On Jan. 1, 2021, many new California laws took effect. Some of them especially impacted employment and the workplace.
Sherman Oaks Accounting & Bookkeeping powered by One Source Services, Inc. compiled a summary of the new 2021 California laws we thought were most relevant to business owners & employers.
MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE: California’s minimum wage increased to $14 per hour for businesses with over 25 employees and $13 per hour for businesses employing 25 or fewer people.
COVID-19 EXPOSURE NOTIFICATION: AB 685 says that all California employers must promptly inform employees and local public health officials after someone at the worksite has a positive COVID-19 test result, medical diagnosis, and/or isolation order. Furthermore, the law expanded Cal/OSHA’s authority to close down a worksite if they determine it is an immediate danger.
FAMILY & MEDICAL LEAVE EXPANSION FOR SMALL BUSINESS: SB1383 made it so employers with as few as 5 employees must provide up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to qualifying staff who experience life events including serious health problems, the birth of a child, and military active-duty. To qualify, employees must have worked for the company more than 12 months and put in over 1,250 hours during the previous 12-month period. In the event that both parents work for the same employer, both qualified parents must each be allowed 12 workweeks of leave.
KIN CARE LEAVE: AB 2017 empowers employees to use their sick days at their own discretion. Businesses can no longer deny an employee use of their sick days for any reason the employee decides.
EXPANDED LEAVE FOR CRIME VICTIMS: AB 2992 extends job-protected leave for crime and abuse victims who suffered a physical injury, mental injury, and/or a threat of physical injury. Companies with more than 25 employees must now provide these victims with unpaid time off to get medical attention, psychological counseling, engage in safety planning, and/or obtain other related assistance.
NEW SUCCESSOR LIABILITY RISKS: AB 3075 says that companies acquiring another business with similar operations, whether through a merger or consolidation, are now liable for all wages, damages, and penalties the predecessor owed its employees.
CORPORATIONS & UNDERREPRESENTED COMMUNITIES: AB979 requires that California-based companies have at least one board director who is a racial or sexual minority by the end of 2021. Then by the end of 2022, they must have at least 2 such directors for smaller boards and 3 for boards with 9 or more directors. Additionally, companies with 100 or more employees must now provide information to California on employees’ race, ethnicity, and gender in specified job categories. The information could help California identify pay disparities.
ANNUAL REPORT PAY DATA: SB973 is intended to address California’s gender wage gap. The new law requires private companies with 100 or more employees to present the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) with an annual pay-data report. The report must contain wage information tied to race, ethnicity, and gender. The law also authorizes the DFEH to “receive, investigate, conciliate, mediate, and prosecute complaints alleging practices unlawful under current discriminatory wage rate provisions.”
The laws specified above are the ones that Sherman Oaks Accounting & Bookkeeping powered by One Source Services, Inc. found to be most relevant to California businesses and employers.
Of course, there are additional new 2021 laws regarding driving, public health and safety, transportation, and other subjects that went into effect as well that every Californian should know.
You can learn more on the California Legislature website by clicking here.