online

Growing Pains Are Real

As featured in – CSQ Leadership

Managing the Costs of Employees through Providing Safe and Healthy Workplaces

It is an election year so while the presidential candidates have town hall meetings, so must employers.  Growth is apparent and costly, advises Gerry Schauer, CFO and trusted advisor—so let’s look at what we can do to get ahead of the cost curve on employee costs.

First and foremost, the cost of turnover is a great place to cut costs, by creating a strong culture where employees want to stay.  The DOL reported December 2015 offered 201,000 job openings, with a quit rate that rose more than eyebrows.  Stronger candidates are becoming available, so capitalize on hiring the right people.  Employee training has suffered in past years and is imperative in today’s fast growing environment.   Making sure our trainers or ready to train new hires and blending them into a strong culture is an important focus to cut costs. Keeping employees present and wanting to come to work takes resources; however if we could swing the negative costs of high claims into healthier environments, providing language training, proper education, a great place to work and growth in job opportunities, employees will stay.

Efficiencies in processes and procedures are taking claim as more and more highly educated employees are flooding the marketplace.   Disorganization is being cleaned up and bringing employees along with new ideas and technologies has a profound impact on keeping workers engaged.  Workers are aging, keeping benefits longer as they are catching up on retirement planning, so this should be a focus.  One of my favorite case studies was on BMW and their approach to keeping their workers.  With a shortage of younger employees coming into the workforce they held committee meetings asking employees what they needed.  They put in large magnifying glasses the employees could move around to help them see the intricate parts they were working on.  They put in stools so workers could sit while working.  The assembly line was inspired into being more productive by being allowed to have proper tools to help them work faster.  They were a part of the solution.  Translate this into your place of work.

Minimum wage increases are here and deserved.  Keeping the costs of turnover down in manufacturing, leisure and hospitality and services will offset higher costs due to healthcare, workers’ compensation, as well as wage and hour compliance. We are seeing change happen—improving employee’s environments, getting them involved with safety training, routine exercises to improve WC claims and overall health.  Providing healthier choices in the workplace if snacks are available by vending machines and allowing vendors to come in to promote wellness, give flu shots, and biometric screenings.  Creating employee appreciation and proper incentive programs promoting a safe environment keeping workers compensation claims at a minimum, reducing fraud by communicating the employer cares, create appropriate work flows with the proper staff.

Immigrants are important to the workforce in Southern California and diversity is our way of life. Understanding the cultures of our employees is becoming more and more important.  Festive colors in the kitchen, having a locker to store personal belongings, offering benefits with proper education on how to use wellness benefits and allowing employee’s time to get their wellness treatments allow for healthier employees.  The flu seasons and disability costs must be reduced with healthier and safer work places.  Managing the negative impact on disengaged workers by cutting through negative employee relations must be addressed and replaced.  Businesses are coming out of a tough few years and will be able to keep their best workers and let the others go, hire carefully and create a Best Places to work.

Building a Culture of Leadership

Article featured in – CSQ- Leadership

Building a Culture of Leadership

Internal branding in harmony; adding value to others
Developing a brand takes understanding what makes the organization unique.  Collin’s SMaC “Simple, Methodical and Consistent recipe” creates a replicable and consistent success formula from a defined set of operating practices that frames every decision from top down and rarely changes over time; however company culture cannot be espoused; inspired, but not espoused.  It can take a company off track if the SMaC, mission, vision and values are not living inside every employee creating a culture that moves the organization towards its’ goals.  It is important to begin with the end in mind – the journey of purpose defining the employee’s daily actions towards serving customers. Steven Covey shares in Joe Calhoon’s book, 1 Hour for Growth:

“In an hour or so, you can create a draft of your Business Growth Plan including your Vision, Mission, Values, Objectives, Strategies, and priorities that fits on a single sheet of paper. It will help you grow your business by better serving your customers, employees, and business owners. Most businesspeople, including your competitors, don’t take the time to plan well. It’s a weakness for them-and an opportunity for you.”

A mission statement must not only be on the wall, but on the website and on every internal document employees see and all in one sentence, please! It is surprising to see how many organizations do not have their mission statement on their website or employees cannot recite it.

What is the outcome you, as leadership, desire?
Is this a deep passionate desire?    Does everyone on the leadership team, the supervisors and staff carry the torch for the same purpose? Is this purpose (mission) in their DNA?  Is this just a job?  Do your business partners [such as insurance brokers] have the same DNA?  Or are they simply vendors showing up at renewal or when you call them? Are they filtering your message to your employees and their families, and trying to keep cost down?   Are they educating them on benefits, wellness and safety through TEAM- total ER/ER Appreciation Management™?   Assisting your HR department with training, claims, compliance and culture, passionately serving your employees who serve your clients? Or are your employees and service providers merely showing up? Ring that bell, sound the alarm to move their passion towards your mission. Or, should you incentivize them to move on, if they are not a fit for your company culture?  Zappos, for example, offers employees $2,000 to quit if they are not committed to the mission.

