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A Cheatsheet to California’s New Employment Laws
Take action on expanded rights and safety protocols in the workplace.

This year marks significant changes for California workers and job candidates as several new laws took effect across the employment landscape. These initiatives support your rights — from wages and benefits to medical leave and health. The more you know, the more prepared and confident you’ll be in conversations with your boss and human resources. 

Learn how new legislation impacts you, your employer, or your job search, and how to reap the benefits.

Each employment New California Employment Laws to Know About in 2023

Minimum Wage Increases

On January 1, 2023, the California state minimum wage increased to $15.50 for all waged employees. In addition, the minimum annual salary requirement for overtime-exempt employees also increased to $64,480.

Previously, the state split the minimum wage requirement for employers with 25 or more employees. The 2023 update brings all employees to the same minimum wage. Many cities across California can still put their minimum wage in place to exceed the state requirement. You can see wages by jurisdiction here.

How to Take Action

  • Understand the minimum wage in the jurisdiction you’re working in
  • Talk with your employer about how this change impacts your pay
  • Stay up to date on minimum wage increases to come

Expanded Pay Disclosure 

The SB-1162 bill requires transparency between employers and potential applicants. Any employer with more than 15 employees must share a pay scale for new job postings to give candidates a fair representation of income expectations ahead of the application. 

That’s not all, though. Employees are entitled to a pay scale for their current position upon request. So whether you’re currently working in a role you’d like to advance in or looking for something else, this new bill has your back.

How to Take Action

  • Review pay scales of similar job postings from other employers 
  • Understand where your current pay scale falls and ask for a meeting with your boss
  • Determine competitive salaries for roles you’re interested in for career planning

Paid Sick Leave

The new AB-1041 bill brings more awareness to the need for caretakers to have adequate time off in an emergency. It expands the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and California’s Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act (HWHFA) privileges for employees. 

Employees now have more opportunities to take a leave from work for caretaking. The definition of “family member” expanded to include any designated person that an employee identifies when they request paid sick days who needs care. 

How to Take Action

  • Feel entitled to take time off if someone in your life requires care
  • Remain open with your employer about important dependants outside of your family 
  • Ask your employer about their specific protocol for taking paid leave to provide care 

Bereavement Leave Requirements

Similarly, the AB-1949 bill addresses bereavement leave for employees. In the event of a passing, employees who’ve worked for the same employer for 30 days or more can take five paid days off. 

Bereavement covers the loss of a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, and grandchild. 

How to Take Action

  • Ask your employer about the policy and what to expect moving forward
  • Create an open dialogue with a new employer to stay informed and prepared

COVID-19 Exposure Notifications

The AB-2693 bill updated employers’ requirements to notify employees about COVID-19 exposure. Instead of providing written notice in the event of exposure, employers will need to promptly place a clear exposure notice to employees in the location where they customarily post essential news. 

The notice must remain for 15 days and detail the dates of a confirmed case and the infectious period. The update also removes the requirement for employers to report known COVID-19 outbreaks to the local public health agency within 48 hours.

How to Take Action

  • Confirm the location of exposure notifications with your employer
  • Create a gameplan for exposure notifications to keep you and your family healthy

Retaliation in the Event of Emergency Condition

The SB-1044 bill protects employees from adverse action in the event of an emergency condition. That means if you refuse to report to work because of a reasonable belief that the workplace is no longer safe, your employer cannot retaliate.

It also requires employers to disclose any emergencies to all employees. For example, a workplace usually does not allow cell phone use. In that case, this bill requires employers to allow employees to use a communication device to seek assistance, assess the situation, or confirm a person’s safety.

How to Take Action

  • Talk with your employer or future employer about the protocol for emergencies.
  • Know that you cannot face termination if you don’t feel safe in a situation.
  • Keep your phone available if there is ever an emergency.

Language Requirements

Bill AB-2068 is a step toward progressed inclusion in the workplace. It will require employers to share Cal-OSHA information to protect employee safety in multiple languages. This likely already happens, but the legislation ensures all employees promptly experience equal rights to critical details. 

Previously, notifications were only required in English, but the increasingly diverse workforce in California continues to break this mold, starting with the newest bill.

How to Take Action

  • Request to receive notifications in another language
  • Let your employer know which language you prefer for all notifications in the future
  • Maintain momentum by communicating anything else that makes you feel included

Stay Up to Date With Your Employment Rights

The more you know about your rights as an employee, the more power you hold to exercise those rights. Employers want to support their team, so take the time to express what you need to feel fulfilled and respected in your place of work. 

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