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Wine Accounting 101: Understanding the Basics

Wine Accounting 101: Understanding the Basics

Wine accounting is an essential part of the wine industry, but it can often be daunting and confusing, especially for those new to the business. Protea Financial offers wine accounting services tailored to meet your needs and help you understand the basics.

Our goal is to help break down the complexities of wine accounting into simple terms so you can make better-informed decisions. We want to share the basics of wine accounting, what it entails, and why it’s important in today’s competitive market. Read on to develop a strong understanding of wine accounting and take advantage of our expert advice.

 

What is Wine Accounting?

Wine accounting is the process of tracking and managing the financial information associated with a business within the wine industry. This includes vineyards, wineries, retailers, and distributors. Wine accounting can be a complex and challenging task due to the unique nature of the wine industry. However, it is essential for businesses in this sector to maintain accurate financial records to make sound business decisions.

Protea Financial is here to help you navigate the world of wine accounting. We have a team of experts who are familiar with the ins and outs of this industry. We can provide the tools and resources you need to manage your finances effectively. Our team can confidently answer your questions and guide you through the process easily, and we are here to help wherever we can.

 

Accounting Basics Every Business Needs to Remember

You don’t need to be an accountant to understand your business’s accounting basics. Whether you’re just starting or have been in business for years, keeping track of your finances and making sure your books are in order is essential. Here are a few accounting basics every business needs to remember:

  • Income: This is money that your business brings in, also known as revenue. Money can come in from sales, services, interest, investments, and more. It’s important to keep track of all income, so you know how much money your business is making.
  • Expenses: This is money that your business spends, also known as overhead. Expenses include rent, utilities, inventory, supplies, advertising, and payroll. Keeping track of expenses helps you see where your money is going and where you can cut costs.
  • Profit: This is the difference between your income and expenses. If your income is greater than your expenses, you have a profit. If your expenses are greater than your income, you have a loss. Your profit (or loss) determines whether or not your business is successful.

By tracking your income and expenses and knowing your profit (or loss), you’ll have a better handle on the financial health of your business. Since the wine industry can be fickle, it is essential to make sure you track everything carefully. Prices can change for each item, season, and even each batch of wine.

Protea Financial accounting for wineries

The Different Types of Wine Accounting

There are three types of wine accounting: cellar accounting, production accounting, and tax accounting.

  • Cellar Accounting: This type of accounting tracks the inventory in a wine cellar. This is important for individual wine collectors and commercial businesses selling wine. Cellar accounting can help track how much wine is being consumed, how much wine is being bought or sold, and the value of the wine cellar’s contents.
  • Production Accounting: This type of accounting tracks the costs associated with producing wine. This includes things like the cost of grapes, barrels, and labor. Production accounting can help wineries keep track of their expenses and make sure they are making a profit on each batch of wine they produce.
  • Tax Accounting: This type of accounting deals with the taxes associated with selling wine. This includes excise taxes, import/export taxes, and sales taxes. Tax accounting can be complex, but businesses must understand the taxes they will need to pay on their wines.

Knowing which category or categories you fall into will help ensure that you track the correct numbers. That way, you can price your products correctly and avoid having a loss for your business.

 

The Basics of Wine Accounting

Wine accounting is a complex and ever-changing process. Protea Financial is here to help you understand the basics of wine accounting so that you can make informed decisions about your business.

The first step in wine accounting is understanding the different types of wines. There are four main types of wines: red, white, sparkling, and fortified. Each type of wine has unique characteristics that must be considered when creating financial statements.

The second step in wine accounting is understanding the cost of goods sold (COGS). COGS includes the cost of the grapes, the cost of production, and the cost of packaging and shipping. All these costs must be considered when calculating your final price per bottle.

The third step in wine accounting is understanding inventory valuation. Inventory valuation is used to determine the value of your stock at any given time, which is important for making informed decisions about buying and selling inventory.

