It’s New Employment Laws Time for California!

As we ring in the New Year, Governor Jerry Brown has signed various employment related bills from the 2013 legislative session.  The session produced quite a few new laws that will affect California employers’ day-to-day operations and policies in 2014.  Most of the new laws take effect on January 1, 2014.  Some of the new laws make significant changes to existing state law, such as the raise to the state minimum wage, new protections for immigrants, and expanded leaves of absence.  Other new laws make small changes to different parts of existing law.  It is advisable that you review your employment policies and procedures (including any employee handbook) to ensure they comply with these new laws, and if they do not, that you revise them accordingly.

 

Wage and Hour

  • AB 10 raises the minimum wage in two, one-dollar increments (one increment is effective July 1, 2014, and the other is effective January 1, 2016).
  • AB 241 enacts the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.
  • SB 435 adds protections for heat illness “recovery” periods.
  • AB 442 expands damages for minimum wage violations.
  • AB 263 adds protections for employees who exercise their rights under the Labor Code.
  • AB 1386 allows the Labor Commissioner to file a lien on employers’ real property.
  • SB 462 limits employers’ ability to recover attorneys’ fees for wage claims.
  • SB 390 creates a criminal penalty related to employee wage withholdings.
  • AB 1384 creates new requirements for garment manufacturers.
  • AB 1387 increases bond requirements for employers in the car wash industry.
  • SB 168 adds successor liability for farm labor contractors.
  • A number of bills relate to prevailing wages.

Discrimination and Retaliation

  • AB 556 adds protections for military and veterans.
  • SB 292 clarifies the definition of sexual harassment.
  • SB 496 expands whistleblower protections.

Immigrant Protections

  • AB 163 prohibits employers from engaging in unfair immigration-related practices.
  • SB 666 allows the state to suspend or revoke a business license revocation for threatening to report immigration status.
  • AB 524 clarifies that threatening to report immigration status may make a person guilty of criminal extortion.
  • AB 60 allows a driver’s license to be issued to undocumented immigrants (this law does not take effect until January 1, 2015, or on the date the DMV’s director executes a specified declaration, whichever is sooner).

Leaves and Benefits

  • SB 288 adds new protected time off for crime victims.
  • SB 400 adds new protected time off for victims of stalking and new requirements for accommodating domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking victims.
  • AB 11 adds new personnel to the list of employees eligible for protected time off for emergency duty training.
  • SB 770 expands Paid Family Leave benefits (this law does not take effect until July 1, 2014).
  • San Francisco’s “Family-Friendly Workplace Ordinance” requires certain employers to consider employee requests for flexible or predictable work arrangements.

Background Checks

  • AB 218 limits when public employers may ask about criminal convictions (this law does not take effect until July 1, 2014).

Workers’ Compensation

  • Several bills make changes to workers’ compensation law.

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