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2023 Q1 Practice Health Check

January 04, 2023 1520

Are you keeping up with meal and rest break compliance?

In California, all hourly employees are entitled to a 10-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked "or major fraction thereof" (defined as any amount of time over two hours) and a 30-minute unpaid meal break for every five hours they work. By mutual agreement, employees can waive their right to take a meal break but only if they work no more than six hours.

Are you aware of employees skipping breaks? Have you audited employee timesheets to ensure they are accurately recording and complying with all meal break times? It is critical employers encourage and provide rest breaks and ensure employees record all meal breaks because the state's laws are so specific. Employees should only "clock out" for meal breaks because rest breaks need to be paid.

Meal and rest break policies should address the duration, lactation accommodation, timing and frequency of breaks; where the breaks may be taken; who to notify immediately if a break is prevented; and whether the time is paid or unpaid. Vague or nonexistent policies that are subject to interpretation by the employee can increase your risk of liability.

Employers in the state can face steep penalties for noncompliance with break laws. An employee is entitled to one hour of pay for each day a rest-period rule was violated and an additional one hour of pay for each day a meal-period rule wasn't followed. Employers should document missed meal and rest breaks and any premium penalties paid as a result.


Review and understand leave of absence laws that pertain to your practice.

Employers of any size can no longer afford to view absence management as optional. Coordinating leaves of absence under the various federal and state statutes is one of the most daunting challenges employers face.

​Certain types of leave are required by law while others are optional. Optional leaves are benefits you can choose to provide to your employees. Because different types of leave, both required and optional, can interact with each other, it is important to understand the different types of leaves, employee eligibility requirements and any legal requirements that apply to them.

Employers should confirm that they have written up-to-date policies in place that define the employees’ rights, procedures and practices for each applicable leave.

Anyone tasked with managing the businesses leave of absence program should periodically review the leave of absence laws for changes, determining which laws do or do not apply to a given situation and follow required procedures and documentation practices.

Silence is not golden. If an employer should become aware of an employee’s need for leave, it is the employer’s responsibility to be proactive in seeking information about any and all LOA laws and situations that may be applicable to a particular situation and to communicate those to the employee.

Employers should have a system in place to ensure employees provide timely documentation and to track an employee’s leave dates. Open communication from the onset that begins friendly can easily sour when parties are not in agreement with leave and benefit expectations.  


Are you prepared to provide and post pay scales?

Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, state law will require employers of 15 or more employees to make pay scale information available to job applicants and current employees and expands California’s pay data reporting requirements for employers of more than 100 employees.

Upon request, employers must provide external applicants the pay scale for the position for which they are applying, even if they do not interview. Also upon request, the employer must provide employees the pay scales for their positions.

Further, employers must include the pay scale for a position in any job posting, including those placed with or by a third party.

The “pay scale” means the salary or hourly wage range that the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position. The pay range can include the low and high pay range for the position. If an employer has a set hourly wage for a particular position, the employer may post that hourly wage. However, employers should be cautious when providing just a single wage as this leaves little flexibility to offer a qualified candidate a higher wage without violating the law.

Employers must maintain records of the job title and wage history for each employee for the duration of employment plus three years.

If you currently haven’t established any set pay ranges, we recommend conducting a pay equity audit to help establish them.

The one-year statute of limitations to file with the Labor Commissioner begins when an employee learns of a violation.

Penalties for noncompliance are costly (ranging from $100 to $10,000 per violation), but an employer may avoid a penalty for the first violation if the employer updates all postings to include the applicable pay scale.

Employers should:

  • Review the current pay of employees doing “like for like work” (accounting for reasonable differences, such as work experience and job performance) and investigate any causes of pay differences that cannot be justified.
  • Adjust pay for any identified pay disparities.
  • Establish equitable pay ranges for existing and new positions.
  • Update all active job postings to include pay range information.
  • Verify that record-keeping policies are compliant with the requirements of the law.


Reminder: Complimentary 2023-24 poster sets reflecting the latest federal- and state-required postings will ship in spring 2023 to confirmed practice owners.

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