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County of Sonoma California
Economic Development Board

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Regulatory Guide – Labor and Safety Guide for Small Business

Employer Compliance Requirements

Your role as a small business employer in Sonoma County is that of labor and safety information management. It is your responsibility to:

  • Be knowledgeable about the laws
  • Post all mandated notices
  • Document compliance the laws
  • Provide employees with information about the laws

This guide is not comprehensive for all types of businesses. Use it to find the resources you need, but also investigate additional laws and policies that may apply to your particular business to determine if your employees fall under other safety and labor regulations.

These regulations may appear overwhelming at first, but numerous brochures, pamphlets, training materials, and other resources are available so that you can tailor the information to your particular group of employees.

Small businesses with fewer than 15 employees need to provide:

  • The company’s policy statement
  • In-depth printed information of procedures, rights and responsibilities
  • In-house training

To be in compliance with labor and safety laws, it is up to you to:

  • Contact the source
  • Get the material
  • Learn and understand it
  • Pass it on to your employees

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Required Documentation

Here is a listing of labor and safety requirements and the agency source from which you may obtain policies, publications and training.

  • Injury and Illness Prevention Program, (IIPP) CAL-OSHA/DOSH
  • Hazardous Substance Information and Training, CAL-OSHA
    (if substance you use is on the List of Hazardous Substances)
  • Non-discrimination compliance, California Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing
  • Harassment Prevention, California Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing
  • American Disability Act (ADA,) California Chamber of Commerce
  • State Disability Insurance Benefits, Employment Development Department (EDD)
  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance, State Compensation Insurance Fund or your own worker’s compensation carrier or insurance agent

Before your employees receive their first paycheck, certain forms must be completed and filed. For businesses with under 15 employees, required forms are relatively few, but as the number of employees increases so do additional labor and safety requirements.

Some of the systems and requirements for taxes and licensing overlap with labor and safety forms, filings, and regulations so it is best to address all facets of these two areas at the same time.

The process of documentation entails:

  1. Securing your employees signatures on certain forms
  2. Keeping records
  3. Filing with the appropriate agencies

Required Source

  • Notice of Employment Form DE-34 EDD

    File with EDD within 30 days of hiring, rehiring (also returning from layoff, leave without pay)

  • Employment Eligibility Verification Form I9 INS (2 forms of ID)

    Failure to have on file for all employees can result in penalties

  • CAL/OSHA Recordkeeping Booklet : Form 200 CAL OSHA Department of Industrial Relations

    Record of employee work-related illnesses and injuries; exempt if never more than 10 employees on the payroll during any 24-hour period in the previous calendar year.

  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance

    State Compensation Insurance Fund or your insurance agent Worker’s Compensation Insurance must be in place before you hire your first employee

  • State Disability Insurance Form DE-6 Employment Development
  • Federal Withholding Form W-4 Internal Revenue Service
  • State Withholding Form DE-3

As an employer, you are required to post federal, state and local labor and safety notices. The notices vary in content and form - some are laws, acts, instructions, scheduling, etc. Failure to post such notices can incur a fine.

You can order everything you need to be in compliance with state law from one source, the California Chamber of Commerce. You do not have to be a chamber member to order the required postings for employees or required labor and safety information. Go to:

Posting Notices

Posting notices is probably the simplest compliance requirement for the employer. Posting only needs to be updated once a year

Postings protect both the employer and employee. By making the postings visible to all employees an implicit contract is made with the employer that all have common ground rules to refer to when necessary. Post the notices where all employees can read them. This may mean posting more than one set of notices. Commonly used areas are coffee rooms, main offices, locker rooms and entranceways.

Checklist of Required Postings

  • Emergency Phone Numbers
  • Equal Employment Opportunity
  • Harassment or Discrimination in Employment
  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act
  • Safety and Health Protection on the Job
  • Time Off for Voting
  • Notice to Employees: Unemployment/Disability Insurance
  • Injuries on the Job/Workers Compensation Benefits
  • Federal Minimum Wage
  • State Minimum Wage
  • Pay Day Notice
  • Family/Medical and Pregnancy Leave Notices

The required postings above are available in laminated and non-laminated versions in English or Spanish.

In addition, all California employers must post:

  1. One of 15 industry-specific Wage Orders, and
  2. A summary of the industry-specific Wage Order

Be sure you have the correct and most current industry-specific Wage Order posted. Revised as of October 1, 2000, each California employer must post the one appropriate to its business. The Wage Orders are divided into these 15 categories:*

  • Manufacturing
  • Personal Service (i.e. beauty salon, health club)
  • Canning, Freezing and Preserving
  • Public Housekeeping
  • Laundry, Linen Supply, Dry Cleaning and Dyeing
  • Mercantile (i.e. retail, distribution, rental)
  • Handling Products after Harvest
  • Transportation
  • Amusement and Recreation
  • Broadcasting
  • Motion Pictures
  • Preparing Agricultural Products for Market, on the Farm
  • General Agriculture
  • Household Occupations (i.e. maids, chauffeurs)
  • Other (Professional, Technical, Clerical, Mechanical and Similar Occupations)

* Employers engaged in on-site construction, drilling, logging and mining must also post “Interim Wage Order effective October 1, 2000” along with their industry-specific Wage Order and Summary (usually Wage Order 4).

Unemployment Insurance/State Disability Insurance Pamphlets

Required by law to be given to all employees, available in Spanish or English:

Unemployment Insurance Pamphlets:

  • All new employees
  • Terminated employees
  • Laid Off employees
  • Employees given a leave of absence

State Disability Insurance Pamphlets:

  • All new employees
  • Any employee leaving on disability

Sexual Harassment Compliance Packet

Available in English or Spanish, provides everything needed for compliance with California state law.

  • 25 state-approved information sheets required for every new employee and as a suggested annual reminder
  • Sample complaint procedure
  • Sample investigation procedure
  • Sample company policy on sexual harassment
  • Summary of employer’s legal responsibilities and how-to instructions for handling complaints

Labor Law

In addition, California employers are required to post “No Smoking” or “Smoking in Designated Areas” signs at every entrance to every facility where required by state law.

From Your City Clerk’s Office

Your Business License

From CAL/OSHA and Your Worker’s Compensation Carrier

Health, Safety & Hazardous or Toxic Substance Notice Specific to Your Business.

Notice: You should independently verify that you have the most current version of each poster to display and the required information for your employees. No ’certificate of compliance’ is necessary.

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