Buckman-Mitchell, Inc.
 February 2012

Financial & Insurance Services

License #0011334 

500 N. Santa Fe 
Visalia, CA 93292 


Leprechaun Hat for Chips!! St Patrick's Day Party Craft Ideas


Chip Hat

 Sure the Superbowl is over but that doesn't mean getting together with friends has to be! Click the link for some great crafts and ideas to throw your own St. Patrick's Day celebration!!

Leprechaun Hat for Chips Craft



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New Employment Laws for 2012:
What you need to know to do business 

The California Chamber of Commerce has released a list of new employment laws for 2012 that could impact the day-to-day operations of your business. This review is designed to help you determine what action to take in modifying current employment policies and to ensure that your business is in full compliance with employment regulations. 


Credit Check - AB 22 prohibits employers and prospective employers, not including certain financial institutions, from obtaining and using consumer credit reports (credit information) about applicants or employees. This does not apply to "managerial positions," defined as those who qualify for the executive exemption from overtime. This exception reinforces the need to make the correct exempt/nonexempt classification at the time you decide to recruit for an open position.

Pregnancy Disability Leave - SB 299 requires all employers with five or more employees to continue to maintain and pay for health coverage under a group health plan for an eligible female employee who takes Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) up to a maximum of four months in a 12-month period. The benefits are at the same level and under the same conditions as if the employee had continued working during the leave period. The new law requires group health insurance continuation coverage for all employers with five or more employees regardless of how they treat other temporary disability leaves and regardless of FMLA coverage.

Willful Misclassification of Independent Contractors - SB 459 provides new penalties of between $5,000 - $25,000 for the "willful misclassification" of independent contractors, defined as "avoiding employee status for an individual by voluntarily and knowingly misclassifying that individual as an independent contractor." The law also imposes joint liability on non-attorney outside consultants who knowingly advise an employer to treat an individual as an independent contractor to avoid employee status.

Written Commission Agreement - AB 1396 requires employers who have commission pay arrangements to have a signed written contract that sets forth the method by which the commissions will be computed and paid. Employers have the entirety of 2012 to bring their commission agreements into compliance as the bill is effective January 1, 2013.

Notice of Pay Details - AB 469 requires employers to provide nonexempt employees, at the time of hire, a new notice containing specific information regarding payment of wages. Penalties for wage violations are also increased.

Organ and Bone Marrow Donor Leave - SB 272 clarifies the implementation of California's organ and bone marrow donor leave law (Labor Code sections 1508-1512) which provides up to 30 days of leave in a one-year period for organ donation and up to five days of leave in a one-year period for bone marrow donation. The new law clarifies (1) the days of leave are business days, not calendar days; (2) the one-year period is measured from the date the employee's leave begins; and (3) employers can require use of a specified number of earned but unused days for PTO.

Genetic Information - SB 559 amends the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to state that employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of genetic information.

Gender Expression - AB 887 defines "gender" to include both gender identity and "gender expression" as defined by the new law. Discrimination on either basis is prohibited.

E-Verify - AB 1236 relates to the federal E-Verify program which allows employers to use an Internet-based system to electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly-hired workers. E-Verify compares Form I-9 documentation against federal government databases to verify employees' employment eligibility. Though California employers may continue to use E-Verify, state agencies and local governments are prohibited from passing mandates that require employers to use E-Verify.

Interference With Rights Under Leave Laws - AB 592 adds language to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the Pregnancy Disability Leave law (PDL) that makes it unlawful to interfere with or in any way restrain the exercise of rights under these laws.

Administrative Penalties - AB 240 allows an employee that alleges a minimum wage violation to recover liquidated damages (plus interest) pursuant to any complaint brought before the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Wage Penalties - AB 551 increases the maximum penalty from $50 to $200 per calendar day for each worker paid less than the determined prevailing wage and increases the minimum penalty to $40 per day for violations of prevailing wage obligations.

Farm Labor Contractors - Wage Notices - AB 243 requires employers that are farm labor contractors to disclose the name and address of all legal entities that secured the employer's services on the itemized payroll statement furnished to their employees (for example other growers or other farm labor contractors).

Agricultural Labor Relations - SB 126 affects the certification of bargaining representatives for agricultural employees in instances where there has been employer misconduct during the election. The new law provides that if the ALRB finds employer misconduct

Insurance Non-Discrimination Act - SB 757 prevents employers that operate in multiple states from discriminating against same-sex couples by not providing the same insurance coverage for domestic partners as they do for spouses. Under the new law, even if the employer's principal place of business and majority of employees are located outside of California, no policy or certificate of health insurance marketed, issued or delivered to a California resident shall discriminate between spouses or domestic partners of a different sex and spouses or domestic partners of a same sex. A willful violation of this provision by a health care service plan is a crime.

State Contracts - Gender or Sexual Orientation Discrimination - SB 117 outlaws the state of California from entering into contracts of more than $100,000 with companies that discriminate against the employees on the basis of gender or sexual orientation with regard to benefits. Companies doing business with the state of California cannot deny equal benefits to same-sex spouses.

Apprentice Programs - SB 56 changes the audit requirements for apprenticeship programs to eliminate the mandate of random audits during five-year increments and instead directs audits of apprenticeship programs to be conducted on a general basis.      

Safe Lifting - Hospitals - AB 1136 provides that general acute care hospitals must maintain a safe patient handling policy for patient care units, including trained lift teams or training in safe lifting techniques for staff.

Workers' Compensation - AB 335 requires the workers' compensation administrative director (AD) to work with the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC) to develop regulations regarding notices to injured workers; requires AD and CHSWC to develop and make accessible a booklet written in plain language about the workers' comp claims process; streamlines and simplifies other notices to employees.

Workers' comp notices posted by employers must now include the website address and contact information that employees may use to obtain further information about the workers' comp claims process and an injured employee's rights and obligations, including the location and telephone number of the nearest information and assistance officer.

DFEH Procedural Regulations - The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has instituted new regulations relating to procedures for filing, investigating and processing discrimination and harassment claims. This law is already in effect.

Don't be left out of the loop on these new laws which could impact your business. For more information, visit www.calchamber.com.


Article Compliments of the Visalia Chamber of Commerce

By Glenn Morris and Rick Wehmueller

Make your very own Pot of Gold!

Sure it won't make you rich beyond your wildest dreams but this tasty treat is easy to make, fun to eat and looks great!!! Pot Of Gold Recipe