Questions & Answers:
Below are the questions submitted during the live webinar, along with the answers provided by Roxana Verano, Esq. If you have questions of your own or require further information regarding wage and hour laws, feel free to contact Landegger Baron Law Group (see contact information to the left).
Regarding the 2015 "3 sick days per year" mandate for employers - if employees don't take their sick days, are the 3 days lost or are they carried over to the following year. In my company, any unused sick pay is carried over to the following year up to 6 days.
Unused sick time is carried over from year to year. However, a company may limit sick time usage to 24 hours (3 days) per year, while accrual of sick time can be capped at 48 hours (6 days). Unused sick time does not need to be paid when the employee stops working for the company (unlike vacation time), but if an employee is rehired within a year, past accrued sick time must be reinstated. Please note that this law becomes effective in July 2015.
What happens in the event of a no-show (the employee simply disappears, without resignation, emails, etc.) when there are unpaid wages? Can we mail the final check and a letter (termination due to no show) to the employee?
The employer should send a letter stating that, since the employee has not reported to work in 3 consecutive days (or whatever provision your policy states), he/she is considered to have abandoned his/her job. The employee should be further informed that the final paycheck is available for pickup at the office, or, alternatively, he/she can call the office and request that the check be mailed.
In the event of a no-show situation with no unpaid wages, what can an employer do to terminate this employee?
The answer to Q2 is still applicable—the employer should send a letter stating that the employee has abandoned his job. Please note that this assumes the employee is not disabled and has not filed a workers' compensation claim. If the employee has failed to return after a leave of absence, other considerations must be taken into account.
I let my employees manage their time. As long as they get the job done, I don't interfere with their schedule. Can I ask them to sign a permanent waiver? If not, can I request that they send an email every time they decide to take their lunch after the 5th hour? What's the best approach to handle this?
California law does not allow employees to manage their own time, and you should not ask them to sign a permanent waiver. Employers have the obligation to make meal periods "available" to the employees, and in doing so, employers must "relieve" employees of all duties in order for the employee to take a 30-minute meal period. Moreover, the employer cannot impede, discourage, or dissuade employees from taking their meal periods. As a general rule, employees should not be allowed to manage their own time (your practice is very risky). Remember that the burden to prove compliance with the provisions of the Labor Code is on the employer.