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The California legislature has been busy this year, enacting a host of new employment laws – many of which take effect on January 1, 2023. Here are ten laws employers should be aware of.

COVID-19 Notice Requirements (AB 2693)

Who: All California employers

When: Effective immediately

What: Updates COVID-19 notice content requirements and extends posting expiration date

  • Employers may now satisfy the notice requirements by prominently displaying a notice in the workplace of any potential COVID-19 exposure.
  • Removes the requirement that employers report cases to their local health departments.
  • Extends notice requirements to 1/1/24.

COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Reporting (AB 1751)

Who: All California employers

When: Effective immediately

What: Extends COVID-related workers’ comp presumptions expiration date to 1/1/24

  • Extends currently existing presumption of injury for certain types of public safety employees and when an outbreak of COVID occurs in the workplace.
  • Requires employers, under certain conditions, to report COVID-19 cases to their workers’ compensation carriers until 1/1/24.
  • Expands the types of employees who qualify for the presumption, even without an outbreak.

Wage Transparency Law (SB 1162)

Who: California employers with 15 or more employees,

When: 1/1/23

What: Expands the state’s existing pay transparency laws

  • Requires employers to include the pay scale in job postings.
  • Requires employers to provide the pay scale to an employee regarding their current position, upon request.
  • Pay scale is defined as “the salary or hourly wage range that the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position.” It does not include bonuses, commissions or other forms of compensation.
  • Requires employers to maintain job title and wage history records for every employee during their employment, plus three years after the end of their employment, should the Labor Commissioner seek to review those details.
  • Requires employers with more than 100 employees to submit pay scale reporting data with their annual EEO reporting – the first report is due 5/10/23.

Family and Paid Sick Leave “Designated Person” (AB 1041)

Who: All employers subject to California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and Healthy Workers Healthy Families Act laws

When: 1/1/23

What: Expands who an employee can take leave to care for under both the CFRA and sick leave laws

Employees can take CFRA leave or paid sick leave to care for a “designated person”

  • Employers can limit an employee to one designated person for a 12-month period.
  • For applicability to CFRA, AB 1041 defines a designated person as “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”
  • For applicability to paid sick leave, AB 1041 defines a designated person as “a person identified by the employee at the time the employee requests paid sick days.”
  • The CFRA and sick time designated person law is more generous than existing local jurisdictions with similar laws (i.e., Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles), as the employee is not limited to an annual designation period.
  • May result in an additional 12 weeks of time off under FMLA when an employee uses CFRA for a designated person as federal law does not include this definition.

Mandatory Bereavement Leave (AB 1949)

Who: Private employers with five or more employees, and all public employers

When: 1/1/23

What: Requires employers to provide mandatory bereavement time off

  • Employees may take up to five days of bereavement time leave upon the death of a family member, including a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner or parent-in-law.
  • Leave is unpaid, but employees can use existing paid time off, such as vacation, sick time or PTO.
  • Employers can require documentation to support the leave.
  • The leave can be taken intermittently; however, the time off must be completed within three months of the family member’s death.
  • AB 1949 amends the CFRA; however, the bereavement leave is separate from the twelve weeks offered under CFRA.
  • Eligible employees are those who have been employed for at least 30 days prior to the commencement of leave.
  • There is no cap on the number of times an employee can use bereavement leave as the five days of protected time off can be used for each occurrence.
  • Bereavement leave must be taken pursuant to an employer’s existing bereavement leave policy.
  • Certain employers covered under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) may not be subject to AB 1949, if they meet eligibility requirements.

Protections for Reproductive Health Decision-Making (SB 523)

Who: Employers with five or more employees, except nonprofit religious associations and nonprofit religious corporations

When: 1/1/23

What: Expands the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to include employee protections regarding reproductive health decision-making

  • Makes it unlawful to discriminate against an applicant or an employee based on reproductive health decision-making.
  • Makes it unlawful for an employer to require applicants and employees to disclose information relating to reproductive health decision-making.
  • Reproductive health decision-making includes, but is not limited to, a decision to use or access a particular drug, device, product or medical service for reproductive health.
  • Beginning 1/1/24, it requires most health benefit plans to provide coverage for contraceptives and related services, including vasectomies.

Unsafe Working Environments (SB 1044)

Who: Most California employers

When: 1/1/23

What: Grants protections and rights to most employees regarding emergency conditions in the workplace

  • Prohibits employers from taking or threatening adverse action against an employee for refusing to report to, or leaving, the workplace when they have a reasonable belief that it is unsafe to be there.
  • Prohibits employers from preventing an employee’s access to their personal communications device(s) to seek emergency assistance, assess the situation or communicate with others to verify their safety.
  • Does not apply to first responders, employees required by law to render aid or remain on the premises during an emergency, and those whose primary duties include assisting the public during an emergency.
  • Defines what an “emergency condition” is under the law and does not include a health pandemic.

California Privacy Rights Act Amendments

Who: California for-profit businesses that have a gross annual revenue of >$25 million, that buy/receive/sell personal information of >100k consumers/households, and/or that derive >50% of their annual revenue from selling or sharing consumers’ personal information.

When: 1/1/23

What: New obligations regarding employee and applicant data collection and disclosures

  • Establishes employees’ right to know how businesses collect and use their personal information.
  • Introduces new employer notice and disclosure requirements for employees and applicants.
  • Establishes new entitlements for employees to view, access, correct and delete their personal information.
  • Obligates employers to respond in a timely manner to employees requesting certain actions regarding their personal data.

Cal/WARN Act Coverage for Call Centers (AB 1601)

Who: Employers of an industrial or commercial facility that employs, or has employed within the preceding 12 months, 75 or more persons, and operate a call center

When: 1/1/23

What: Expands reach of Cal-WARN Enforcement

  • Requires an employer of a call center to comply with Cal-WARN requirements prior to a mass layoff, relocation or termination of employees.
  • Increases Labor Commissioner enforcement for Cal-WARN violations.
  • Requires the Employment Development Department to publish a list of employers that provide a notice of relocation.
  • Call centers that fail to provide applicable notices will be ineligible for state grants, loans and tax credits.

Off-the-Clock Cannabis Use (AB 2188)

Who: Employers with five or more employees

When: 1/1/24

What: Adds cannabis protection to California’s discrimination laws

  • Employers will be prohibited from discriminating against an employee or job applicant based on the person’s legal use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace.
  • Confirms that a positive drug test showing non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites is not an indicator of impairment and should not be used against applicants and employees.
  • Does not permit an employee to possess, be impaired by or use cannabis on the job.
  • Does not affect the rights or obligations of an employer to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.
  • Does not preclude federal requirements for organizations that have federal contracts or must observe certain security clearances.

Do these new laws have an impact on your business? If so, you’ll want to consider these three steps:

  • Review your current posting and notification procedures and update accordingly.
  • Review policies and update them to reflect these new laws under emergency scenarios.
  • Train supervisors and others who may need to field employee concerns.

Do you have any questions or concerns about the abovementioned new employment laws? BPM’s HR Consulting team is available to support policy creation and review for these new regulations. We can ensure that your organization is in regulatory compliance, develop policies and practices, train managers – and more. If you would like to speak with one of our consultants, please reach out to Jill Pappenheimer.

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