Ringing in the New Year with Increases for H-2A Visa Program

 By: Rebecca Schach

The Department of Labor (DOL) is wishing everyone happy holidays this week by slapping on increased rates for the H-2A visa program. Each year the DOL is responsible for setting the Adverse Effect Wage Rates (“AEWR”) for the H-2A seasonal guest worker program in agriculture. AEWRs are the minimum wage rates the DOL has determined that ag employers must pay to H-2A workers and domestic workers in corresponding employment for a particular occupation and location (by state). In the current year, the AEWR for California has been $13.92. Starting January 2, 2020, California ag employers will be required to pay $14.77 hourly. By comparison, the California minimum wage starting in 2020 will be $13.00 hourly for employers with 26 or more employees.

At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing increased application fees for the H-2A application itself with average increases of 21% for all applications. If you have questions about the H-2A visa program or compliance, contact the experts at the Saqui Law Group, a Division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated.


When You Need Training on the Training: Sexual Harassment Prevention Training FAQ Published

 By: Rebecca A. Hause-Schultz

SB 1343, which requires employers of 5 or more employees provide 1 hour of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to non-managerial employees and two hours to managerial employees once every two years has been a compliance nightmare for employers because of limited guidance from the State regarding implementation.

Recently, the DFEH issued an FAQ about compliance with the law, and the Department says it will have training courses available online by “early 2020.” You can read the FAQ here.

If you have questions about compliance, contact the experts at the Saqui Law Group, a Division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated.


The Vision For 2020 Includes Higher Minimum Pay

 By: Adrian Hoppes

As we approach the holidays don’t let the New Year ring in without reviewing employee minimum pay requirements. Effective January 1, 2020, California minimum wage is increasing from $12.00 per hour to $13.00 per hour for businesses with 26 or more employees and from $11.00 per hour to $12.00 per hour for those businesses with 25 or less employees.

What does this mean? You must ensure that your non-exempt employees are paid at least the minimum rate per hour for regular work hours. It also means that some exempt employees may get a raise. Exempt employees must meet both a “duties” test and a “salary” test. The salary test for most exempt positions is two times minimum wage multiplied by 2080 hours. The old minimum annual salary requirement was $49,920 (businesses with 26 or more) and $45,760 (businesses with 25 or less employees.) As of January 1, 2020, the minimum annual salary requirement is increasing to $54,080 (over 26 employees) or $49,920 (25 employees or under) for most exempt positions.

As you evaluate your business costs for 2020, don’t increase your liability by failing to adjust hourly rates and salaries. If you don’t make the adjustments, you are likely to face penalties and fines from the labor commissioner or a court of law.

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