This is the second of three parts describing new California laws governing employment. This blog will cover the ban on salary history, the New Parent Leave Act and an increase in state-provided benefits.

Don’t ask about prior salary

  1. In a bid to close the gender pay gap, Assembly Bill 168 prohibits employers from asking job applicants how much money they earned at a previous job. However, employers can consider salary information provided voluntarily by the applicant. Additionally, employers must provide a pay range for the open position if the applicant asks for it. If you’re an employer:
    • Update your job applications to accommodate the new law.
    • Make sure hiring personnel know they are not allowed ask about prior salary.
    • Employers should know the value of a new position before posting it. You’ll no longer be able to tell applicants that salary expectations are “commensurate with experience.”

    New Parental Leave Act

    parental leave act

    Image courtesy of kdshutterman at

    2. Another new California law expands the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”). The act previously required employers with 50 or more employees to provide 12 weeks of unpaid and job-projected family leave in order to bond with a new child. To qualify for leave, the parent must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the preceding 12 months. The new law, Senate Bill 63, extends the law to cover employers with 20 or more employees.

    Employees can apply for a portion of the leave to be paid through the state’s Paid Family Leave (PDL) program.

    Employers should:

    • Update employee handbooks to reflect the new requirements.
    • Allow employees to use accrued paid time off during their parental leave.
    • Provide a guarantee that the employee will return to the same or a comparable position.
    • Pay for the employee’s continued coverage under a group health plan at the same level.

    Benefits increase

    3. Assembly Bill 908 increases the amount of PFL or State Disability Insurance (SDI) benefits an employee can receive. The wage replacement benefits increase from 55 percent to either 60 or 70 percent, depending on income. The Employment Development Department determined in 2015 that the 55 percent replacement rate prevented many low income workers from taking advantage of the program.

    Employers won’t foot the cost for the increase. The benefits are funded through state disability insurance withholding from employees’ wages.