2015 Employment and Labor Laws: What Calif. Businesses Need To Know

459159459Significant changes to employment and labor laws will be taking effect in 2015, and unprepared businesses could face potential legal action, employment disagreements and heavy taxation. With transformed health insurance, paid sick leave, minimum wage and anti-discrimination laws, it is imperative employers are prepared for these new developments in order to protect themselves and their business. Most of these pertain to businesses in California.

Employee Sick Leave. Every employee in California employed for 30 days or more is entitled to accrue sick leave at a minimum rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. These days can be used starting on the 90th day of employment. An employer may limit the accrual of sick days to three days, or 24 hours per year.

Employer’s Contractual Right to Arbitrate Employment Law Claims. California Assembly Bill 2617 effectively restricts arbitration of many employment related claims, including those pursuing the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The law is designed to apply to any agreement to waive any legal right, penalty, remedy, forum, or procedure for a violation of this section, including an agreement to accept private arbitration, entered into, altered, modified, renewed, or extended on or after January 1, 2015.

Sexual Harassment Training. Assembly Bill 2053 will add the prevention of “abusive conduct” to sexual harassment training. Abusive conduct is defined as conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.

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Greater Liability for Employers Who Use Labor Contractors. California Assembly Bill 1897 automatically makes employers using labor services and labor contractors jointly responsible for all legal and liability issues for all workers supplied. As a result, employers should be cautious when selecting a staffing agency.

Undocumented Workers’ Driver’s Licenses. California Assembly Bill 1660 provides greater rights to immigrants who present a driver’s license to employers that were obtained without establishing citizenship. These driver’s licenses will be marked “federal limits apply” and cannot be used to establish eligibility to work when completing the Form I-9.

Affordable Care Act (ACA). US employers with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees who do not offer affordable health insurance that provides minimum value to its full-time employees (and dependents) will be required to pay up to $2,000 per employee without proper coverage.

Companies with less than 50 workers will not any face penalties if it does not offer insurance but can qualify for tax credits to help buy insurance.

Before the New Year, employers should take the time to build a strong understanding of new employment and labor laws taking effect in 2015. By being prepared and having systems in place before the new laws are in effect, businesses can remain in compliance, prevent unforeseen legal risk, and save thousands of dollars in potential penalties.

MORE: Free tool for ACA’s applicable large employer calculation

Pamela Tahim

Pamela Tahim
Pamela K. Tahim is a senior associate at Southern California law firm Tredway Lumsdaine & Doyle LLP.

Pamela Tahim

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2 Responses to “2015 Employment and Labor Laws: What Calif. Businesses Need To Know”

  1. KentClark1 says:

    This is great information for anyone that is an employer. I’ve seen some companies lose a lot of money in lawsuits because they do not understand what the employment laws are. Many of these laws can be easily obeyed. You just have to know what they are and use a little common sense. http://www.jjlaw.ca/employment_law.html

  2. eugened314 says:

    You have a lot of good information on employment law, but I didn’t see anything about breaks. Are there any type of regulations that require an employer to give workers breaks? This is something that has come up at my job several times. Our boss insists that mandatory breaks only apply to minors, but we have heard otherwise. It would be nice to know once and for all.

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