What is comparable wage?

This is a wage that is comparable to wages paid for work of a similar nature in the locality in which the work is to be performed. The Employment Development Department (EDD) will assist the employer in determining the minimum entry level wage.


How does EDD determine the entry level wage?

Prior to commencing business, all employers must submit detailed job descriptions for each incarcerated individual job position, establishing the minimum standards of acceptable participation and performance. The job descriptions shall include the tasks to be performed, machine(s) used and the skills, knowledge, and abilities required for each job.

These job descriptions are analyzed by the EDD to determine the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code. Using data from the Occupational Employment Surveys, the EDD will determine the minimum entry level wage of all incarcerated individual positions.


How do I start the process of becoming a JVP business?

All potential businesses submit a “mini-business plan” which includes such items as a description of your proposed business, preferred location, amount of space required, prior businesses experience, descriptions of incarcerated individual-employees’ job positions, and number of incarcerated individuals required.

Once an acceptable location is selected, the business owner will tour the space, meet with the Warden, and determine the acceptability of the location.


What documents are required to become a JVP business?

Prior to start up, all businesses enter into a Standard Agreement (Contract) and Lease with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Department of General Services. Typical initial Contracts and Leases are for a five year term.


How are incarcerated individual-employees selected?

The business owner, in consultation with the prison staff, establish minimum job qualifications and minimum incarcerated individual selection criteria. Prison staff will screen incarcerated individuals for safety and security concerns. The business owner will interview incarcerated individuals and make the final decisions on the hiring of incarcerated individuals. You are the sole employer of all incarcerated individual-employees.


What are my responsibilities as an employer?

Your responsibilities are the same as those for any non-incarcerated individual employee. You are solely responsible for determining the applicability of and ensuring compliance with all pertinent federal, state and local laws, and regulations when conducting your business. Each employer must comply with all required employment laws and relevant Labor Code provisions.


How are incarcerated individuals paid?

Business owners prepare payments not less than twice a month in the name of the incarcerated individual. The business owner is solely responsible to deduct appropriate federal and state taxes, Social Security, and California State Unemployment. Disability Insurance is not deducted from incarcerated individuals’ paychecks. These paychecks are mailed to a contracted financial firm who manages all the distributions from incarcerated individuals’ paychecks.


What are the security procedures?

All necessary security procedures are determined by the Warden of the institution. During normal working hours, custody coverage is the responsibility of the institution.

When a Warden determines it is necessary for the security of the institution, he/she may order a complete lock down of the institution that may cause the industry to cease operations. JVP incarcerated individuals are considered “critical workers” in the event of a lockdown, and will be returned to work as soon as possible.


How many non-incarcerated individual staff will I have to hire to supervise incarcerated individuals?

Typically the ratio of non-incarcerated individual staff to incarcerated individuals is one for each twenty incarcerated individuals employed. All non-incarcerated individual staff will receive orientation training from the institution and receive institutional identification cards.


How are incarcerated individual work hours and schedule determined?

The business owner and Warden will establish normal work hours and the days of the week that incarcerated individuals will work.


Can I terminate incarcerated individual-employees?

Yes. JVP incarcerated individual-employment is “at will” and as such is at the complete discretion of the employer, and may be lawfully terminated with or without cause.


What type of space is available?

Warehouse and classroom style space is available throughout California. Many spaces include loading docks, roll-up doors, adequate power loads, and incarcerated individual and staff restrooms.


Will I have private office space?

Factory space includes private office space. Businesses can install computers, fax machines, private telephones, and internet access at their expense.


How will shipping and receiving be handled by the institution?

All shipping and receiving procedures will be determined between the business owner and the Warden. After considering the security and safety needs of the prison, all efforts will be made to accommodate the business needs for the shipping and receiving of their raw material and finished products.

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