2018 Employment Law Alert for California Employers

Caution Tape

As the new year approaches, employers are faced with numerous changes to California employment laws.  We have prepared the following summary to keep you informed.

Minimum Wage Increases

On January 1, 2018, California’s minimum wage for employers with 26 or more employees will increase to $11.00 per hour. The minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees will increase to $10.50 per hour. 

However, in the City of Los Angeles, the minimum wage is currently $12.00 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $10.50 per hour for all employers with 25 or fewer employees.  The City of LA minimum wage will increase on July 1, 2018.

On January 1, 2018, the following municipal minimum wage increases will also take effect:

  • Cupertino:   $13.50
  • El Cerrito:   $13.60
  • Los Altos:   $13.50
  • Milpitas:   $12.00
  • Mountain View: $15.00
  • Oakland:   $13.23
  • Palo Alto:   $13.50
  • Richmond:   $13.41
  • San Jose:   $13.50
  • San Mateo:   $13.50
  • Santa Clara:   $13.00
  • Sunnyvale:   $15.00

Review the pay rates of your employees to ensure compliance with state and/or City minimum wage requirements.

Exempt Employee Minimum Salary Increase

Beginning January 1, 2018, the minimum salary for exempt employees of employers with 26 or more employees will increase to $45,760 per year. For employers with 25 or fewer employees, it will increase to $43,680 per year.

Review the salaries of your exempt employees to ensure compliance with the new minimum salary requirements.

California Bans the Box

Beginning January 1, 2018, it will be illegal for any employer with five or more employees to include on any application for employment any question that asks about an applicant’s conviction history. Additionally, it will be illegal to inquire into or consider the conviction history of an applicant until that applicant has received a conditional offer of employment. It will also be illegal to consider, distribute, or disseminate information related to arrests, diversions, and convictions.

In addition to the above restrictions, an employer who ultimately acquires an applicant’s criminal history and intends to deny them the job even in part based on that information, must conduct an individual assessment.

Transgender Rights in the Workplace

Beginning January 1, 2018, employers with five or more employees are required to post a notice created by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) titled “Transgender Rights in the Workplace.” The notice must be posted in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace.

Additionally, employers who are required to provide sexual harassment training for supervisors (those with 50 or more employees) must incorporate information about harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

California Bans Salary History Inquiries

Beginning January 1, 2018, California employers will no longer be able to ask applicants about their current or previous salary or hourly rate of pay, whether on an employment application or during the interview process. Additionally, employers must provide an applicant with the pay scale for the position upon reasonable request.

If an employer is aware or becomes aware of an applicant’s salary history, that information should not be used to determine the rate of pay they offer, unless the information was volunteered by the applicant without any kind of prompting. In accordance with the California Equal Pay Act (which is already in effect), even if salary history is provided without prompting, it must not be the only basis for a disparity in pay between employees.

New Parent Leave Act

Beginning January 1, 2018, employers in California with 20 or more employees within 75 miles must offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off within one year of when a new child is born, adopted, or placed in foster care. Employees are eligible for this leave only if they have worked for the employer for more than 12 months and have done at least 1,250 hours of work in the 12 months immediately prior to taking the leave.

During the leave, employers must continue to pay the usual portion of the employee’s health insurance premiums, though they will be able to recover those funds if the employee does not return to work for a reason other than a serious medical issue or circumstance not within the employee’s control. If both eligible parents work for the same company, the leave may be limited to 12 weeks between the two of them.

Have any questions about this alert or need help implementing the changes? Eanet, PC is here to help. Contact us if you need any assistance with revisions to job applications, harassment training, employee handbooks, drafting and implementing a parental leave policy or any other employment law issues.

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