Protea Financial has a team of experienced professionals who can help you navigate the complexities of wine accounting. We will work with you to create accurate financial statements and provide guidance on making sound business decisions.

 

Common Mistakes Wine Businesses Make in Their Accounting and How to Avoid Them

There are several common mistakes businesses make regarding their accounting and bookkeeping. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how you can avoid them:

  1. Not knowing your numbers. This is perhaps the most serious mistake you can make. You need to know your numbers to make informed decisions about your business. Keep tabs on your income and expenses, and ensure you understand where your money is coming from and going.
  2. Not keeping accurate records. This ties in closely with needing to know your numbers. If you don’t have accurate records, it won’t be easy to get a precise picture of your financial situation. Make sure you keep track of all income and expenses, no matter how small.
  3. Not staying up-to-date with changes in tax laws. Tax laws change regularly, so it’s important to stay on top of any changes that could impact your business. This includes keeping track of deductions and credits available to you.

Protea Financial wine accounting basics

Protea Financial’s Wine Accounting Services

Protea Financial is a leading provider of wine accounting services, and we can help you with all aspects of your wine business, from grape to glass. We understand the unique challenges that wineries face and have the experience and knowledge to help you overcome them. We offer a full range of financial services, including:

  • Financial statement preparation
  • Tax planning and compliance
  • Grape-to-glass inventory management
  • Cost analysis and margin optimization
  • Cash flow management
  • Winery financial modeling and forecasting
  • Business valuations
  • Exit planning

 

Turn to Protea Financial for Help with Your Wine Accounting Needs

If you are in the wine industry and have questions about accounting or bookkeeping, Protea Financial is here to help. We understand the unique needs of the wine industry and can provide expert guidance on all financial matters. Whether you need assistance setting up your books or preparing for tax season, we can help you navigate the complexities of the wine business. Contact Protea Financial today to learn more about our services and how we can help you run your business more efficiently.

Protea Financial Is Here to Help with Your Wine Accounting and Bookkeeping

Reach out to Protea Financial if you need help with your wine accounting or bookkeeping, or even if you aren’t sure what the next step for your business should be. Our experienced professionals are here to help. 

How to Speak the Same Language as your Sales and Marketing Counterparts

How to Speak the Same Language as your Sales and Marketing Counterparts

The Wine Industry has a common language, but do we use it between different disciplines? 

Stick to 3 rules to empower your colleagues…so that they can help you do your job better.

Many wineries and businesses find themselves hesitant to hire outside help because it seems like heavy-lifting to onboard a new person. Similarly, departments within the same organization can shy away from efforts of collaboration, citing concerns of extra unnecessary work. 

Whether working with outside agencies/consultants, or making new efforts cross-functionally, a lot of that headache can be minimized with proper communication.  This can especially be true between finance teams and their sales and marketing colleagues.

The Real Estate industry will tell you their guiding principle is “Location. Location. Location.”  In the crowded wine industry, to succeed with both consumers and the trade, the rule is “Communication. Communication. Communication.”

 

Consider this classic scenario in the wine industry:  

Sales & Marketing develop a campaign that is projected to meet goals and bring home some revenue. The salaries of those positions may even depend on the campaign’s success. Finance colleagues develop a smart protocol for tracking things properly and sustainably. Then, when the campaign indeed turns successful and everyone should be high-fiving (or toasting) each other, they are instead losing sleep and scrounging together elusive details on both sides.

The added stress is often a consequence of mutual, sub-par communication.  How did we get here? The wine industry is magnetic and draws people in from all over the globe.  Many are strong communicators and even speak multiple languages.  However, there is so much focus on brand communication, that we sometimes overlook the importance of internal communication. The way we communicate internally can be the difference between sleepless nights and win-win success stories.

This begs the question, how do we improve the way we communicate between different disciplines, in order to get the win-win? 

While Finance cannot control the outcome of Sales & Marketing initiatives, they can likely control the process with a few guiding principles.   These principles can be viewed as 3 rules to speak the same language as your Sales & Marketing counterparts.

