Time for California employers to be ready for $10 minimum wage

by Elizabeth J. Boca

The minimum wage in California will increase from $9 to $10 an hour as of January 1. Employers must understand that paying the higher minimum wage alone doesn’t satisfy their obligations because the upcoming increase will spark a domino effect in various compliance areas.  monimum wage increase ahead

Exempt “white-collar” employees. Each time the state minimum wage increases, so does the minimum salary required for exempt white-collar employees. Under Labor Code Section 515, to qualify as exempt from overtime as an executive, administrative, or professional employee, a worker must earn a monthly salary equivalent to at least two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment totaling 40 hours per week, or 2,080 hours per year.

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California school activities leave expansion starts January 1

by Cathleen S. Yonahara

California’s law allowing unpaid time off for employees to participate in their children’s school or daycare activities will be expanded effective January 1.

Current law requires employers with 25 or more employees to provide unpaid leave to employees who are a parent, guardian, or grandparent with custody of one or more children who are in kindergarten or grades 1 through 12 or are attending a licensed daycare facility. Employers must provide employees up to 40 hours of unpaid leave each year, not to exceed eight hours in a calendar month, to participate in school or daycare activities.

The new law expands the reasons for which employees can take leave to include (1) to find or enroll or reenroll their child in a school or with a licensed childcare provider and (2) to address a childcare provider or school emergency. “Childcare provider or school emergency” is broadly defined to mean that an employee’s child can’t remain in school or with a childcare provider because of one of the following reasons: read more…

New law removes ‘alien’ from California Labor Code

by Elizabeth J. Boca

A California law taking effect on January 1 removes the word “alien” from the state’s Labor Code. The new law deletes two sections of the Labor Code as a way of modernizing and removing negative connotations in the law.

In 1937, the California Legislature enacted various provisions regarding the employment of “aliens,” defined as any person who isn’t a born or fully naturalized citizen of the United States. The legislature also enacted a provision that prescribes an order for the issuance of employment under specific public-works contracts—first to citizens of California, second to citizens of other states of the United States, and third to aliens.

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California getting tough law on gender wage gap

October 07, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Employers in California will have to comply with what’s being called the strongest equal pay law in the nation when it takes effect on January 1, 2016.

Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., signed the California Fair Pay Act, Senate Bill 358, on October 6. A statement from the governor’s office says current law prohibits employers from paying a woman less than a man when they both perform equal work at the same establishment, but the new law will require equal pay regardless of gender for “substantially similar work.” The new law also will prohibit retaliation against employees who invoke the law and will protect employees who discuss wages.

The new law differs from current law in two key ways, according to Mark I. Schickman, an attorney with Freeland Cooper & Foreman LLP in San Francisco. First, it requires employers to understand not only what the “same job” is but also what “comparable jobs” are. “That’s very different,” Schickman said. Plus, the law doesn’t provide employers guidance on how to figure that out. The second key difference is that the new law puts the burden of proof on the employer to justify differences in wages.

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Uber class action ruling expected to have national implications

September 02, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A San Francisco judge’s ruling granting class action status to possibly thousands of Uber drivers carries implications that “go well beyond California,” according to an attorney closely watching the case.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen ruled September 1 that a group of Uber drivers in California can sue as a class as they argue that they should be considered employees instead of independent contractors.

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Changes to California Family Rights Act regulations take effect July 1

by Marc A. Koonin, Sedgwick LLP

Updated regulations for the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) take effect July 1. The new regulations represent the first significant revisions to the CFRA in 20 years and include a number of changes, many of which are designed to bring the regulations into greater conformity with their federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) counterparts.

Although there was a rough parity between the implementing rules for the CFRA and the FMLA rules for many years, coordinating them became increasingly difficult with the adoption and implementation of new FMLA regulations effective January 16, 2009, March 8, 2013, and March 27, 2015, as well as the modification of the CFRA in 2011.

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San Francisco Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights to be implemented July 1

by Mark I. Schickman

San Francisco’s new Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights is set to be implemented July 1, meaning many retail employers will have new obligations that go beyond areas that have previously been regulated.

The new law covers any retail establishment with 20 or more workers that shares a “formula” with at least 20 locations. A “formula” means the establishments have common signage or merchandise or design or trademark. Coverage goes beyond retail goods and includes banks, hotels, theaters, restaurants, and bars, which combine for an estimated 1,250 locations in San Francisco.

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Obama takes steps toward requiring paid sick leave

January 15, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Is it a sensible plan to boost productivity and give workers the help they deserve, or is it an unaffordable, unfair mandate on already overburdened employers? President Barack Obama’s announcement of a push to pass a paid sick leave law is likely to garner both reactions.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, launched the effort January 14 with a post on the career-centered social network LinkedIn, a venue chosen because of its high profile with employers.

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New California law on immigrant discrimination takes effect January 1

by Alka Ramchandani

A new California law taking effect January 1 clarifies a previous law prohibiting immigrant-related discrimination.

Last year, a law creating California Labor Code Section 1019 was enacted. That law makes it unlawful for an employer or any other person to engage in—or direct another person to engage in—any “unfair immigration-related practice” against a worker in retaliation for exercising a legal right.

Unfair immigration-related practices include requesting more or different documents than are required under law, threatening to file a false police report, using the federal E-Verify system to check the status of an employee in a time and manner not required by law, or threatening to contact immigration authorities.

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San Francisco ‘ban the box’ ordinance starts August 13

by Andrew J. Sommer and Alka Ramchandani

San Francisco’s new “ban the box” law, titled the Fair Chance Ordinance, will limit the timing and scope of inquiries into an applicant’s or employee’s criminal history when it takes effect August 13.

In addition to banning inquiries into criminal history on job applications, the ordinance also places significant restrictions on an employer’s ability to obtain and use that information in the hiring process.

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