California will be seeing multiple changes to state employment laws that could impact a variety of businesses all over the state. It is important for people to be aware of some of the recent changes so they can also understand their rights in certain cases.

New laws in California not only relate to how much people can be paid, but also mileage reimbursements, bereavement leave, and pay transparency. California also codified certain protections relating to reproductive decision-making, caring for designated persons, and off-duty cannabis use.

Minimum Wage Increases

Beginning on January 1, 2023, all employers in California must pay a minimum wage of $15.50 per hour. It is important to understand that various communities in the state already have minimum wages that are higher than the state minimum, including Santa Monica ($15.96), Oakland ($15.97), Menlo Park ($16.20), San Diego ($16.30), Burlingame ($16.47), San Francisco ($16.99), Redwood City ($17.00), Los Altos ($17.20), Palo Alto ($17.25), and West Hollywood ($17.00 for employers with less than 50 employees).

Salary employees should also be aware that they cannot be classified as exempt (meaning they are not entitled to overtime pay) unless their salary is twice the minimum wage for full-time work. The salary basis increases each time the minimum wage increases, meaning that a salary employee must be making at least $64,480.

California also increased the mileage reimbursement rate to 65.5 cents per mile.

Bereavement Leave

When a family member dies, an employee can be entitled to bereavement leave. Beginning this year, all employers with five or more employees must provide employees with as many as five days of unpaid bereavement leave for the death of a family member, which means either a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling, a grandparent, a grandchild, a domestic partner, or a parent-in-law within three months of the family member’s death.

Pay Transparency

All employers in California with 15 or more employees now must include a position’s salary or hourly wage range for any internal or external job posting. Upon request, the employers also must provide their current employees with the pay scales for the positions. 

Reproductive Decision-Making Protections

While the new law will not go into effect until January 1, 2024, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) will make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an applicant or employee based upon their reproductive health decision-making. Reproductive health decision-making is defined under the law as a decision to use or access a particular drug, use, device, product, or medical service for reproductive health. 

Caring for a Designated Person

Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) that applies to all California employers with five or more employees, eligible employees can take job-protected leave to care for certain family members with serious health conditions. Eligible employees can take CFRA leave to care for a designated person, which is defined as “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”   

The California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act also allows employees to take paid sick leave to care for themselves, family members, or a designated person, which is defined as a person identified by the employee at the time the employee requests paid sick leave. The CRFA and the California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act both limit employees to one designated person during a 12-month period.

Off-Duty Cannabis Use

Another law not taking effect until 2024 will be prohibitions on adverse employment actions against employees for recreational marijuana use away from the job. Employers are still permitted to prohibit employees from possessing, being impaired by, or using marijuana on the job.

Contact Our Experienced Business Litigation Lawyer in Silicon Valley

If you need help navigating California employment laws, do not wait to get yourself legal representation. Kalia Law P.C. represents clients throughout the greater Mountain View area and many other surrounding communities.
Our firm handles issues relating to business formation, tax issues, and compliance with federal and state laws. Call (650) 701-7617 or contact us online to speak with a Mountain View startup and small business attorney.

- Claire Kalia

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