Are you in a finance or operations-related position in the wine industry?  Here are more details on the 3 rules to speak the language of Sales & Marketing, and empower them to help you.

Protea Financial Communication Between Sales and Marketing

1. Make things simple!

Simple is indeed harder. Take the time up front to create simple processes that help your colleagues communicate with their VIPs.

Simplifying Life for Colleagues is an Opportunity to Build Respect.

Examples: Sales colleagues’ VIPs are likely their top accounts. How can you think one step ahead, and simplify this communication for them?  Sales & Marketing colleagues are often led by the “more is better” approach, since more efforts often lead directly to more sales. This can lead to what appears to be messy efforts in the eyes of Finance teams.  If you can offer streamlined communication and a more simplified process for closing and reporting deals, it will count as success, both for you and for them.

 

2. Provide tools.

Learn about the challenges of your sales and marketing counterparts so you can improve the tools to help everyone succeed together.

Providing Useful Tools is an Opportunity to Create Efficiency for All.

Examples: Sales & Marketing colleagues often cannot predict outcomes as concisely as desired. A proper planning process would require accountability but also allow for realistic wiggle room.  Another challenge could be simply keeping up with the number of active promotions and campaigns, and understanding different rules and processes required for each.  Picture a sales professional who is expected to travel often or pop into account after account, without much scheduled office time. The frustration of sitting down to wade through emails can be real.   It might be time to look closer at the reporting process. Are the guidelines and possible forms streamlined/available on one platform for easy access? 

 

3. Invest in the relationship.

Sales & Marketing often rely heavily on relationships. This is the lens through which many deals are made and it is especially true in the wine industry. 

Investing in the Relationship is an Opportunity to Open up Communication.

Examples: The best sales professionals are often quite personable and have an ease of verbal communication. They might shine on the spot, but not always thrive in the rigid nature of reporting to their finance colleagues.  Find common ground with these colleagues in order to play their game and partner in a way that feels more comfortable to them.  Perhaps a regularly scheduled check-in meeting would help tie up loose ends? You might even learn something helpful, like how your deadline always falls on their big travel day.

In short, Make Things Simple for your customers.  Provide Tools for your trade partners.  And, Invest in the Relationship of both parties.  The above “rules” are quite simple in nature, but are often overlooked in a crowded, product-driven industry.  If we go back to the basics, we are reminded that often simple is harder, but simple is better.  Communication plays the leading role in being “simple”, and this leads to team success.  

Protea Financial Grow Your Company with better Sales and Marketing Communication

Communication is an Incredible Asset in the Wine Industry

Strong communication is a theme that successful brands and teams will carry through from internal team communication, all the way to brand communication for consumer and B2B initiatives. One could say that successful communication about brands and products in the industry usually follow the same 3 rules, and they often come down to communication, communication, communication.

The win-win scenarios may take more work up front. However, after the investment in clear messaging, streamlined tools, and collaboration, we will all be toasting each other in the end.

 

About Clarity & Co

Clarity & Co’s mission is to offer marketing consulting, trade relations, and project management services to the premium wine industry, and to do so with clarity and collaboration, or Clarity & Co.  Owner Theresa Wray is a marketing & communications professional who believes in the power of communication to transform brands and teams.  For more information, visit www.clarityandco.com.

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Let the people behind Protea Financial help improve how your company runs. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help. 

3 Steps to Set Your Business Up for Success in 2023

3 Steps to Set Your Business Up for Success in 2023

As we begin a new year, I reflect on two common (and related) questions I’m often asked by business owners or leaders: 

“How can I set my business up for greater success this year than last year?”, and 

“How can I accomplish this without working even more hours?”

These three key steps will surely set your business up for a very strong year ahead.

 

Identify Clear, Desired Outcomes for Your Business, Before Developing Detailed Plans

In January 2024, as you reflect on your business in the prior year, what specifically do you want your business to have accomplished? You would be shocked to know that only 20% of people set goals. And according to a Harvard Business Review study, those who set goals are 10 times more successful than those who don’t. Why is that?

