Many California employers will need to amend their Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) to include a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan. The policy requirements include recognizing and correcting hazards, training employees on identifying suspicious behavior and reporting, how to respond to actual or potential workplace violence situations and keeping a log of certain information.

Exempted from this regulation are the following:

  • Healthcare facilities who already have the required Violence Prevention in Healthcare policy/plan
  • All other employers who have a Violence Prevention in Healthcare policy/plan
  • Facilities operated by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Employees teleworking from a location of the employee’s choice, not under the control of the employer (such as a home office, or shared workspace not owned by the employer).

Note this only exempts the employee – not the employer. This means if the employer has a covered place of business, the employer will need to comply with the regulation for their place of business.

  • Places of employment that are not accessible to the public, where there are less than 10 employees working in the location at any given time, and if the location already complies with other IIPP requirements.

As you would expect from the State, the requirements for the Workplace Violence Prevention Plan are as extensive and must include:

  • Name and job title of who will be responsible for the plan.
  • How the company will keep employees involved in the development, design, and implementation of the plan through investigating and reporting workplace violence incidents.
  • Method the employer will use to coordinate the plan with other employers, when applicable, to ensure everyone is aware of their responsibilities in the plan.
  • How the company will accept and respond to reports of workplace violence, and make clear retaliation is prohibited against an employee for reporting.
  • Procedure to communicate with employees regarding workplace violence matters, including:
    • How an employee can report a violent incident, threat or other concern to the company or law enforcement without fear of reprisal.
    • How employee concerns will be investigated.
    • How employees will be informed of the results of an investigation and any action taken to correct hazards.
  • Procedure to respond to workplace violence emergencies, including:
    • How employees will be alerted of the details.
    • Evacuation plans.
    • How to obtain help from staff assigned to respond to workplace violence emergencies, security personnel and/or law enforcement.
  • Procedure to develop and provide required training to employees.
  • How the company will identify and evaluate workplace violence hazards, including:
    • Scheduled periodic inspections.
    • Reviewing work practices.
    • Reviewing employee reports and concerns.
  • How the company will correct hazards in a timely manner.
  • Post-incident procedure and response.
  • Review of the plan and its effectiveness as needed, but no less than annually to ensure active employee involvement.

Training will be a required as part of the workplace violence prevention program implementation, and annually thereafter. Employers are required to keep training records for at least one year, though longer is recommended.

Training requirements include:

  • A review of the company’s workplace violence prevention plan.
  • How the employee can obtain a copy of the plan, at no cost.
  • How an employee can participate in the development and implementation of the plan.
  • Reporting procedures to the company and/or law enforcement.
  • What constitutes violence, hazards, emergencies, and threats in the workplace.
  • Workplace violence hazards specific to employee’s jobs and the corrective measures the company has implemented to mitigate those risks.
  • How to seek assistance to prevent or respond to violence and strategies to avoid physical harm.
  • Where an employee can review the required incident log.
  • An interactive Q&A with a person who is knowledgeable about the written plan.

You don’t need to start writing up your workplace violence prevention plan just yet. Cal/OSHA will likely be releasing a model template that meets the requirements of employers in low hazard industries that can be used to give you a head start. The effective date of this new requirement is July 1, 2024 – so we have some time!

If you require assistance with creating your plan or have any questions regarding the expectations or training requirements, contact your friends at TPHR!

Let’s close out the year with a lightning round of some final items to come in 2024 throughout California.

Food Handler’s Cards – January 1, 2024

Employers will now bear the cost associated with an employee obtaining their Food Handler’s Card. This includes paying for the time it takes to review training materials and take the test, the cost of the training materials if required, cost of the test, and any other associated expense (such as if they are required to attend an in-person training, the employer would reimburse for mileage). This will be the case for new and current employees who may need to renew their Food Handler’s card. This new law also prohibits employers from making it a condition of employment to already hold a Food Handler’s Card in order to be hired. The current Health & Safety code allows employees to obtain their Food Handler’s Card within 30 days of being hired, and the same will apply with this new law.

