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Many employment bills became effective January 1, 2020.

  • California’s minimum wage and exempt salary thresholds increased. The state minimum wage increased from $12 per hour to $13 per hour for employers with 26 employees or more, and the exempt annual salary threshold increased from $49,920 to $54,080.
    • For employers with 25 employees or less, the minimum wage increased from $11 per hour to $12, and the exempt annual salary threshold increased from $45,760 to $49,920.
    • Be aware: You may employ workers in jurisdictions that impose higher minimum wages. Check this list of various jurisdictions in the San Francisco Bay area.  https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/these-bay-area-cities-will-increase-minimum-wage-in-2020/  You can google search for any jurisdiction wherein you employ people throughout California.  But, don’t count on them.  Things change, always confirm with a call to the municipality where your employees work as to their specific regulations.

 

  • Strict Test for Independent Contractor Status. If you have anyone working for you as an “independent contractor” you must review their status.  This is a huge shift in enforcement policy.  Please refer to my blog at

California Supreme Court Opinion New Paradigm in Test for Independent Contractors

 

  • Statute of Limitations for Filing Complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment Extended from One to Three Years

 

  • Harassment-Prevention Training Compliance Deadline Extended for Small Employers and Nonsupervisory Employees to January 1, 2021
    • The FEHA requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisory employees within six months of their assumption of a supervisory position and once every two years. SB 1343, extends training requirements to small employers and to nonsupervisory employees.  Employers with five or more employees must provide at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to supervisory employees, and at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training to nonsupervisory employees within six months of their assumption of a position.

 

  • Employers prohibited from requiring applicants or employees from waiving any rights to file complaints covered by the FEHA or Labor Code, as a condition of employment, continued employment or the receipt of any employment-related benefit.

 

  • Employees may now recover statutory penalties for Employer’s Late Payment of Wages During Employment: 1) for any initial violation, $100 for each failure to pay each employee; 2) for each subsequent violation, or any willful or intentional violation, $200 for each failure to pay each employee, plus 25 percent of the amount unlawfully withheld.

 

  • Restrictions on “No-Rehire” and “No Future Employment” Clauses in Settlement Agreements. Most settlement agreements in the past contain a provision that the settling employee agrees never to apply for a future position with the settling defendant.  This amendment makes such provision void except where the employee was charged with sexual harassment. Lots of potential litigation here.

 

  • Expanded Lactation Accommodation Requirements. All employers must provide an employee a break to express breast milk for the employee’s infant child each time they need to express milk. The breaks may run concurrently with any break already provided to the employee, but any such breaks that do not run concurrently with another break may be unpaid.
    • Employers must provide the employee with a clean and safe room or other location to express milk in private that is close to the employee’s work area. The room or location must satisfy certain conditions, including 1) contain a surface to place a breast pump and personal items; 2) contain a place to sit; and 3) have access to electricity or another device that enables the use of an electric or battery-powered breast pump. Not a bathroom.
    • Employers must provide access to a sink with running water and a refrigerator suitable for storing milk (or, if a refrigerator cannot be provided, some other suitable cooling device) that is close to the employee’s workspace.

 

  • The definition of “Race” has been expanded to include “protective hairstyles” such as “braids, locks, and twists.” Dress codes and grooming policies that prohibit such “protective hairstyles,” may discriminate on the basis of race.

 

These are only a few of the new laws enacted this year concerning labor.  Please consult an expert before making an important employment decision.

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