You (and your teams) are more productive if everyone is focused on specific achievements each day, week, or month. You can start by giving your team direction, which then increases productivity. The goals provide clarity and enable everyone in your organization to understand exactly what you are seeking from the company.

By having clear expectations, you can hold yourself and your team accountable for results. No one can say, “I didn’t know what we were trying to accomplish,” if you make it very clear what, in fact, your goals are for the coming year. Contrary to what some may think, good employees actually embrace accountability. Like you, they also want a “scorecard” to evaluate their performance. Accountability also increases employee engagement, strengthens performance, improves attitudes, and generally creates an environment that energizes your team.

How should you set goals? Is there a specific format that works best? Many people prefer S.M.A.R.T. goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (meaning some deadline or allotted time frame). Some companies set KPIs – Key Performance Indicators for their teams. With KPIs, you (or your team leaders) work directly with individuals to determine what results will demonstrate success and achievement of your goals.  

I always prefer simplicity. I often ask people this: what are some résumé-worthy accomplishments that you want to achieve at the end of the year? In other words, consider the three or four desired outcomes you would include on your résumé for the following year. If you wouldn’t have it on your résumé, it probably isn’t a true “needle-moving accomplishment” for your business. 

I often hear people get hung up on whether something is a “goal” or an “objective.” I prefer to use the term “desired outcomes simply.” Perhaps your desired outcomes are financial and very specific. Or the outcome you desire may be less easy to measure, but you will “know it when you see it.” For example, you may realize that the key to your success this year is to develop a strong team that works together better. Measurement of success of that goal may be difficult, so paint a picture. What will a “strong, cohesive team” look like? How will you know? Paint a picture so that you and everyone on your team can clearly articulate what that outcome looks like.

Protea Financial Identifying Business Outcomes

Move Away from Dysfunctional Team Tendencies

In his bestseller: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni writes that teams that excel in 5 main areas are more likely to be high-functioning, cohesive teams. The five areas are: 1) Trust, 2) Conflict, 3) Commitment, 4) Accountability, and 5) Results. Many companies, however, fail to focus on building the foundations of the team and never achieve the results they genuinely seek. Each of these five areas can be developed, but the leaders must create an environment and commit to spending time to make these work. In particular, the first two areas can be addressed by an owner/CEO who cares and who wants to create meaningful improvement in their company.

The first, and I believe, most critical focus is “Trust.” Dysfunctional teams have an absence of trust, aren’t “real” with each other, and demonstrate invulnerability. High-functioning teams, however, trust each other. Deeply. They respect and accept each other. They are comfortable being vulnerable, and they trust the needs, competence, strengths, and character of each other.

Trust obviously doesn’t happen “overnight.” As a leader, you can create an environment that inspires trust. You can acknowledge, listen, and reward people who are willing to be vulnerable – to seek improvement. You can encourage people to challenge “sacred cows” or processes that need to be fixed, but no one has been willing to speak up. When people confront you in a manner that is genuinely seeking positive change, you should listen. Acknowledge that you hear what they are saying, and take the comments to heart. You certainly need to be able to differentiate between people who are being constructive vs. destructive. But don’t immediately get defensive. If you want to know what is going on in your company and what truly needs to change, then show respect to people willing to take a risk, speak up, and be vulnerable.

The second characteristic of high-functioning teams is dealing effectively with conflict. Do you encourage open, candid dialogue and constructive conflict? Or do you seek artificial harmony where people can’t discuss real issues, avoid conflict, and speak up …often because people in power don’t listen.

