October 13, 2022

New California Laws for 2023 and Beyond: What Employers Should Know

In 2022, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed many laws impacting California employers. Some of the new laws became effective immediately and others, including some that were signed into law just weeks ago, take effect January 1, 2023, or later. These new laws address several topics, including supplemental paid sick leave, pay transparency, leaves of absence and fast-food restaurant employment standards.

As a reminder, the minimum wage in California is increasing to $15.50 per hour on January 1, 2023, for all employers — regardless of the number of workers employed by an employer. Also, many cities and local governments in California have enacted minimum wage ordinances exceeding the state minimum wage.

In addition, the California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act (CPRA), which amends the prior California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), takes effect on January 1, 2023. Unless the legislature or Gov. Newsom acts prior to January 1, 2023, the CPRA eliminates employer exemptions in the CCPA applicable to employee/applicant data and expands on several areas of the CCPA, and creates several privacy-related obligations for employers, including: (1) notifying applicants, employees and contractors about the categories of personal information that is or may be collected by the employer, and describing the purpose(s) for the collection and disclosure of such information, and providing information regarding the sharing and retention of personal information, (2) employees’ rights to access or restrict the use or disclosure of certain categories of personal information, (3) employees’ rights to correct or delete personal information (subject to statutory exemptions that may apply), and (4) employees’ rights to request the personal information that has been collected about them during the preceding 12 months.

The CPRA also establishes a new agency, the California Privacy Protection Agency, which is responsible for implementing and enforcing the law, including issuing potential fines of $2,500 per violation and $7,500 per intentional violation. Although the CPRA takes effect January 1, 2023, any personal information about employees collected by employers dating back to January 1, 2022 will be subject to compliance with the CPRA.

All employers with operations in California should be aware of these new laws, understand how these laws may affect their operations and consult with counsel to address any compliance questions, including whether existing employment policies should be updated or whether new employment policies should be created. The effective date of each new law is indicated in the heading of the Assembly Bill (AB) or Senate Bill (SB). The list below is in numerical order by AB or SB.

Please note that the summary below does not address all new California laws that impact employers or employees; rather, it is a summary of the new California laws that we believe to be the most significant in terms of scope and impact of individuals or employers with business operations in California.

AB 152 – COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (Effective Sept. 29, 2022)

AB 152 extends through December 31, 2022, COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL), which would have otherwise expired on September 30, 2022, under SB 114 signed earlier by Gov. Newsom on February 9, 2022. This bill does not require employers to provide additional hours of leave beyond the amount of SPSL under SB 114. As such, to the extent an employee has used all SPSL prior to September 30, 2022, this bill does not provide for new paid leave.

Additionally, under SB 114, if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the employer is allowed to require the employee to submit to another diagnostic test on or after the fifth day after the test and provide documentation to the employer. Under AB 152, if the second test is positive, the employer may require the employee to submit to a second test within no less than 24 hours. This bill reaffirms that the employer must make such tests available at no cost to the employees, but that the employer may decline to provide SPSL benefits where the employee refuses to provide documentation of test results or refuses to submit to a test.

This bill further establishes the California Small Business and Nonprofit COVID-19 Relief Grant Program within the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to assist qualified small businesses or nonprofits that are incurring costs for SPSL. The bill requires GO-Biz to provide grants to qualified small businesses or nonprofits, as defined. The bill repeals these provisions on January 1, 2024.

AB 152 took immediate effect upon its enactment on September 29, 2022. This bill makes a number of revisions to the Government Code, Labor Code and the Revenue and Taxation Code. Please refer to AB 152 for the impacted code sections.

AB 257 – Fast Food Restaurant Employment Standards (Possibly Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

AB 257, signed by Governor Newsom on September 5, 2022, enacts the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (or FAST Recovery Act) and establishes the Fast Food Council within the Department of Industrial Relations until January 1, 2029. The Fast Food Council will be composed of 10 members to be appointed by the Governor, the Speaker of the Assembly and the Senate Rules Committee, and will be authorized to set sector-wide rules on minimum wages, working hours, working conditions and training for fast food restaurant workers. The Fast Food Council will be authorized to set such standards on fast food restaurants consisting of 100 or more establishments nationally that share a common brand or that are characterized by standardized options for decor, marketing, packaging, products and services — including franchisees.

The standards set forth by the Fast Food Council would not apply to fast food employees with a valid collective bargaining agreement.

This bill contains several other provisions, including: authorizing a county, or city with a population greater than 200,000 to establish a Local Fast Food Council, that could provide recommendations to the statewide Fast Food Council; and prohibiting the discharge or discrimination or retaliation against a fast-food employees for specified reasons and creates a cause of action and right to reinstatement for employees, as well as a presumption of unlawful discrimination and retaliation in certain circumstances. Further, the Labor Commissioner is authorized to take assignments of violations of standards issued by the Fast Food Council upon the filing of a written claim by an employee or an employee’s representative.

