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What You Ought To Know About COBRA Health Insurance

COBRA

What Exactly is COBRA? An opportunity must be provided by a covered group health insurance plan under COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act ) for continuing health plan coverage to every single qualified beneficiary. Otherwise, he or she would lose coverage because of a qualifying event.

Health Plan Types Covered

COBRA comprises of the criteria for figuring out whether the employees who are enrolled in group health plans are qualified for insurance coverage or not. MSAs along with several group health plans (which are region-specific) need special consideration.

Employers Covered By COBRA

This coverage is going to apply to those employers who have twenty or even more employees. Nevertheless, it can be quite complicated when it comes to figuring out the number of the employees which depends on issues such as modifications in the workforce as well as part-time or full-time employment.

Employees Covered By COBRA

In most cases, those employees who have been registered in your health care plan one day prior to a qualifying event will be qualified for the COBRA coverage.

Extent of Coverage for the Qualifying Events

 

Loss of health plan coverage can be caused by as many as 6 events which can result in an employee’s eligibility for the COBRA coverage. Apart from being aware of these events, you should likewise look at them taking into consideration some other conditions like the occurrence of more than one qualifying event and so on. Below we have listed several factors by which the insurance coverage eligibility can be affected:

 

  • Divorce and remarriage
  • Entitlement to Medicare
  • Retirement status
  • Causes for termination

COBRA Notice Specifications:

As per the regulations, you must send several COBRA-related notices to qualified beneficiaries as well as employees when they are not entitled to continue the coverage and also when the health plan coverage starts and ends. The health insurance plan administrator must also be notified regarding the particulars of the qualifying events of any particular employee. Employees must also inform you once a qualifying event takes place and valid procedures can be established for the employees to provide notifications.

Electing the COBRA Coverage:

There are only 30 days in the hands of the qualifying beneficiaries for electing COBRA coverage, and a proper faith report must be made so that beneficiaries are able to receive election notifications on time. Moreover, some employees can also get a second chance for electing coverage in case increased imports of competing products affect their jobs.

Paying for the Coverage:

Clear guidance is provided by the COBRA regulations on permissible premium amounts as well as premium due dates. Moreover, proper guidance is also provided by them on how to deal with inadequate premium payments.

Terminating COBRA insurance Coverage:

The coverage is going to terminate once any of the 4 events happens or on completion of the coverage period as per law. Amongst the other causes which are responsible for the termination of the coverage, mention may be made of HIPAA requirements as well as ERISA provisions.

Prohibitions:

Final COBRA regulations prohibit specific acts explicitly on the part of the employer.

 

Penalties for COBRA infractions:

There is a huge risk of serious financial penalties in case one does not comply with the COBRA regulations even though the error was not deliberate.

California Extension of the Coverage?

An enrollee must be provided with an opportunity by California health plans for continuing the coverage for as much as thirty-six months since the start of the continuation coverage in case he is eligible for less than thirty-six months of continuation coverage under the COBRA health insurance and the continuation coverage has been exhausted.

CAL-COBRA Required Notifications

According to CAL-COBRA, specific notifications regarding the coverage must be provided to employees as well as insurance carriers on certain occasions.

Length and Cost of the Coverage

The CAL-COBRA has specified the amount which can be charged from any qualified beneficiary for the continuation of the coverage, the length of time the coverage is going to last, and also when it can be terminated.

What You Need to Know About Labor Unions in California

labor unions

More often than not, employers and employees rarely see eye-to-eye in the workplace. It is something common in every line of work, owing to the fact that both parties usually find themselves on opposite ends of the table, mostly when dealing with issues that directly concern the latter. This is where labor unions usually come in; to help deal with the issues that concern the employees at work. While doing so, these labor unions also help to keep the powers of the employer in check at every step of the way.

 

What is a labor union?

Basically, a labor union is a union, or a group formed by employees in the workplace, in order to uphold the values that matter the most to its members. The values and issues these unions usually deal with are things, such as better employee salaries, favorable working hours, safer and secure working conditions, and the like. Generally, a labor union is geared towards the enhancement of better working conditions in the workplace, regardless of the line of work.

 

The benefits of a labor union

Due to the nature of a labor union, the benefits that usually come with forming one are extensive. First and foremost, a union gives the employees a voice in the place of work, allowing them to air their grievances and pleas to their employers. In turn, this offers them a firm ground to stand on, as they strive to negotiate for better working conditions with those in power. If used correctly, a labor union can negotiate for better employee salaries, appropriate working hours, pension benefits, protection of immigrant workers, medical leave, vacation times, along with many other benefits.

