In 2017, the state of California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law various employment and labor bills upon passing by the California Legislature. The new laws mostly relate to wage and working hours, leaves and multiple benefits, health and safety in the workplace, hiring practices among other workplace protections. As most of the laws became effective on Jan. 1, 2018, employees are doing all they can to ensure they are compliant with the new laws. The following are some of the notable changes employees have to take note of.
According to the new section SB3, the minimum wage was increased to $11 per hour from $10.50 per hour for employees of businesses with 26 employees or more. Therefore, for businesses having 26 or more employees, the minimum annual salaries for exempt employees under California law have increased to $45,760 from $43,680.
For companies with 25 or fewer workers, the minimum wage will increase to $10.50 per hour from $10 per hour. Therefore, for businesses with 25 or fewer workers, the minimum annual salaries for exempt employees under California law have increased to $43,680 from $41,600. The governor can temporarily suspend the new wages based on certain determinations.
Where a Direct Contractor has subcontracted a job, the direct contractor is liable for any debts owed by the subcontractor to wage claimants. The direct contractor is responsible for any unpaid wages, other benefit payment or fringe benefits, including accrued interest but not extending to liquidated damages or penalties. Under the new section, there is a one-year statute of limitations for the wage claimants to bring an action after the completion of the work.
The new SB 63 section has been introduced to provide protected bonding leave to eligible employees of smaller employers with 20 to 49 employees. The existing California Family Rights Act only caters for California businesses having 50 or more employees whereby employees are allowed to take up to 12 work weeks off to bond with their newborn child, newly adopted child or child recently placed with the employee for foster care.
Under the new SB 63 section, it is unlawful to deny employees bonding leave if they are eligible for the set parameters. A request for bonding leave can be made within a year of the child’s birth, foster care placement or adoption.
The SB 63 section additionally protects employees taking parental leave against any form of discrimination or retaliatory action by employers like fines, suspension, discharge, expulsion or refusal to hire. Employers are also required to pay group health plan coverage for employees on parental leave.