California is largely known as the most employee-friendly state in the nation. The California legislature has enacted two new pieces of legislation this year that provide hard-working employees with additional rights and opportunities. If you are a private employee, you should inform yourself as to how this new legislation impacts your life.
Amendment to the California Family Rights Act
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) grants to private employees the right to have up to twelve weeks a year of job-protected leave to care for a sick family member. Employers cannot penalize an employee for using this leave, and they must give the employee their old job back after the leave ends.
Up until 2022, family members that qualify an employee for CFRA leave were limited to parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings and a spouse or domestic partner. This year, the California legislature modified the Act to include parents-in-law in the category of family members that an employee can use their leave to care for.
The new wage theft law
It’s an unfortunate truth that employers sometimes withhold pay that their employees are rightfully entitled to. Wage theft can come in many forms, such as failure to pay overtime rates for hours worked above 40 in a week.
Since January 2022, wage theft is now in California’s penal code. This means that employers can face felony criminal charges for engaging in wage theft. This is great news for California workers, because up until now the only recourse that an employee had to address wage theft was a private lawsuit.
It’s important for employees to stay abreast of changes to California labor law, so that they can take full advantage of their rights when navigating the sometimes-complex labor environment.