California Employment Law Updates

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October 2016

None

September 2016

September 30 – Gov. Brown signed a law strengthening pay protections based on race and ethnicity

On September 30, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law amending the state’s wage discrimination law to include discrimination based on race and ethnicity. Prior to the amendment, the wage law extended only to discrimination based on sex. Now, employers are prohibited from paying employees wage rates less than employees of different races or ethnicities if the employees perform substantially similar work unless the employers can establish specific and reasonably applied factors that justify the difference.

The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

For more information, read CA Senate Bill 1063.

September 30 – Gov. Brown signed a law limiting the use of prior wage history in wage decisions

On September 30, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law amending the state’s wage discrimination law limiting an employer’s ability to use an employee’s prior wage history when setting the employee’s wage rate. Under the amendment, employers cannot rely exclusively on an employee’s prior wage history to justify paying an employee less than other similarly situated employees of different sexes, races, or ethnicities.

The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

For more information, read CA Senate Bill 1676.

September 30 – Gov. Brown signed a law limiting the use of prior wage history in wage decisions

On September 30, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law amending the state’s wage discrimination law limiting an employer’s ability to use an employee’s prior wage history when setting the employee’s wage rate. Under the amendment, employers cannot rely exclusively on an employee’s prior wage history to justify paying an employee less than other similarly situated employees of different sexes, races, or ethnicities.

The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

For more information, read CA Senate Bill 1676.

September 29 – Gov. Brown signed a law requiring employers to identify single-user restrooms for all-gender use

On September 29, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law requiring business establishments, places of public accommodation, and government agencies to identify single-user bathrooms as all-gender facilities available to be used by all individuals.

The new law goes into effect on March 1, 2017.

For more information, read CA Assembly Bill 1676.

September 28 – Gov. Brown signed a law amending state laws related to employers verifying the legal working status of employees

On September 28, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law amending state laws related to employers verifying the legal working status of employees. Specifically, the new changes make it unlawful for an employer to:

  • request more of different documents from an employee related to their legal working status than required by federal law
  • refuse to honor documents presented by employees to establish their legal working status that appear to be authentic on their face
  • refuse to honor documents or other work authorization presented by employees to establish their legal working status based on the specific status or term of status that accompanies the authorization to work
  • re-verify an active employee’s authorization to work

The penalty for violating these restrictions is up to $10,000.

The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

For more information, read CA Senate Bill 1001.

September 27 – Gov. Brown signed a law amending the state’s law limiting the use of criminal histories in hiring and employment decisions

On September 27, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law amending state’s law limiting the use of criminal histories when making hiring and employment decisions. Under the current law, employers are prohibited from using information about an individual’s arrest or detention when making hiring or other employment decisions. The new changes extend this prohibition to include the use of information related to “an arrest, detention, processing, diversion, supervision, adjudication, or court disposition that occurred while the person was subject to the process and jurisdiction of juvenile court law.” Some exception apply for health facilities.

The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

For more information, read CA Assembly Bill 1843.

September 25 – Palo Alto’s City Counsel approved a minimum wage increase

On September 25, 2016, Palo Alto’s City Counsel approved an ordinance raising the city’s minimum wage over the next several years. The minimum wage will increase as follows:

  • January 1, 2017 – $12.00
  • January 1, 2018 – $13.50
  • January 1, 2019 – $15.00

After 2019, the minimum wage will increase each year by the percentage increase in the consumer price index for the Bay Area with a 5 percent cap.

For more information, read Palo Alto Press Release.

September 25 – Gov. Brown signed a law limiting the use of choice of law and forum provisions in employment contracts

On September 25, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law prohibiting employers from requiring employees who reside and work in California to agree to an agreement that:

  • requires the employee to adjudicate disputes arising in California in a forum outside of California
  • deprives the employee of the protections of California law regarding a controversy arising in California

Such unlawful choice of law and forum provisions are voidable by the employee except when the employee is represented in contract negotiations by legal counsel.

The changes apply to any contract entered into, modified, or extended after January 1, 2017.

For more information, read CA Senate Bill 1241.

September 14 – Gov. Brown signed a law requiring employers to provide employees with notice of the state’s domestice violence, sexual assault, and stalking victim leave law

On September 14, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law requiring employers to provide all new employees and employees who so request information explaining the protections provided by the state’s domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking victim leave law. The change to the law requires the Labor Commissioner to publish a notice by July 1, 2017, that can be used by employers to meet their notice requirement . Employers will not be obligated to provide employees notice of their domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking victim leave rights until July 1, 2017, or when the Commissioner has published the notice, whichever is later.

