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2017 Employment Law Update For California Businesses

New Minimum Wage for Companies With 26 or More Employees

Businesses with 26 or more employees $10.50 an hour minimum wage then $11 beginning 2018 and rising a dollar a year until they reach $15 an hour in 2022. Businesses with 25 or fewer employers remain at $10 an hour but begin to rise in 2018 ($10.15) 2019 ($11) then a dollar a year until they reach $15 an hour in 2023.

Payroll Change

Employers who must notify their employees of their eligibility for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit, must also notify them of the California Earned Income Tax Credit. The required language is contained in the statute.


New I-9 Forms and Related Protections

Employers must use the new I-9 forms dated 11/14/16 [ resources/pdf/hrs-forms/i9- form-printable.pdf]. Also, federal law forbids an employer from asking for more information than is required by the form or refusing to accept documents presented to comply with the form. California employees may now besubjected to a $10,000 fine if they violate these federal provisions.

All-Gender Restroom Signage

Single user bathrooms must have compliant “all-gender signage. Check your local building codes.

California’s Fair Pay Act Expanded

Employers cannot pay a lower rate than paid to other employees of a different race or ethnicity for substantially similar work. Prior salary alone cannot justify a difference in pay.

No Smoking

Includes owner-operated businesses with no small-business exception. Includes any devised that delivers nicotine [e-cigarettes, vaporizers.] Eliminates exemptions for bars, hotel lobbies and warehouses. No more employer-designated smoking break rooms.

Weed at Work

Proposition 64 legalized the recreational use of marijuana in California. However, employers still have the right and obligation to regulate the use on and off the job if it effects performance or poses a danger. Using, possessing, selling, transporting and cultivating marijuana remains a serious offense under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. It is still listed as a Schedule 1 drug along with heroin, LSD, peyote, amphetamines and other dangerous drugs. See my power point presentation on this subject.

Click Here for a Drugs at Work informative Power Point

Juvenile Conviction Records

Employers can no longer inquire about the criminal history of juveniles and cannot use it in any employment decision.

Required Notice of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Protections

By July 1, 2017, the Labor Commissioner is required to post on its website a form providing notice to employees of their protections against Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking. The requirement applies to any employer with 25 or more employees. The employer is not required to post such notice unless and until the Labor Commissioner posts the form on its website.

Paid Family Leave Benefit Changes

Starting January 1, 2018, PFL benefits increase from 55% of your income to 60% or 70% of your income depending on your level of income. There will be no seven day waiting period. PFL does NOT create a right to a leave of absence or a guaranteed return to work.

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