The new year brings new laws that will impact the workplace. We summarize the most important ones here:
App-Based Workers: As a result of the passage of Proposition 22 in the November 2020 general election, drivers for Uber and Lyft and workers for other app-based companies are now eligible for a limited number of healthcare and other employment benefits, including a guaranteed wage for time spent behind the wheel, but will be treated as independent contractors for employment employment law purposes.
Increased Minimum Wage: Effective January 1, 2021, California’s minimum wage has risen to $14 per hour, a $1 increase from last year’s hourly minimum, for businesses with 26 or more employees. Businesses with 25 or fewer employees must pay their employees an hourly wage of at least $13.
Expanded Job-Protected Family and Medical Leave: Senate Bill 1383 affords employees who work for businesses with as few as five employees the same 12 weeks of annual unpaid, job-protected leave for family and medical needs as those who work for larger companies. The law also expands the family members for whom employees may take time off to include grandparents, grandchildren and siblings.
Expanded Job-Protected Leave for Crime Victims: AB 2992 extends job-protected leave for victims of crime or abuse causing physical or mental injury. This law also requires companies with 25 or more employees to provide these victims with time off work to seek medical attention or psychological counseling.
Diversification of Corporate Boards: Assembly Bill 979 requires publicly held corporations that are primarily based in California to have at least one person on their board of directors from an underrepresented community. This law aims to diversify boards and create opportunities for racial and/or sexual minorities.
Potential COVID-19 Exposure Notification: A new law requires all employers to promptly notify employees of potential coronavirus exposure, as well as public health officials, after someone at the worksite tests positive for COVID-19, receives a medical diagnosis, and/or receives an isolation order.
Annual Report Pay Data: Private companies with 100 or more employees must annually submit pay and hours worked data to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing by establishment, job category, sex, race, and ethnicity. The information will be submitted through the Department’s Data Submission Portal, which will be available starting February 1, 2021. Further information is available at this page — https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/paydatareporting/ — on the Department’s website.
Labor Law Complaints: AB 1947 extends the period of time within which employees who their employer has violated any law enforced by the Labor Commissioner to file complaints from six months to within one year after the occurrence of the violation.