• NEW COBRA Subsidy Requirement April 1, 2021: The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) contains several employer mandates, including a requirement to fully subsidize the cost of continuing health coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) for eligible individuals beginning April 1, 2021.  ARPA also requires that employers provide notice to former employees who may qualify for the subsidy by May 30, 2021. Thus, employers will need to act quickly to determine who will receive the notices.  Click here for more information in a summary by a colleague.
  • NEW Expanded California Family Rights Act:  Effective January 1, 2021, SB 1383 requires all employers with 5 or more employees to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under certain circumstances, and expands the list of covered family members for whom employees may use leave to care for to include siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren.
  • NEW Kin Care Law:  Employee has Sole Discretion to Designate Paid Sick Leave Time. On September 28, 2020, Governor Newsom signed AB 2017 into law, which revises Labor Code section 233 so that sick leave being used for any of the above reasons is at the employee’s “sole discretion.” AB 2017 does not require employers to provide any additional paid or protected time off – it simply clarifies who has the right to designate whether sick leave is being taken for one of these protected reasons.
    • Reporting Obligations
      AB 685 adds to California’s growing list of COVID-19 health and safety related laws, imposing additional reporting obligations on employers and expanding Cal/OSHA’s authority to issue shutdown orders for workplaces that pose a risk of an “imminent hazard” relating to COVID-19.   What this means for employers: Employers should update their written COVID protocols for employees, and prepare template notices that include the information required under the new law.
    • COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Presumption
      SB 1159 creates a disputable workers’ compensation presumption that illness or death related to COVID-19 is an occupational injury and therefore eligible for benefits.  What this means for employers: The presumption is disputable, meaning that employers have an opportunity to refute the presumption by providing evidence to indicate that an employee did not contract COVID-19 at the workplace. Employers should ensure that they implement adequate measures to reduce potential transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace and that these measures are well documented.
    • Temporary Cal/OSHA “COVID-19 Prevention Rule”
      California’s Office of Administrative Law approved Cal/OSHA’s emergency COVID-19 Prevention Rule, which will remain in effect through at least October 2, 2021. One of the key provisions of the new rule requires California employers to establish and implement a written prevention program tailored toward preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.  What this means for employers: This rule is expansive and imposes a number of significant burdens on employers.
  • Supreme Court News:   The California Supreme Court’s 2018 Dynamex ruling that made it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors applies retroactively, the justices held Thursday, signaling that courts should apply the tougher standard to weigh suits that were pending when it was handed down. The California Supreme Court issued an opinion determining that Dynamex is retroactive. Here is the link to the opinion: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S258191.PDF
  • Effective January 1, 2021 NEW Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Requirements

What were the former AB 1825 Training Requirements? The state of California harassment law AB 1825, mandated statewide sexual harassment training for any employee who performed supervisory functions within a company of 50 employees or more.  What are the current SB 1343 Training Requirements? The state of California harassment law SB 1343, requires employers with five or more employees to provide nonsupervisory employees with at least one hour of sexual harassment training every two years, in addition to requiring these employers to provide two hours of the supervisory training every other year. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing provides free online training courses on preventing sexual harassment and abusive conduct in the workplace that satisfy California’s legal training requirements pursuant to Gov’t Code 12950.1.  The DFEH has just provided free online Sexual Harassment Training to satisfy this new requirement.

  • Eff. July 1, 2020 Paid Family Leave increased from 6 to 8 weeks and the state has updated this information. You can find the new updated pamphlet here.
  • CORONAVIRUS NEWS:   The federal government passed a relief act last week that requires expanded FMLA rights and sick leave benefits for those impacted by COVID.  The law requires that employers inform employees of these new rights, and the statute required the government to publish a form for employers to give to employees.  Here is the Fact Sheet promised by the Wage and Hour Division, with the passage of the recent Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The following link is for Family First Coronavirus Response Act Notice-Frequently Asked Questions.https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-poster-questions
  • President Trump just signed the CARES Act into law. Here are two letters from a wealth management company on what it means:
  1. What it means for individualshttps://creativeplanning.com/blog/individual-planning-with-the-cares-act/
  2. What it means for businesseshttps://creativeplanning.com/blog/the-cares-act/
  • NEW California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Publishes COVID-19 Employment Guidance   Click here for the publication.
  • NEW The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Publishes COVID-19 Guidance for Employers 
  1. Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and The Americans with Disabilities Act.  Click here to see the updated guidance.
  2. What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws  Click  here to see guidance.

