Employer Bulletin December 2023

Annual Summary of New Employment Laws -- 2024

As always, there are many changes to the state’s employment laws. Below is a brief outline of some of the new laws that may be relevant to you and your business. Please note this summary is by no means an exhaustive list but gives an indication of the many laws that will, unless otherwise noted, take effect on January 1, 2024.

Leaves of Absence

Minimum amount of Paid Sick Leave increases from 3 days (24 hours) to 5 days (40 hours).

Paid Sick Leave accruals have increased from 6 days (48 hours) to 10 days (80 hours) and allowable roll over to the next year have increased from 3 days (24 hours) to 5 days (40 hours).

New: Leave of Absence for Reproductive Loss. Eligible employees (employed at least 30 days) of employers with at least 5 total employees are allowed to take leave for up to 5 days when they suffer a reproductive loss event, including miscarriages, stillbirths, failed adoptions, failed surrogacy, and unsuccessful assisted reproduction. The leave typically must be taken within 3 months of the event and is separate from CFRA leave, pregnancy leave, and bereavement leave. And employers are prohibited from requesting any supporting medical documentation.

Minimum Wage Increase

Don’t forget the minimum wage goes up again – to $16/hour for all employers. Because of this, the salary threshold for most exempt positions increases to $66,560/year ($5,546.67/month).

Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee or applicant based on the person’s off-duty, off-site cannabis use. Employers may still conduct preemployment drug testing, but it’s now more limited. (AB 2188)

Employers will have to prove they did not retaliate against an employee when an adverse action is taken within 90 days of an employee’s protected action. In other words, it will be presumed the employer retaliated against the employee if they take an adverse action (termination, demotion, etc.) within 90 days of an employee’s protected activity (reporting illegal conduct, filing a Labor Commission claim, using sick leave, complaining about health or safety issues, etc.), and the employer will have the burden of showing the adverse action was not retaliatory. (SB 497)

Noncompete Agreements

A new statute re-states existing law that it is unlawful to include non-competes in the employment context (with very few exceptions). Employers are required to notify all employees whose contracts include a noncompete by no later than February 14, 2024. Such contracts are void and unenforceable. (AB 1076; Business & Professions Code section 16600.1)

COVID-19

An existing law has been extended to the end of 2025 that provides workers displaced by COVID-19 in certain industries (large hotels and janitorial, building maintenance or security services to office, retail or other commercial building) with various recall rights when the employer has open positions. (SB 723)

Workplace Safety

Effective July 1, 2024, covered employers will have a number of new safety obligations, including developing and implementing a workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP) either as a standalone document or as part of their required Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP), training employees on the plan, creating workplace violence incidence logs, and various recordkeeping requirements.

Industry-Specific Laws

The Fast Food Council has been created to determine minimum wages and working hours and other working conditions for fast food restaurants. The minimum wage for fast food restaurant employees has been raised to $20/hour beginning April 1, 2024. (AB 1228)

Contact us with any questions or concerns. Don’t forget you need your employee handbook updated.

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