New California Employment Related Rules

By: Bhakti Shivarekar, Esq.

California enacted new employment and labor legislations which apply to most California employers and have been in effect since January 1, 2017. The following is a summary of some of the changes in the law.

Leave of Absence and Benefits:

Paid Family Leave Benefits:

Effective January 2018, the amount of paid Family Leave Benefits that an employee can receive is increased from 55 % of the earnings to either 60 % or 70 % of earnings, depending on the employee’s income. The amount of the increase in benefits will be determined by the employee’s income.  An employee earning below $20,000 per year will now receive 70% of his or her usual salary.  A higher income worker will receive 60% of his or her usual salary. The new law will also remove the current 7 day waiting period before an employee is eligible to receive paid family leave benefits. Before the Bill was signed, the benefits began after a 7-day waiting period.

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking provisions:

Employers with 25 or more employees must provide notice to employees of their right to take protected time off, without threat of termination or retaliation, for domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

How employers can comply with the new requirements:

  1. Employers must provide notice to each employee “at the time of hire” and thereafter upon request by the employee.
  2. Employers must have an employee handbook which is provided at the time of hiring and that explains an employee’s right to take leave under these circumstances.
  3. Covered employers can also download the Labor Commissioner’s new template and incorporate its language into all new hire offer letters.

Conducting Background checks:

Juvenile Criminal History Information:

Effective January 1, 2017, employers are prohibited from enquiring into an applicant’s juvenile convictions or using such convictions as a factor in determining any condition of employment.

For health care facilities, employers can enquire into juvenile adjudications for felony or misdemeanor sexual offences or drug possessions within the prior 5 years.

Criminal background check: Ride sharing services:

A transportation network company for example Uber or Lyft must conduct local and national criminal background checks for each participating driver.

If you have any questions on how to comply with the recent changes, please feel free to reach out to your trusted attorney.

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