I once led an internal company workshop among the key organizational leaders. One of the people said that they felt that sometimes the CEO would gain agreement in the leaders’ meeting to a new process or rule. Still, the CEO would more-than-occasionally take actions after the meeting that appeared to not be in accordance with what had been agreed upon by the leaders. At that moment of our meeting, the CEO had the opportunity to have a candid dialogue and deal with conflict constructively. Instead, the CEO fired back that the person making the “accusation” was wrong and demanded they come up with another example because “clearly they didn’t get this example right.”

Instead of creating an opportunity for positive dialogue and discussing real issues in the spirit of finding positive ways to change, the CEO chose to shut down the conversation. In doing so, he created very bad feelings among most of the leaders and effectively shut down any good that might have come from a discussion. In the end, instead of a positive workshop that could bring the team together, the result could have been better. Team members shut down, trust was crushed, and commitment by each of the leaders was not able to be developed.  

Protea Financial Building Successful Teams

Measure Sales Activities … not Just Sales Results 

The third step you can take in 2023 to create meaningful improvement for your business is to focus on measuring sales activities, not just the results. Pick a small number of activity-based metrics and then stick to them.

One of the biggest sales management mistakes companies can make is to focus on sales results rather than on sales activities. At first glance, that sounds strange. Our inclination in managing sales is usually to focus on results! So why should you focus on activities more than results?

Results are typically lagging indicators – meaning that the results lag behind the activities that drive the results. If you are measuring results for products or services with longer lead times and you don’t get the results you seek, it is too late to make meaningful changes to affect results that year.

Think of the example of weight loss.

You set a goal for the new year, let’s say, “I want to lose 36 lbs. in 2023.” You decide you can achieve this over the course of the year. If you focus only on measuring the results at year-end, it is too late to change if you miss your target. Even if you measure the results monthly but not the activities, you will learn sooner that you are missing your goals, but you won’t necessarily understand why and what to do about it. Instead, consider developing a clear strategy and measuring the activities that will drive weight loss. Each week, you set activity goals: consume X calories by eating specific meals each day and exercising X minutes each day. You don’t control the scale, but you do control the activities that drive the results. You know immediately how many calories you have consumed in a day or whether you ran for 30 minutes per your plan.

The same approach should be followed with sales management. Set realistic goals (SEE #1 ABOVE). Then, develop a strategy and plan of attack. For example, what activities do you need to do in order to bring 20 new prospects into your pipeline? Are you following those activities? How many follow-up calls will you likely need to make to close a deal? Are you making those calls?

For consumer products like wine, identify reasonable and achievable goals. Then determine the activities needed to generate those results. And track those activities. For example, how many retailers do you typically need to meet to close 10 sales? Are you conducting all those meetings? Or how many wine tastings do you need to have in order to generate your desired wine club memberships? What are the activities that will drive tastings? Identify and track those activities.  

If you are interested in learning more secrets to measuring and managing sales performance, I recommend Jason Jordan’s book, Cracking the Sales Management Code.

In summary, I encourage you to take these three steps in 2023 to propel your business forward. 

First, identify clear, desired outcomes for your business before developing detailed plans. Second, move away from dysfunctional team tendencies. Instead, invest time and energy in building trust and creating an environment where your team manages conflict directly and respectfully. Finally, focus on measuring sales activities – not just sales results. Determine the activities that will drive the desired results, then monitor, track, and hold people accountable for those activities.

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Carter Welch is an accomplished business leader, consultant, and coach responsible for driving success in numerous businesses, large and small. A former Procter & Gamble and Pillsbury executive, he focuses today on guiding small business owners to identify obstacles, overcome fear, develop winning strategies, lead organizations, and ultimately, achieve great success. He can be reached at 707-339-2842 or by email at carter@carterwelch.com.

Let Protea Financial Become Part of Your Success in 2023

Protea Financial is here to help your business reach new levels of success in 2023. We can help!

How To Create A Budget

How To Create A Budget

We are entering the new year, which means many people are setting goals for the new year. As a business owner, you should be doing the same thing. Creating a budget is one of the best practices you can start for your business.

 

What Is a Business Budget and What Are Its Benefits?

