Getting Answers to Your HR Questions

HR professionals manage the human capital of an organization and focus on implementing policies and processes. Questions regarding government regulations arise frequently and searching for the answers can take up valuable time.

For instance, determining the minimum wage your business is required, by law, to pay can be confusing. The wage can vary not just state to state but it can also differ within your state, with the rate determined by city or even by the county.

As an example, in California the state minimum wage is $10.50 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees. However, the City of Los Angeles created its own minimum wage ordinance which increased the minimum wage to $12.00 per hour effective July 1, 2017 and will continue increasing the wage annually, reaching a minimum wage of $15.00 per hour by 2020.

Also, the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County are not governed by local city government and therefore, the County Board of Supervisors determines the minimum wage requirements for these unincorporated areas.

Considering this, how can you be sure that your business is adhering to the minimum wage requirements in your location?  If you have questions, we have the answers. Below is an example of how BlueFire HR would be able to quickly provide you with detailed answers to your questions about minimum wage for California, Illinois and Colorado.

California Minimum Wage

The state’s minimum wage was raised in January 2017. The state’s minimum wage is $10.50 for employers with 26 or more employees. However, the City of Los Angeles has its own minimum wage ordinance:

Minimum Wage Schedule Chart

Starting July 1, 2016, the minimum wage in the City of Los Angeles will increase according to these schedules:

Effective Date Employers With 26 or more Employees  
7/1/2016 $10.50  
7/1/2017 $12.00  
7/1/2018 $13.25  
7/1/2019 $14.25  
7/1/2020 $15.00  
7/1/2021 $15.00  

Minimum Wage – Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles County minimum wage ($10.50) applies to only unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County as of 7/16:

“What are the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County? Unincorporated areas are not governed by a local city government. In incorporated cities, local city governments can set the minimum wage. In unincorporated areas, the County Board of Supervisors can set the minimum wage. Visit the County Registrar Recorder’s website to see if you work in an unincorporated area:”

 Illinois Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 per hour for workers age 18 and older.  Employees who do not receive tips may be paid $7.75 for the first 90 days and employees under age 18 may be paid $7.75 per hour.  Important:  The City of Chicago adheres to its own minimum wage ordinance.

 Colorado Minimum Wage

Effective January 1, 2017, Colorado’s minimum wage is $9.30 per hour for all adult employees and emancipated minors.  This minimum wage is subject to annual increases based on the consumer price index (CPI) used in Colorado.  Under an amendment, scheduled increases will affect the minimum wage as follows:

  • Effective January 1, 2018, $10.20 per hour.
  • Effective January 1, 2019, $11.10 per hour.
  • Effective January 1, 2020, $12.00 per hour.
  • Effective January 1, 2021, increases will be based on increases in the cost of living.

All states have additional laws pertaining to required rest periods, meal periods, etc. Trying to wade through the finer points can be both time consuming and confusing.

BlueFire HR has the answers and will ensure that your business is adhering to all compensation laws in your area. BlueFire HR’s OnCall HR Membership will give you access to Human Resource experts via phone and digital means. Or you can search for answers to all your HR questions with our OnCall HR App. To learn more about how BlueFire HR can help your business thrive, contact our experts at or call Nicole at 888.892.9597, extension 702.

BlueFire HR Welcomes Nicole Golfieri, our new Business Development Director

BlueFire HR consulting LLC is pleased to announce that Nicole Golfieri has joined our team.  Nicole is joining BlueFire HR as our Business Development Director where she will be responsible for the management of strategic and operational Marketing, Business Development, and Customer Relationship activities.  Nicole brings over 10 years of HR experience to BlueFire HR with particular expertise in the areas of compliance, 401(k), payroll, consulting, staffing and HR operations.  Nicole’s expertise in HR infrastructure and HRIS operational flow enhance BlueFire’s offerings, ensuring that BlueFire continues to meet the needs of our clients.  You may reach Nicole at

A Look at Both Sides of the Performance Improvement Plan



Are Performance Improvement Plans useful? 

A widely held belief is that the underlying purpose of a Performance Improvement Plan is to begin the documentation process toward termination.  This might be the case.  But it may not be.

Employers spend considerable time and money searching for a candidate and even more time and money training that employee to carry out the job responsibilities.  Employers generally want to work with employees and try to retain them.

When an employee isn’t meeting the job requirements, a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) may be necessary to set clear expectations.  There are several reasons an employee’s performance may be unsatisfactory and it will benefit all parties to document the issues and outline acceptable performance.

A good PIP will include documentation of these performance issues and a concise action plan for improvement which should list quantifiable and achievable goals.  It is recommended that a 3rd party review the plan, ensuring it is complete and appropriate.  During the meeting with the employee, the employer must clearly review all details, listening to the employee’s feedback and modifying the plan if necessary.  Both parties should sign the form after the meeting.  Regularly scheduled follow-up meetings are critical, with feedback being supplied by the supervisor and input encouraged from the employee.   If it becomes apparent that the employee is unable or unwilling to improve, options include reassignment, transfer, demotion or termination.

How to respond if you are met with a PIP

The first question you should ask yourself is: Are these issues valid?  Your second question might be: Do I want to change my behavior to meet the PIP or is now the time to update that resume and look elsewhere for employment.  Maybe this job isn’t what you thought it would be; maybe you have grown in ways that take you in a different direction.

Be honest with yourself and your supervisor.  Do you think the plan is achievable?  Do you intend to work toward meeting the goals set out in the plan?  Carefully review the goals outlined in the plan and determine with the person reviewing the PIP with you, whether or not the goals are specific and realistic.

Be a professional and be honest with both yourself and your employer.  This is not the time for accusations or confrontation.   If you feel you have legitimate reasons that excuse you from the expectations outlined, now is your chance to professionally discuss those limitations.  Would you benefit from additional training or were you unaware of the expectations?   State your case professionally and follow up in writing.


Again, it is worth mentioning that businesses spend a great deal on recruitment and training.  Human resources are their largest asset.  Both the company and the employee win if the Performance Improvement Plan is a success.

If you are a business that needs advice on a specific human resource situation, BlueFire HR Consulting can help.    We offer strategic and operational human resource solutions for many organizations.  If you would like to support your managers with additional training, we can assist also.  We are certified in Professional Coaching.

Likewise, BlueFire HR Consulting offers Career Coaching.  This is a beneficial tool for anyone questioning their employment situation.  We can help you assess your strengths, assist you with resume and LinkedIn updates, provide tips to begin a career search, and interview preparation.

Visit our website for more information.