Global Harmonization is on the Way

Over the next 2 years you will hear a lot about Global Harmonization. This is not a requirement that we all sit in a circle, hold hands and sing songs. No, this is an attempt to use the same rules for all countries when it comes to the labeling of chemicals around the globe. Actually, it makes some sense that the chemicals we sell all over the world would have the same labeling everywhere so no matter where you are, you understand the basics of that container. For instance, there will be 9 pictograms (click here: Pictograms ) which need to be trained to all employees so that they can identify the danger. You will be seeing these pictograms as they are rolled into use over the next 2 years. Training needs to take place this year, so if you want to get a head start, you can start showing these to your management and supervisors so they get used to identifying them. The transport pictograms will also be rolling out but are not a necessity to learn unless you transport hazardous substances.

The other action you will want to take now, is to contact your suppliers and make sure you have a Safety Data Sheet for ALL hazardous chemicals on your property. They should be 3 hole punched and put in your yellow SDS binder and available to all employees (Not locked up). They should be put in alphabetical order by name so it is easy to find the right one in case of an emergency. OSHA will look for this on any visit to your location and the fines can be very large. Having Safety Data Sheets has been a requirement for many years, so there is not much room to fight this violation.

This is just an overview and you can find much more on line. If you have questions, please let me know.

California to Raise Minimum Wage to $10 per hour



On September 25, 2013 Governor Brown signed the minimum wage bill into law.  On July 1, 2014, the minimum wage will go to $9.00 per hour.  It will then go to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016.  Now is a good time to consider moving your payroll to an hourly wage if you do not do that now and installing time clocks.  Paying exactly what they work is the cleanest approach to keeping out of trouble.  With increased pay comes increased penalties and keeping good time records will pay off later.

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If you have not heard yet, this week the California State Assembly approved a increase of the minimum wage in 2 stages. Minimum wage will go up to $9 per hour next July, 2014. Then, on January 2016 the minimum wage goes up to $10 per hour.

Our representatives, most of whom never ran a business, forget that when you raise the minimum wage, that is not the only cost. Besides the 25% raise in labor costs, there are matching taxes for Social Security, SDI, Unemployment that also go up. Since your Worker’s Compensation payments are based on your total payroll, a 25% increase in your payroll will also raise the amount you pay in Worker’s compensation premiums.

Beyond the obvious costs there are hidden ones as well. With wages going up, the reimbursement that must be paid to injured employees on Temporary Disability will rise as well. This will be another reason to raise rates on Worker’s Comp.

Governor Brown has already indicated that he will sign the bill so you need to start planning now for the impact on your business. Each business is unique and you all have different ways to deal with these rising costs. We encourage you to call us at the office if you have any questions before implementing a plan to handle the expense. Feel free to add your opinions here as well.

ObamaCare required Notification

On Friday, we mailed to all of our HR customers, a letter describing your responsibilities to notify your employees about insurance coverage. Basically, by October 1, you must notify all employees using a form we included in the mailing. There are 2 types of forms. One tells they that you do not provide approved health insurance and that they will need to go out on the market exchange to get their coverage. The other form tells them that you do offer insurance that is approved under the regulations. It requires a little more information.
Both forms are in Spanish or English and the easiest method of distribution is to attach a copy to each employee’s next paycheck.

Also required, if you offer health insurance, you should contact your insurance agent. They must supply you with a one page plan summary. This summary tells employees the basics of your insurance plan and meets the ERISA requirement of ObamaCare. We will also need a copy of this letter so we can add it to your employee packets for all new hired employees from now on.

Please open the envelope when it arrives in the next couple of days and read the material. If you have any questions, please contact us so we can help you through this process.