For more information, read CA Assembly Bill 2337.

September 15 – Gov. Brown signed a law establishing sexual violence and harassment training requiremtns for the janitorial industry

On September 15, 2016, Gov. Brown signed the Property Service Worker Protection Act that creates sexual violence and harassment training requirements for the janitorial industry. Starting immediately, covered employers must keep certain records for three years.

Beginning July 1, 2018, covered employers will be required to register each year with the California Division of Labor Standards and provide employees with a sexual harassment pamphlet published by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing ((Pamphlet DFEH-185)).

By January 1, 2020, covered employers must have implemented a qualifying sexual violence and harassment training program.

For more information, read CA Assembly Bill 1978.

September 14 – San Francisco Mayor Lee signed an ordinance amending the city’s Paid Parental Leave Ordinance

On September 14, 2016, San Francisco Mayor Lee signed an ordinance amending the city’s Paid Parental Leave Ordinance requiring employers with 35 or more employees to provide employees with supplemental parental leave compensation beginning on July 1, 2017. Beginning on January 1, 2018, the supplemental parental leave compensation obligation extends to employers with 20 or more employees. The amendment makes other technical changes to the Paid Parental Leave Ordinance as well.

For more information, read San Francisco Ordinance 181-16.

September 14 – Gov. Brown signed a law creating new notice posting requirements for barbering and cosmetology establishment

On September 14, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law requiring establishments licensed by the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology to post a wage and hours notice in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean.

The new notice requirement goes into effect on July 1, 2017.

For more information, read CA Assembly Bill 2437.

September 12 – Gov. Brown signed a law making the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights permanent

On September 12, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law making the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights permanent. Previously, the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights was set to expire on January 1, 2017. Amongst other things, “the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights regulates the hours of work of domestic work employees who are personal attendants and provides an overtime compensation rate for those employees.”

For more information, read CA Senate Bill 1015.

September 12 – Gov. Brown signed a law extending overtime benefits to agricultural workers

On September 12, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law extending overtime benefits to agricultural workers. Previously, agricultural workers had been exempt from the state’s overtime requirements.

The new law provides a phase-in schedule for agricultural overtime requirements as follows:

More than 25 employees

  • January 1, 2019 – overtime pay due when 9 1/2 hours are worked in one workday or over 55 hours in a workweek;
  • January 1, 2020 – overtime pay due when 9 hours are worked in one workday or over 50 hours in a workweek;
  • January 1, 2021 – overtime pay due when 8 1/2 hours are worked in one workday or over 45 hours in a workweek;
  • January 1, 2022 – overtime pay due when 8 hours are worked in one workday or over 40 hours in a workweek;

25 or fewer employees

  • January 1, 2022 – overtime pay due when 9 1/2 hours are worked in one workday or over 55 hours in a workweek;
  • January 1, 2023 – overtime pay due when 9 hours are worked in one workday or over 50 hours in a workweek;
  • January 1, 2024 – overtime pay due when 8 1/2 hours are worked in one workday or over 45 hours in a workweek;
  • January 1, 2025 – overtime pay due when 8 hours are worked in one workday or over 40 hours in a workweek;

Beginning on January 1, 2022, employers must pay agricultural workers double time for all hours worked beyond 12 hours in a workday.

Other requirements and restrictions apply.

For more information, read CA Assembly Bill 1066.

August 2016

August 3 – San Diego’s mayor approved the implementing ordinance for the city’s new sick leave requirements

On August 3, 2016, San Diego’s mayor approved an implementing ordinance for the city’s new sick leave requirement. On June 3, 2016, voters approved an ordinance requiring employers to provide employees with sick leave. The implementing ordinance designates an Enforcement Office and Enforcement Official, establishes a system to receive and adjudicate complaints, amends the remedy for violations, amends the sick leave accrual requirements, and clarifies other language. Of particular note for employers, under the implementing ordinance, employers can now cap the amount of sick leave an employee may accrue at 80 hours. It also allows employers to provide a lump sum of at least 40 hours of sick leave to employees at the beginning of a benefit year instead of having to manage sick leave accrual throughout the year.

The implementing ordinance takes effect on September 2, 2016. The original earned sick leave requirement went into effect on July 11, 2016.

For more information, read San Diego: Earned Sick Leave and Official Notice: San Diego Earned Sick Leave.

