The start of a new year typically heralds the enactment of new employment-related legislation, and 2024 is no exception. Below, we have compiled a concise overview of the pivotal California regulations you should be aware of. BPM has a robust HR Consulting team available to work with you in comprehending the nuances and details of these new laws, addressing the associated changes and helping ensure compliance for your organization.

Top 2024 California employment law changes you need to know

1. Minimum wage

Who: All California employers
When: 1/1/24

On January 1, the California minimum wage rose from $15.50 to $16.00 per hour. If you currently have employees earning less than $16 per hour, it’s essential to adjust their pay for the new year. It’s worth noting that certain localities may have minimum wages surpassing the state minimum wage or be subject to a mid-year wage adjustment, so be sure to check on your city’s regulations. Additionally, the minimum wage for fast food workers will be $20 per hour, effective April 1, 2024. Healthcare employees are set to receive a new, higher minimum wage increase, slated to begin in June 2024.

2. Exempt (salaried) employee threshold increasing

Who: All California employers (Federal coming soon)
When: 1/1/24

Exempt employees must meet a threshold linked to the minimum wage, precisely two times the state’s minimum wage. The new exempt threshold will be $66,560. If you have exempt (salaried) employees earning under $66,560, you will need to either elevate their pay to meet this new threshold or convert them to non-exempt (hourly) status.

The Department of Labor has proposed increasing the Federal minimum salary for exempt employees to $55,068. This is currently under review and is expected to change in 2024. It will become effective 60 days after the publication of a final rule in the Federal Register.

3. Changes to California Sick Leave

Who: All California employers
When: 1/1/24

SB 616 introduces some changes to the existing California Sick Leave Law. The key changes you need to consider are:

  • If you have a plan that provides employees with one hour of sick time per 30 hours of work, the current maximum accrual is 72 hours. In 2024, the maximum accrual will increase to 80 hours.
  • If your current plan provides 24 hours upfront for employees, the minimum number of hours will go up to 40 hours, and it adds that hours must be provided within the first 200 days of employment.

4. Reproductive Loss Leave

Who: California employers with five or more employees
When: 1/1/24

SB 484 creates the Reproductive Loss Leave option for California employees. This leave provides five days off for employees who experience reproductive loss. It covers employees that have worked for at least 30 days. Employers do not need to provide this time off with pay, other than accrued sick or vacation time.

5. Applicant/employee cannabis testing protections

Who: California employers (except building and construction trades)
When: 1/1/24

This law, SB 2188, protects candidates and employees from discrimination in hiring, firing and terms of work based on off-duty cannabis use. It prohibits hair, blood, urine or body fluid tests that screen for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites, which can remain in a person’s system long after cannabis use, but do not indicate intoxication. Instead, the law requires employers to use tests that prove the person was impaired by THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis. Additionally, SB 700 prohibits employers from requesting information from job applicants related to their prior use of cannabis.

6. Noncompete

Who: California employers
When: 1/1/24

SB 699 prohibits employers from entering into or attempting to enforce noncompete agreements, which are void under state law, regardless of the location and timing of the contract signing. It also requires employers to notify any current or former employees employed after January 1, 2022, and have contracts containing a noncompete clause covered by Section 16600, that such noncompete clause is void. The notice, which must be completed by February 14, 2024, must be in writing and delivered to the last known address and email address of the employee.

7. OSHA’s E-Recordkeeping Rule

Who: Federal requirement – based on size and industry type
When: 1/1/24

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) new rule, known as the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” (aka the E-Recordkeeping Rule), builds upon existing electronic recordkeeping obligations. It mandates that establishments with 100 or more employees, specifically those from workplaces listed in Appendix B of the rule, submit their 300 Log, corresponding 301 Incident Reports and 300A Annual Summary Data. Workplaces listed in Appendix A with 20-249 employees are required to submit their 300A Annual Summary Data. Workplaces with 250 or more employees in any industry must continue to submit their 300A Annual Summary Data. Covered employers should be prepared to post their 300A summaries from February 1 through April 30, 2024. Additionally, covered employers should be prepared to electronically submit their 300, 300A and/or 301 Incident Reports for the 2023 calendar year data by March 2, 2024.

8. Wage Theft Notice requirements

Who: California employers
When: 1/1/24

AB 636 amends Labor Code 2810.5 with updates to the Wage Theft Notice requirements for non-exempt employees that include information regarding emergency or disaster declarations for the county where the employee works. It also requires, when applicable, employers to provide information about agricultural employee rights under California law in both English and Spanish to employees admitted to work under the federal H-2A agricultural visa. The State has prepared a revised Section 2810.5 Wage Theft Notice to be provided to employees upon hire.

9. Paid Family Leave

Who: Employers in California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington

Paid Family Leave is rolling out in additional states, with Colorado’s program beginning benefit payouts on January 1, 2024. Currently, there are 10 states with Paid Family Leave programs: California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington. Additionally, four more states have enacted Paid Family Leave and Medical Leave programs that will commence benefit payouts and Delaware (passed in 2022), as well as Maine and Minnesota (passed in 2023). Additionally, four more states have enacted Paid Family Leave and Medical Leave programs that will commence benefit payouts in 2026: Maryland and Delaware (passed in 2022), as well as Maine and Minnesota (passed in 2023).

10. Workplace Violence Protection Programs

Who: California employers (except non-public employers with fewer than 10 employees)
When: 7/1/24

SB 428 and SB 553 require employers to develop and create a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan as part of their Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. Employers must maintain a Workplace Violence Incident Log and are required to train all employees on specific workplace violence components.

Does this new legislation 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 this new legislation 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 contact us.


Headshot of Jill Pappenheimer.

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