Summer Employment Law Changes
Summer brought a handful of new or changed employment law provisions that we describe below for your reference and convenience. Of course, if you have any questions about any of these, let us know. For questions, please contact Ross Schwartz, Dick Semerdjian or Sarah Evans at 619.236.8821.
CALIFORNIA’S MINIMUM WAGE IS UP
As of July 1, California’s minimum wage is $9 per hour. We recommend that employers examine all pay practices that might be affected by the minimum wage increase. For example, a $9 minimum wage means that the minimum salary requirement for administrative, professional and executive exemptions increases to $3,120 per month. A $9 minimum wage also means that only employees whose wages are at least $18 per hour can be required to provide and maintain hand tools and equipment customarily required by the trade or craft in which they work.
A rising minimum wage changes some of the notices employers should post in a conspicuous location frequented by employees. To view the most current version that employers should post, click here. Also, all industry Wage Orders have been amended to show a revision date of “07/2014” and are available online at https://www.dir.ca.gov/iwc/wageorderindustries.htm. Employers must post the new wage order applicable to the business in a place where employees can read it easily.
In late July, the San Diego City Council approved an ordinance that would raise the minimum wage in the city to $11.50 an hour by January 2017, which the mayor has said he intends to veto. Other municipalities in California, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Jose, have already approved increases above the $9 statewide rate.
NEW WORKERS’ COMPENSATION NOTICES FOR NEW HIRES
Employers should also update their new hire packets to include the updated workers’ compensation “time of hire” information, with the applicable information on pages 3, 4, and 5 filled in before distributing. This new packet includes forms that an employee can use to predesignate a personal physician or a personal chiropractor. The Time of Hire Pamphlet is available online at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/employer.htm.
STATE’S PAID FAMILY LEAVE BENEFIT PROGRAM EXPANDS
Another change benefits employees—the Paid Family Leave wage-replacement program now includes benefits for time taken off to care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling or parent-in-law. It does not affect state or federal leave requirements.
WORK SHARING UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROGRAM CHANGES
California’s Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance program allows for the payment of benefits to employees whose hours and wages have been reduced, helping companies avoid mass layoffs by sharing the available work among employees. Information about the new requirements for those work sharing plans is available online at http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Work_Sharing_Program.htm.