Employment Law Legislative Updates

Employment Law Legislative Updates

A plethora of employment laws were effective January 1, 2018.  A sampling of the likely most relevant are noted herewith in brief.

Minimum Wage Increase

SB 3 (Leno) – Pursuant to SB3 which was effective in 2016 a stepped increase to the state minimum wage, starting January 1, 2018 the state minimum wage increases to $10.50 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees and to $11 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees.

In accordance with the law, the minimum wage increase will continue through 2022 for employers with 26 or more employees with an increase by $1 until it reaches $15 per hour.  For employers with 25 or fewer employees, the minimum wage will be $11 in 2019 and then increase by $1 each year until it reaches $15 per hour in 2023.

Cities within California including within Contra Costa County have their own minimum wage requirements which exceed the state law.  For example, El Cerrito’s hourly minimum wage will rise from $12.25 to $13.60, and Richmond’s will go from $12.30 to $13.41 for employers of 26 or more.

New Parental Leave Act

SB 63 (Jackson) – aka New Parent Leave Act expands the parental leave rights to workers previously ineligible under the California Family Rights Act due to the employer’s size. Specifically, the bill provides up to 12 weeks of job-protected parental leave for workers at companies with 20 to 49 employees. Under the new parental leave act, employers must maintain and pay for the continued healthcare coverage of the employee while on leave, and guarantee reinstatement to the same or comparable position upon the employee’s return from leave.

Salary History Questions

AB 168 (Eggman) – Prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information or relying on a job applicant’s salary history as a factor in determining whether to offer the applicant employment or what salary to offer the applicant. Employer cannot seek an applicant’s history from the applicant in the hiring process or through an agent/third party. Further, this bill requires the employer, upon reasonable request, to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant applying for employment.

“Ban-the-Box” Law

AB 1008 (McCarty) – Prohibits employers, with certain exceptions, from inquiring about or considering a job applicant’s conviction history prior to a conditional offer of employment and would set requirements regarding the consideration of conviction history in employment decisions.

Preventing Harassment Training, re: Gender Identity, Expression and Sexual Orientation

SB 396 (Lara) – Requires employers with 50 or more employees include in their bi-annual harassment training program preventing harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.  Also requires a Department of Fair Employment and Housing poster on transgender rights be displayed in the workplace.

Immigrant Workplace Rights

AB 450 (Chiu) – Other than required by federal law or specific exceptions, this new law prohibits employers or other persons acting on behalf of the employer from providing voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to enter nonpublic areas of a place of labor unless the agent provides a judicial warrant. Further, other than required by federal law or specific exceptions, the law prohibits an employer or other persons acting on behalf of the employer from providing voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to access, review, or obtain the employer’s employee records without a subpoena or court order.