 

Who can form a union?

Labor unions aren’t restricted to a specific type of employee in a given line of work; meaning that anyone can form them. This applies to doctors, engineers, nurses, teachers, and the like, even lawyers. In fact, the stats show that more and more people are forming unions as time goes on.

 

How are labor unions formed?

When it comes to forming a union, the numbers matter. This goes to mean that workers have to come together first and agree to form one. When this happens, employers can offer the workers what they want, and give them the go-ahead to form a union. However, in other instances, elections are usually held first, in order to show that the workers actually are for the idea.

 

The challenges that come with forming a union

The major challenge when forming a union usually occurs when employers work to undermine it. When this happens, employers threaten to sack the employees, threaten to close the company and use other forms of intimidation and harassment to demoralize the workers. Regardless of this, workers can seek the assistance of the community and the law to push for the formation of the union.

Emergency Leave in California

emergency leave

The family and medical leave act requires employers to offer employees emergency leave in case of sickness and reinstate them under certain conditions. The unpaid leave is offered to employers so that they can seek medical attention.

 

Federal FMLA Rights

If you suffer from serious health complications, you can take up to 12 weeks of sick leave so that you can seek medication. The leave is also allowed for you to bond with a child in case of childbirth.

 

Who Is Covered?

If you are an employer in California and you have at least 50 employees, then you should comply with the law. For the law to apply, you should have at least the employees working in your company for the last 20 weeks. Other qualifications for the leave include the following conditions:

  • You should have word for the same company for at least a year
  • The employee should have worked in the company for more than 1,250 in the previous year to qualify for the leave.
  • Employees should work in a company situated in a location where employees come from a location which is not more than 75 miles of radius.

 

Reasons for Leave Under FMLA

You can ask for leave if you have the following conditions:

  • You can seek emergency leave for you to bond with your new child
  • If you had a serious health complication, you could seek the leave for you to recuperate.
  • For those with family members with serious health complications, they can seek the leave to take care of the family member.
  • To handle qualifying exigencies due to a family members military service
  • To care for a family member who suffered from a serious incident in the military.

 

How Much Leave Is Available?

An employee can take up to 12 weeks of sick leave and up to a year of leave in case of a serious health complication. The leave can renew after each year provided the employee meets the set requirements.

 

Leave and Reinstatement Rights

If your leave ends, you are entitled to be reinstated to the same position where you were serving. The sick leave is not paid; hence you should continue contributing to your health insurance.

 

California Military Family Leave

Employees who have more than 25 employees are required to give up to 10 days of unpaid leave if a spouse arrives home from military deployment.

 

California Pregnancy Disability Leave

Employers who have more than 5 employees are required to give reasonable time for employees to bond with their children and recuperate from disability relating to pregnancy.

Paternity Leave Laws in California

paternity leave

Paternity leave is defined to be a time off from work that a father who has just had his child or adopted a child is entitled to. This leave is under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Although a few states offer paid paternity leave, the act guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) demand that employers that have more than 50 employees should offer their employees unpaid leave. From January 2018, employers with more than 20 employees are required to offer the same leave condition thanks to the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA).

 

Who is Eligible for Paternity Leave?

There are conditions to be eligible for these leave provisions. One must have worked for the particular employer for at least 12 months preceding the leave. This translates to 1250 hours. The work location should also be such that the employer has the at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius.

 

The Time You Get

If one is eligible for the leave, you are allowed to take 12 weeks leave within the first year of the arrival of the child whether by birth, adoption, or foster placement. The fathers get to enjoy the same leave amount as the mothers. However, the female employees are entitled to additional time due to the fact that they get pregnant and give birth. Female employees have more privileges courtesy of the California Pregnancy disability leave

 

Reinstatement Following the Leave

At the end of the leave, the employer is required to reinstate the employee. The reinstatement must be on the same position held before the leave or a comparable position. The comparison under these circumstances should be with regard to the remuneration, location, and duties. These laws are provided to prevent any form of discouragement from taking the leave through punitive measures.

 

Requesting the leave

There is a provision by law on how to request a leave. For paternal leave, the request must be made with at least 30 days’ notice considering that the leave is foreseeable. If the leaver is not foreseeable in cases such as early birth, the employee is obliged to give notice on the soonest and practicable period.

The spirit of the law with regards to parental leave is to allow parents and their newborn to bond. Children who have just been born need the attention of both parents. On the other hand, new parents are often not able to concentrate and be psychologically present at work. This period eases this transition of state for both parent and child

Severance Pay Laws in California 

severance pay

A severance pay may be provided by your employer if you are fired or you resign on your will in California. These packages include some benefits along with a continuation of money. If a contractual obligation or employment policy comes into play the employers do not provide these severance packages in California. You should understand all the terms of this package and you can also negotiate with your boss!

