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The New 2017 California Employment Laws – Are You Ready?

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The new year brings a number of significant measures impacting employers.  Below is an overview of new workplace-related laws you should be aware of:

EMPLOYMENT LAW

EFFECTIVE DATE

DESCRIPTION

Wage & Hour
California State Minimum Wage Increase

(Senate Bill No. 3)

1/1/2017 Increases the minimum wage over the next several years to $15 an hour. Starting on 1/1/2017, businesses with 26 or more employees must pay a minimum wage of at least $10.50 per hour. Businesses with less than 26 employees are not required to make the change until 2018.

*Note: Many cities throughout California have enacted their own minimum wage increases, which may exceed the rate set by state law. Be sure to check your city’s local minimum wage ordinance to verify your company complies.

Fair Pay Act

(Assembly Bill 1676)

1/1/2017 Expand on Fair Pay Act and states that an opposite-sex employee’s prior salary alone cannot justify a disparity in compensation for equal work on jobs which require equal skill.
Wage Equality Act

(Senate Bill No. 1063)

1/1/2017 Extends California’s Fair Pay Act protections to race and ethnicity. It specifies that an individual’s prior salary cannot, by itself, justify a wage differential. It will now be unlawful to pay employees less than employees of another race or ethnicity for “substantially similar work”.
Itemized Wage Statements

(Assembly Bill No. 2535)

1/1/2017 Clarifies that “Exempt” employees are not required to have their hours tracked and logged on an itemized wage statement (or pay stub).
State Employee Benefits
Increased Paid Family Leave & State Disability Insurance 1/1/2018 State PFL and SDI wage replacement benefits will increase to 60 or 70%, depending upon income. 7-day waiting period for PFL eliminated.
Discrimination
Juvenile Criminal History

(Assembly Bill No. 1843)

1/1/2017 Potential employers cannot ask an applicant about information concerning past involvement in juvenile court, including adjudication or court disposition, with exceptions regarding health worker records for both adult and juvenile court records.
Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence, Stalking, Sexual Assault

(Assembly Bill No. 2337)

7/1/2017 Employers are required to inform workers who are victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault of their existing rights to take time off work for a variety of services, medical treatment, counseling and safety planning. Unscheduled absences due to those circumstances cannot be punished if the employee provides certification in a reasonable amount of time.
Immigration Documentation, Unfair Practices

(Senate Bill No. 1001)

1/1/2017 Makes it unlawful for an employer to request more or different immigration documents than required by law, or to refuse documents that “on their face reasonably appear to be genuine.”
Single-User Restrooms: All Gender

(Assembly Bill No. 1732)

3/1/2017 Single-occupancy restroom facilities in any business establishment must be identified with signage as “all gender” facilities, rather than designated as male or female. A single-user restroom is a toilet facility with no more than one water closet and one urinal with a locking mechanism that is controlled by the user.
Employment Contracts
Arbitration Agreements

(Senate Bill 1241)

1/1/2017 Restricts employers from requiring employees who primarily reside and work in California to adjudicate claims outside of California when the claim arose in California, or deprive employees of California law with respect of claims arising in California.
Hiring Practices
Los Angeles “Fair Chance Initiative”

(Los Angeles Ordinance No. 184652)

1/22/2017 Prohibits private employers with at least 10 employees from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made.

*For more information, please refer to MMC’s Memorandum detailing the specific requirements under the ordinance