Non-Compete Agreements – January 1, 2024

Two bills were signed this year regarding non-compete agreements that will take effect on January 1, 2024. Combined, these laws expressly prohibit employers from entering into or enforcing non-compete agreements for California employees. As we know, non-competes have been disfavored for quite some time. These new laws include additional stipulations employers will want to make note of. It will be unlawful for employers to enforce non-compete language in employment contracts or other agreements, regardless of what state the employee was in when they signed the contract. For example, if an employee signed a non-compete agreement in Texas and is attempting to take a competing job in California, neither employer will be able to enforce the non-compete.

California employers will have a notification requirement for current and former employers who signed any contract or agreement containing non-compete clauses. By February 14, 2024, employers will be required to send a notice to affected individuals to their last known mailing address and email address, informing them the non-compete agreements they signed are void. Make sure to also check your confidentiality agreements with counsel to make sure they don’t have non-compete language!

Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Protection Act – January 1, 2024

The Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Act amends the California Labor Code to create a rebuttable presumption of retaliation if any adverse employment action is taken against an employee within 90 days of filing or participating in certain protected activities. This includes conduct related to wage claims, claims stemming from an employee’s political and civil rights, PAGA claims, a Fair Pay Act claim, and lawful off duty conduct, to name a few. This does not mean an employer’s hands are tied if there is legitimate reason for employment action. However, it does add emphasis to the importance of proper and timely coaching, communication, and documentation as it pertains to corrective action, discipline, and related employment decisions.  

Fast Food Minimum Wage – April 1, 2024

Large fast-food chains will be raising their minimum wage to $20/hour starting April 1, 2024, and increase annually thereafter based on the Fast Food Council’s evaluation of the Consumer Price Index. Although it may not affect your business directly, it will affect the labor market. This is a good time to evaluate your compensation package and prepare for how a shift in the minimum wage for these entry-level roles might impact your business.

Healthcare Minimum Wage – June 1, 2024

Covered healthcare facilities will be required to increase their minimum wages accordingly beginning June 1, 2024. There is a long list of covered healthcare facilities; our evaluation is that it is aimed at employers that are affiliated with a hospital or large healthcare group. Healthcare employers should review in detail the list of applicable employers to evaluate if the minimum wage regulations will apply. The healthcare minimum wage applies to:

  • A facility or other work site that is part of an integrated health care delivery system. 
  • A licensed general acute care hospital, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code, including a distinct part of any such hospital. 
  • A licensed acute psychiatric hospital, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code, including a distinct part of any such hospital. 
  • A special hospital, as defined in subdivision (f) of Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code. 
  • A licensed skilled nursing facility, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code. 
  • A patient’s home when health care services are delivered by an entity owned or operated by a general acute care hospital or acute psychiatric hospital. 
  • A licensed home health agency, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 1727 of the Health and Safety Code. 
  • A clinic, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1204 of the Health and Safety Code, including a specialty care clinic, or a dialysis clinic. 
  • A psychology clinic, as defined in Section 1204.1 of the Health and Safety Code. 
  • A clinic as defined in subdivision (d), (g), or (l) of Section 1206 of the Health and Safety Code. 
  • A psychology clinic, as defined in Section 1204.1 of the Health and Safety Code. 
  • A clinic as defined in subdivision (d), (g), or (l) of Section 1206 of the Health and Safety Code. 
  • A psychiatric health facility, as defined in Section 1250.2 of the Health and Safety Code. 
  • A mental health rehabilitation center, as defined in Section 5675 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. 
  • A rural health clinic, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (l) of Section 1396d of Title 42 of the United States Code. 
  • An urgent care clinic. 
  • An ambulatory surgical center that is certified to participate in the Medicare Program under Title XVIII (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1395 et seq.) of the federal Social Security Act. 
  • A physician group. 
  • A community clinic licensed under subdivision (a) of Section 1204 of the Health and Safety Code, an intermittent clinic exempt from licensure under subdivision (h) of Section 1206 of the Health and Safety Code, or a clinic operated by the state or any of its political subdivisions, including, but not limited to, the University of California or a city or county that is exempt from licensure under subdivision (b) of Section 1206 of the Health and Safety Code. 
  • A licensed residential care facility for the elderly, as defined in Section 1569.2 of the Health and Safety Code, if affiliated with an acute care provider or owned, operated, or controlled by a general acute care hospital, acute psychiatric hospital, or the parent entity of a general acute care hospital or acute psychiatric hospital.

