The following article appears in the January edition of The Gem magazine. The GCVCC would like to thank the Law Office of Karen J. Sloat for their contributions to the article.
January will usher in a new year, and with it, new laws for the State of California. The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce routinely tracks new legal requirements as part of our broader legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of members. Below are just a few of the new rules that may impact your employment or business.
Leaves of Absence
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) will see a significant expansion with SB 1383. The bill will extend employer coverage to include all employers with five or more employees, which is quite a departure from the previous requirement for 50 or more employees. Under SB 1383, CFRA’s definition of covered “family members” is also broader than the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). As a result, SB 1383 will impact larger employers who will have to administer CFRA and FMLA separately, with more complex analysis on a case-to-case basis. For example, an employee can take 12 weeks of leave from their job to care for a sibling under the CFRA and then another 12 weeks to tend to their own illness under the FMLA, resulting in a total of 24 weeks of job-protected leave per year. Human Resources departments will be busy!
Wages Going Up
The recent annual escalation of the California Minimum Wage will continue in 2021. The law signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2015 has brought on a wage progression each year, with 2021 checking in at $13.00 an hour for employers with 25 employees or less, and $14.00 an hour for employers with more than 25 employees. Those who work or conduct business outside of Riverside County should also keep in mind that several local jurisdictions across California have their own minimum wage requirements, which may be higher than the State’s minimum. Don’t forget that minimum exempt employee salaries must also increase, to $54,080 (small employers with 25 or fewer employees) or $58,240/year (26 or more employees).
AB 685 establishes strict COVID-19 recording and reporting requirements when employers receive notice of any potential COVID-19 exposure in the workplace. AB 685 imposes several strict duties on employers, including issuing notices to different groups of employees and contractors within one business day after receiving notice of a potential COVID-19 exposure. Local employers must also notify the Riverside County Health Department if an “outbreak” (3 or more COVID cases) occurs at the worksite. New Regulations from the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) require all employers with one or more employees to have a written COVID-19 Prevention Plan in a binder on site, with training and implementation of new procedures due as of 11/30/20.
Consult a Pro
If you own or operate a business in California, several more laws that take effect in 2021 – or took effect in late 2020 – could significantly impact your business or workplace. For precise details and legal guidance, consult a labor law attorney and/or CPA. At the Law Office of Karen J. Sloat, APC, we are prepared to provide you with notices, forms, manuals and counsel.
As a reminder to all businesses, the DIR also requires all California businesses with employees to prominently post a number of labor law posters covering topics such as the minimum wage, health and safety, and other important labor laws in the workplace. These posters need to be updated annually. The Chamber can supply you with posters for 2021 that meet this requirement, and you can contact them at (760) 347-0676.
This article is provided to readers of The Gem for informational purposes only and should not be viewed or treated as legal advice. For legal renderings of new and existing State laws, propositions, or other legal requirements in your jurisdiction, consult a qualified legal professional.