July 2016

July 22 – Gov. Brown signed a law adding modifying information required to be on pay stubs

On July 22, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law modifying the information required to be on the pay stubs of exempt employees. Before the new law, employers were not required to include the total hours worked by an employee whose compensation is based solely on a salary and exempt from overtime. The new law extends this exemption for total hours worked to employees who are exempt from minimum wage and overtime.

The new law becomes effective on January 1, 2017.

For more information, read CA Assemby Bill 2535.

July 22 – Gov. Brown signed a law extending weekly pay requirements to private patrol operators that are temporary services employers

On July 22, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law that would require private patrol operators who are temporary services employers to pay security guards on a weekly basis, with certain exceptions. This new law extends existing weekly pay requirements for temporary service employees.

The new law became effective on signing.

For more information, read CA Assemby Bill 1311.

July 11 – San Diego’s minimum wage increase

On July 11, 2016, San Diego’s minimum wage increased to $10.50 per hour. The increase was the result of an ordinance passed by San Diego voters on June 7, 2016. The ordinance also provided for a minimum wage increase to $11.50 on January 1, 2016. Beginning on January 1, 2019, the minimum wage will increase each year consistent with the increase in inflation.

For more information, read San Diego: Minimum Wage Program and Official Notice: San Diego Minimum Wage.

June 2016

June 7 – San Francisco voters approved changes to the city’s paid sick leave ordinance to make it more compatible with state requirements

On June 7, 2016, voters in San Francisco approved changes to the city’s paid sick leave ordinance so that is more compatible with the requirements of California state law, although some difference remain. Some of the new changes include:

  • employees begin to accrue paid sick leave on the first day of employment
  • employee who are rehired by employers within one year of leaving must have their unused sick leave reinstated
  • the purposes for which employees can use sick leave were expanded to match those of the state law requirement
  • The new changes go into effect on January 1, 2017.

    For more information, read June 7, 2016 Voter Proposition: Paid Sick Leave.

June 2 – Mayor Garcetti of Los Angeles approved an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave

On June 2, 2016, Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti approved an ordinance that will require employers to provide employees with paid sick leave. The new ordinance will apply to employers with more than 25 employees beginning July 1, 2016. It will apply to employers with 25 or fewer employers beginning on July 1, 2017.

For more information, read Los Angeles Ordinance 184320.

May 2016

May 4 – Governor Brown signed a law that includes electronic cigarettes in the state’s workplace smoking prohibitions

On May 4, 2016, Governor Brown signed a law that includes electronic cigarettes in the state’s smoking prohibitions for workplaces.

The law goes into effect on June 9, 2016.

For more information, read California Senate Bill 5.

April 2016

April 26 – the Santa Monica City Council postponed the effect date for its sick leave ordinance

On April 26, 2016, the Santa Monica City Council amended the ordinance requiring employers to provide sick leave to employees. The amendments postpose the date employees will be required to provide sick leave to employees until January 1, 2017.

For more information, read Santa Monica Press Release.

April 21 – San Francisco passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide employees with paid parental leave

On April 21, 2016, San Francisco May Lee signed an ordinance that requires employers to provide partial wage replacement to employees taking leave to bond with a new child under California’s paid family leave program. Under California’s law, employees can receive up to 55 percent of their pay for up to six weeks. Under San Francisco’s new ordinance, employers may be required to pay the remaining 45 percent.

The new ordinance takes effect as follows:

  • January 1, 2017 – employers with 50 or more employees
  • July 1, 2017 – employers with 35 or more employees
  • January 1, 2018 – employers with 20 or more employees

For more information, read San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance.

April 11 – Governor Brown signed a law expanding the stat’s paid family leave program

On April 11, 2016, Governor Brown signed a law expanding the amount of wage replacement benefits under the state’s paid family leave program. Under the new law, wage replacement will increase from up to 55 percent for all eligible employees to:

  • 70 percent for employee who make up to 33 percent of the California average weekly wage
  • 60 percent for employee who more than 33 percent of the California average weekly wage

The new changes to the law will take effect January 1, 2018.

For more information, read California Assembly Bill 908.

April 4 – Gov. Brown signed a law granting in-home supportive service employees paid vacation leave

On April 4, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law granting eligible in-home supportive service employees paid vacation leave. Eligible in-home supportive service employees will be able to take advantage of the new benefit starting on July 1, 2018. In 2018, they will be eligible for 1 day or 8 hours of leave, whichever provides more leave. The amount of available leave will increase to 2 days or 16 hours when the minimum wage for large employers reaches $13.00. Finally, the amount of available leave will increase to 3 days or 24 hours when the minimum wage for large employers reaches $15.00.

