California Employment Law – Top Five New State Laws in 2018

California Employment Law – Top Five New State Laws in 2018

Employment Law in California is forever growing. California Governor Jerry Brown signed several significant employment bills that took effect on Jan. 1, 2018, and many employers throughout California need to update their policies and practices accordingly. Here are the top five new California employment laws.

  • A.B. 168: Salary history inquiries
    • No longer able to ask job applicants about their current or prior earnings.
    • Must provide the pay scale for a position upon an applicant’s request.
  • A.B. 450: Immigration enforcement
    • Must demand warrants and subpoenas from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents before any enforcement activities.
    • Must provide certain notices to employees and their union representatives.
  • A.B. 1008: Ban the box
    • Employers with at least five employees can’t consider a job applicant’s criminal history until a conditional employment offer is made.
    • If the employer decides to deny employment based on an applicant’s criminal history, the employer must follow certain steps before making a final decision.
  • S.B. 63: New parent leave
    • Small businesses with 20-49 employees will have to provide 12 weeks of job-protected baby bonding leave within the first year following a child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. This includes the following available leaves:
    • California Fair Employment & Housing Act’s (FEHA) Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) law
    • California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
    • Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) *Federal
    • California’s New Parent Leave Act
  • S.B. 396: Gender identity and sexual orientation harassment training
    • Sexual harassment training is already required for employers with 50 or more employees. That will soon need to include training on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation harassment.
    • Employers need to post transgender rights notice in the workplace.

Overall, this year’s legislative session seemed to continue recent California employment law trends focusing on California Equal Pay Act-related issues and immigration—as there have been new laws passed in each of these areas in the last few years.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your assigned DecisionHR Human Resources Business Partner at 1-888-828-5511.

New Regulations for the Golden State

New Regulations for the Golden State

DecisionHR has been closely monitoring new regulations in the state of California this summer, and we want to alert our clients of some game-changing rulings occurring in California.

Do you know what they are? If you are an employer in California, you need to be aware. Effective July 1st new rules and regulations for criminal history and transgender discrimination went into effect. It’s time to adjust your policies and practices for these new regulations.

Criminal History

The proposed regulations related to employer use of criminal history information has been discussed with the Fair Employment Housing Council. Employers will no longer be able to consider any non-felony misdemeanor conviction related to marijuana possession that is more than two years old. The regulations also set a new procedural process that must be followed when considering criminal conviction in the hiring process. The burden will fall on employers to satisfy certain requirements of the law. In addition to these new rules and regulations, the FEHC also adds new language that prohibits you from using criminal history information that has “adverse impact” on employees who are in a protected category (i.e., race, gender, national origin, etc.) unless you can prove it to be job-related and consistent with business needs.

These regulations are currently in full effect. To understand them in more detail click here.

Transgender Regulations

Last month, the Office of Administrative Law approved new formal regulations related to transgender identity and expression.  These new rules represent a follow up to transgender employees’ rights issued by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing last year.

The new regulations include:

  • The broadening of the existing definitions of “gender expression” and “gender identity,” most notably to include the “perception” of an individual’s gender expression or gender identity.
  • A new definition “transitioning” stating to “mean a process some transgender people go through to begin living as the gender with which they identify, rather than the sex assigned to them at birth.”
  • Use of preferred gender name now states, if an employee requests to be identified with a preferred gender, name, or pronoun (including gender-neutral pronouns), an employer who fails to abide by the employee’s stated preference may be liable under FEHA.
  • The new regulation for use of facilities now requires you to permit employees to use facilities (such as restrooms, locker rooms, and similar facilities) that correspond to the employee’s gender identity or gender expression, regardless of the employee’s assigned sex at birth.
  • You are prohibited from discriminating against an individual who is transitioning, has transitioned, or is perceived to be transitioning.

As these new rules and regulations are being enforced, DecisionHR is here to keep you updated as information becomes available. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your Human Resource Business Partner at 1-888-828-5511.

Are You Ready? California Updates for 2017

Are You Ready?  California Updates for 2017

A few months ago, we at DecisionHR posted a blog post, Don’t Get Burned by the California Sun.  The article discussed an array of regulatory and legislative changes in the employee and compensation management industries.

Since that time, a lot of activity and changes have occurred. California has enacted new laws that affect employers and businesses in different ways. We need to keep pace with changes that include higher minimum wages and legalized recreational marijuana.