Some FAQ’s On Severance Pay Laws In California:

Are Employers Entitled To Receive Severance Pay?

Employers are not always entitled to receive severance pay. There may be in some case that the employee decides to termite the relationship with the employer. In this case, the employer is not compelled to give any severance to that particular employee.

Why Do Employers Offer Severance Pay When It Is Not Required?

There are many reasons that an employer offers severance pay. There might be a case that a business is not going good and it needs to fire some of the employees where those employees can negotiate with the employer to get some severance pay. Another scenario can avoid potential litigation when some disputes occur between the employer and the employee.

What Terms Are Mainly Included In Particular Severance Agreements?

  • Confidentiality
  • No admission of liability
  • Not a chance of admission in the present as well as future employment.
  • Non-disparagement, often unilateral.
  • General release with a civil code section 1542 waiver releasing all unknown or known claims.
  • Return of all company property and also non-solicitation of customer clause.

Does The Employer Have To Pay The Employee For A Release Of Claims?

The employer can ask the employee to release all claims the employee may have against that particular company. Some considerations are meant to be provided for the release of the employer’s rights. This consideration includes something of valuable important for both sides. These considerations not only come in form of payments but also agreements when an employee is sacked.

 

Do Employees Over 40 Years Or Above Get Any Kind of Special Considerations?

The OWBPA (Older Workers Benefit Protection Act) protects all employees who are 40 years and above. If any kind of age discrimination comes into play there are certain requirements also. The employee should consult with an attorney in which case a time period of 21 days is given to the individual to consider the agreement and 7days are given to invoking the clause. The 21 days period can be waived but the 7 day period cannot be waived.

California Drug Testing Laws

drug testing

In California, employers are allowed to conduct drug testing of employees. But as much as this is allowed, employers can only be justified to do so under limited and well-defined scenarios as stressed by California state law. Below is a detailed analysis of California laws on drug testing.

 

California Law on Right to Privacy

An individual’s right to privacy is a key component of the state constitution in California which is in contrast to the majority of other states. This means that current and prospective employees both in government institutions and the private sector have the right not to disclose their private lives to employers. Although California stresses the right to privacy, under certain circumstances, employers can require drug testing of employees. However, employees are allowed to use marijuana if they have a valid written prescription from a doctor.

 

Potential Employees

California state law gives employers the right to have their employees undertake a “suspicionless” drug test as one of the pre-employment requirements. In doing so, employers must ensure the drug tests are done in a manner that demonstrates fairness and consistency to all potential employees.

 

Drug Testing for California Employees

As for existing employees, California state law prohibits employers from subjecting them to drug tests except under limited exceptions. Existing employees can only be required to have a drug test in instances such:

  • Adequate suspicion or reasonable grounds that an employee is abusing drugs. Enough objective facts must exist to support suspicion hence warrant a drug test.
  • The existence of a prevailing and clear physical danger that poses a threat to an employee, the rest of employees or the general public.
  • Employees are allowed to have the drug test samples tested again by a different drug testing facility.

 

Conducting Drug Tests

California law lacks strict guidelines on drug testing. But the possibility of drug tests being legally challenged is very unlikely especially if there exist any reasonable grounds to justify a drug test or if done at once for all employees. However, a drug test can be legally challenged if it appears that it was done in a discriminatory manner.

 

Drug Rehabilitation

As an employer with 25 employees or more, you have to reasonably accommodate an employee who voluntarily enrolls in a drug rehabilitation process. This is allowed as long as the reasonable accommodation does not cause warrant undue hardship on the employer.

 

Likely Liability Risks and Penalties

California strongly advocates for and recognizes an individual’s right to privacy. If an employer engages in unlawful random drug testing of employees, there are potential risks and penalties that can arise. An employer violates an employee’s right to privacy. An employee can file a lawsuit demanding claims for invasion of privacy.

Besides, where an employer terminates an employee for refusing to take a drug test, claims for wrongful termination by an employee can arise. Before requiring employees to take a drug test, employers should bear in mind potential litigation risks. Employers should therefore only conduct random drug tests if certain that the federal law allows such tests or if the employee’s role is one that is safety-sensitive.

 

Lawful Hiring Process in California

hiring

Most hiring claims come down to one of these two situations: The employer depended on data that was legitimately forbidden in settling on its choice, or the employer deceived applicant procedure of hiring. In a few circumstances, a candidate may even have a lawful case against a previous boss who is unlawfully impeding the pursuit of employment.

