The California Chamber of Commerce today released the list of new employment laws scheduled to take effect in 2016 or earlier that will have an impact on businesses in California.
CalChamber also released the latest CalChamber Capitol News Report, which features Erika Frank, CalChamber vice president, legal affairs, and general counsel, and Jennifer Barrera, CalChamber policy advocate, calling attention to the many challenges California employers face—including juggling new laws involving gender pay equality, employee time off for school or child care, and another hike in the minimum wage.
The summaries below appear in a CalChamber white paper, available to download here.
Another Minimum Wage Increase
The CalChamber also reminds employers that the minimum wage increases on January 1, 2016, to $10 an hour. The increase is not a new law, but is the last mandatory increase from the legislation signed into law in 2013.
Employers are reminded that the minimum wage law can affect both nonexempt and exempt employees.
The Fair Pay Act clarified existing state law that prohibits employers from paying unequal wages based solely on gender.
“If you have a wage differential that’s based upon someone’s education, training, experience, seniority, merit-based system within the company—all of those are nongender-related reasons why an employer can have a wage differential, and that’s consistent with the Fair Pay Act,” Barrera explains.
The act also creates a private right of action for retaliation and discrimination.
School Activities Leave
A school activities law expands the right of employees to take protected time off from work when searching for a school or childcare provider.
“It still applies to employers with 25 or more employees,” notes Frank. “An employee may use eight hours in a calendar month with a total of 40 hours in a calendar year.”
In addition to expanding the categories of employees eligible to take time off for a child, SB 579 allows an employee protected time off to find a school or a licensed child care provider and to enroll or re-enroll a child, and time off to address child care provider or school emergencies.
Private Attorneys General Act
A new law that took effect in October 2015 gives employers a limited right to correct two types of itemized wage statement violations before an employee can sue.
“AB 1506 amended the Private Attorneys General Act under the Labor Code to specify that an employer has 33 days to cure specific violations with regards to paystubs,” explains Barrera. “Employers have been hit with multimillion-dollar lawsuits for minor violations.”
An employer will now be allowed to correct violations involving: (1) a failure to provide employees with an itemized wage statement that contains the inclusive dates of the pay period; or (2) a failure to provide employees with an itemized wage statement that contains the name and address of the legal entity.
Full List of New Employment Laws