California boasts one of the most rapidly-evolving labor markets in the world, particularly Southern California and Silicon Valley. As we usher in 2020, there are some big changes to the labor laws that affect the entire state as well, as some that are San Diego-specific that local employers should be aware of. A review of the major ones is provided below.
Minimum Wage: Many jurisdictions in California have increased their minimum wage on January 1, 2020. In the city of San Diego, the new minimum increased to $13.00 hourly. This increase required an updated posting by all employers. Employers can request a new poster by contacting Cal Chamber’s Customer Service at (800) 331-8877. Additionally, if you are outside the city, your minimum wage requirements may vary depending on location and company size. A quick call with a specialist at CA HR services would ensure compliance with minimum wage, new salary exemption and other pesky requirements.
AB 5 (Independent contractors vs. employees): This new law is in line with the California Supreme Court’s ruling that classifies many people who were formerly considered independent contractors as employees. There are few exceptions for certain industries. Employers with existing contract relationships should review it closely. AB 170 (also passed) adds newspaper distributors and carriers to the list of exempted employers. This new law has more information than just these surface details. It is imperative to be educated on this as a business owner. CA HR Services consultants will gladly be able to explain how AB 5 may affect you and your contractors with independent status.
AB 9: Extends the deadline for reporting any form of harassment based on a protected category from 1 year to 3 years.
AB 51: Places prohibitions on the practice of employers requiring employees to submit to binding arbitration. This law may be preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act, so a challenge may be forthcoming.
AB 25: Further protects consumers’ rights to their personal information collected by businesses, including the request to delete it by the individual. Information collected during the application and hiring process is exempt from the provisions in this Act until January 1, 2021.
AB 35: Requires the State Department of Health establish a program for lead toxicity, including the training of employers, employees, and health professionals in certain occupations in order to aid lead poisoning prevention.
AB 171: Establishes a ‘rebuttable presumption’ of unlawful retaliation for any adverse action taken by an employer against an employee within 90 days of the employer informing the employer that they are the victim of sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
AB 673: Expands employees’ rights to recover civil penalties for unpaid wages, by allowing them to recover $100 for each initial violation, and $200 for each additional failure to pay. Employers will also be liable for 25% of the amount unlawfully held.
AB 749: Prohibits a settlement agreement from containing a provision agreeing to not seek re-employment or making them ineligible for rehire. These provisions are allowable when the employer found that the settling employee committed sexual harassment or assault.
AB 1223: Requires that in addition to the existing obligation to provide an employee with 30 days of paid leave per year for organ donation, employers must also provide an additional 30 days of unpaid leave if needed.
SB 142: Defines the accommodations that employers must provide to lactating mothers, including a private space (not a bathroom), with electricity, a surface or table for equipment, and a place to sit. There must also be a sink or refrigerator (for cooling) near the workplace. There are additional requirements for certain industries. Employers with less than 50 employees may seek an exemption if it poses an undue hardship, though they still must accommodate to the best of their ability.
SB 188: Expands racial discrimination to include discrimination based upon historical traits associated with race, such as hairstyles and hair texture.
SB 688: Expands the authority of the Labor Commissioner to adjudicate claims regarding unpaid wages as detailed in a contract or agreement. The previous law only allowed the Commissioner to adjudicate claims that an employee was not paid at least minimum wage.
SB 707: Details that if an employer fails to pay arbitration fees within 30 days of the due date, the employer is in material breach of the agreement, and the employee may proceed with a court claim.
SB 778: Impacts previous laws regarding sexual harassment training requirements by clarifying that employers with 5 or more employees have until 1/1/2019 to provide two hours of training to supervisors and one hour of training to non-supervisory employees. Training provided in 2019 is not required until two years later.
While this list is not fully comprehensive, it provides a basis for employers to understand some of the major changes that may impact their operations and their compliance requirements. It is recommended that all businesses conduct an audit to determine if any of these legislative changes impact their specific industry or company.
CA HR Services specializes in working with small and medium-sized companies to help develop legal, efficient and appropriate HR processes and procedures that meet state and federal labor law requirements.