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New CA Employments Laws for 2023

Dec. 8, 2022

Below is a summary of some of the new employment laws that will go into effect on January 1, 2023 in California.

Minimum Wage Increase

Effective January 1, 2023, the state minimum wage will increase to $15.50/hr. It's important to note that various cities across California have their own local minimum wage requirements that are higher than the state minimum wage. Accordingly, under California law, if you are receiving an annual salary of less than $64,480, you must be classified as a non-exempt employee which will entitle you to overtime pay and other various benefits afforded under the Labor Code.

Extension of Anti-Discrimination Laws to Protect Cannabis Users and Reproductive Health Decision Makers

Effective January 1, 2023, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) will also protect an employee's decision to use or access a particular drug, device, product, or medical service for reproductive health. The purpose of the law is to expand and modernize birth control access in California and ensure greater contraceptive equity statewide.

Effective January 1, 2024, the FEHA will also protect employees by preventing an employer from discriminating against an employee for their use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace. However, employers may still prohibit their employees from possessing, using, or being impaired by cannabis while on the job.

Mandatory Unpaid Bereavement Leave

Effective January 1, 2023, employees will be able to take up to 5 days of unpaid bereavement leave for the death of a family member. The leave must be taken within 3 months of the date of death and the employer may request documentation confirming the death. Employees will be entitled to the additional 5 days of unpaid bereavement leave as long as they've been employed for 30 days and the employer has more than five employees.

Family Care and Paid Sick Leave Extended to Cover Care for "Designated Persons"

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which applies to CA businesses with 5 or more employees, entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid time off: (1) to take care for their own serious health condition; (2) to care for the serious health condition of a "family member" (currently defined as child, parent/parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or spouse/domestic partner of the employee; (3) to bond with a newborn baby or an adopted child; and (4) for certain military purposes.

Effective January 1, 2023, the definition of "family member" as discussed above will be expanded to include a "designated person," which is defined as "any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship." Thus, eligible employees will be able to take 12 weeks of job-protected time off under the CFRA to care for such designated persons under the new law.

Pay Data Transparency and Reporting Requirements

Effective January 1, 2023, employees may request from their employers and will be entitled to the pay scale for the position in which they are currently employed. The purpose of this law is to avoid pay disparaties between employees who perform substantially similar work on the basis of their race, sex, or ethnic background.

Protection for Employees During Emergency Conditions

Effective January 1, 2023, CA employers will be prohibited from taking or threatening adverse action against employees who refuse to report to, or leave, the worksite because the employee has a reasonable belief that the workplace is unsafe.

Shiraz Simonian is the senior Employment Attorney at Simonian & Simonian, PLC. For additional questions, please contact our office at 818-405-0080.