California minimum wage will hit $9 on July 1

by Michael Futterman and Jaime Touchstone

As fast-food and other low-wage workers protest for pay raises and President Barack Obama pushes for a higher federal minimum wage, California employers need to prepare for a $1 increase in the state’s minimum wage. California’s minimum wage will rise to $9 an hour on July 1 before hitting $10 an hour in 2016.

Certain types of employees such as outside salespersons, apprentices, and learners may be exempt from minimum wage requirements, but in general, the requirements apply regardless of whether employees are paid on an hourly, commission, or salaried basis. Under the California Wage Orders, employees are considered learners during the first 160 hours of employment in occupations in which they have no related experience. Learners may not be paid less than 85 percent of the minimum wage, rounded to the nearest nickel.

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Categories: California / Minimum Wage

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New California law grants domestic workers overtime pay

by Cathleen S. Yonahara

A new California law taking effect January 1, 2014, grants overtime pay for at least the next three years to domestic workers who are personal attendants.

Under old state law, “personal attendants” are exempt from statutory overtime and meal and rest break provisions, but they are not exempt from minimum wage requirements.

A personal attendant is defined as any person employed by a private householder or any third-party employer recognized in the healthcare industry to work in a private household to supervise, feed, or dress a child or a person who by reason of advanced age, physical disability, or mental deficiency needs supervision. To have personal attendant status, the employee may not spend more than 20 percent of his or her weekly work time engaged in other duties.

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Employers need to be ready for new California law on same-sex harassment

by Tara K. Clancy and Kristine W. Hanson

A new California law means employees who file same-sex harassment cases should have an easier time getting relief from the courts. Senate Bill (SB) 292, which was signed into law in August and takes effect in January, means employees don’t have to have evidence that sexual desire is behind sexual harassment. Instead, liability may arise from comments or actions based on gender alone.

Before the new law, sexual harassment required a showing that the conduct was motivated by sexual desire. SB 292 expressly provides that conduct may be considered sexual harassment even if it isn’t motivated by sexual desire. As a result, the new law expands the realm of actions for which an employer may be liable based on the acts of its employees.

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San Francisco employers soon must consider flexible work requests

by Cathleen S. Yonahara

San Francisco’s new Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance takes effect January 1, 2014, meaning covered private employers in the city must consider employees’ requests for flexible or predictable working arrangements to assist with their caregiving responsibilities.

Employers that directly or indirectly employ at least 20 employees are covered. When calculating the number of workers they employ, employers must include employees hired through temporary services or staffing agencies. The ordinance applies to any employee who works within the geographic boundaries of San Francisco, has been employed by a covered employer for at least six months, and regularly works at least eight hours per week.

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Governor signs bill raising California minimum wage

by Cathleen Yonahara

On September 25, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bill (AB) 10, which will raise the state minimum wage in stages to $10 per hour. Employers will be required to raise wages to $9 per hour by July 1, 2014, and to $10 per hour by January 1, 2016. The current minimum wage is $8 per hour.

This is the first minimum wage increase in California in five years. Some Bay Area cities and counties already have raised their minimum wages this year. San Francisco’s minimum wage is $10.55, and San Jose’s is $10.

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California’s minimum wage expected to increase to $10

by Cathleen S. Yonahara

On September 12, a bill that would increase California’s minimum wage passed the California Legislature and was sent to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature. Governor Brown has expressed support for the bill, stating, “This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy.”

Assembly Bill (AB) 10 would raise the current state minimum wage of $8 per hour to $10. Employers would be required to raise wages to $9 per hour by July 1, 2014, and $10 per hour by January 1, 2016. This would be the first minimum wage increase in California in five years. Some Bay Area cities and counties have already raised their minimum wages this year. San Francisco’s minimum wage is $10.55, and San Jose’s is $10.

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New California laws affecting employers take effect January 1

by Jim Brown

California employers will have several new laws to deal with as of January 1, 2013. Of particular interest are measures affecting social media passwords, religious dress and grooming standards, and commission agreements.

Social media passwords

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California Supreme Court Issues Meal and Rest Break Ruling

April 12, 2012 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

By Mark I. Schickman

California employers have been waiting since October 2008 for the California Supreme Court to issue its ruling in the Brinker Restaurant case, clarifying whether employers must “ensure” that employees take meal and rest breaks or simply “provide” those breaks. Today, the court unanimously served up a major victory to California employers with its decision.

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Categories: California

Prop 8 Unconstitutional, For Now

February 08, 2012 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

By Mark I. Schickman

The legal status of gay marriage in California has been a rollercoaster ride. First, the California Supreme Court held that a ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. Then California passed Proposition 8, writing a ban on gay marriage into the California Constitution — and the California Supreme Court bowed to that new statement of California’s popular will, declaring Proposition 8 constitutional.

The issue then was put to the federal court, and Chief District Court Judge Vaughn Walker struck Proposition 8 down as unconstitutional. Prop 8 supporters then attacked the ruling as legally flawed and challenged Judge Walker, who is gay, for not recusing himself.

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Categories: California

California Public-Sector Employers Facing Challenging New Laws

January 18, 2012 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Public-sector employers in California are facing an array of challenges in 2012 — declining revenues, out-of-control costs, fading reserves, and “a slew of bills further hobbling public agencies’ ability to control costs,” according to Jonathan Holtzman, a partner with Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP in San Francisco. Here’s a look at some new laws affecting California public employers:

  • AB 646: This law mandates fact-finding under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act, a requirement Holtzman says will make it harder for strapped public agencies to address their fiscal problems.
  • AB 506: This law requires local public entities to either engage in mediation with all interested parties or declare a fiscal emergency before filing for bankruptcy. Holtzman points out that mediation under AB 506 will add time and expense to the bankruptcy process.
  • SB 857: This law abolishes the Public Employee Relations Board’s authority to award damages for an unlawful strike. Holtzman says this law removes a deterrent to public-employee strikes since courts generally also lack the power to award damages for an illegal strike.
  • SB 922: This law authorizes public agencies to require project labor agreements (PLAs) for publicly funded construction and forbidding the use of state funding for public construction in jurisdictions that ban PLAs.

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Categories: California

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