Two new California laws, AB 1221 and AB 82, require every server of alcohol and their managers to be trained in responsible alcohol service. The new laws took effect on July 1, 2022 and require all existing alcohol servers to complete their training by August 31, 2022. New hires must complete their training within 60 days of employment.
An “alcohol server” is defined in the new laws as anyone employed at an on-premises establishment who is responsible for checking IDs, taking customer orders, making alcoholic drinks and/or delivering alcoholic beverages to customers.
The mandatory training program consist of two parts: a 3-4 hours course and a final, open-book exam. A minimum score of 70% is required to pass the exam.
The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) has created a portal which provides access to an alcohol server certification program that complies with the laws’ requirements. You can access that here. Numerous private providers are also licensed to provide the training course and exam.
ABC says that statewide enforcement of the new law will begin on September 1, 2022.
California employers should inform all employees who qualify as “alcohol servers,” as well as their managers, of the new training requirement. Just like with California’s food handler certification, employers do not have to pay the employees’ license fees or training costs for their responsible alcohol server certification. That’s because, like the food handler certification, the responsible alcohol server certification is owned by the employee once obtained and can be used by the employee at other jobs.
Whether the employer must pay for an employee’s training and testing time, however, is a more complicated question. It depends on whether the employer has established an on-site training program and whether the program is delivered during working hours.