At United Employment Solutions, we strive to keep our valued clients informed about changes in employment laws that may impact your business. As part of our commitment to providing comprehensive staffing solutions, we want to bring your attention to the upcoming changes in California employment laws, scheduled to take effect in 2024.
California, as a state known for its progressive labor laws, has enacted several new regulations aimed at fostering a fair and equitable work environment. These changes may have implications for your company’s hiring practices, employee relations, and overall compliance. Below, we outline some key aspects of the new laws that we believe are crucial for you to be aware of:
Minimum Wage Increases
- California’s minimum wage is currently $15.50 per hour, regardless of the size of the employer and will increase to $16 per hour starting on January 1st of 2024.
- Cities and counties are allowed to establish higher minimum wage requirements for employees working within their jurisdiction.
- Many localities raised their minimum wage requirements on July 1, 2023.
- These localities and their new minimum wage requirements include:
- Alameda: $16.52
- Berkeley: $18.07
- Emeryville: $18.67
- Fremont: $16.80
- City of Los Angeles: $16.78
- County of Los Angeles (unincorporated areas only): $16.90
- Malibu: $16.90
- Pasadena: $16.93
- Santa Monica: $16.90; $19.73 (hotel workers)
SB 616: Paid Sick Leave
- Employers must annually provide five days (40 hours) of paid sick leave (PSL) to employees (Increased from the current three days (24 hours).
- Employers who use the PSL accrual method (rather than frontloading) must ensure employees accrue three days (24 hours) of PSL by their 120th day of employment, and five days (40 hours) by their 200th day of employment.
- Employers may cap total PSL accruals at 10 days(80 hours), (increased from the current six days(48 hours.)
- Employers who use paid time off policies to satisfy their PSL obligations must ensure employees are eligible to receive five days (40 hours) of paid leave within six months of employment (increased from the current three days (24 hours) within nine months).
- In addition, the program must comply with all of the other PSL requirements, such as not requiring an employee to provide notice of their need to take sick leave.
- SB 616 also expressly preempts any local ordinances that are less generous than the newly expended PSL.
AB 2188: Off-The-Job Cannabis Use
- AB 2188 amends the FEHA to add employee protections against discrimination based on off-the-job cannabis use.
- Substantially alters how and when employers can drug test employees for cannabis, and what they can do with results.
- Makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person based on the person’s “use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace.”
- But does not permit possession, impairment, or use of cannabis on the job.
- Does not affect the rights or obligations of an employer to maintain a drug-and-alcohol-free workplace.
- Does not prohibit discrimination in hiring or firing based on a “scientifically valid pre-employment drug screening conducted through methods that do not screen for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites”.
- Most cannabis drug test only show the presence of non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites, which have no correlation to present impairment.
SB 848 Leave for Reproductive Loss
- Requires qualified employers to provide 5 days protected time off to employees for a reproductive loss event, which includes a failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth, or unsuccessful assisted reproduction.
AB 594: Public Prosecution For Labor Code Violations
- Under current law, the primary responsibility for enforcing the Labor Code falls on the state labor commissioner.
- AB 594 gives public prosecutors the ability to prosecute violations of the Labor Code, either civilly or criminally, until January 1, 2029
- AB 594 gives city and district attorneys the authority to sue employers for certain workplace violations.
SB 553: Occupational safety: workplace violence: restraining orders and workplace violence prevention plan
- Under current law, any employer, whose employee has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from any individual that can reasonably be construed to be carried out or to have been carried out at the workplace, to seek a temporary restraining order and an order after hearing on behalf of the employee and other employees at the workplace, as described.
- SB 553 requires nearly all employers in the State of California to prepare a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan, train employees on how to identify and avoid workplace violence, and maintain a violent incident log by July 1, 2024
- SB 553 requires the Division to start enforcing new workplace violence requirements that are largely modeled on Cal/OSHA’s existing draft standard.
- AB 594 also provides that any employment agreement that requires arbitration of a dispute or limits representative actions would not affect public prosecutors ability to enforce the Labor Code.
To assist you in navigating these changes, United Employment Solutions is available to provide guidance and support.
We hope this information serves as a valuable resource regarding the upcoming changes in California employment laws. However, it is important to note that the information provided herein is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.
While we strive to keep our community informed about legal developments that may impact their businesses, the content of this communication is not intended to substitute for professional legal advice. Employment laws are complex, and their application can vary based on individual circumstances.
We strongly recommend consulting with a qualified legal professional to obtain advice tailored to your specific situation. The laws and regulations mentioned in this letter are subject to change, and their interpretation may depend on various factors unique to your business.
United Employment Solutions Inc. does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of the information provided. Reliance on the information contained in this letter is at your own risk. We encourage you to seek legal counsel to address any specific questions or concerns related to the new employment laws in California. We do not have the expertise to offer legal advice, and our communications should not be considered as such.