A business operating budget is a financial plan that outlines a business’s projected expenses and revenues over a specific period, usually a year. A budget is a key tool for business owners and managers to understand the financial performance of their business, make informed decisions, and plan for the future.

A well-thought-out and designed budget will allow you to make better business decisions and feel more in control of your future. If you are still not sure you need a budget, here are some of the key benefits of having a budget:

  1. Improved financial planning: A budget allows you to plan for the financial needs of your business, including projected expenses and revenues, if you need to hire, if you need to invest in new assets, and, more importantly, if you have the cash flow for your business goal. By creating a budget, you can identify potential financial challenges and opportunities and take steps to address them.
  2. Enhanced decision-making: A budget can help you make informed decisions about allocating resources and making trade-offs between different priorities. The budgeting process should inform you what you are limited to doing by your current business setup and if you need to take action if you want to expand or grow.
  3. Increased accountability: A budget can help you hold yourself and your team accountable for meeting financial goals and targets. By regularly reviewing your budget and comparing it to actual performance, you can identify areas where you are over or under budget and take corrective action. It will also provide the road map on how your team can spend and give them direction to execute their goals.
  4. Improved communication: A budget can help you communicate your financial goals and plans to your team and stakeholders, such as investors or lenders. This can help ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same financial objectives. It can act as an early warning system for potential issues and provide guidance on financial needs if you are planning for growth or expansion.

Now that we have established that a budget is important and a worthwhile exercise, the question is, how do I create a budget?

Protea Financial Creating a Budget for Your Business

Budget Creation Basics

Here are the basics of building a business budget:

  1. Determine your budget period: For most, this will be the next calendar year but the first step is to choose a budget period that aligns with your business goals and objectives. For example, if you are starting a new business, create a budget for the first six months, the first year, the remainder of this calendar year, and the next. Setting the budget period allows you to think about a period and focus on those goals and expectations.
  2. Identify your budget categories: You will need to determine the categories of expenses and revenues relevant to your business. Common types of expenses include payroll, rent, utilities, marketing, and supplies. For income, the categories include sales of products, service fees, and grants. There may be subcategories under each of the main categories. By know which revenue and expenses you plan on budgeting for allows you to become more granular and focused in your approach to building this plan.
  3. Gather financial data: Collect financial data from past periods or other sources, such as market research or industry benchmarks, to help you estimate the amounts for each budget category. For most businesses, starting with historicals is a great place to begin. Your history will give you an idea of your future and allow you to adjust based on the information you have or the new projects you plan to implement.
  4. Create a budget template: Use a spreadsheet or budgeting software to create a budget template that includes all the budget categories and subcategories relevant to your business. You can either build your own, hire someone to build a template, or download one from a reliable source.
  5. Estimate expenses and revenues: Using the financial data you have gathered, estimate the amounts for each budget category for the budget period. This is the work part. Once you know what you plan to budget for, you can do the hard work. Most good budgets will take into account information from your team. Gathering insight and information from the people who are meant to execute the goal will allow you to gain buy-in. Also, most good budgets will take a few rounds. This is a necessary process and not one that should be rushed. Once all information is gathered, it should be reviewed with all stakeholders and adjusted as necessary. Obtaining insight from others will help get everyone’s approval that it is achievable and ensure everyone is working towards the goal of execution. 
  6. Monitor and update the budget: Budgets are a tool that should be used to drive the business towards its goals. It is important to regularly review and see how you are performing towards these goals. The review should provide insight into where you need to improve and where you are doing well. It is also necessary to update the budget as required. Your business environment might change, and different opportunities and pitfalls may arise. It is critical that the budget stays accurate and reflects these changes in your business’s financial position or goals.

With these steps, you can create a comprehensive and accurate business operating budget that will help you understand and manage the financial performance of your business. A well-executed budget will provide you and your business insight to move toward your goals.