Opponents of this bill are engaged in a signature-gathering process in order to qualify for a referendum of this bill.  If they are successful in obtaining signatures before December 4, 2022, the effective date of this bill would be put on hold until voters weigh in, likely not until the November 2024 elections.

This bill amends Section 96 of, and adds Part 4.5.5 (commencing with Section 1470) to Division 2 of, the Labor Code.

AB 551 – COVID-19 Related Disability Retirement (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

AB 551 extends the effective date of AB 845, which provides that if a member of certain firefighter, public safety and health care job classifications tests positive for COVID-19 and retires for disability on the basis of a COVID-19 related illness, it is presumed that the disability arose out of, or in the course of, the member’s employment, unless rebutted. AB 845 would have become inoperative in January of 2023, and this bill provides an extension through January 1, 2024.

This bill amends Section 7523.2 of the Government Code.

AB 1041 – Leave: Designated Person (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), an employer with five or more employees must provide eligible employees who meet specified requirements to take up to a total of 12 workweeks in any 12-month period for family care and medical leave as defined by the CFRA.

AB 1041 amends the CFRA and expands the class of people for whom an employee may take leave to care for under the CFRA to include a “designated person.” This bill defines “designated person” to mean any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship. Further, this bill provides that the employee may identify the designated person at the time the employee requests leave and that the employer may limit the employee to one designated person per 12-month period.

This bill also expands the definition of family member under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (aka the CA Paid Sick Leave Law) to include a “designated person.” Similar to the provisions of the CFRA discussed above, for purposes of the CA Paid Sick Leave Law, the employee may identify the designated person at the time the employee requests paid sick days and the employer may limit an employee to one designated person per 12-month period for paid sick days.

This bill amends Section 12945.2 of the Government Code and Section 245.5 of the Labor Code.

AB 1467 – Student Safety: Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Existing law requires that public postsecondary governing bodies in California adopt and implement written procedures or protocols to ensure that students, faculty, and staff who are victims of sexual assault committed at specified locations receive treatment and certain information. Under existing law, these governing bodies must annually review, and update as necessary, these procedures or protocols.

Under existing law, these procedures and protocols must include specified information, such as “[p]rocedures ensuring that each victim of sexual assault should receive information about the existence of at least the following options: criminal prosecutions, civil prosecutions, the disciplinary process through the college, the availability of mediation, alternative housing assignments, and academic assistance alternatives.” AB 1467 adds that the information provided must include procedures for obtaining the assistance of “[c]ounselors and support services for victims.”

AB 1467 also requires, among other things, that postsecondary school sexual assault and domestic violence counselors be independent of the campus Title IX office and that any executive orders related to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation be submitted in an annual report to the chairs of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education and the Senate Committee on Education.

This bill is a companion bill to AB 1936 which, among other things, renames the University of California, Hastings College of the Law to College of the Law, San Francisco.

This bill amends Section 67385 of, and adds Section 89033 to, the Education Code.

AB 1601 – Mass Layoff, Relocation or Termination of Call Center Employees (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) and the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (Cal/WARN), covered employers are required to comply with various obligations, including providing 60 days’ notice of plant closings/terminations, relocations or mass layoffs. Cal/WARN generally applies to employers that owns or operates a covered establishment, which is a location that employs, or has employed in the preceding 12 months, 75 or more persons.

AB 1601 expands the notice requirements of Cal/WARN to a call center employer that intends to relocate its call center. A call center means a facility where employees, as their primary function, receive telephone calls or other electronic communications for the purpose of providing customer service or other related functions. Relocation means when a call center employer, which is an employer of a covered establishment that operates a call center, intends to move its call center, or one or more facilities or operating units within the center comprising of at least 30% of the call center’s total volume when measured against the average call volume for the previous 12 months, or similar operations to a foreign country.

The bill authorizes the Labor Commissioner to enforce notice requirements concerning a mass layoff, relocation, or termination of employees, including call center employees and grants the Labor Commissioner the authority to investigate alleged violations, provide temporary relief and issue citations. 

This bill amends Section 1406 of, amends/renumbers/adds to Section 1400 of, and adds Section 1409 to, the Labor Code.

AB 1661 – Human Trafficking Notice (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Existing law requires specified businesses and other establishments, including airports, intercity passenger rail or light rail stations, bus stations, and truck stops, to post a notice, as developed by the Department of Justice, that contains information relating to slavery and human trafficking, including information regarding specified nonprofit organizations that a person can call for services or support in the elimination of slavery and human trafficking. AB 1661 requires that hair, nail, electrolysis, skin care, and other related businesses or establishments post such a notice.

Covered businesses or establishments can be liable for a civil penalty of $500 for a first offense, and $1,000 for each subsequent offense for their failure to comply.

