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By: Lisa Chapman, Esq.

The annual list of new employment laws which are effective 01/01/2021 includes laws related to both COVID and other more traditional employment law issues.  The following is a brief summary of many of the important new Non-COVID laws and related matters that we urge employers to consider and implement.

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK UPDATES

Employers should update their handbooks annually.  This year our list of recommended changes includes, among other things, language which informs employees about “Kin Care” (i.e., no hire provisions, and increased rights for victims of certain crimes.

CALIFORNIA FAMILY RIGHTS ACT (CFRA)

Prior to 2021 CFRA, the California version of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), applied to employers of 50 or more employees.  CFRA now applies to employers with five or more employees. Qualifying employers of 5 employees or more must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for various reasons.

Employers of over 50 employees only face an expanded scope of grounds which qualify for leave. This includes reduced ability to deny CFRA leave or reinstatement to key employees. Also, employers of both parents of a child are each entitled to 12 weeks leave period.

CFRA leave remains unpaid.   Employers must post notices regarding CFRA rights to employees.

PAY EQUITY AND WAGE DISCRIMINATION

Employers are barred from asking an applicant to provide salary history and are limited in their ability to discuss potential employee’s wage history.

PAY DATA REPORTING

Businesses with more than 100 employees must report pay data annually to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) related to various categories of their employees. The initial reporting deadline is March 31, 2021.

LEAVE FOR VICTIMS OF CERTAIN TYPES OF CRIME

The obligation of employers to provide leave and other protections to employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking is expanded to include victims of crimes involving a mental or physical injury to a victim. The scope of leave which an employee may take is also expanded, including leave due to the death of a family member.

“WHISTLEBLOWING” PROTECTIONS

Employees who file claims under the Consumer Financial Protection Law now have additional legal protections.

MINIMUM WAGE REQUIREMENTS

Minimum wage requirements throughout California are modified on a State, County and City level. On a State level, employers with 26 or fewer employees are subject to $13.00 min. wage, and those with over that number of employees are subject to $14.00 min. wage. In the South Bay, the minimum wage hovers around $15.50 an hour – depending on the city in which the employee works. Employers must pay the highest minimum wage for their jurisdiction, even if it is higher than the governing State or County minimum wage.

 

This blog is written as of January 7, 2021. Recommendations and legal requirements are changing rapidly, so please continue to review our legal updates or review postings on relevant government websites. 

All blogs on this site are for educational purposes only, do not constitute legal advice or opinion, and should not be applied to your situation, or any specific situation, without consultation with counsel. Strategy Law, LLP does not provide any legal advice concerning any matter discussed in a blog except upon formal engagement including, without limitation, execution of Strategy Law, LLP’s formal legal services agreement, and with respect to specific factual situations.  No blog constitutes a guaranty, warranty, or prediction regarding the result of any legal matter discussed in the blog or any representation.

 

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