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Is Your Business Ready to Implement California’s Employment Law Changes For 2023?

The California legislature is set to introduce a number of new laws as well as changes to some existing laws related to employment in 2023. These laws cover topics ranging from California Family Rights Act, off-duty marijuana use, Covid-19 related workplace issues, reproductive rights, criminal law and the workplace, privacy and pay transparency, and new avenues of enforcement against employers, among others.

You should consult with a qualified employment law attorney in California to make sure your business is ready to implement these changes. In this short guide, we will outline the important law changes that are likely to impact businesses in 2023.

Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Extension

In October of 2022, Governor Newsom announced that the COVID-19 State of Emergency in California will end on February 28th, 2023. To this effect, AB 152 regarding the supplemental paid sick leave extension came to an end on December 31st, 2022.

Notices for Covid Exposure

California Labor Code § 6409.6 was amended by AB 2693 for modifying the state’s notification requirements regarding covid-19. California employers have an option of posting online notices regarding possible covid-19 exposure at the workplace until the end of January 2024. This can be done instead of sending written notices.

Existing law makes the notice of prohibition to be mandatorily posted in a conspicuous location at the workplace. Removing the notice or violating the prohibition used to be a crime with certain exceptions. The law also required the prohibition to be issued in a way that did not interrupt the performance of governmental functions.

AB 1751 is expected to extend the legislation until January 2024. “Rebuttal presumption” was established by the previous law for outbreak conditions that warranted a work-related exposure. It also made provisions for the required supplemental paid sick leave that was to follow. All employers are required to send covid-19 case information to administrators of workers’ compensation claims. These provisions are going to be in effect till the beginning of 2024.

Pay Data Reporting

SB 1162 is only effective till January 1st, 2023. It expands on a previous law, which requires employers to provide additional pay data information. California employers are required to include mean hourly and median hourly rates for each job category by ethnicity, gender, and race. The law also has provisions for penalizing non-compliant employers.

In addition, any employer with 15 or more employees was required to include pay scales in their job listings. They were also required to make the information available to current employees if asked.

The law required private employers with 100 or more employees to file an annual Employer Information Report (EEO-1). This needs to be filed pursuant to federal law for submitting pay data reports to the Department within the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency.

Employers with several different establishments were required to submit a different report for each establishment and a consolidated report that included all employees. The existing law also required the information to be included in the report along with the number of employees by sex, ethnicity, and race in specified job categories.

“Emergency Condition” Exemption

SB 1044 is a law geared to go into effect in January 2023. This law will allow employees to not attend to their job responsibilities or leave work during an emergency condition. An emergency condition is defined in SB 1044 as, “a disaster or extreme peril to the safety at the workplace caused by natural forces or a crime, or an evacuation order due to a natural disaster or crime at the workplace, an employee’s home, or their child’s school.”

Employers are prohibited by the bill from retaliating against the worker for leaving work during an emergency condition. The bill also prohibits employers from preventing public or private sector employees from accessing their phones or any other communication device to gauge the safety of the situation, seek emergency assistance, or communicate with others.

Off-Duty Marijuana Use

AB 2188 prohibits Californian employers from taking any adverse action on a worker’s off-the-clock cannabis use. The new law prohibits employers from taking adverse action if a pre-employment drug test finds non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in a potential employee’s hair, urine, or blood.

With that said, employers in the “essential” industries, like building and construction are exempt from this rule. In addition, exemptions are in place for workers in a ‘safety’ position. This includes the trades industry, building, and law enforcement. It’s critical to note that this new law will go into effect only on January 1st, 2024.

Bereavement Leave

AB 1949 requires California employers to provide up to 5 days of unpaid bereavement leave for employees within 3 months of the death of a family member. This law is in effect from January 1st, 2023. The California Family Rights Act has made it illegal for employers to deny any employee’s request to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid protected leave within a 12-month period for medical reasons or family care.

Choose a Seasoned Employment Law Attorney for Reliable Legal Advice and Strong Representation

The dedicated employment law attorneys at the law firm of Peterson, Martin & Reynolds LLP have extensive knowledge and experience in the field of California labor and wage laws. Our attorneys can help ensure your business doesn’t end up making costly mistakes or get embroiled in unnecessary conflicts with employees.

To schedule your confidential consultation with us today, call us at (415) 849-2564 or write to us online.