California Employment Law Updates

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December 2015

None

November 2015

November 1 – The City of San Jose announces it minimum wage for 2016

On November 1, 2015, the City of San Jose announced that its minimum wage will not increase in 2016. It will continue to be $10.30. Every year, the city is supposed to increase the minimum wage by the cost of living in the prior year. The city determined that there was not an increase in the cost of living sufficient to justify increasing the minimum wage.

To find out more, read San Jose’s Minimum Wage Bulletin.

November 1 – The City of Richmond announces it minimum wage for 2016

On November 1, 2015, the City of Richmond issued an official notice confirming that its minimum wage will increase to $11.52 on January 1, 2016.

The minimum wage increase takes affect on January 1, 2016.

To find out more, read Richmond’s 2016 Minimum Wage Official Notice.

October 2015

October 27 – Sacramento’s City Council votes to increase the city’s minimum wage

On October 27, 2015, the Sacramento City Council voted to increase the city’s minimum wage. The ordinance increases the minimum wage each year from 2017 to 2020. The increases are as follows:

  • 2017 – $10.50
  • 2018 – $11.00
  • 2019 – $11.75
  • 2020 – $12.50
  • The minimum wage will be lower for employers who provide employees with health benefits.

    To find out more, read Sacramento’s 2015 Minimum Wage Increase.

October 26 – The City of Oakland announces an increase to its minimum wage for 2016

On October 26, 2015, the City of Oakland announced that its minimum wage will increase from $12.25 to $12.55 on January 1, 2016. Each year, Oakland adjusts its minimum wage by the increase in the local consumer price increase.

The increase goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

To find out more, read City of Oakland Minimum Wage Press Release.

October 11 – Governor Brown signs a law guarantying additional sick leave for disabled veterans

On October 11, 2015, Governor Brown signed a law guarantying disabled veterans additional sick leave in addition to any other sick leave to which they are entitled. Veterans who are hired after January 1, 2016 and have a service-connected disability rated at 30 percent or more are entitled to up to 96 hours of paid sick leave for treatment for the service-connected disability. The 96 hours of leave must be provided in addition to the any leave to which the disabled veteran is already entitled. The 96 hours of paid sick leave must be used within the 12-months of employment and cannot be carried over to following years.

The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

To find out more, read California S.B. 221 (2015).

October 11 – Governor Brown signs a law expanding whistleblower protections to family members and creating exclusion from joint liability rules

On October 11, 2015, Governor Brown signed a law prohibiting employers from retailing against employees who are family members of an employee who has or is perceived to have engaged in protected conduct, filed a complaint, or engaged in whistleblowing.

The law also excludes certain household goods carriers from joint liability with labor contractors.

The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

To find out more, read California A.B. 1509 (2015).

October 11 – Governor Brown signs a law expanding school activity and sick leave protections

On October 11, 2015, Governor Brown signed a law that expands school activity and sick leave protection. The new law expands activities for which employee can use school activity leave to include addressing a child care provider emergency and finding, enrolling, or reenrolling a child in a school or with a child care provider. Covered employees will now include stepparents, foster parents, and those that stand in loco parentis to a child. The law also changes employer sick leave policy requirements to conform to California’s new sick leave law as it relates to sick leave taken due to the illness or a family member.

The law goes into effect immediately.

To find out more, read California S.B. 579 (2015).

October 11 – Governor Brown signs a law modifying wage garnishment restrictions

On October 11, 2015, Governor Brown signed a law modifying wage garnishment restriction. The new law reduces the prohibited amount of an employees’ weekly earning subject to garnishment under an earnings withholding order. The garnishment now may not exceed 1) 25% of an employee’s weekly disposable earnings or 2) 50% of the amount by which the employee’s disposable earnings for the week exceed 40 times the state or local minimum wage, whichever is higher.

The law goes into effect July 1, 2016.

To find out more, read California S.B. 501 (2015).

October 11 – Governor Brown signs a law expanding the Labor Commissioner’s enforcement capabilities

On October 11, 2015, Governor Brown signed a law expanding the enforcement capabilities of the state’s Labor Commissioner. Previously, the state’s Labor Commissioner was limited to enforcing the statutes and orders of the California Industrial Welfare Commission. Under this new law, the Labor Commissioner will also be able to enforce local laws regarding minimum wage and overtime.

The law also authorizes the Labor Commissioner to issue citations to employers who fail to indemnify employees for costs or loses incurred by employees while performing their job duties or obeying the directions of their employers. Previously, employees could only recover such costs or loses through private legal action.

The law goes into effect immediately.

To find out more, read California A.B. 970 (2015).

October 10 – Governor Brown signs a law requiring employers who pay employees by piece-rate to compensate their employee for “other nonproductive time”

On October 10, 2015, Governor Brown signed a law requiring employer who pay employees by piece rate to compensate those employees separately for rest and recovery periods and other nonproductive time. Nonproductive time includes time other than rest and recovery period when the employee is not engaging in piece-rate work but is still under the employer’s control. The new law also requires employers to include on employee pay stubs: the total hours of compensable rest and recovery periods and other nonproductive time, the rate of compensation for that time, and the gross wages paid for those period during that pay period.

