new laws

California employers will face a series of new laws effective Jan. 1, 2017. Are you ready to comply?

Here is a list of some of the laws affecting employers:

  1. Senate Bill 3. California’s minimum wage increases from $10 an hour to $10.50 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees. The goal is to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2022.
  2. Assembly Bill 1843 prohibits employers from requiring an employee to disclose “information concerning or relating to an arrest, detention, processing, diversion, supervision, adjudication or court disposition that occurred” while the person was a juvenile.
  3. Assembly Bill 1676 and Assembly Bill 1063. AB 1676 amends last year’s Fair Pay Act, which prohibits an employer from paying lower wages than those paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work. AB 1676 precludes employers using prior salary history as the sole justification for any disparity in compensation. SB1063 expands the Fair Pay Act to include race and ethnicity.
  4. Senate Bill 1001 makes it unlawful for employers to:
    • Request more or different documents than federal law requires to verify that workers have the necessary documentation to work in the United States
    • Refuse to honor documents that reasonably appear to be genuine
    • Refuse to honor documents or work authorization based upon the specific status or term of status that accompanies the authorization to work
    • Attempt to reinvestigate or reverify an incumbent employee’s authorization to work using an unfair immigration-related practice
      Anyone violating this law is subject to a penalty of up to $10,000.
  5. Senate Bill 1241. An employer cannot require employees who primarily reside and work in California to litigate or arbitrate employment disputes outside of California or under the laws of a different state.
  6. Assembly Bill 2535. Hours worked by exempt employees need not be included on itemized wage statements for each pay period.
  7. Assembly Bill 1245 requires all employers to electronically file their employment tax returns, reports, and payments to the Employment Development Department. Employers with 10 or more employees must comply as of Jan. 1, 2017. All other employers must comply on Jan. 1, 2018.
  8. Assembly Bill 488. The current Fair Employment and Housing Act definition of “employee” excludes individuals with disabilities who received special licenses to work at less than the minimum wage at nonprofit sheltered workshops, day programs or rehabilitation facilities. AB 488 extends protections for harassment and discrimination to workers with disabilities.
  9. Assembly Bill 2899 requires an employer to post a bond before appealing a decision by the Labor Commissioner relating to a violation of wage laws. The bond must cover the total amount of any minimum wages, liquidated damages, and overtime compensation owed. The total amount of the bond will be forfeited to the employee if the employer fails to pay the amounts owed within 10 days from the conclusion of the proceedings.
  10. Assembly Bill 1289 requires a transportation network company such as Uber or Lyft to conduct criminal background checks on each participating driver. The bill also prohibits registered sex offenders and those convicted of violent crimes, assault, domestic violence or driving under the influence from can’t drive for rideshare companies under the new law.
  11. Assembly Bill 2068. A contract between a talent service that posts an artist’s information or image must indicate that the talent service will remove the content within 10 days of a request by the artist or the artist’s parent or guardian, if a minor. The bill also adds “text message” and other “electronic communication” to the list of methods by which an artist may ask for removal of information from a website, online service, online application, or mobile application owned or serviced by the talent service.
  12. Proposition 30, which imposed a statewide 0.25 percent sales and use tax rate, expires on Dec. 31, 2016. That brings the statewide sales and use tax rate down from 7.50 to 7.25 percent. However, the total tax rate in many cities and counties is higher than the statewide rate because of voter-approved district taxes in those areas. To find the full tax rate in your city or county, go to the Find a Sales and Use Tax Rate webpage and enter the address as prompted. (The tax rate decrease will not be reflected on the website until January 1, 2017.)