New Employment Laws for 2014
A new year brings new employment laws! All of the laws below went into effect on January 1, 2014 unless otherwise noted. If you are one of our PEO or ASO clients, we will update the policies and procedures in your employee handbook to comply with the new laws and we will provide you the new and updated employer postings.
Minimum Wage Law – AB 10
Effective July 1, 2014, California’s minimum wage will increase from $8.00 to $9.00 per hour. It will increase again, to $10.00 per hour, on January 1, 2016. This will affect all payments based on minimum wage such as minimum salary for exempt employees, split-shift premiums, and meal and rest period premiums.
Damages for Minimum Wage Violations – AB442
This bill expands the penalty for failure to pay minimum wage to include a requirement that employers pay liquidated damages in addition to penalties.
Expansion to Heat Illness Recovery Periods – SB 435
This bill requires employers who work in high heat temperatures to pay a one-hour wage premium for missed or denied “recovery periods”.
Overtime for “Personal Attendants” – AB 241
This bill requires employers to pay “personal attendants” overtime for work over nine hours in a workday or 45 hours in a workweek. Personal attendants include childcare providers, caregivers of people with disabilities, sick, convalescing or elderly persons, house cleaners, housekeepers, and other household occupations.
Military/Veteran Status a Protected Characteristic – AB 556
This bill adds “military and veteran status” to the list of categories protected from employment discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
AB 263 – Retaliation and “Immigration-Related Practices”
This bill expands protection of undocumented workers specifically prohibiting retaliation or adverse action on an employee because of complaints regarding the terms and conditions of their employment (i.e. threatening to contact immigration authorities due to an employee complaining about being paid less than minimum wage).
Retaliation and Extortion – SB 666 and AB 524
SB 666 permits suspension or revocation of business license for reporting or threatening to report immigration status of any employee because the employee makes a complaint about employment issues. AB 524 expands the crime of “extortion” to include threatening to report immigration status of employee, former employee, prospective employee, or their family member.
Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Persons – AB 60
This bill permits the California Department of Motor Vehicles to issue special driver’s licenses to undocumented persons. The licenses will be specially marked. These licenses will not satisfy federal requirements for determining eligibility to work in the United States and should not be accepted to satisfy the Form I-9 requirements.
Stalking Victims – SB 400
This bill requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, such as transfers, reassignments, modified schedules, or changed work numbers or work stations, unless the accommodation creates an undue hardship.
Time Off for Crime Victims – SB 288
This bill prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against victims of certain serious crimes for taking time off from work to appear in court or any other related proceeding. “Victim” is defined broadly, and includes the employee’s spouse, parent, child, sibling, or guardian although a familial relationship is not mandatory.
Sexual Harassment Clarified – SB 292
This bill makes clear that “sexual harassment” under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) may occur even if the alleged conduct is not motivated by sexual desire. However, this bill does not change the requirement that “harassment” be based on the victim’s sex. The law merely clarifies that conduct may be unlawful harassment even if it is not overtly sexual in nature.
Job Applicants and Criminal History – SB 530 and AB 218
SB 530 expands Labor Code section 432.7 by prohibiting employers from asking job applicants to disclose information about judicially dismissed, expunged, or sealed convictions. The bill also prohibits employers from using this information in hiring decisions, regardless of how it is obtained. Certain exceptions apply.
Under AB 218, beginning on July 1, 2014, state and local public agencies cannot request any information regarding criminal convictions until after the agency has determined the applicant meets the minimum employment qualifications for the position.
Leave for Reserve Peace Officers and Emergency Rescue Personnel – AB 11
AB 11 requires employers with 50 or more employees to allow reserve peace officers, emergency rescue personnel, and volunteer firefighters up to 14 calendar days of unpaid leave per year for training.
Paid Family Leave (PFL) – SB 770
This bill expands the familial relationships currently covered by PFL to include a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or parent-in-law.
San Francisco Family-Friendly Workplace Ordinance
San Francisco’s new ordinance requires employers with 20 or more full or part-time employees working in the city to consider requests for “flexible or predictable working arrangements to assist with caregiving responsibilities” and respond to each request in writing within 21 days of receipt. The ordinance also protects employees from adverse action based on “caregiver status”.
Prevailing Wage Law Changes - AB 1336
This bill extends current deadline of 180 days to 18 months for labor commissioner to serve a civil wage and penalty assessment and a joint labor-management committee to bring an action against an employer who fails to pay the prevailing wage.
Prevailing Wage Law Procedural Changes - SB 377
This bill changes the procedures used by the DIR in making the determination that a specific project is a "public work" project and extends the statute of limitations for the period of time the Director takes to make the determination.
Employer Credits under Prevailing Wage Law - SB 776
Qualifying fringe benefit payments may constitute a credit, even if not made during the same period for which the credit is taken, if the employer regularly makes those payments on no less than a quarterly basis.
Public Works: Charter Cities – SB 7
This bill prohibits a charter city from receiving or using state funding for a construction project if the city has a charter provision or ordinance that authorizes a contractor not to comply with prevailing wage requirements on any public works contract, as specified.
Prevailing Wage Law Changes – SB 54 and AB 1336
SB 54 expands payment of prevailing wages to privately financed refinery construction projects.
AB 1336 extends current deadline of 180 days to 18 months for labor commissioner to serve a civil wage and penalty assessment and a joint labor-management committee to bring an action against an employer who fails to pay the prevailing wage.