The changes happening June 1, 2024, are as follows: 

  • Large Employers and Integrated Health Systems – $23/hr. 
  • Hospitals – $18/hr. 
  • Clinics – $21/hr. 
  • All Other Covered Healthcare Facilities – $21/hr. 

If your organization falls into any of the above listed categories, we recommend you review the minimum wage schedule for that specific facility type to prepare for the changes coming in June.

California Paid Sick Leave – January 1, 2024

Last but not least, we want to call your attention back to an alert we previously sent out regarding the updated California Paid Sick Leave requirements. In short, California is increasing the number of required sick hours from 24 to 40 per year. Read up on our previous blast here.

Navigating California’s ever changing laws can be complicated – some of these updates may require action on your part. TPHR is here to support you, and your managers, to better understand these changes and what they mean for your individual business or industry. If you need help with these action items… reach out to your friends at TPHR!

California Cannabis Drug Testing and Discrimination - image of scientist and cannabis leaf

‘Tis the season for employment law changes in California! We hope you are enjoying the start of the holiday season, which for us at Total Package HR means we are digging deep into what’s coming next in the new year.

Join us for Get Ready for 2024 (Employment Law Update Edition)!

Each week we will highlight a new law coming in 2024. We’ll start with the ones that will require the most action and end with the good-to-knows.

If you need assistance with executing any of these new requirements or are unsure if it is applicable to your business, we are here to help!

California has always been a high maintenance state, so let’s chat about the new challenges brought on by this law taking effect in 2024. Off-the-job cannabis use will become a protected category from discrimination for almost all employers. Discrimination means making a decision about hiring, firing, promotion, pay, discipline, and so on based on a protected characteristic/class. To be blunt, if you see an employee over the weekend post on Instagram their 420 escapades, you can’t take any action against them Monday morning.

Do you conduct pre-employment drug testing?

Covered employers will not be able to use drug screen results that test for “nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites” – this is the part of marijuana that shows when you are not actively high but have used cannabis products recently. However, these drug tests don’t exist yet, and will likely not be ready by the time this law goes into effect. Meaning covered employers should consider removing Marijuana from any drug testing as adverse action based on the presence of such is prohibited come January. Employers can still test (pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, post-injury, and random) staff members, but the test has to specifically be to determine if the employee is currently high or impaired.

Employers who are in the building and construction trades, require federal background checks or security clearance, or federal contractors who are required to drug screen for marijuana are exempt from this portion of the new law.

Additionally, employers will be prohibited from inquiring about previous cannabis use from applicants or employees. Employers who run background checks cannot use any information regarding previous cannabis use from the background check to discriminate against an employee or applicant (take any adverse action such as rescinding offer, termination, refusal to give promotion or salary increase, etc.). This portion of the law applies even if you are listed as an exception to the drug screen regulations.

This new law does not allow employees to use marijuana while at work, or to show up to work under the influence. It also does not require employers to allow on-site marijuana use. It strictly applies to off duty use. Employers still hold the right to maintain a drug-free workplace and take adverse action on the use, sale, purchase or consumption of cannabis while at work or on Company property.

Over the last couple of years, we have noticed more employers are opting to remove THC drug testing all together. This new law (and lack of appropriate testing to comply with it) has solidified this decision and influenced even more employers to remove THC from their panel of drugs to test for.

If you have questions or would like to discuss how this new law will affect your current processes, reach out to your friends at Total Package HR!

California Reproductive Loss Leave - Holding hands to represent comfort and support in the face of reproductive loss

‘Tis the season for employment law changes in California! We hope you are enjoying the start of the holiday season, which for us at Total Package HR means we are digging deep into what’s coming next in the new year.

Join us for Get Ready for 2024 (Employment Law Update Edition)! Each week we will highlight a new law coming in 2024. We’ll start with the ones that will require the most action and end with the good-to-knows.