The law goes into effect January 1, 2016, although some additional protections are provided to employers through December 15, 2016.

To find out more, read California A.B. 1513 (2015).

October 9 – Governor Brown signs a new law penalizing employers for misusing E-Verify

On October 9, 2015, Governor Brown signed a new law establishing penalties for employers who misuse the federal E-Verify system. The new law prohibits employers from using the result of an E-Verify check against an employee or applicant in a manner that is not required by a specified federal law or not authorized by federal regulation. Employers can be fined up to $10,000 for each violation of the law.

The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

To find out more, read California A.B. 622 (2015).

October 7 – The California Department of Industrial Relations released its annual minimum wage adjustments for the computer software employees and licenses physician and surgeon overtime exemption

On October 7, 2015, the California Department of Industrial Relations released the 2016 adjustments to the minimum wage that employers must pay computer software employees and licensed physician and surgeon to qualify for the overtime exemption. The adjustments are as follows:

Computer Software Employees: minimum hourly rate – $41.85; minimum monthly rate – $7,265.43; and minimum annual rate – $87,185.14.

Licensed Physicians and Surgeons: minimum hourly rate – $76.24

These changes go into effect on January 1, 2016.

To find out more, read Overtime Exemption Memorandum for Computer Software Employees and Overtime Exemption Memorandum for Licensed Physicians and Surgeons.

October 6 – Governor Brown signs a new Fair Pay Act that extends equal pay protections

On October 6, 2015, Governor Brown signed a Fair Pay Act that expands equal pay protections. The new law require employers to pay employees of the opposite sex the same for substantially similar work, instead of equal work as previously required. When a pay differences occurs, employers will be required to affirmatively demonstrate that a wage differential is based upon one or more specified factors, including a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or a bona fide factor other than sex, as specified. Violation of the law will also be subject to California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Finally, the new expansion increase an employers recordkeeping requirements from 2 years to 3 years.

The law goes into effect January 1, 2016.

To find out more, read California S.B. 358 (2015).

October 5 – Governor Brown signs a law clarifying meal period waiver rules for health care industry employees

On October 5, 2015, Governor Brown signed a law clarifying special meal period waiver rules for employees in the health care industry. The purpose of the law was to clarify some uncertainty that was created by the court of appeals in Gerard v. Orange Coast Mem. Med. Ctr., 234 Cal.App.4th 285 (2015).

The law goes into effect immediately.

To find out more, read California S.B. 327 (2015).

October 2 – Governor Brown signs a law allowing employers to cure certain wage statement violations before employees may pursue PAGA claims

On October 2, 2015, Governor Brown signed a law amending the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). The new amendment allows employers to cure violations certain violations of California labor law before an employee may bring a civil action under PAGA.

The law goes into effect immediately.

To find out more, read California A.B. 1506 (2015).

September 2015

September 21 – Governor Brown signed a “clean up” bill related to the new grocery worker retention requirement law

On September 1, 2015, Governor Brown signed a law requiring grocery establishments to retain qualified grocery workers (see below). This new “clean up” bill clarified that grocery establishments covered by the new requirements does not include retail stores that cease operations for 6 or more months.

The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

To find out more, read California A.B. 897 (2015)

September 1 – Governor Brown signed a grocery worker retention requirement law

On September 1, 2015, Governor Brown signed a law requiring grocery establishments to retain qualified grocery workers for at least 90 days when there is a change in control of the establishment. The successor employer must also consider hiring the qualified grocery workers after the 90-day period expires.

The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

To find out more, read California A.B. 359 (2015)

September 8 – Governor Brown signed a law adding new protected classes to the Unruh Civil Rights Act

On September 8, 2015, Governor Brown signed a law extends the protections of the Unruh Civil Rights Act to all persons regardless of citizenship, primary language, or immigration status.

The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

To find out more, read California S.B. 600 (2015)

September 1 – San Francisco: 2016 health care expenditure rate increases announced

San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement announce the city’s health care expenditure rates for 2016 pursuant to the Health Care Security Ordinance (HCSO). For large businesses (100 or more employees), the rate will be $2.53 per hour. For medium businesses (20-99 employees), the rate will be $1.68 per hour.

The rate increases take effect on January 1, 2016.

For more information about the increase, read the health care expenditure rates announcement.

August 2015

August 12 – Governor Brown signs a law extending employment protections for national guard members

On August 12, 2015, Governor Brown signed a law that extends employment protections for National Guard members. Currently, private California employers are required to provide job protections to employees who are ordered into active service with the National Guard by the President of the United States or the Governor of California. Beginning on January 1, 2016, private California employers will be required to provide these same job protection services to employees who are members of the National Guard in other states and who are called into active service by the governors of those states.

The new extension to the law will go into effect on January 1, 2016.

For more information, read California A.B. 583 (2015).