For more information, read Gov. Brown Press Release and Senate Bill 3

April 4 – Gov. Brown signed a law increasing California’s minimum wage

On April 4, 2016, Gov. Brown signed a law increasing the minimum wage in California. The minimum wage will increase over the next several years according to the following schedule:

Employers with 26 or more employees

  • January 1, 2017 – $10.50
  • January 1, 2018 – $11.00
  • January 1, 2019 – $12.00
  • January 1, 2020 – $13.00
  • January 1, 2021 – $14.00
  • January 1, 2022 – $15.00
  • January 1, 2023 and beyond – Adjusted based on United States Bureau of Labor Statistics non-seasonally adjusted United States Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers

Employers with 25 or fewer employees

  • January 1, 2018 – $10.50
  • January 1, 2019 – $11.00
  • January 1, 2020 – $12.00
  • January 1, 2021 – $13.00
  • January 1, 2022 – $14.00
  • January 1, 2023 – $15.00
  • January 1, 2024 and beyond – Adjusted based on United States Bureau of Labor Statistics non-seasonally adjusted United States Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers

The new law also allows the governor to pause any minimum wage increase if certain factor indicate the increase is not economically appropriate at that time.

For more information, read Fact Sheet: Boosting California’s Minimum Wage to $15/Hour and Senate Bill 3

March 2016

March 7 – Pasadena’s City Council approved an ordinance increasing the city’s minimum wage

On March 7, 2016, Pasadena’s City Council approved an ordinance increasing the city’s minimum wage over the next three years. The minimum wage will increase as follows:
Employers with 26 or more employees

  • July 1, 2016 – $10.50
  • July 1, 2017 – $12.00
  • July 1, 2018 – $13.25

Employers with 25 or fewer employees

  • July 1, 2017 – $10.50
  • July 1, 2018 – $12.00

The ordinance takes a precautionary approach on future minimum wage increases. It requires the City Manager to present a report to the Council no later than February 18, 2019, summarizing the impact the minimum wage increase has on poverty, unemployment, job creation, and the overall business climate. If the result of the minimum wage increase are positive, future increases will occur as follows:

  • July 1, 2019: $14.25
  • July 1, 2020: $15.00
  • According to the ordinance, if future minimum wage increases are approved, beginning on July 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase each year consistent with any increases in the Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County consumer price index.

    The minimum wage ordinance goes into effect on July 1, 2016.

    For more information, read Pasadena Minimum Wage Ordinance

February 2016

None

January 2016

January 12 – The Santa Monica City Council passed a minimum wage increase

On January 12, 2016, the Santa Monica City Council voted to increase the minimum wage for all employees beginning July 1, 2016. The major provisions of the ordinance match similar ordinances passed in Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County for the purpose of regional coordination.

For all employees, except hotel employees, the minimum wage will increase incrementally until 2020 for those who work for larger businesses and 2021 for those who work for smaller businesses and non-profits. The minimum wage will increase as follows for larger businesses:

  • July 1, 2016 – $10.50
  • July 1, 2017 – $12.00
  • July 1, 2018 – $13.25
  • July 1, 2019 – $14.25
  • July 1, 2020 – $15.00

The minimum wage will increase as follows for smaller businesses (25 or fewer employees) and qualifying non-profits:

  • July 1, 2017 – $10.50
  • July 1, 2018 – $12.00
  • July 1, 2019 – $13.25
  • July 1, 2020 – $14.25
  • July 1, 2021 – $15.00

For hotels, the minimum wage will increase to $13.25 on July 1, 2016, and $15.37 on July 1, 2017.

This ordinance has an effective date of July 1, 2016.

For more information, read Minimum Wage in Santa Monica, City of Santa Monica Minimum Wage, and City of Los Angeles Minimum Wage Ordinance

January 12 – The Santa Monica City Council passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide employees with sick leave

On January 12, 2016, the Santa Monica City Council, as part of its minimum wage ordinance, passed an ordinance requiring employees to provide employees with sick leave. It requires large businesses to provide at least 9 days of leave and small businesses to provide at least 5 days of leave. This ordinance increases the amount of sick leave already required by California state law.

This ordinance has an effective date of July 1, 2016.

For more information, read Minimum Wage in Santa Monica and City of Santa Monica Minimum Wage