If you need assistance with executing any of these new requirements or are unsure if it is applicable to your business, we are here to help!

We have another year that California is adding another job protected leave! Beginning January 1, 2024, employers with 5 or more total employees in the country will need to offer their employees a minimum of 5 days of unpaid time off in the event of a “reproductive loss” event. A reproductive loss event is defined as any of the following: 

  • Failed adoption – dissolution or breach of an adoption agreement, or adoption not finalized 
  • Failed surrogacy – dissolution or breach of a surrogacy agreement or a failed embryo transfer to the surrogate 
  • Miscarriage 
  • Stillbirth 
  • Unsuccessful assisted reproduction (such as IUI, IVF or ART procedure) 

Any person who would have been a parent to the child as a result of the event is eligible.

While employers have the option to pay employees for reproductive loss leave, this new requirement is focused on job protection, and does not mandate pay. Job protection means protecting against any adverse action, such as discipline or retaliation, for taking time off under this leave. This new law also protects employee’s confidentiality regarding any matter associated with this leave.

Eligibility and requirements for leave:

  • Employees must be employed for at least 30 days prior to the start of leave.
  • The 5 days need not be consecutive and can be used within 3 months of the reproductive loss event.
    • If an employee is currently out on another leave of absence (such as CFRA, PDL, FMLA) or chooses to go on leave, the 3-month period they have to use reproductive loss leave begins after the employee returns from the other leave of absence.
  • The employee is allowed to use sick, vacation, and/or paid time off to cover any unpaid time away from work.
  • The new law is silent regarding documentation. There is no guidance on whether an employee may or may not request documentation from an employee who is requesting reproductive loss leave.
  • If you have a current policy which provides paid time off for any of the above-mentioned situations (like miscarriage through a bereavement policy), the new law requires you pay employees according to that policy for all reproductive loss leave events, since the current policy covers payment for part of this leave.

Be sure to update your handbooks to include this new leave and align your bereavement leave policy with reproductive loss leave to ensure there is no cross-over. We’ve often seen employers cover miscarriages under bereavement leave policies, which may potentially conflict the amount of time an employee may take off for such an event. It may also complicate payment of leave if a reproductive loss event is covered under an existing policy. If you need assistance updating the policy to be compliant, we are here to help!

CA Minimum Wage increases 2024 - money with an upwards facing arrow to indicate growth

‘Tis the season for employment law changes in California! We hope you are enjoying the start of the holiday season, which for us at Total Package HR means we are digging deep into what’s coming next in the new year.

Join us for Get Ready for 2024 (Employment Law Update Edition)! Each week we will highlight a new law coming in 2024. We’ll start with the ones that will require the most action and end with the good-to-knows.

If you need assistance with executing any of these new requirements or are unsure if it is applicable to your business, we are here to help!

California Minimum Wage Updates – January 1, 2024

Starting off strong with another update to minimum wage! State-wide minimum wage is set to increase to $16.00 per hour starting January 1, 2024. All businesses, regardless of headcount, will be subject to this rate. With the change of the state minimum wage comes the increase of minimum salary an exempt employee must be paid (same duties test applies!). The minimum salary will increase to $66,560 annually.

As always, various cities throughout California will have their own minimum wages that are above the state’s.

Here are the ones currently released:

NOTE! Richmond, San Leandro, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale have not released their January 2024 minimum wages as of the date this newsletter is written – the rates shown above for those cities are still the rates effective January 2023. If you have employees in these cities, please be sure to keep an eye on your local municipalities for updates prior to the new year!

As a reminder, many cities in California have minimum wage updates that happen in July rather than January. Keep an eye out for our Mid-Year Minimum Wage Update next year once those rates are released!

We have some new updates for California Paid Sick Leave for 2024! Seems like a trend every year. Last year, California updated the definition of a family member to include a “designated person”. This means an employee can use paid sick leave for any person who has a family-like relationship to the employee, even if they are not related by blood.

This year, the update comes to the amount of paid sick leave required for all employers in the state of California.