 

Segregation and Other Improper Hiring Criteria

There are various components that employer are legitimately disallowed from considering when they choose whether to employ applicant. Some of these cases are perceived in each state; others are most certainly not.

 

Separation

Government, state, and even nearby laws restrict managers from settling on work choices in light of secured qualities, for example, race, sex, inability, religion, et cetera. On the off chance that a business chooses not to procure somebody for one of these reasons, the candidate may have a segregation assert.

 

Record of Loan Repayment

The current monetary atmosphere has left a lot of individuals with not as much as stellar credit records. Perceiving this, a developing number of states have passed laws precluding bosses from asking for or considering credit reports in their activity choices, in any event for specific candidates and positions. On that you weren’t procured in light of the fact that a business disgracefully took a gander at your credit report, you may have a lawful case.

 

Laborers’ Remuneration Claims

California disallows bosses from declining to enlist applicants since they have petitioned for specialists’ pay with past managers. Despite the fact that there are restricted special cases, you may have a lawful case against a business that turns you down in light of the fact that you have gathered laborers’ comp previously.

 

Criminal Records

State laws confine whether, and to what degree, managers can think about criminal history in choosing whether to procure a candidate. A few states don’t enable bosses to consider capture records, feelings that have been fixed or erased, or feelings that don’t identify with the position. A few states permit criminal records checks just for specific occupations. A sweeping standard of precluding any applicant with a criminal record may likewise be unfair, in light of the racial difference in captures and feelings in California.

 

Misrepresentation and Other Claims Based on Employer Statements

If a business makes purposeful distortions to persuade a candidate to take a new job and the worker makes a move in dependence on those announcements, the representative may have an extortion guarantee. These cases frequently come up if the new activity either doesn’t appear – letting the candidate well enough alone for work and in a tight spot – or endures just for a brief timeframe.

 

Cases Against A Former Employer

In a few conditions, a rejected candidate may have a lawful case against a previous business for keeping the candidate from landing another position.

 

Striking Back

The laws that fugitive segregation additionally preclude businesses from making a move against representatives or candidates who have practiced their rights under these laws. These cases are quite often brought by representatives who are let go, downgraded, or generally rebuffed for gripping of separation or badgering.

Be that as it may, a candidate who isn’t procured may have a striking back claim against a previous boss, if the candidate lost the activity in view of that previous business’ retaliatory activities. For instance, if the previous business lied regarding why the worker was terminated, or broadly expounded on the representative’s inadequacies notwithstanding a strategy of not giving references, a striking back claim may be practical.

 

Boycotting

California has laws that deny bosses from taking certain activities to keep previous applicants from landing new positions. Some deny bosses from really making a circling a “boycott”. Others are less exacting and disallow an assortment of activities a previous manager may remove to keep previous representatives from the workforce. To disregard this sort of law, the previous manager regularly needs to put forth dangers or false expressions.

 

Defamation

In the event that a previous employer deliberately puts forth a false expression that harms you or potentially keeps you from landing a position, you may have a maligning claim. In any case, if the previous business’ announcement is genuine – regardless of how awful – or made in accordance with some basic honesty, your case won’t get too far.

Lawful Firing Process in California

firing

Administrators and entrepreneurs must be cautious while suspending or firing a worker. In the case that your business or establishment has a disciplinary arrangement set up, audit it before pushing ahead with a suspension or firing.

 

Most work environments utilize dynamic train, which is a progression of disciplinary advances that ought to be taken all together. Recording each progression shields your business from claims and different difficulties.

 

 

Verbal Warning

 

Two stages more often than not go before suspending or firing an employee. The first is a verbal cautioning. This is a formal discussion with the employee about the issue that should be settled. The date of the meeting and subject of discussion ought to be noted in the worker’s HR record. The worker ought to be offered time to make strides.

 

 

Composed Warning

 

The following disciplinary advance commonly is a written cautioning. The notice ought to be given face to face and should plot the purpose behind the notice and steps the worker has consented to take to rectify the issue. The notice likewise ought to incorporate results for not enhancing conduct.

 

One duplicate of the composed cautioning ought to be given to the worker, and another ought to be incorporated into his/her HR document. If necessary, verbal and composed notices can be rehashed.

 

 

Suspension

 

Suspending a worker implies the representative is given automatic time off without pay. The length of suspension ought to be resolved in view of the sort of infraction and whether you have to explore the infraction. A suspension notice ought to be given to the representative that diagrams the length of the suspension, the explanation behind the suspension and results for promoting infractions.