Protea Financial Business Budget

Protea Financial Can Help You Create a Budget for Your Business

Now, remember, the budgeting process takes work. Sometimes you will need to get help. If you do not have the capabilities internally or want additional insight into the process, consider outsourcing your needs. Reaching out to an outsourced option like the professionals here at Protea Financial might be a great way to get the best out of your budgeting process by bringing in experts. Contact us today and we can help!

Let Protea Financial Help You Create a Budget for Your Business

If you want help learning how to create a budget for your business, or you need someone to do it for you, contact the professionals here at Protea Financial. 

Gear Up for These 2023 Changes to California Employment Law

Gear Up for These 2023 Changes to California Employment Law

It’s the time of year again to dive in and take a look at upcoming changes to California employment law. This fall, Governor Newsom approved several new employment laws, generally expanding on employee rights and creating new obligations for employers. From new pay scale disclosure requirements to mandatory bereavement leave to nuanced changes to the California Family Rights Act, here are summaries of a few key bills signed into law, that go into effect on January 1, 2023.

 

SB 1162: Pay Transparency & Data Reporting Requirements

New pay scale disclosure requirements. In 2017, California led the nation by passing the first mandatory pay transparency law, which required employers to provide pay scale information (i.e., annual salary or hourly wage range) to job applicants upon request. Effective January 1, 2023, SB 1162 will expand the law to require:

  • Employers with 15 or more employees must now include in all their job postings the “salary or hourly wage range that the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position.” If the employer uses a third party to publish or post a job, that third party must also include it in the posting.
  • Upon an employee’s request, all employers must provide the pay scale for the requesting employee’s current position.
  • All employersmust maintain records of job title and wage history for each employee for the duration of their employment and three years after the end of employment so that the state’s Labor Commissioner – who is authorized to inspect these records – can determine if there is a “pattern of wage discrepancy.”

Protea Financial Employees

Pay data reporting requirements. California currently requires employers with 100 or more employees, to submit annual pay data reports to the state’s Civil Rights Department (“CRD”) (formerly the DFEH). Current law allows employers to file an annual Employer Information Report (EEO-1) with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in lieu of the pay data report to the CRD.

  • Effective January 1, 2023, California employers will no longer be able to file the EEO-1 in lieu of the California report to the CRD. This is because California has expanded the required information to be reported beyond what the EEO-1 requires. Thus, SB 1162 will require employers with 100 or more employees to submit a separate report to the CRD, including:
    • The number of employees by race, ethnicity, and sex in 10 job categories, based on a “snapshot” that counts all individuals employed in these categories during a single pay period of the employer’s choice between October 1 and December 31 of the reporting year.
    • The job categories include: (1) Executive or senior-level officials and managers, (2) First or mid-level officials and managers, (3) Professionals, (4) Technicians, (5) Sales workers, (6) Administrative support workers, (7) Craft workers, (8) Operatives, (9) Laborers and helpers, and (10) Service workers.
    • Within each job category, for each combination of race, ethnicity, and sex, the median and mean hourly rate.
    • The total number of hours worked by each employee in each pay band during the reporting year.
    • The employer will have the option, but is not required, to provide clarifying remarks regarding the information provided.
  • Employees hired through labor contractors. In addition, employers with 100 or more employees hired through third-party labor contractors must also submit a separate pay data report to the CRD covering those employees and disclosing the ownership names of all labor contractors used to supply such employees. A labor contractor is defined as “an individual or entity that supplies, either with or without a contract, a client employer with workers to perform labor within the client employer’s usual course of business.”

The bill also changes the deadline for all future pay data reports from March 21 to the second Wednesday of May each year, beginning in 2023.

