California employment law has always been unique, but 2019 will usher in a whole new set of regulations that employers must heed to stay out of legal trouble.
Notable changes for 2019, says employment law expert Jennifer Raphael Komsky, include laws and regs dealing with sexual harassment, hiring inquiries, lactation accommodations, independent contractor relationships, and minimum wage. Komsky covers these issues and more in her AudioSolutionz webinar, “California Employment Law Updates for 2019.”
Don’t wait to update: If you operate in California and have employees, your training and other employment law policies must be immediately revised to reflect the new changes, notes the North Bay Business Journal.
Let’s take a look at some of the new rules.
Pay $12 Minimum Wage—If You Employ More Than 25 Workers
Several new laws govern minimum wage and overtime pay and, in some cases, were actually passed years ago but are only now going into effect. They include:
- Minimum wage is now $11 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees, $12 an hour for those with 26 or more workers.
- Agricultural employers with 26 or more employees must pay overtime once workers are on the clock for more than 9.5 hours per day or 55 hours per week; for smaller ag operations, these changes don’t occur until 2022.
Offer Anti-Harassment Training & Lactation Rooms
Other significant provisions for 2019 include:
Harassment training: Larger employers have already had to put supervisors through two hours of harassment prevention training every two years, but this requirement now applies to employers with at least five employees. The time investment is: one hour of training for non-supervisory staff and two hours for supervisors every two years.
Non-bathroom nursing: Meanwhile, a new law for nursing mothers, called lactation accommodation, requires employers to provide a lactation space other than a bathroom. The law outlines when temporary lactation locations may be sufficient, notes the Society for Human Resources Management, such as when operational, financial or space limitations render the establishment of a permanent room impossible. There are also specific regulations for agricultural settings.
Boardroom equality: Your company’s board is the target of the Gender Representation on Boards of Directors law. Depending on the board’s size, up to three females may need to have seats on it by the end of 2021 or face significant financial penalties. The law applies to all publicly-traded companies with headquarters in California, notes the USA Today.
Nail Down 3-Part ‘Contractor’ Definition
A ruling from the California Supreme Court in 2018 establishes a three-part test to help employers reduce liability when it comes to confirming that a contractor is legally an independent contractor.
As the California Employment Law Blog notes, the workers must be:
- free from the control and direction of the hirer in the performance of work;
- perform work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
- customarily engage in an independently-established trade of the same nature as the work performed by the hiring entity.
California takes its employment laws seriously and devotes considerable resources to enforcement, notes Komsky in her webinar, “California Employment Law Updates for 2019.” Update your practices to comply with employment law regulations now to avoid repercussions.