California legislature has been busy enacting a host of new employment laws which take effect January 1, 2023, and even January 1, 2024. Here are the items to look out for in 2023 and 2024:
Minimum Wage Increase – California’s minimum wage will increase to $15.50 per hour for all employees, effective January 1, 2023. This includes both large and small employers. Previously, California had different minimum wages for employers with 26 or more employees and for smaller employers. The minimum wage requirement may not be met just by compliance with state law alone; Employers should keep in mind that some 30 California cities and counties have their own separate minimum wages with different effective dates.
More to follow on this regarding Exempt employees, as the minimum weekly
salary is also increasing.
Bereavement Leave – AB 1949 provides that employers with five employees or more must allow up to five days of unpaid bereavement leave for the death of a family member, including a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law.
Pay Transparency – S.B. 1162 amends California’s Pay Transparency Law to provide that employers must present the pay scale to any job applicant upon receipt of such a request. In addition, the employer must provide a current employee with the pay scale for the employee’s position upon request. Employers with 15 or more employees will be required to include the pay scale for a position in any job posting, including those jobs posted on third party sites. Moreover, employers will be required to maintain records reflecting the job title and wage rate history for each employee for the duration of their employment. Failure to follow these new rules may subject the employer to civil penalties ranging from $100 to $1,000 per violation, as well as to PAGA actions.
Retaliation Regarding “Emergency Conditions” – SB 1044 protects employees who refuse to report to, or who leave, a workplace or work site because the employee has a reasonable belief that the workplace or work site is unsafe for reasons other than a health pandemic.
Cannabis and Employment Discrimination – Starting on January 1, 2024, AB 2188 protects employees’ off-duty cannabis use under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The new law will prevent discrimination against applicants or current employees based on off-duty/off-premises use of cannabis. Pre-employment drug testing still will be permitted, however, provided that the test does not screen for CBD or other non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites. Employees still cannot be impaired or use cannabis on the job - the bill does not affect an employer’s duty to maintain a drug and alcohol-free work place.
CSL is here to help navigate you through these changes and will also update
your employee handbooks accordingly. Stay tuned for more detailed updates
in the next couple of months.