Here are the updates effective January 1, 2024:

  • Employees will now be able to use 40 hours or 5 days of paid sick leave per 12-month period (calendar year, anniversary year, or other specified by the employer). Previously, employers were only required to provide 24 hours or 3 days of paid sick leave, unless they were in a city with different requirements.
  • Employees must be able to accrue 80 hours or 10 days of paid sick leave per 12-month period.
  • Employees must be able to carry over up to 40 hours or 5 days of unused sick hours each 12-month period.

Here’s what’s not changing:

  • Employees can begin using paid sick leave after 90 days of employment.
  • If on an accrual basis, employees accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
  • If on a frontload basis, the entire amount of paid sick leave must be available as of the first day of employment or as of the start of the new 12-month period (though use can still begin after 90 days of employment).
  • The amount of paid sick leave in an employee’s bank must be shown on the employee’s pay stub.
  • Employees may choose how many paid sick leave hours they use for a shift, up to their normal scheduled hours. For example, an employee who is scheduled to work 10 hours may use up to 10 hours of paid sick leave for that shift or can choose to use less than 10 hours.

Now this may not be a big change for your business if you are located in any of the seven cities with their own paid sick leave laws: Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, Santa Monica, Emeryville, City of Los Angeles, and San Diego. These cities already required employers, based on size, to provide 40 hours or more per 12-month period. However, if you have employees who work alternative work schedules in any of those cities, we recommend you reach out to TPHR to learn more about how the 2024 paid sick leave updates will affect those employees!

We recommend you review your Paid Sick Leave and/or Paid Time Off policies to ensure they will be compliant with the updates for the new year!

New Background Check Rules

This alert is for employers with California employees who currently conduct background checks, or are considering conducting them in the future. As of October 1st California has enacted new regulations regarding background checks in employment. While already highly regulated, California’s new regs provide some additional guidelines.

Existing regulations: 

  • Since 2018, California employers have been prohibited from asking a candidate during the recruiting process about any criminal history.
  • Background checks cannot be run until a conditional offer of employment is made to an individual; preferably in writing. 
  • Employers are required to provide disclosure notices and obtain authorization from the new employee before initiating a background check, and background checks really should only be done through a reputable background check company.
  • When a criminal record is found on a background check, employers must follow what is called the Pre-Adverse Action process when determining whether or not to continue to move forward with the candidate in light of the history discovered. 
  • Employers are prohibited from following blanket rules that disqualify all individuals with any type of criminal background; an analysis must be done to weigh the many factors of the criminal history with the job. 
  • If a decision is made not to move forward with the candidate, and to rescind the offer of employment, the Adverse Action process must be initiated as the final step.
  • Employers who are not familiar with these steps should seek guidance, TPHR is here to help.
  • Highlights of the new regulations:
  • Employers are specifically prohibited from stating in any job advertisements individuals with a criminal background will not be considered. 
  • Even if an applicant volunteers information about criminal history during the application/recruiting process, the employer is prohibited from using that information in their decision-making process. 
  • When a criminal record is found, and employers are going through the Pre-Adverse Action process, the new regulations give us more specific guidelines about the individual assessment that must be completed before making a final decision about the individual. While not an all-inclusive list, the factors provided and summarized below, in our opinion give more clarity than we had in the past:
    • The nature of the offense:
      • Was there harm to people/property and to what degree
      • What was the context in which it happened
      • Was it a result of a disability, which may include past drug addiction, or mental impairment, and if so to what degree is the likelihood of similar harm in the future
      • Did trauma, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human tracking, or similar factors contribute to the offense 
      •  The age of the individual when the offense occurred
    • Time passed since:
      • How much time has passed since the offense
      • If incarcerated as a result, how much time has passed since release
    • Nature of the job
      • What are the duties, and how are they related
      • What is the probability of the past offense/harm happening in the workplace
    • Evidence of rehabilitation and mitigating circumstances
      • Employers must consider any evidence of actions taken to rehabilitate or mitigate the offense. 
    • When going through the Pre-Adverse Action process, employers must provide at least five business days for the individual to respond. Employers must be able to prove they provided sufficient time. 
    • Finally, the regulation redefines the terms applicant and employer:
      • “Applicant” means any individual applying for employment employment, transfer, or promotion.
        • Meaning, these regulations also apply when conducting background checks for current employees being promoted or otherwise transferred to a new role within the same company. 
      • “Employer” means an employer with five or more employees and includes the agent of an employer with five or more employees.
        • Meaning, these regulations also apply when applicants/employees are provided by a staffing agency. 

