Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Nov 14, 2013

New California employment-related laws to take effect in 2014

HiringLeave LawsWage and Hour 

Governor Brown has recently signed a flurry of California bills into law.

Governor Brown has recently signed a flurry of California bills into law. At press time, a number of bills are still at the Governor’s desk awaiting signature or veto. So, stay tuned and Vigilant will continue to report on developments. Here is a summary of key new employment-related laws to date, with links to the full text of the laws. Unless otherwise indicated below, these laws will take effect on January 1, 2014.

Minimum Wage increase – (AB 10 – signed 9.25.13) – This new law increases the existing minimum wage of $8.00 per hour. The rate increases to $9.00 per hour on July 1, 2014, and $10.00 per hour on July 1, 2016. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has no scheduled increases. You must pay the higher of the two amounts.

Domestic Worker Bill of Rights – (AB 241 – signed 9.26.13) – Establishes new “Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.” Provides that domestic workers must be paid overtime at one-and-one-half times their regular rate if they work more than 9 hours in any workday or 45 hours in any workweek. The definition of domestic worker excludes certain workers, such as babysitters under the age of 18. The law also requires the Governor to convene a committee to study and report on the effects of the law.

Translation of health provider documents – (SB 353 – signed 10.1.13) – Requires health plan providers to translate certain plan documents into non-English languages. The affected documents include summary plan descriptions, notices of rights and grievances, as well as other documents. Certain willful violations would be a crime. This is expected to impact employers because the costs of the translation and the campaigns to advertise and market to non-English-speaking communities are anticipated to be passed on to employers in the form of higher premiums.

Child harassment due to parent’s employment – (SB 606 – signed 9.24.13) – Increases the criminal penalties (1 year in jail and $10,000 fine) for anyone who intentionally harasses a child due to the employment of the child’s parent or guardian. Conceived as a remedy for protecting the children of celebrities from paparazzi, nevertheless it applies to any employment situation. There’s little legitimate reason to bother a child because of a parent’s employment, so here’s a big disincentive to pestering a child about the return of your ex-employee’s laptop computer.

New stop-loss requirements for small employers – (SB 161 – signed 10.1.13) – Establishes new regulatory requirements for stop-loss insurance sold to small employers but allows stop-loss insurance issued prior to September 1, 2013, to be renewed or reissued by the same or different insurer under the same terms and conditions, without meeting the new requirements.

Paid family leave expanded – (SB 770 – signed 9.24.13) – Expands the categories of “family members” with serious health conditions for which an employee can take paid family leave. Beginning July 1, 2014, the law expands to cover: grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and parents-in-law with serious health conditions. The definition of “parent-in-law” includes the parent of a spouse or of a registered domestic partner. Qualifying employees are eligible for benefits equal to 55 percent of their wages for a period of up to six weeks. We will be updating our Model Policy, “California Paid Family Leave” (3839) in light of the changes.

Expanded protection for consumer credit reports – (AB 1220 – signed 9.30.13) – Existing federal law requires that consumers must be provided a copy of a consumer credit report, upon request, when a third party is taking adverse action against the consumer based upon the report. This new California law goes further and also prohibits the consumer reporting agency from dissuading, or attempting to dissuade, a user of the report (e.g., an employer) from disclosing it to the affected consumer. The law also authorizes the Attorney General or District Attorney to bring a civil action against the agency. The civil penalty is $5,000 per violation. If you use a third-party service to run any kind of background checks on applicants or employees, review our Model Form, “Background Checks: California Notices” (5340).

For further help with these new California employment laws and others, please contact us about ongoing counsel from our California employment attorneys with a predictable, flat monthly fee. If you are currently a Vigilant member, please contact your California attorneys, Clark Malak or Pam Helman.

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