 

Penalties for noncompliance with SB 1162

  • Employees claiming an employer’s noncompliance with the pay disclosure requirements may file a complaint with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) within one year of the date that they learned of the violation.
  • If the DLSE finds that an employer violated the law, employers may be subject to civil penalties of $100 to $10,000 per violation. The Labor Commissioner will determine the amount of the penalty based on the totality of the circumstances, including prior violations.
  • Notably, no penalty will be assessed for a first violation where an employer shows that “all job postings for all positions have been updated to include the pay scale.”
  • If an employer fails to file the pay data reports, the CRD can seek a court order requiring compliance and recovering costs associated with seeking such an order. A court also can impose civil penalties of $100 per employee, and up to $200 per employee, for subsequent failures to file the report.
  • If an employer cannot comply because a labor contractor has not provided the required pay data information, a court may also apportion an “appropriate amount of penalties” to the labor contractor.

 

Private right of action for injunctive relief

  • SB 1162 also includes a civil private right of action for injunctive relief “and any other relief that that court deems appropriate.” Very little detail is provided in the text of the bill regarding what that private right of action will entail, and who will have standing to pursue such an action.
  • The bill simply provides: “A person who claims to be aggrieved by a violation of this section may also bring a civil action for injunctive relief and any other relief that the court deems appropriate.”

It is expected that the CRD will publish additional information, including FAQs and a User Guide for Employers, in the coming months.

 

Changes to the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA)

AB 1041: Paid Sick Leave and Family Leave Expanded to “Designated Persons”

Effective January 1, 2023, AB 1041 will expand the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) and the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act (“HWHFA”) to allow employees to take paid sick leave and family leave to care for a “designated person” chosen by the employee, including non-family members. The definition of designated person is: “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”

An employee may change their designated person once per 12-month period.

Protea Financial Family Rights

AB 1949: Job Protected Bereavement Leave

Effective January 1, 2023, AB 1949 will expand the CFRA to allow an eligible employee to take up to 5 days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member.

The leave must be completed within three months of the date of death. The new law requires that leave be taken pursuant to any existing bereavement leave policy of the employer. If no such policy exists, leave may be unpaid. However, the employee may use other leave balances, such as accrued paid sick leave, towards the bereavement leave.

 

California’s Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”)

California’s Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) will become effective January 1, 2023. Under the CPRA, “consumers,” including employees, will be able to exercise several new rights including:

  1. The right to know (request disclosure of) what personal information was collected by the business about the consumer or employee, from whom it was collected, why it was collected, and, if sold, to whom;
  2. The right to delete personal information collected from the consumer or employee;
  3. The right to opt-out of the sale of personal information (if applicable);
  4. The right to opt-in to the sale of personal information of consumers under the age of 16 (if applicable);
  5. The right to non-discriminatory treatment for exercising any rights; and
  6. The right to initiate a private cause of action for data breaches.
  7. The right to correct inaccurate personal information; and
  8. The right to limit use and disclosure of sensitive personal information.

Because the new law applies these protections to employees, and not just consumers, the CPRA presents a unique set of challenges for employers. The most notable is understanding what employee data the employer holds, where that data is stored, and which data is truly essential and that which should be deleted at an employee’s request.

 

SB 1044: Emergency Working Conditions

SB 1044, which will also become effective January 1, 2023, prohibits an employer in the event of an emergency condition, from taking or threatening adverse action against any employee for refusing to report to, or leaving, a workplace or worksite because the employee “has a reasonable belief that the workplace or worksite is unsafe.” An emergency condition is defined as:

  1. Conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons or property at the workplace or worksite caused by natural forces or a criminal act.
  2. An order to evacuate a workplace, a worksite, a worker’s home, or the school of a worker’s child due to a natural disaster or a criminal act.

Notably, an emergency condition does not include a health pandemic.

SB 1044 also prohibits an employer from preventing an employee from accessing the employee’s mobile device or other communications device in order to seek emergency assistance. An employee is required to notify the employer of the emergency condition requiring the employee to leave or refuse to report to the workplace or worksite.

 

In Conclusion . . .

Before the end of 2022, employers should review their policies and procedures to ensure compliance with these new laws. Employers should also reach out to their employment counsel with any questions regarding these pending changes. Proactive changes and working with counsel will help protect employers during this season of change!

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