Sacramento Capitol Building image via wikipedia user Suvicce
Written by Frank Lopez
A new year has begun, and with it comes the implementation of a number of new laws passed and signed into law in the 2023 legislative year.
Employers have been eyeing a number of bills proposed in 2023, including a controversial minimum wage increase for fast-food workers, enhanced paid vacation benefits and expansions to ban non-compete agreements.
From January 1 and beyond, businesses must comply.
The Business Journal covered many of the bills proposed in 2023, some passed and some didn’t, but these are some of the new laws that could have the biggest impact on employers.
Raising the minimum wage
On January 1, California’s minimum wage increased from $15.50 to $16 an hour, and the minimum exempt wage increased from $64,480 to $66,560.
The minimum wage for healthcare and fast-food workers is also increasing.
Senate Bill 525
Starting June 1, California health care facilities will be required to raise their minimum wage from $18 to $23 an hour. The applicable minimum wage scale depends on the type of facility, the nature and size of the business.
SB 525 would also require salaried health care workers to earn a monthly salary of at least 150% of the minimum wage for a health care worker or 200% of the applicable state minimum wage.
Assembly Bill 1228
AB 1228, which took effect in April, will require fast-food restaurants to raise their minimum wage to $20 an hour.
The law would apply to limited-service restaurant chains with more than 60 locations that share branding, marketing and products.
In addition, the bill also creates and authorizes the Fast Food Council, which has certain standards for fast food restaurants, including minimum wages, working conditions, standards and training.
Senate Bill 699/Assembly Bill 1076
The bill, which takes effect Jan. 1, expands the Business and Professions Code’s ban on non-compete agreements, regardless of where or when the agreement is signed, even outside of California.
It also creates a personal right of action for past and future employees against any employer seeking to invalidate a non-compete agreement.
AB 1076 will require employers to notify employees with contracts containing a non-compete clause that the provision is invalid. Written notice must be provided to employees by February 14.
Assembly Bill 2188/Senate Bill 700
Since January, two bills regarding the use of cannabis by employees have come into force.
Assembly Bill 288 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees for using cannabis on or off the job.
SB 700 would make it illegal for employers to require information or disclosure of prior cannabis use from job applicants.
Discrimination against applicants based on prior cannabis use obtained from a criminal history is also prohibited unless the employer is permitted by law to review or learn that information.
Employers are still allowed to prohibit employees from being harmed by cannabis use during work hours.
Senate Bill 616
SB increases required paid sick leave for employees from three days or 24 hours to five days or 40 hours for full-time employees.
Employers who “front-load” sick leave must provide 40 hours at the beginning of the year.
Employers using the accrual method must ensure that employees do not work less than 24 hours out of 120.c calendar working day and up to 200 at least 40 hoursc.
Employers using the accrual method must also allow accrued sick days to carry over to the next year.
Employers may limit the use of accrued paid sick days to 40 hours per year.
The law also increased the calculation limit from 48 hours to 80 hours.