New laws will take effect at the beginning of 2024. Becoming familiar with new employment laws will allow employees to recognize California employee rights and protect against unfair practices in Northern California.
Increased Minimum Wage
Most healthcare employees, with exemption given to California State Hospitals, outpatient facilities managed by federally recognized tribes, and tribal clinics exempt from licensure, will benefit from a minimum wage increase (SB 525). This bill is far-reaching, affecting employees in janitorial services to practicing physicians, offering a multi-tiered approach.
A new bill requiring a $20 per hour minimum wage will repeal the FAST FOOD Accountability and Standards Recovery Act on April 1, 2024. This assembly bill (AB 1228) supports an annual wage increase until 2029. A Fast Food Council will also be established and will likely advise on conditions in the workplace in California.
A bill supporting food handlers (SB 476), will require employers to pay for any costs associated with procuring a food handlers card. These costs can include expenses for training, testing costs, or any other expenses accrued by the employee.
Paid Sick Leave
California’s previous sick leave laws entitled employees to three days or 24 hours of paid sick time. A new bill expands on this entitlement of paid sick days (SB 616) accrual and use, affording employees coverage for five days of paid sick leave or 40 hours. This bill does exclude some workers. Additionally, caps on annual sick use have been raised and accrual rates for sick days have been raised.
Workplace Violence Prevention Plans: July 1, 2024
Employers must adopt plans addressing workplace violence (SB553) as part of established injury and illness and prevention programs or create separate documents. Employers will be required to record incidents of violence or threats in a log, provide training for all employees, and maintain workplace violence prevention plan records.
Reproductive Loss Leave
Eligible employees experiencing a reproductive loss event (SB 848), defined as a miscarriage, stillbirth, unsuccessful assisted reproduction, the final day of a failed adoption, or failed surrogacy, are allowed to take up to five days of unpaid bereavement leave.
Prohibited Non-compete Agreements
Employers are prohibited from attempting to enforce or enter into noncompete agreements (SB 699) with employees. Any established non-compete contracts are void in California. Additionally, employers must notify employees who entered into noncompete agreements after January 1, 2022, that these signed agreements are void (AB 1076) as of February 14, 2024.
Employers who have lost civil suits (SB365) that seek to enforce arbitration in labor disputes with employees can no longer automatically freeze proceedings by filing an appeal.
Cannabis Use Off-Duty
Employers are no longer allowed to discriminate against employees (AB 2188) using cannabis away from work off-duty when hiring, terminating, or during any condition of employment. This law still allows employers to maintain a drug-free workplace and does not allow employees to possess or use cannabis at the worksite.
California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act will be expanded (SB 700), protecting individuals from discrimination based on prior cannabis use, a criminal history resulting from its use, or requesting information regarding a job applicant’s use.
Northern California Employment Law Attorneys Protecting Your Rights
For over 20 years, The Armstrong Law Firm has protected employees against unfair practices. Contact us if your rights as a California employee have been violated.