NEW U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) posted a webinar addressing questions arising under any of the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws and the COVID-19 pandemic.

This webinar answers questions submitted by the public about how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in light of the federal employment nondiscrimination laws the EEOC enforces – including the American’s with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title VII, and GINA. The webinar supplements the COVID-19 publications already available on the EEOC’s website: “What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19” and “Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act”.   EEOC Chair Janet Dhillon also issued a message about unlawful national origin and race discrimination against Asian Americans in the workplace during the pandemic.

  • On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final overtime rule to make 1.3 million American workers newly eligible for overtime pay. The final rule updates the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay requirements, and allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses/commissions towards meeting the salary level.   In the final rule, the Department is:  (1) raising the “standard salary level” from the currently enforced level of $455 per week to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker); (2) raising the total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees” from the currently enforced level of $100,000 per year to $107,432 per year; (3)  allowing employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level, in recognition of evolving pay practices; and (4) revising the special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and the motion picture industry.The final rule is effective on January 1, 2020.

Disclaimer: This final rule has been submitted to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) for publication, and is currently pending placement on public inspection at the OFR and publication in the Federal Register. This version of the final rule may vary slightly from the published document if minor technical or formatting changes are made during the OFR review process. Only the version published in the Federal Register is the official final rule.

  • ICE Investigations in California without warrant prohibited effective January, 1, 2018.  AB 450, California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act, goes into effect January 1. This new law bars Golden State employers from voluntarily allowing ICE access to the workplace without a judicial warrant. The law also requires employers to notify workers about specified immigration enforcement actions.
  • California Minimum Wage Increases effective January 1, 2021.  Beginning January 1, 2021, employers with 26 or more employees must pay non-exempt employees a minimum wage of $14.00 per hour, with the rate reaching $15.00 per hour in 2022.  Smaller businesses (25 employees or less) are now required to pay non-exempt hourly employees a minimum wage of $13.00 per hour beginning January 1, 2021.  Effective 1/1/2021, the federal minimum wage rate for workers performing work on or in connection with federal contracts is $10.95 per hour; and tipped employees performing work on or in connection with federal contracts must be paid at least $ 7.65 per hour.   Otherwise, federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour. Employees are entitled to be paid the higher state minimum wage, and applies to most employees in California, with limited exceptions including tipped employees, some student workers, and other exempt occupations.
  • State 2021 White Collar Exemptions Minimum Salary.  A significant impact of the state’s minimum wage increase involves the minimum salary required to be paid to exempt employees. The California requirement remains two times the minimum hourly wage based on a 40 hour workweek (regardless of how many hours the exempt employee actually works). Thus, for larger employers (26 or more employees) beginning Jan. 1, 2021 the California minimum salary for exempt employees is $ 58,240 per year.   For smaller companies with 25 employees or less, the California minimum salary for White Collar exempt employees is be $54,080 annually, starting on January 1, 2021.  As always, in addition to the compensation requirement, in order to qualify as exempt the employee must also perform the duties set forth in the applicable wage orders.
  • City of San Diego Minimum Wage January 1, 2021.   As of January 1, 2021, the City of San Diego will continue to have one of the highest minimum wages in the country at $14.00 per hour for employees working at least two hours in a single workweek and within city boundaries.
  • California Mandatory Paid Sick Leave.  Starting July 1, 2015, employers were required to provide eligible employees with at least 3 paid sick days per year.  Click here for new poster and revised Labor Code section 2810.5 form.  For additional information, click here for FAQs from the DIR website.
  • Effective January 2021, the IRS Mileage Rate for business reimbursement decreased to 56 cents per mile for business miles driven (down 1.5 cents from 2020), 16 cents per mile for medical or moving purposes, and still 14 cents for charitable organizations.  
  • Other Exemptions Effective January 2021,  the Computer Software Exemption minimum hourly rate of pay from $46.55 to $ 47.48, the minimum monthly salary exemption from $ 8,080.71 to $8,242.32, and the minimum annual salary exemption from $ 96,968.33 to $98,907.70.   The licensed physicians and surgeons exemption minimum hourly rate of pay for employees increased from $ 84.79 to $ 86.49
  • Form I-9 with Expiration date October 2022 is the only one currently valid.  The Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 showing the following revision date is valid: Rev. 10/19/2019. Form I-9’s “expiration” date may lead to some confusion. Currently, Form 1-9 shows an expiration date of 10/31/2022, as noted in the top of the form. The current valid Form I-9 can obtain the updated new version of the Form I-9 at: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.

The information contained on this site is intended only for companies employing California employees.