While this may seem like a long list of regulations, much of this is not really all that new. We feel much of this is actually good guidance to help employers navigate this sensitive and tricky process. If you need help updating policy or practice, or helping you/your team to better understand the rules and regulations surrounding conducting background checks, reach out to your friends at TPHR!

Form I-9-Employment Verification Nov 1 deadline 2023

Countdown to Nov. 1

REMINDER: Starting November 1, you can only use Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, with the August 1, 2023 edition date.

Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the temporary remote verification rules that were in place for the last 3 years (i.e., reviewing documents virtually instead of in person due to COVID-19) would sunset on July 31. This means that employers would need to review documents in person, within 3 business days, as had previously been the rule. However, …

On July 21, DHS announced that effective August 1, they made the remote verification rule permanent for employers enrolled in E-Verify and who meet the below requirements.


  • Be in good standing in the E-Verify program;
  • Enrolled in E-Verify for all hiring sites in the United States, for which they seek to use the alternative procedure (aka remote verification);
  • Have complied with all E-Verify requirements, including verifying the employment eligibility of newly hired employees in the United States; and
  • Have completed an E-Verify tutorial/training concerning fraud awareness and anti-discrimination (this is already part of the new-user training E-Verify requires you to take).

How to Remotely Review Documents:

  • Examine remotely the front and back of the employee’s identity and employment authorization documentation or acceptable receipt to determine that the documentation appears genuine;
  • Conduct a live interaction with the employee presenting the same documentation discussed above that the employee submits copies of (since for E-Verify you must retain copies) to ensure the documentation appears to be genuine and relates to the employee;
  • Indicate on Form I-9, by completing the corresponding box, that an alternative procedure was used to examine documentation to complete Section 2 or for re-verification, as applicable (this is part of the new I-9 form that is being released August 1 – more to come on this!);
  • Retain clear and legible copies (front and back) of all documents presented by employees; and
  • In the event of an Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) I-9 audit or relevant federal government agency investigation, make available clear and legible copies of the documentation presented by the employee for document examination in connection with the employment eligibility verification process.

E-Verify Enrollment:

Employers can newly enroll in E-Verify and be eligible to remotely inspect documents, as long as they are “in good standing”, are enrolled in E-Verify in all states in which they will be using this alternate method, and take the required training.

Additionally, employers who were enrolled and E-Verified employees during the temporary remote verification period, will not need to review documents in person by the given deadline.

For employers who will still need to review documents in person because they were not previously enrolled in E-Verify, DHS says:

“If an employer is otherwise compliant with the law and regulation – and had followed the COVID-19 flexibility guidance – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will generally not focus its limited enforcement resources on Form I-9 verification violations for failing to complete physical document examination by August 30, 2023, particularly where the employer can show that it has taken timely steps to complete physical document examination within a reasonable period of time.”


Participating in remote verification is optional, and E-Verify employers may still continue to review documents in person. However, it does take some of the burden off your shoulders if you do a lot of remote hiring and would have otherwise needed to review the documents in person. Qualified employers are also free to do a mix of both, such as reviewing in-person for their headquarters employees and reviewing virtually for their remote employees. This is a HUGE step in government entities modernizing practices to fit our changing operations, and we could not be more excited!

If you would like to explore options for enrolling in E-Verify or to learn about some of the pros and cons of doing so, reach out to your friends at Total Package HR for help!

California Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Reimbursement - MOney behind a COVID-style mask with the words paid sick leave spelled out

Heads up small business owners!

Applications for the California Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Grant have opened up! Small businesses (according to the definition below) may apply on a first come first served basis to receive up to $50,000 to assist with any cost incurred for COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave in 2022.

In 2022, employers with 26 or more employees were required to provide employees with COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) from January 1 – December 31. Small businesses who were required to pay SPSL during that time frame are now able to submit an application to the state, providing proof of payment of SPSL, and possibly receive reimbursement. Unfortunately, it does not apply to any businesses that were not required to, but still provided SPSL to employees.

