Mid-Year Employment Law Changes Employers Must Know to Avoid Stepping Into a Liability Puddle

Published August 29, 2015

Beginning July 1, 2014, several important changes in the law will affect employers throughout California.

The change with the most widespread effect is an increase in the minimum wage – now up to $9.00 per hour. This minimum wage increase affects nonexempt employees performing work in California. For those employees who are exempt, the salary basis test now requires the employee receive a monthly salary of at least $3,120.00, or a yearly salary of $37,440.00. The minimum annual salary for employees exempt under the computer professional exemption remains $84,130.53 for the remainder of 2014.

Several cities also have their own minimum wage rates which should be checked periodically for changes. Among such cities are San Francisco with a minimum wage of $10.74 per hour and San Jose with a minimum wage of $10.15 per hour for 2014.

California’s Paid Family Leave Program has also been expanded to provide wage replacement benefits to an employee while on leave to care for the serious health condition of a grandparent, grandchild or sibling, or parent-in-law. This Program already provided wage replacement benefits to an employee out on an approved leave of absence to bond with a child within the first year of the child’s birth, placement as a foster child, or after adoption or out on a leave to care for the serious health condition of a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner. There is currently a bill pending which if signed into law would require employers to provide paid sick leave to employees effective July 1, 2015. This could have far-reaching economic implications for small and large employers alike.

State government employers are now barred from asking job applicants to disclose their conviction historyprior to determining whether the applicant meets minimum employment qualifications.  This effectively puts the permissible timing of such inquiries in line with pre-employment testing, such as medical and physical examinations. Exempt from this requirement are positions required by law to have a criminal background check conducted, such as law enforcement positions or positions where the applicant will work with children, the elderly, or the disabled.

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Nothing in this blog is intended to constitute legal advice and your interactions with this blog do not result in the formation of an attorney-client relationship. All matters are different and, as such, nothing in this blog is intended to guarantee, warrant, or predict a specific outcome.