Get ready for these new California economic laws for 2023

The New Year is upon us and we all know what that means. It’s time to make sure you’re prepared for new laws that will impact your business – some coming into effect in just a few weeks. So, pour yourself a glass of eggnog and read on.

Here are the topics covered in this report:

leave of absence

Assembly Act 1041 amends two laws by relaxing the definition of people an employee can take time to care for.

The new law adds a “designated person” to the category of existing eligible family members, which includes spouses, civil partners, children, parents, parents-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings.

The new law, which comes into force on January 1st, extends both the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the California Paid Sick Leave Act Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act (HWHFA).

The difference between the CFRA and HWHFA definition of a nominated person is negligible.

The CFRA defines a nominee as an employee’s blood relative or someone the employee considers family, while the HWHFA definition is an individual that the employee identifies at the time he or she requests paid sick leave.

In either case, an employer can limit an employee to one specific person per year.

In the meantime, FROM 1949 prohibits employers from discriminating against or retaliating against employees who take bereavement leave. However, employers may require employees to provide evidence of the death requiring leave.

Authored by Rep. Evan Low, D-San Jose, the law goes into effect January 1 and applies to private employers with five or more employees and all public sector employees.

Although many employers already have grief policies in place, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), this is a good time to review them and make sure they comply with the new laws.

“As with any type of vacation entitlement, it’s always good practice to have a formalized policy that’s applied consistently,” Stephanie Kierig, attorney for Jackson Lewis in San Diego, told SHRM in a Sept. 30 article. “[Employers]should also assess how a bereavement leave policy would affect their operations and how such a policy should be implemented.”

Employees are entitled to bereavement leave if they have worked for their current employer for at least 30 days. Holidays must also be taken within three months of the death.

Another new law Senate Bill 951is addressing paid family leave (PFL) by adding a year to a program that was due to expire in late 2023. Additionally, starting in 2025, the legislation will increase wage replacement rates for the PFL and State Disability Insurance (SDI) programs — from 70% of a worker’s regular wage to 90%, depending on the worker’s income.

California currently has a PFL grant program in place to help small businesses offset the costs when an employee is absent, including re-training existing employees and hiring new or temporary employees. Eligible companies may receive up to $2,000 under the grant, which ends May 31, 2024 or when funds are depleted.

Tariffs and payment data

SB1162 Requires companies employing 15 or more people to include salary ranges in all job postings and make them available to existing employees upon request.

Supporters say the law, drafted by Sen. Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, is designed to push for pay transparency and equal pay for all, the Business Journal first reported Oct. 6. Businesses with 100 or more employees are already required to submit this information to the state.

Companies that do not comply with the law, which includes reporting employees’ salary, gender, race, ethnicity, working hours and job category, face penalties under the law.

These penalties allow the state to fine employers up to $100 per employee for non-compliance with the law, and up to $200 per employee for subsequent default.

In addition, the new law allows the California Labor Commissioner to order the employer to pay a civil penalty of no less than $100 per employee and no more than $10,000 per violation.

“It cannot be stressed enough that with the upcoming law, now is a good time for employers to review all employee pay to ensure they match upcoming posts,” said Sarah Grimstead, regional vice president at Insperity, based in Houston, a national staffing agency. “Doing the work today and making the appropriate adjustments where necessary can prevent many downstream challenges.”

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