Change belief, change behavior
The seed of greatness is in every human being.  Many are still living what they were told.  Paul Martinelli states “when an individual changes their belief- their behavior changes”. What we believe may have come from family, teachers, bosses or friends- habits formed in our subconscious.  Mentoring programs and training can change these past rules when the belief changes, thus the importance of a leadership culture-the mysterious glue that holds employees together and marching towards the same mission.

Employee engagement is not a buzz word. Organizations are only a vision without employees, yet statistics show a lack of presentism.  Habits are anchored, but inspiring change through great leadership lessons & practices can change bad habits. Without leadership the ship will not sail in the right direction.

Internal brand
Do you brand your mission with your employees? Companies spend thousands to millions of dollars on their external brand, yet when asked “What is your internal brand?” a pause fills the room. While performing a culture survey for Raytheon, I admired their Wall of Innovation where they display inspiring messages and innovation contests with large rewards.

Find the passion for the people you serve adding value to them. Be that person about whom others say, I succeeded because this person believed in me.  Define your internal brand to fulfill that prophecy bringing your employees along on the journey with you.  I tell my employees, if you don’t have heart for service you will not last here.  I don’t know why, but you won’t.  It is important for them to understand we create a montage of services that fit our clients personalized needs hand in glove from consulting on the right products to cover the assets – from employees to buildings – transferring risk from legal liability to insurance products, helping to create a safe and well culture.  Our motto is “Together we’re Stronger”, because all we do takes a team, well-oiled with purpose, fueled by caring.  We passionately believe our clients are stronger with our firm beside them.  Our taglines are “We care for our client’s employees as though they were our own.”  “We put the star in HR”, because it is never about what we do for HR, it is about them serving their own.  “We are the wind beneath their wings”, because we support our clients mission.  “Our mission is to further your mission.”  We proudly display our plaques from the LA & SFV Business Journals: “Trusted Advisors”, “Fastest Growing Company”,  “Largest Insurance Brokers”,  “Employee Benefit Consultants”, “Best Places to Work” BUT more importantly it is the framed client’s missions on our walls that matter most.

Leadership with purpose using coaching and celebration opens us up emotionally to a different belief system to create successful sustainable organizations.  Then strategize deep on the bench with secession planning to leave a legacy.

Montage Minute: Pregnancy Leave Notice

The state of California has released this update. The link below is the newly released CA mandatory notice called : YOUR RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS AS A PREGNANT EMPLOYEE (04/16)

This is effective April 1, 2016. This replaces Notice A under the DEPARTMENT OF FAIR EMPLOYMENT & HOUSING. According to the DFEH, employers will not be penalized for not having this new notice up by April 1st.

View notice here

Source: Department of Fair Employment & Housing

Montage Minute: Deal Reached to Boost California’s Minimum Wage to $15

Lawmakers and labor unions have struck a tentative deal to raise the statewide minimum wage to $10.50 an hour next year and then gradually to $15, averting a costly political campaign this fall and possibly putting California at the forefront of a national movement.

The deal was confirmed Saturday afternoon by sources close to the negotiations who would speak only on condition of anonymity until Gov. Jerry Brown makes a formal announcement as early as Monday.

The minimum wage compromise ends a long debate between the Democratic governor and some of the state’s most powerful labor unions. For Brown, it’s political pragmatism; numerous statewide polls have suggested voters would approve a minimum wage proposal – perhaps even a more sweeping version – if given the chance.

According to a document obtained by The Times, the negotiated deal would boost California’s statewide minimum wage from $10 an hour to $10.50 on Jan. 1, 2017, with a 50-cent increase in 2018 and then $1-per-year increases through 2022. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees would have an extra year to comply, delaying their workers receiving a $15 hourly wage until 2023.

View the full article here
Source: LA Times

Montage Minute: EEO-1 Filing Due 9/30

The EEO-1 Form is a report filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), mandated by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1967, as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972. The Act mandates that employers report on the racial/ethnic and gender composition of their workforce by specific job categories.

All employers located in the 50 states and the District of Columbia who have at least 100 employees are required to file EEO-1 Survey annually with the EEOC. Federal government contractors and first-tier subcontractors with 50 or more employees and $50,000 contracts must file as well. The US EEOC has opened the report and is ready for employers to start filing them.  Important to note that reports must be filed by September 30th each year. Employment figures from any pay period in the third quarter, July through September, may be used.

View the entire reporting system. If you would like instructions, click here.

If employers have filed an EEO-1 form in previous years, information on the form is pre-filled from the previous year and you can enter through the login.

First-time filers can find a simple registration form online at the EEOC web site at this link.  When this is submitted, the EEOC will issue a company number to the company, and filers can log into the system.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us should you have any questions on the subject!

Valerie Antillon,

Director of Human Resources
Please Note: This material is provided as general information and is not a substitute for legal or other professional advice.