Reminder: California’s Local Minimum Wage Rates
Increased July 1

While many California cities and counties increase their local minimum wage rates at the start of each year, several localities implement their local minimum wage rate increases on July 1. If California employers have employees working in these jurisdictions, they should be prepared for these new local minimum wage rates going into effect.

Effective July 1, 2023, these localities will increase their minimum wage to:

  • Alameda: $16.52/hour;
  • Berkeley: $18.07/hour;
  • Emeryville: $18.67/hour;
  • Fremont: $16.80/hour;
  • Los Angeles City: $16.78/hour;
  • Los Angeles County (unincorporated areas): $16.90/hour;
  • Malibu: $16.90/hour;
  • Milpitas: $17.20/hour;
  • Pasadena: $16.93/hour;
  • San Francisco: $18.07/hour;
  • Santa Monica: $16.90/hour; and
  • West Hollywood: $19.08/hour — the same rate for all businesses, regardless of employer size — which is now the highest minimum wage rate in both California and the nation.

Keep in mind — employers should confirm where their remote employees are working, as they may be subject to different local minimum wage rates and ordinances than if they were reporting to the worksite. Review your employees’ hourly wage rates and make any necessary adjustments by July 1 to comply.

Sarah Woolston, CalChamber HR Watchdog

IRS Gives Big Boost to HSA, HDHP Limits in 2024

Thanks in part to persistent high inflation, employees will be able to sock away a lot more money in their health savings accounts (HSAs) next year.

Annual HSA contribution limits for 2024 are increasing in one of the biggest jumps in recent years, the IRS announced May 16: The annual limit on HSA contributions for self-only coverage will be $4,150, a 7.8 percent increase from the $3,850 limit in 2023. For family coverage, the HSA contribution limit jumps to $8,300, up 7.1 percent from $7,750 in 2023.

Participants 55 and older can contribute an extra $1,000 to their HSAs. This amount will remain unchanged.

Meanwhile, for 2024, a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) must have a deductible of at least $1,600 for self-only coverage, up from $1,500 in 2023, or $3,200 for family coverage, up from $3,000, the IRS noted. Annual out-of-pocket expense maximums (deductibles, co-payments and other amounts, but not premiums) cannot exceed $8,050 for self-only coverage in 2024, up from $7,500 in 2023, or $16,100 for family coverage, up from $15,000.

The IRS also announced it will raise the maximum amount that employers may contribute to an excepted-benefit health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) in 2024 to $2,100—up from the 2023 amount of $1,950.

The increases are detailed in IRS Revenue Procedure 2023-23 and take effect in January 2024.

Kathryn Mayer, SHRM

Follow These Tips to Help Ease Difficult Communications

Sitting down with employees to discuss performance problems, workplace conflicts, attendance issues and other complaints can be difficult. These conversations are often a source of dread for all parties involved.

But taking time to prepare, craft and deliver your message—and listening more than talking—can lead to more effective conversations, according to Joseph L. Beachboard and Dennis Alan Davis, speaking at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2023 in Las Vegas.

The co-presenters shared the following tips to effectively communicate during difficult conversations:

Prepare your message:

  • Prior to the conversation, review the employee’s profile to determine whether the individual’s circumstances might negatively impact how they receive or interpret your message.
  • Consider factors such as the employee’s tenure or workplace issues that might be affecting the individual’s behavior. Those could include seeing co-workers laid off or having personal changes such as a new baby in the household.
  • Review all potentially relevant laws protecting the employee. They may be living in a jurisdiction where the laws are different for the situation at hand.
  • Consider the timing and any unresolved issues. Will this take place at a time that is close to a culturally significant date, season or event? Are there unresolved discrimination or harassment claims or complaints at the time you plan to meet? For example, what did you, as the manager, do about a complaint the employee had brought to your attention?
  • Consider potential barriers such as noise, long hours or scheduling issues that may make it hard for the employee to concentrate on what you want to communicate.
Craft your message:
  • Be appropriately transparent, communicating what you can legally and responsibly share on the topic under discussion.
  • Be as precise as possible. Avoid terms with multiple or unclear meanings and scrub them of biased, cliched and stereotypical statements or comments.
  • Before your meeting with the individual or group, review with a peer, HR representative or someone else you trust what you intend to say and how you plan to say it. Asking for feedback from someone who is culturally different from you can help reveal blind spots in the message you plan to deliver.
  • Consider your communication method. Davis and Broadbeach discouraged using the phone, e-mail and texts for difficult communications. In-person conversation is best, followed by a talk over a video platform so you can see one another’s facial and body language. That way, the message is less likely to be misinterpreted, Davis said.
Deliver your message:
  • Determine the best people to meet with the employee.
And avoid crowding the meeting with individuals representing the organization’s hierarchy. Do you really need to have three levels of management in the meeting? That can be intimidating for the employee.
  • Be aware of your body language. Do you appear open, or are your arms crossed? Are you facing the employee during the discussion? Follow the employee’s cues as to whether to make eye contact; social experiments have found, in general, eye contact is more important to women than men, Davis and Beachboard said.  
  • Stay calm and professional; make your messages short and concise; and deliver them in a way that validates, not demeans, the other person.  
  • Actively listen. Conversations are a two-way street. Employees should have the opportunity to appropriately express their disagreement, concerns or emotions. 
“Everyone wants to be heard,” Beachboard said. “A lot of the lawsuits we see get filed are not necessarily over money—and money is certainly a part of it—but the individual usually brings a complaint because they feel like they have not been heard at their place of employment.”
  • Focus on communicating information, not persuading, which is different.

When having difficult communications, the speakers advised, lead with things the employee does well, offer potential solutions to the issue being discussed, be prepared to have follow-up conversations, and reinforce the consequences of the behavior under discussion.

Kathy Gurchiek, SHRM