Below are some new laws that take effect this year or that have recently taken effect, as well as a few initiatives that might see a revival in 2017 due to the Democrats’ supermajority status in the state Senate and Assembly. A supermajority enables Democrats to override a veto by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown and to pass tax measures without Republican support.

Minimum Wage

By 2022, California’s mandatory minimum hourly wage will be $15 for businesses with more than 25 employees. Starting January 1, 2017, minimum hourly pay rose from $10 to $10.50, an extra $20 per week for full-time employees.

There’s no state-mandated increase in hourly wages in 2017 for businesses that employ 25 or fewer workers. In 2018, however, they must pay workers $10.50 per hour.

Additionally, some municipalities have taken this matter into their own hands. San Diego’s minimum wage jumped to $11.50 per hour, effective January 1. On October 1, 2016 Berkeley’s rate became $12.53 per hour and will rise to $13.75 an hour on October 1, 2017. Los Angeles set a minimum hourly rate of $10.50 last July 1. It will become $12 per hour on July 1, 2017.

Marijuana Legalization

In November, Golden State voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 64, which legalizes the recreational use of small amounts of marijuana. The California Marijuana Legalization Initiative permits residents to grow up to six plants for personal use and allows people over age 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Voters in 2009 approved the legalization of medical marijuana.

The possession and use of marijuana became legal November 9, 2016, when the ballot measure passed. Sales, however, are barred until at least January 1, 2018. Smoking in public or in a vehicle, even if the user is a passenger, is forbidden. Reminding workers that although California has legalized marijuana possession and use, neither is permitted on the job or on company property.

Parental Leave

Gov. Brown in September vetoed legislation that would have granted six weeks of unpaid leave to new parents at companies with more than 20 employees. California law provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave only for workers at businesses with at least 50 workers.

Extra Hours for Part-Time Employees

San Jose voters in November approved Measure E, which takes effect March 8, 2017. It will require businesses with at least 36 employees to offer more hours to their part-time employees before hiring additional workers, provided the extra hours wouldn’t trigger overtime pay.

That initiative inspired the Opportunity to Work Act (A.B. 5), introduced December, 5 as the 2017 legislative session began. The act contains language similar to San Jose’s measure but sets the bar for employers at a minimum of 10 employees.

It also bans retaliation against workers who exercise their rights under the would-be law by filing a complaint with the state or filing a lawsuit. Retaliation includes “reporting or threatening to report the actual or suspected citizenship or immigration status of an employee, former employee or family member” to any government agency.

We pride ourselves on staying in the forefront, continuously monitoring and regulating industry changes and their possible impact on your business.

Contact your HR Business Partner for information on these changes or any questions you may have.


Don’t Get Burned by the California Sun

Don’t Get Burned by the California Sun

Have you ever been to California in the summer? The beaches are beautiful, but the sun is HOT! Not only is California known for it’s warm, sunny weather, but also for the ever-evolving regulatory changes in the employee and compensation management industries.

At DecisionHR, we know how important it is to keep you informed of all the developments and trends that are occurring in sunny California.

So don’t get “burned” by the changes in California. Below are the changes that California has implemented or will implement by the end of 2016.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

More employees are eligible in California for overtime than ever before. One of the biggest changes is the standard salary level increasing across the board. These changes include the increase of salary thresholds for both blue- and white-collar overtime exemptions. Changes go into effect December 1, 2016. For additional information on these changes, please visit the US Department of Labor website or the California Department of Industrial Relations website.

California Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in CA is jumping on a tiered level over the next six years. The state income minimum wage will increase and will effect different cities throughout California, including increased wage amounts as well as dates of implementation.

New Developments in Leave and Disability Management

There are significant changes to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in California. This includes changes to paid and unpaid leave, classification of what constitutes a disability, health benefits continuation and notice requirements.

Paid Sick Leave

California has now instituted paid sick leave for all employees who work in California at least 30 or more days within a year. This is unique to California because the trend recently has been for employers to grant PTO for all employee’s needs, including sick leave.

Harassment and Discriminations Policies

There have been huge changes to these policies within California. This includes enforcement of adoption of prevention policies, creating consistent complaint processes, and allowing ease of publicizing the policy (policies) to the employee.

We pride ourselves in staying in the forefront, continuously monitoring and regulating industry changes and its possible impact on your business.

Contact your HR Business Partner for information on these changes or any questions you may have.