 

On the off chance that the representative submits an infraction that may warrant quick end, suspend the worker for a few days initially to give yourself an opportunity to verify that end is the suitable reaction.

 

 

Firing

 

The firing of an employee is the most serious advance of any disciplinary approach. There are circumstances, for example, robbery or viciousness, that may warrant prompt end. Despite the reason, draft a letter of the end that blueprints the explanations behind the termination. Incorporate the date of end and data in the matter of how the worker can get his last paycheck if it’s excluded from the end letter.

 

Create a duplicate of the letter to incorporate into his HR to record. Afterwards, give the worker a copy of this letter. On the off chance that it’s not sheltered or conceivable to do this, mail the letter utilizing ensured mail with an arrival receipt.

New Laws in California

new laws

With each new year, new laws come to fruition from rulings and voting propositions of the previous year. Some of these new laws take several years to come into law because they need to be implemented in portions.

Expanding the minimum wage increase, made possible by the new laws, is going to aggressively change the California employment landscape. Not only are wages going to rise steeply over the next few years, but along with it, experts say costs of goods and services are going to skyrocket.

The enactment of the bill has two subset laws that will be going into place at different times. The two calendars increments are as follows: one for organizations with 25 or fewer employees and one for those with more than 25 workers. The state has posted a Fact Sheet in regards to the planned increments that employers can easily look up and learn more about to stay compliant.

 

Employee Restrooms

Starting March 1, 2017, organizations are disallowed from naming any “single-client bathroom office” as either “male” or “female.” AB 1732 characterizes “single-client can office” as “a can office without any than one water storeroom and one urinal with a locking system controlled by the client.”

Bosses must “illuminate every worker of his or her rights” upon contract and whenever from that point upon ask. The Labor Commissioner will build up a shape for these reasons and distribute it by July 1, 2017.

 

Getting Employee Information

The new laws restrict bosses from getting some information about or considering data identifying with captures, feelings, or different procedures that happened while a candidate or representative “was liable to the procedure and purview of juvenile court law.” Basically, if it happened while you were a minor, it is not to be taken into account during the hiring process or while employed with a company.

 

What would employers be able to do to prepare?

  • Make beyond any reasonable doubt that HR staff, employing directors, and bosses comprehend the procedures before initiating them within the company or on any individual within the company.
  • Stay up to date on the new laws for the upcoming years and put plans into action now that will allow them to stay ahead of them.
  • Review pay practices to recognize potential incongruities in light of race and ethnicity, and gender. If disparities are noticed, fix them.
  • Obtain and introduce proper signage for single-client restrooms to stay in accordance with the law.
  • Ensure that applications don’t receive bias decisions based on the actions taken while the applicant was an adolescent.

The Fair Pay Act Has Reduced Pay Discrimination In California

fair pay

Employees are essential to any organization or company, but without fair pay, no one would stick around very long. If you have employees in your business or company, you should ensure that you pay them well, especially the ones that you want to stick around.

In addition, you should ensure that they have good working conditions. Good remuneration is one of the motivating factors that can make employees perform better in the workplace.

However, there are circumstances where employees are normally discriminated due to their races. This leads to a race-based disparity in pay. This is detrimental. This can actually make an employee lose morale in his or her job. However, in California, Fair Pay Act came to mitigate this problem.

 

What is Fair Pay?

You will note that employees who perform similar work under similar working conditions should be paid equally. However, there are instances where the employees who work under the same conditions can be paid differently.

In this case, the employee should be able to manifest that the wage differential is based on either of the following; senior system, merit system and so forth. He or she should also show that he or she gets more salary not as a result of sex or race but due to factors such as education or experience.

You will note that this law requires that each factor is relied on. Each factor should account for the entire wage differential. This is one way of reducing discrimination in the workplace. As we move towards the future, employees will need to be paid for the position he or she is worth.

However, if the same employee has extra skills and competencies that can help the company or the organization, he or she can get a higher salary. The burden of paying employees falls on the employer.

The employer should check these factors so that he or she can pay the employees what they deserve. If you promote fairness in your workplace, your employees will be encouraged to work. In addition, their morale will increase. This goes a long way in improving their productivity.

 

What the Fair Pay Act Does

The Fair Pay Act basically calls for an overhaul of hiring practices of HR professionals who work in California. These professionals should check the credentials of the job applicants and then reward them accordingly.

This can do a long way in reducing race-based disparities in pay. Earlier on, job applicants used to negotiate for their salaries with their employers. However, times have changed. This Act has enabled most employees to get a fair pay for their services. This can be very beneficial to your company or business in California.

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