The following bills were recently signed into law by Governor Newsom. California employers will need to be in compliance with each of these new laws on January 1, 2023 unless otherwise stated in the summaries below.
AB 257 – improve working conditions and wages for fast-food employees
AB 257 authorizes the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) to create a “Fast Food Council” (FFC) if the DIR receives at least 10,000 signatures from California’s approximately 550,000 fast-food employees. The FFC, if created, will be comprised of members appointed by the Governor, the Speaker of the California Assembly, and the Senate Rules Committee. The FFC will have the authority to impose sector-wide minimum standards on wages, working hours, working conditions, leaves of absence, health and safety, training and other terms of employment in all fast-food restaurants whose brands have over 100 locations nationwide.
AB 257 also allows local communities with over 200,000 residents to form local fast-food councils. These local councils can then recommend their own standards to the statewide FFC.
AB 257 explicitly authorizes the FFC, if created, to raise the minimum wage for fast-food employees to $22.00/hour as of January 1, 2023.
Bakeries that sell only bread, rolls, and buns are exempted from AB 257. So, too, are restaurants that are located and operated from within a grocery store so long as the grocery store employs the restaurant workers.
AB 2188 – off-duty marijuana use
Effective January 1, 2024, AB 2188 amends California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to include off-duty and off-premises cannabis (marijuana) use. As a result, effective January 1, 2024, California employers will be prohibited from considering off-duty marijuana use as the basis for refusing to hire an applicant or for terminating an employee. Employers will be further prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of an employer-required drug test intended to detect the presence of marijuana metabolites.
AB 2188 still allows employers to maintain a drug-free workplace, however. Under the new law, employees may not possess, use, or be impaired by cannabis in the workplace. Also, AB 2188 does not apply to employees in the building/construction trades or to those employees requiring a federal background investigation or clearance. Finally, AB 2188 does not impact an employer’s ability to use and consider the results from drug tests that screen for things other than marijuana metabolites.
SB 1162 – pay transparency for employees and applicants
SB 1162 requires California employers with 15 or more employees to include in job postings the pay range for the position being advertised. In addition, SB 1162 also requires all California employers, regardless of size, to disclose to existing employees upon request the pay range for the position they hold. Employers who violate SB 1162 may be sued in court by any affected employee. Alternatively, the aggrieved employee can complain to the California Labor Commissioner who can then seek civil penalties against the offending employer ranging from $100 to $10,000 per violation.
SB 1162 also contains a new requirement for pay data reporting. Under this new law, employers with 100 or more workers obtained through staffing or temporary agencies in the prior calendar year will be required to file with the State a separate pay data report concerning the workers obtained through staffing or temporary agencies. These reports must include the name(s) of the owner(s) of the staffing or temporary agency used to obtain the worker as well as the mean and median hourly rate of pay for each job category based on race, ethnicity, and gender. California employers who fall under this new requirement must file their first pay data report no later than May 10, 2023. Employers who fail to timely file the required pay data report may face a civil penalty of $100 per employee for the first failure and $200 per employee for any subsequent failure.
AB 152 – extension of COVID supplemental paid sick leave
Effective immediately, AB 152 extends California’s statewide COVID paid leave law through December 31, 2022. This means that, from now until the end of the year, California employers are required to provide (a) up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to eligible full-time employees who are unable to work or telework due to certain COVID-related reasons, and (b) a second allotment of 40 hours of paid leave if the employee or family member for whom they are caring tests positive for COVID.
Employees who previously exhausted their available COVID paid sick leave are not entitled to any new paid sick leave under AB 152.
AB 152 establishes a grant program that will award grants of up to $50,000 to qualified small businesses to help them cover the costs associated with providing this additional paid sick leave. As of this writing, the details for how this grant process will work have not yet been made public. Employers should check with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (https://business.ca.gov/coronavirus-2019/) for more information.
AB 1949 – bereavement leave
AB 1949 amends California’s Family Rights Act (CFRA) to allow an employee who has worked for an employer for at least 30 days to take 5 days of unpaid bereavement leave following the death of a “covered family member” (defined to be a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law). The leave must be taken within 90 days of the death of the covered family member. Although the leave is unpaid by law, if the employee has any paid leave available – such as vacation time, PTO, sick, and/or personal leave – the employee can use that time and convert the bereavement leave from unpaid to paid.
AB 1041 – “designated person” added to CFRA leave rights
AB 1041 amends CFRA and California’s state paid sick leave law to allow an employee to name a “designated person” who shall then be considered a “covered family member” for purposes of CFRA leave and state paid sick leave. An employee can make a new “designated person” designation for these purposes once every 12 months.
SB 1044 – employee leave during emergencies
SB 1044 prohibits employers, in the event of an “emergency condition,” from (a) taking or threatening adverse employment action against an employee for failing to report for work or for leaving work because they feel unsafe, and/or (b) preventing an employee from accessing their mobile phone or other device for use for emergency purposes.
Under the new law, an “emergency condition” is defined as either (a) a condition of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons or property at the workplace caused by natural forces or a criminal act, or (b) an order to evacuate a workplace, a worker’s home, or the school of a worker’s child due to natural forces or a criminal act. Notably, COVID or any other “health pandemic” is not considered an “emergency condition” under the new law.
SB 984 – paid leave for reserves or National Guard on active deployment
SB 984 requires California employers to pay their eligible employees who are members of the reserves or National Guard for the first 30 days of their active deployment. To be eligible for this new paid leave, an employee must have been employed with that employer for at least one year.
SB 1334 – meal and rest periods for hospital employees
SB 1334 allows California employees who provide patient care in a hospital, clinic, or public health setting and who are employed by the state or its counties or municipalities (including the Regents of the University of California) to one unpaid meal period of at least 30-minutes on shifts over 5 hours and a second unpaid meal period of at least 30-minutes on shifts over 10 hours. SB 1334 also allows these employees to a 10-minute rest period for every 4 hours (or major fraction thereof) worked. This gives public hospital workers the same meal and rest period rights as private sector workers.