The California Legislature passed and Governor Newsom signed several new laws which immediately affect California employers, ranging from Covid-19 policies, minimum wage increases, and to expanded leave benefits. Below are highlights of the new laws, effective January 1, 2021:
Notification of Potential Covid-19 Exposure: Public and private California employers are to provide detailed notices to employees within 24 hours when there is a Covid-19 exposure and to provide notice to local public health departments within 48 hours of Covid-19 “outbreaks.” Employers could face fines for violations. A second law has expanded workers’ compensation help for those who might have contracted the virus on the job. Both laws will be in effect until Jan. 1, 2023.
Overtime: Agricultural companies with 26 or more workers must pay overtime, after 8.5 hours of work, in a single day, or 45 hours in a week.
Minimum Wage Increase: California’s minimum wage increases to $14.00/hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $13.00/hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees. Local ordinances may impose further increases to the minimum wage. For example, the current minimum wage in Los Angeles (including Malibu, Santa Monica and Pasadena) is $15.00/hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $14.25/hour for employers with 25 or fewer employers. *Beginning July 1, 2021, the minimum wage for all non-exempt employees in Los Angeles (irrespective of employer size) will be $15.00 per hour.
Annual Pay Data Reporting Requirements: SB 973 requires that on or before March 31 every year beginning in 2021, employers with more than 100 employees submit a pay data report to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The pay data is based on race, ethnicity and gender.
Expansion of Paid Family Leave Benefits: The new law expands family-leave benefits, ensuring that employees who work for an employer with at least five employees must be provided up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave, for an employee’s own serious health condition or that of a qualifying family member. The new law also expands on the potential reasons for taking leave, making it possible for workers affected by Covid-19 to take time off to care for a parent, sibling or grandchild.
Expanded Leave for Crime Victims: In addition to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, AB 2992 extends job-protected leave for a victim of a crime or abuse that caused physical injury or mental injury and a threat of physical injury. Employers with 25 or more employees must also provide such victims time off work to seek medical attention and psychological counseling for injuries, to participate in safety planning, or to obtain services from a victims’ services organization.
Independent Contractor Benefits: Independent contractors who work for app-based companies, such as Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, are now eligible for a limited number of healthcare and other workplace benefits, including a guaranteed wage for time spent behind the wheel, under a law approved by voters.
Corporate Diversity: Publicly held corporations with principal executive offices in California are required to have at least one director from an underrepresented community by the end of 2021. Corporations may increase the number of directors on their boards to comply with these requirements.
Modifications to No-Rehire Provisions: Legislation effective January 1, 2020, prohibited a “no-hire provision” in employment settlement agreements, except in limited circumstances. AB 2143 clarifies those exceptions. Specifically, no-rehire provisions are now allowed if either (1) the employee’s complaint was not made in good-faith, or (2) if prior to the employee’s complaint, the employer made a documented, good-faith determination that the employee engaged in sexual assault, sexual harassment, or any criminal conduct.
RPNA will continue to provide updates and any clarifications to the growing list of newly enacted laws and is available to provide specific guidance as to their applicability to your business.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Nick Roxborough at (818) 992-9999 ext. 222, Marina Vitek at (818) 992-9999 ext. 236, Trevor Witt at (818) 992-999 ext. 224, or Donna Leung at (818) 992-9999 ext. 233.