01 Nov 3 New California Employment Laws You Should Know About
LEAVES OF ABSENCE
AB 1949 requires employers with 5 or more employees to provide job protected bereavement leave that provides up to 5 days of unpaid time off upon the death of a family member, including a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner or parent- in-law. Employers can require documentation to support the leave, and the leave must be completed within three months of the family member’s death. Employers who already have existing bereavement leave policies don’t need to worry about this new law so long as their policy provides up to 5 days off. The leave may be unpaid (or paid as many employers already offer this) but if it is unpaid, the employee must be allowed to use paid sick leave or PTO/vacation.
CFRA and Paid Sick Leave Expanded
Beginning January 1, 2023, AB 1041 expands who an employee can take CFRA leave or paid sick leave to care for. Employees will be able to take CFRA and paid sick leave to care for a “designated person” and the employee may designate 1 new person every 12 months. Employers will need to keep track of who that designated person is over the course of the 12-month period. This designated person can be someone who the employee considers to be “like family” making it difficult for employers to challenge that designation.
PAY TRANSPARENCY BILL SB1162
Get ready, because in my opinion, this is the biggie. Let’s unpack the new Pay Transparency Bill SB1162 going into effect January 1st of 2023 and the impact for California employers.
One element of the bill requires employers of all sizes to, upon request, disclose the established pay scale for an individual’s exiting position. Pay scale is defined as the salary or hourly wage range that the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position.
Next, employers with 15 or more employees must also include this pay scale in all job postings. There are also reporting and recordkeeping requirements for employers with 100 or more employees. Employers with 100 or more workers have had to provide pay data reports annually to the Civil Rights Department (formerly known as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing). Now, in addition to reporting the number of employees by race, ethnicity and sex by job-title categories and pay bands, employers must report the median and mean hourly rate within each job category, for each combination of race, ethnicity, and sex in the report.
These requirements are going to require a fair amount of work for those employers who don’t have established and well documented pay practices and strategies.
Here’s what I don’t think we’re talking enough about here: The impact of this new pay transparency and what employers should expect.
- Employers should expect employees to ask more questions about their pay range. They will be paying attention to your job ads and noticing where they are within that pay range. If they are on the low end, will want to know why and you’ll need to be prepared to answer them and have we documented reasons for those decisions.
- If you set your pay ranges unrealistically wide (say from minimum wage all the way to $60/hour) they will think that’s a red flag, could cause distrust and lead to your employees reporting you.
- Coworkers will probably start sharing their pay with each other more which will unveil any pay inequities that may exist (like Todd’s salary on the highest end of the pay scale and Maria’s salary is on the lowest end for the same job when their seniority is the same). Remember the Fair Pay Act? If not. I would do a quick search and familiarize yourself with it.
I know it feels overwhelming. but don’t panic! You still have time to start preparing for January. Here are a few tips on where you can start.
- If you haven’t done any valid pay benchmarking in a while, now is the time. This will give you insight into competitive wages for your industry, location, size etc. so you can start establishing documented pay scales.
- Identify any pay equity issues and address them. You can work with an attorney to assess and mitigate any liability.
- Include in your pay strategy the ways in which an employee can move from the low end of a pay scale to the high end (think new skills, competencies, years of experience, certifications etc.).
- Be prepared to explain why emplovees with the same iob title or job description are paid differently within range using only the allowable reasons for pay differentials (factors like seniority and merit).
- If you don’t already have up-to-date job descriptions, you’ll want to get those together as well. Pay ranges should align with job descriptions.
6. Consider working with an HR Pro or an attorney to ensure you are setting fair pay practices and properly documenting everything.
There are additional new laws coming in 2023 as well that emplovers. should be aware of such as COVID sick pay extension, industry-specific measures, privacy obligations, workplace safety, AND…..drum roll…cannabis discrimination protection coming in 2024. Need help getting ready for 2023, whether that’s getting compliant with new laws or revamping your people practices? We’re here to help. Contact us today and we’ll get that weight off your shoulders!