CHANGES TO CALIFORNIA EMPLOYMENT LAW EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2014
by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.
October 13, 2013 was the last day for Governor Jerry Brown to sign or veto the laws that required his approval for the first half of the 2013-2014 Regular Session. The following laws were approved and affect employers and employees alike:
1. Minimum Wage Increase- AB 10
The California minimum wage will be increased in two one-dollar increments.
Effective July 1, 2014, the minimum wage will increase from the current $8.00 per hour rate to $9.00 per hour.
The rate will increase again to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2016.
2. Prohibited Retaliation Based on Immigration/Citizenship Status- SB 666
Employers are prohibited form preventing, or retaliating against, an employee based on the employee’s citizenship or immigration status who:
Provides information to, or testifies before, any public body conducting a hearing, investigation, or inquiry, or
Has engaged in protected conduct (including a written or oral complaint that the employee is owed unpaid wages). The employer could be fined up to $10,000 per violation.
3. Domestic Worker Bill of Rights- AB 241
Until January 1, 2017, the Domestic Worker Bill of rights will regulate the hours of certain domestic work employees and provide an overtime compensation rate of 1.5 times the regular rate of pay to those employees who work more than 9 hours in a work day or 45 hours in any work week. The bill defines “domestic work employee” and its specific exclusions.
4. Liquidated Damages Liability for Unpaid Wages- AB 442
For employers that fail to pay minimum wages, AB 442 subjects employers not only to criminal and civil penalties, and the payment of restitution to employees, but adds liquidated damages.
5. Criminal Background Checks for Youth Sports- AB 465
Employers or Human Resource Agencies of Community youth athletic programs may now request state and federal level criminal history information from the Department of Justice when selecting a volunteer coach or hired coach.
HOW DO THESE CHANGES AFFECT YOU?
In order to comply with the new laws, employers must update their minimum wage posters and ensure that the changes have been made by their payroll department and/or vendor. In addition, contracts with employees and independent contractors should be reviewed before the end of the year.
When was the last time your Employee Handbook revised?
If the answer is “last decade,” or “what’s an Employee Handbook?” the time to act is before the new year, especially when work flow may slow during the holidays.
Employee Handbooks should be updated on an annual basis to reflect the changes in the law, and to revise any internal policies that are obsolete or ineffective. Employee Handbooks set Company expectations and can be used as evidence in employment lawsuits with claims such as wrongful termination or discrimination.
To schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s employment attorneys to determine which changes must be made in your employment practices, fill out a Contact Request Form, schedule an appointment, or call (323) 450-9010.