The grant award amounts are as follows:

To be a qualified small business, the entity:

1. Must be one of the following:  

  • A “C” corporation, “S” Corporation, cooperative, LLC, partnership, or limited partnership.
  • A registered 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6), or 501(c)(19).

2. Began operating before June 1, 2021.

3. Is currently active and operating.

4. Have a physical presence in the state.

5. Provided COVID-19 SPSL in accordance to the Labor Code.

6. Had 26 to 49 employees between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022. The employer must also: 

  • Provide payroll data and a signed affidavit attesting to the number of employees.  
  • Employers who are covered by Wage Order #16 (construction, carpenters, electricians, laborers, iron workers, plumbers, landscapers, or any other occupation listed on page 30-32) will calculate their employee count as the number of full-time employees that worked for the company, without a break in employment, for the past 24 months.

7. Shall provide organizing documents, including: 

  • 2020 or 2021 tax returns or Form 990, and 
  • A copy of official filing with the Secretary of State or with the local municipality, including but not limited to, Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Organization, Fictitious Name of Registration, or government-issued business license.  

8. Must have an owner (or an officer if it is a non-profit) as the authorized signer on the application that is at least 18 years old.

9. Shall provide acceptable form of government-issued photo ID.

10. Only apply for the grant once even if the applicant owns multiple business entities, franchises, or locations. Only one entity from any member of a “controlled group of corporations” may apply.

If you qualify based on the requirements above, we recommend you review the Program and Application Guide provided by the California Office of Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) for instructions on filling out the application, required certifications and documents, and a walk-through of the application portal. You can also find more information at  

COVID-19 Form I-9 Exceptions Expiring Soon

I-9 Compliance Update

COVID-19 Form I-9 Exceptions Expiring Soon!

During the peak of the pandemic (and then for some time after), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced various extensions the Form I-9 requirement to review documents in person for employees working remotely as a result COVID-19 precautions. Instead, employers were allowed flexibility in how they reviewed documents, such as via video conference call or a scanned copy. This flexibility did not completely remove the requirement to review documents in person, rather it extended the timeline. The expectation was (and still is) that when COVID-19 precautions faded, employers would then examine the I-9 documents they reviewed virtually, in person.

Well folks, we’ve reached that point! DHS will not be extending its most recent deadline and will sunset the accommodation on July 31, 2023.

So, what does this mean?

It means that employers will need to review, in person, Form I-9 documents that were virtually examined for any employees hired on or after March 20, 2020 (when the original temporary guidance was released). Anyone hired prior to this date, or anyone not working remotely due to COVID, should also have technically already been examined in person, per I-9 requirements. The physical inspection should be completed by July 31, 2023. Now, will DHS be standing at your front door on August 1st demanding to look at your I-9’s? Probably not – so there is some flexibility with the timeline as long as it is completed as soon as feasible.

DHS has specified that once normal operations resume, the employer must physically inspect the original documents that were presented in an alternate format, and complete Section 2 of the Form I-9 Additional Information to say “documents physically examined” along with the date. If the person who originally completed Section 2 and performed the remote inspection is no longer able to examine the physical documents, then you must also list the full name and title of the person who physically examined the documents. DHS has provided the example below.

We understand it is not possible to fly every remote worker to your headquarters to present these documents – rest assured there are other options! Some background check vendors have authorized representatives who can review the physical documents on your behalf. There are also other remote Form I-9 vendors that we are happy to recommend who can assist! However, if you know a remote employee will be visiting your office soon, this would be a good time to also have them present their documents to finalize their Form I-9.

Moving Forward…

Starting August 1, 2023, employers will no longer be able to examine I-9 documents virtually and will need to examine physical documents within 3 business days – the same rules that applied prior to COVID. If you hire most or all your employees remotely, you may need to work with a vendor as mentioned above, to ensure your I-9’s are compliant.

Every employee is required to complete a Form I-9 – let this message also serve as a friendly reminder to complete an I-9 audit if you haven’t done so in over a year (we recommend annual audits)!