PHRca: HRCI Professional in Human Resources – California

By earning the PHRca, you demonstrate that you are an HR professional who has mastered the laws, regulations and HR management practices unique to the state of California.

Adding the Professional in Human Resources – California (PHRca) to your portfolio demonstrates your knowledge of HR laws, regulations and management practices unique to the state of California. The PHRca is for professionals who either practice or are responsible for human resource management in California. Residency in California is not a requirement to earn a PHRca. This certification can be complementary to other HRCI credentials.

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Am I Eligible?

To be eligible for the PHRca you must meet one of the following conditions for education and/or experience: Have at least one year of experience in a professional-level HR position and a Master’s degree or higher, Have at least two years of experience in a professional-level HR position and a Bachelor’s degree, OR Have at least four years of experience in a professional-level HR position.

HRCI PHRca Exam Summary:

Exam Name HRCI Professional in Human Resources – California
Exam Code  PHRca
Exam Fee USD $395
Application Fee  USD $100
Exam Duration  135 Minutes plus 30 minutes administration time
Number of Questions  115
Passing Score  55%
Format  Multiple Choice Questions
Sample Questions  HRCI HR Professional in Human Resources Exam Sample Questions and Answers
Practice Exam  HRCI Professional in Human Resources – California (PHRca) Practice Test 

HRCI HR Professional in Human Resources Syllabus Topics:

Topics Details Weights
Compensation/Wage and Hour

– Developing and managing compensation programs for all employee groups through the appropriate regulatory interpretation and application.


  • Identify the proper Wage Order(s) for the organization, industry and/or profession and implement the requirements
  • Develop and enforce policies for the proper classification of workers (for example, independent contractors vs. employees, exempt vs. non-exempt, exemptions, minimum salary requirements)
  • Establish and maintain policies that ensure accurate pay, timing and documentation of earnings (for example, minimum wage, overtime, payroll deductions, final pay, bonuses, wage statements, pay frequency, expense reimbursements)
  • Develop and implement appropriate timekeeping policies and procedures (for example, split shifts, time between shifts, meal periods and rest breaks, consecutive workdays, calculating wage premiums, piece-rate pay, reporting pay, makeup time, travel time)
  • Develop and manage a compliant work schedule (for example, workday, work week and alternative work week schedule)
Employment Lifecycle and Employee Relations

– Managing the employer/employee relationship from recruitment through separation, fostering a positive working environment that facilitates employee retention.


  • Develop and implement compliant recruiting and pre-employment policies and practices (for example, drug testing, background checks, credit checks, marijuana laws, ban-the-box, wage history, interviewing and selecting, employment-at-will, employment of minors)
  • Develop and manage a legally compliant employee onboarding experience (for example, notices, required trainings, new hire reporting)
  • Develop enforceable employment policies and agreements (for example, non-compete clauses, non-disclosure, arbitration, severance, whistleblower)
  • Implement and facilitate harassment prevention policy and training (for example, content, trainer qualifications)
  • Conduct thorough and fair employment investigations and recommend outcomes (for example, discrimination, harassment and retaliation, Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protected characteristics, bullying)
  • Identify and execute Cal-WARN requirements (for example, notices, preventing discrimination, exemptions, reductions in force, organizational closures)
  • Consult and manage risks associated with termination of employment (for example, during leave, severance, wrongful termination)
Leaves of Absence and Benefits

Coordinating benefits, designating leaves, and managing the interaction between applicable regulations.


  • Develop and maintain compliant leave and benefit policies (for example, leave entitlements, domestic partner coverage, vacation, paid time off (PTO), Health Insurance Premium Payment (HIPP))
  • Advise stakeholders and designate employee leave eligibility (for example, California Family Rights Act (CFRA), Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), paid sick leave, school activities leave, Kin Care)
  • Manage leave entitlement and interactions (for example, tracking of leave documentation/time, integration of wage replacements)
Health, Safety and Workers’ Compensation

– Integrating health, safety and workers’ compensation regulations applicable to the organization.


  • Manage and enforce workers’ compensation programs (for example, claims administration and fraud, Medical Provider Networks, personal physician designation)
  • Develop policies to address health and safety requirements (for example, notifying agencies, Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), heat illness, drug/alcohol use, ergonomics)
  • Develop and implement Cal/OSHA mandated training programs

Respond to agency claims, appeals, and hearing processes (for example, Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, Cal/OSHA)

Compliance and Risk Management

– Mitigating organizational risk by identifying and addressing compliance obligations, educating stakeholders on non-compliance, and responding appropriately when claims are filed.


  • Determine compliance obligations based on employer size and industry (for example, mandatory leaves, job protected leaves, Cal-COBRA, disability accommodation, multiple language communications)
  • Develop and implement legally compliant privacy and security protocol (for example, social media, monitoring, protection of personal data, trade secrets)
  • Analyze the potential risks and penalties of compliance failures and recommend appropriate actions (for example, Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims, class action lawsuits)
  • Monitor, display and distribute required posters and notices (for example, change of relationship, wage and hour, safety)
  • Ensure compliance with record maintenance and retention requirements (for example, personnel file access and record retention time periods)
  • Ensure compliance with fair employment practices (for example, non-discrimination, equal pay, gender-neutral practices, literacy, strike days)
  • Ensure reasonable accommodation in employment (for example, engage in interactive process, lactation requirements, religious practices)
  • Investigate and respond to inquiries from regulatory agencies (for example, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), Employment Development Department (EDD), Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH))