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A New HR Ordinance to Watch (Even if You Aren’t in California)

Voters in San Jose, California, recently approved a measure that requires employers within city limits to offer work hours to part-time employees before hiring new employees. It is the first such ordinance of its kind, but HR experts suggest that the concept could take off. 

According to The Mercury News, the idea behind the ordinance is that it will allow more part-time workers to move up to full-time status and thus qualify for employment benefits. Further, bumping these employees up in terms of their hours would more than likely result in a boost to their earnings.

The ordinance – which is expected to take effect March 8, 2017, applies to all employers “conducting business within San Jose’s city limits” and who have 36 or more employees. The ordinance states that the additional hours be offered only to qualified employees prior to attempts to hire new employees, subcontractors or temporary workers. However, the work hours do not have to be offered to existing employees if it would require an employee to work overtime or be paid at a premium rate.

Under the ordinance, applicable employers must display a poster that employees can see describing the requirements. In addition, employers will be responsible for creating and retaining records proving that the hours new hires are scheduled to work were first offered to existing employees. Should the hours not be offered, they must explain why not.

Employers are exempt from the rule if they can demonstrate that they have taken steps to comply with the ordinance and for those who can prove compliance would be “impracticable, impossible or futile,” according to local attorneys Alicia J. Farquhar and Michael D. Schlemmer.

Failure to comply with the ordinance will not carry a fine initially, but subsequent violations could result in fines of $50 per day per employee, administrative proceedings that could cost up to $2,500 per day per violation and $100,000 for serious violations.

While the rule only currently pertains to that one city in California, HR Morning News warns that California has a reputation for being the birthplace of many new HR laws and regulations. With that in mind, HR pros would be wise to keep tabs on this law and how it is rolled out and implemented by businesses in the city so that it can serve as a model should it come to their local area.

 

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