Labor laws have been put into place to protect the workers. These laws protect workers from many things, including discrimination and safety issues. In the past, employers did not have to protect the workers, but this has changed and also benefits the employers.
Labor laws can also benefit employers because they will have employees who feel safer at work. This will make the workers want to stay longer and can cause less employee turnover. This benefits the employer because they now have a loyal workforce that is willing to work.
If you are having trouble with labor laws in California, you will need to call an attorney in your area. You could call a Los Angeles employment lawyer if you live in that area. They can help you to get started on your case if you have one.
This article will let you know about some of the new laws in California that have been updated as of 2022. It will help you to learn more about some of these laws. You can also do more research to find the information that you need.
Table of Contents
Updated California Laws
1. Minimum Wage Increase –
In January of 2022, the minimum wage was increased to $15 per hour for hourly workers. For salaried workers, that wage is $5,200 per month or $62,400 per year. There are workers who are exempt from these wages, but only a few categories.
The wages are even better for computer software employees. They will get $50 per hour or salaried employees will get $8,679.16 per month. Physicians and surgeons who are licensed will get $91.07 per hour.
2. New Criminal Penalties for Wage Theft –
There are new criminal penalties for employers who participate in the intentional theft of wages. If the employer steals more than $950 from a single employee or $2,300 from two or more employees, they will be charged with grand theft:https://calmatters.org/california-divide/2022/10/california-wage-theft/. This is a crime that is punishable by law.
This amount is over a twelve-month period for both amounts. This is an effort to make employers pay the wages that the employee has earned. Employers will sometimes not pay workers for some of the time that they have worked, and this is considered wage theft.
3. Meal and Rest Period Premiums –
These must be paid at the employees’ regular rate and not the base rate. This means that employers must pay the base rate, plus any incentives that the employee has earned. This will include shift differentials, bonuses, and commissions.
This comes from a lawsuit that was filed in California called Ferra v. Loews, Hollywood Hotel, LLC. This is what employees should be paid if they must miss their breaks for any reason. This ensures that they are paid for all the time that they are working.
4. Amended Covid-19 Notice Requirements –
Employers had to report Covid-19 outbreaks in their workplace to the local public health agencies before October 2021. They were supposed to do this within forty-eight hours of the outbreak. This has changed to forty-eight hours or one business day, whichever is later.
This requirement is exempt for some workplaces that include clinics, daycare centers, adult care centers, and community care centers. These places are not required to send out notices due to the nature of the businesses. This law took effect on October 5, 2021, as an urgency statute.
6. Record Retention Requirements Lengthened –
Previous to October 2021, workplaces needed to retain records for two years. The requirement was changed to four years after that date. If litigation has been filed, records must be kept until that is over.
This includes personnel records, but that was never clearly defined. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, or DLSE, has decided what personnel records should entail. These are generally the following:
- Employment application
- Payroll authorization form
- Notices of commendation, warning, discipline, and termination
- Notices of layoff, leave of absence, and vacation.
- Notices of wage attachment or garnishment
- Education and training notices and records
- Performance appraisals and reviews
- Attendance records
Employers need to let the employee know what records are being kept. They should also let the managers and supervisors know what needs to be kept and where these items should be kept. See here to learn more about this law. They need to be able to find these records when they are requested.
6. In-Laws Included in California Family Rights Act –
The California Family Rights Act was amended to include in-laws as family members. This allows employees to take leave to take care of in-laws as well as other family members. This should be done if the workplace has more than five employees.
Employers need to make sure that their handbooks are updated to reflect this amendment. Although this has been amended to include these family members, it does not increase the time allowed for family leave. This has remained the same and is subject to the employer’spreference.
7. Further Limits on Employer’s Ability to Negotiate Employee Silence in Negotiations –
California has limited nondisclosure arrangements in settlements, especially when it comes to sexual harassment. This was changed mostly because of the MeToo movement which is now known as the “Silenced No More Act”. This enlarges the prohibition so that it includes other types of workplace harassment.
Other forms of harassment that are included are discrimination and retaliation that are notdirectly related to sex. This can also include race, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, and many others. These are also listed under discrimination laws.
8. New Employee Privacy Rights –
The California privacy rights have been very stringent already, but they have been improved lately. Companies must now tell you what they are doing with the information that you are sharing with them. This includes basic information such as your personal information including name, address, phone number, and other private information.
Many companies have been selling this information. This is still allowable, but the companies must now tell you about this and allow you to opt out of it. There are more restrictions that you can read about here. These have been recently enacted and are meant to protect the employee.
9. New State-Wide Covid-19 Right to Recall –
This law is in effect until 2024 and it requires employers to notify employees that were laid off due to covid-19 that they have jobs available if they are available. This means that an employee that was laid off can reasonably expect to get their job back if and when it becomes available. This includes many of the service industry employees.
Even if the workplace has changed owners, managers, or supervisors, or the location of the business, the employer must offer new jobs to laid-off employees. This is especially when the company has remained substantially the same. It also includes all employees who were laid off.
10. California DFEH –
Something to watch for in the future is more stringent legislation from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. This is the place that hears complaints from workers about anti-discrimination laws. This is where you would go if you were being discriminated against.
This department wants to add the ability to require employers in the state to submit pay information by race and gender. This is an attempt to see if there is discrimination happening. If it is happening, they can do something about it.
There are many new laws that have been added in California to protect the workers in the state. These new laws affect everyone who works and almost all employers. You can do research to find out even more about these new laws.