At the stroke of Midnight on December 31, 2022, we say good-bye to the old year and usher in the New Year – 2023. Then, at 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2023, we say hello to several changes in Labor and Employment Laws in the State of California. Here are some o those changes which may impact area businesses:
Minimum Wage Increases for All Employees Due to Inflation
The California Minimum Wage for all employers, regardless of the number of employees on the payroll, will increase to $15.50 per hour as of January 1, based on an inflation-driven cost-of-living adjustment in the minimum wage laws. California Labor Code section 1182.12 defines the minimum wage annually and then allows for certain adjustments if inflation and unemployment numbers warrant, as well as causing all employers, regardless whether employing 25 or fewer employees, to pay the same rate across the board.
This also drives up the minimum salary to be paid for employees to qualify under the salary test for exempt status, as they must be paid twice the current minimum wage. This means that all employees, to be classified as exempt, must in addition to the duties test, be paid a minimum annual salary of $64,480.00, and the salary to qualify for the computer professional exemption will increase to $112,065.20 annually, which is $53.80 per hour.
Employees May Now Take 12 Weeks California Family Rights Act Leave to Care for a Designated Person
In September, Governor Gavin Newson signed AB 1041, expanding an employee’s right to take up to 12 weeks of protected unpaid leave from work to care for a person designated by the employee, starting January 1, 2023.
The California Family Rights Act, originally enacted in 1993, was amended in 2020 to expand the definition of employer to those employing five or more employees, effective January 1, 2021. The CFRA makes it an unlawful employment practice for a California employer with five or more employees to refuse to grant a request from an employee who meets specified requirements to take up to a total of 12 workweeks of protected leave from work in any 12-month period to care for their own medical condition or that of a family member. During this leave period, an employee could be required to use Paid Family Leave benefits, sick leave for their own condition, or accrued vacation pay, while the employer is required to continue to pay for the employer portion of any group medical insurance benefit.
As of January 1, 2023, this latest legislation expands the class of people for whom an employee may take CFRA leave to care for to include a designated person. Government Code section 12945.2 defines “designated person” to mean: “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” The employee is permitted to identify the designated person at the time the employee requests the leave, although the law allows an employer to limit an employee to one designated person per 12-month period for CFRA family care and medical leave. Preferably, this should be done in writing before leaves under the CFRA are requested. At the very least, however, this limitation should be put in writing to an employee requesting this leave when the designated person is identified by the employee when requesting leave.
The CFRA was also amended to provide that employers of 5 or more employees must provide eligible employees with up to 5 days bereavement leave within 3 months of the death of the employee’s spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, domestic partner or parent-in-law, and the 5 days need not be taken consecutively.
Job Postings Must Include Salary Range Information
As of January 1, all job postings by employers with 15 or more employees must include the pay scale for a position in any job posting. SB1162, which amends Labor Code section 432.3, also requires an employer, upon request, to provide to an employee the pay scale for the position in which the employee is currently employed and will require an employer to maintain records of a job title and wage rate history for each employee for the period of employment plus 3 years after termination of employment.
These and other changes in the law may warrant revisiting the business’ employee handbook and other written policies to insure they are kept up to date with the law.
The author, Donald W. Hitzeman, a shareholder with Reid & Hellyer, A
Professional Corporation, is an experienced Business Law Litigator and Transactional Attorney. He has over 38 years of legal experience, including advising business owners and operators on employment issues, as well as general business litigation, transactional matters and estate planning. He may be reached at his Murrieta office at (951)695-8700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.