Top Ten 2023 Labor And Employment Law Updates
To all California Employers and Employees
Please note all of these new California employment laws, effective January 1, 2023, which affect your workplace:
1. Reminder: Minimum Wage Increase
Minimum wage is $15.50 per hour for all employers regardless of size. Most of you are aware of the increase to the minimum wage, but employers should also be sure the salaries of their exempt “executive,” “administrative,” and “professional” employees are increased accordingly to be twice the minimum wage. The annual salary to qualify for the exemptions from California overtime laws increased to $64,480 ($31/hour and $1,240/week) for all-size employers (there will no longer be a lower threshold for small employers).
If employees are not paid at these rates and/or do not meet the exempt duties tests to be salaried, the employer must pay overtime rates and provide other benefits required for all non-exempt, hourly employees.
Employers – please do not assume you can pay any employee a salary. Instead, check with us to confirm their job duties fit within an approved exemption.
2. Expansion of Family Leave & Paid Sick Leave
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA), applicable to employers with five or more employees, was dramatically expanded to permit employees to take job-protected leave to care for a “designated person,” which may include non-family members. A “designated person” means any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the “equivalent of a family relationship,” including a domestic partner.
The law allows an employee to designate one person per 12-month period and employers need to keep track of who that designated person is over the course of the 12-month period. After the 12-month period, an employee will be able to designate a different person for the next 12 months.
Employers need to keep track of who that designated person is over the course of the 12-month period. Contact our office for more information.
3. Mandatory Bereavement Leave
Employers with five (5) or more employees must provide up to five (5) days of unpaid bereavement leave for an employee within three months of the death of a family member, including a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law. Bereavement leave may be unpaid, but employees can use their existing available leave (e.g., vacation, PTO, sick leave, etc.).
We help employers update their employee handbooks to include this requirement and others mentioned in this Law Update. We are here to help. Give us a call.
4. Discrimination – New Protected Category: Contraceptives Equity Act
This new law prohibits employers from discriminating against an applicant or employee based on their “reproductive health decision-making,” defined as “a decision to use or access a particular drug, device, product, or medical service for reproductive health.” In addition, the law clarifies that discrimination based on “sex” also includes reproductive health decision-making.
Employers – Contact our office for guidance and to update your employee handbook policies to include this new “protected category.”
5. Employees Excused from Work During “Emergency Conditions”
Employers may not retaliate against workers who leave work or refuse to show up to work due to an emergency condition, such as a natural disaster or criminal act, or an order to evacuate. Nor can an employer retaliate against a worker who leaves work or refuses to show up to work because they feel unsafe due to this emergency condition.
The law explicitly excludes health pandemics from the definition of “emergency condition.” We help Employers understand the application of this and other new employment laws. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our office for more information.
6. Notice of COVID Exposure Modified
The duties of employers when notified of potential exposure to COVID-19 have been modified. The main modification is that employers may post a notice of potential COVID-19 exposure at the worksite instead of providing individual written notice to employees on the premises at the same worksite. This law is only in effect until January 1, 2024.
We guide Employers on how to handle tricky COVID-19 issues in the workplace. Please give us a call for assistance on workplace COVID requirements.
7. California Privacy Rights Act
The California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”), a new comprehensive consumer privacy law, are effective as of January 1, 2023. This means new privacy-related obligations for certain employers, including: (1) notifying applicants, employees, and contractors about the categories of personal information that are or may be collected by the employer, describing the purposes for the collection and disclosure of such information, providing information regarding the sharing and retention of personal information; (2) creating a category of “special information” that is entitled to additional protections; (3) employee’s rights to access or restrict the use or disclosure of certain categories of personal information; (4) employees’ rights to correct the employer or delete personal information; and (5) employees’ rights to request personal information that has been collected about them during the preceding 12 months.
Contact our office to determine whether your company falls under CPRA and to prepare for workplace CPRA compliance. Covered Employers should update their employee privacy notice, assess their databases/systems and develop plans for promptly addressing any employee request to access, correct, and/or delete data.
8. Pay Transparency-Pay Scales & Pay Reporting Data
Before now, California employers were prohibited from asking job applicants about their salary history during the hiring process. Employers must also provide job applicants with pay scale information upon the job applicant’s request. As of January 1, 2023, however, employers have new pay scale obligations — and not just to job applicants.
First, job applicants can request, and every employer must provide a pay scale for the position available.
Second, employers must provide, upon request, a pay scale to any existing employee for the position in which they are currently working. The law defines “pay scale” as the salary or hourly wage range that the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position.
Third, employers with 15 or more employees must include the pay scale information for a position in any job posting.
Fourth, employers must maintain records of job titles and wage rate histories for each employee for the duration of their employment plus three years after the end of employment.
Finally, employer pay data requirements, which apply to employers with 100 or more employees, were expanded. In addition to reporting the number of employees by race, ethnicity, and sex by job-title categories and pay bands, employers must now report the median and mean hourly rate within each job category for each combination of race, ethnicity, and sex in the report. These larger employers must also obtain this data from any labor contractors, such as staffing agencies, to report to the CA government.
Civil penalties range from $100 to $10,000 for violations of these new labor laws.
To comply with the complicated pay transparency laws and limit your company’s exposure to Labor Code penalties, please give us a call.
9. Fast Food Worker Protections
Effective as of January 1, 2023, the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Recovery Act) creates a 10-person Fast Food Sector Council (Council) within the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) tasked with creating a bill of rights for fast-food workers. The Council is empowered to establish sector-wide minimum standards on (1) wages, subject to restrictions on the amount it may establish for minimum wage; (2) working hours; and (3) other working conditions for covered fast-food workers. In addition, the new law includes anti-retaliation measures prohibiting fast-food restaurant operators from discharging, discriminating or retaliating against employees who make complaints or disclose information regarding employee or public health or safety.
Fast food restaurant employers, do not hesitate to contact our office for more guidance and information on the FAST Recovery Act.
10. 2023 IRS Standard Mileage Rates
On July 1, 2022, the IRS increased the standard mileage rates to 62.5 cents per mile (up 4 cents). In addition, the medical or moving driving rate were also increased to 22 cents per mile. Please note that the charitable organization rate of 14 cents per mile remained unchanged. The rates continue through 2023.
Please contact our office if you have questions regarding employee mileage or other business-related reimbursements.
See our Resources page at: www.karensloatlaw.com/resources for new hire forms and other governmental forms and pamphlets, conveniently gathered for you to download, use or complete for all employees. Remember, we offer employers a complimentary review of Employee Handbooks, Personnel Policies and Personnel Forms.
Get in touch with us if you have any questions about these new laws, our 2023 Employment Law updates, or anything on our Resources page. We’re happy to help!