This bill amends Section 52.6 of the Civil Code.

AB 1726 -- Address Confidentiality Program (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Existing law creates the Safe at Home Program, which offers victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, or elder or dependent adult abuse, under which an adult — or a guardian on behalf of a minor or an incapacitated person — substitute mailing address to receive first class, certified, and registered mail. Under existing law, when the California Secretary of State certifies the person as a program participant, the person’s actual address is confidential.

AB 1726 extends the deadline for service on program participants by 12 days and extends the deadline for defendants to respond to a complaint in an action to obtain possession or real property by five court days if service of the complaint is completed through the Safe at Home Program.

This bill also amends the information that must be included in applications for participation in the Safe at Home Program. Further, it changes the basis upon which the Secretary of State may remove a participant from the program. Under existing law, participants may be removed from the program if they no longer reside at the most recent residential address provided to the Secretary of State, and have not provided at least seven days’ prior notice in writing of a change in address, a service of process document or mail forwarded to the program participant by the Secretary of State is returned as non-deliverable, or the program participant obtains a legal name change and fails to notify the Secretary of State within seven days. AB 1726 would extend the seven-day notice period to 30 days and require the program to attempt to contact the participant by phone and email before terminating participation due to non-deliverable mail.

AB 1726 provides, among other things, that if a program participant or parent or guardian acting on behalf of a minor or incapacitated person relocates to a state without an address confidentiality program, then they remain enrolled and that mail be forwarded for the remainder of the term they are qualified to participate in the program.

This bill amends Sections 1005, 1013 and 1167 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and amends Sections 6206, 6206.7, 6208.1, 6208.2, and 6209.7 of, and adds Section 6206.1 to, the Government Code.

AB 1747 – Disciplinary Action of Contractors (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Existing law provides that a licensed contractor’s willful or deliberate disregard of various state building, labor and safety laws constitutes a cause of disciplinary action by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). Disciplinary proceedings may result in a civil penalty not to exceed $30,000 for specified violations.

AB 1747 provides that the CSLB may also take disciplinary action against a licensed contractor for a willful or deliberate disregard of any state or local law relating to the issuance of building permits and authorizes a civil penalty against the contractor not to exceed $30,000 for any violation.

This bill amends Sections 7099.2 and 7110 of the Business and Professions Code.

AB 1751 – COVID-19: Workers’ Compensation & Critical Workers (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Under existing law an “injury” for Workers’ Compensation purposes includes illness or death resulting from COVID-19 under certain circumstances. Existing law also creates a rebuttable presumption that certain employees contracted COVID-19 at work. Specifically, Labor Code section 3212.86 applies to COVID-19 illnesses contracted before July 5, 2020 if the employee tested positive for, or was diagnosed, with COVID-19 within 14 days after performing work for the employer; Labor Code section 3212.87 applies to specified police officers and firefighters; and Labor Code section 3212.88 applies during a COVID-19 “outbreak” (as defined in the statute) at an employer’s place of employment (for employers with five or more employees).

AB 1751 extends the expiration date of Labor Code sections 3212.86, 3212.87, and 3212.88 until 2024. This bill also amends section 3212.87 to include active firefighting members of a fire department at the State Department of State Hospitals, the State Department of Developmental Services, the Military Department, and the Department of Veterans Affairs and to officers of a state hospital under the jurisdiction of the State Department of State Hospitals and the State Department of Developmental Services.

This bill amends Sections 3212.86, 3212.87, and 3212.88 of the Labor Code.

AB 1775 -- Occupational Safety: Live Events (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

AB 1775 imposes certain requirements for entities that contract with entertainment events vendors as part of a production of a live event at the entity’s public events venue. Under the new law, such vendors are required to certify that their employees (and any subcontractors’ employees) have completed certain Occupational Safety and Health Administration trainings.

This bill adds Part 14 (commencing with Section 9250 to Section 9254) to Division 5 of the Labor Code.

AB 1788 – Civil Penalties for Actual Knowledge or Reckless Disregard for Human Trafficking in Hotels (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Under existing law, hotels are required to provide at least 20 minutes of training to their staff on how to recognize human trafficking, but existing law does not create liability against a hotel for the lack of reporting a human trafficking case.

AB 1788 allows civil penalties against a hotel if: (1) sex trafficking activity occurred in the hotel, a supervisory employee of the hotel knew, or acted with reckless disregard, of the activity constituting sex trafficking activity that occurred within the hotel and failed to inform the appropriate authorities within 24 hours (i.e., law enforcement, the National Human Trafficking Hotline, or another appropriate victim service organization); and/or (2) any hotel employee was acting within the scope of employment and knowingly benefited —  financially or by receiving anything of value — from participating in a venture that the employee knew, or acted with reckless disregard, of the activity constituting as sex trafficking activity within the hotel. 

Civil penalties range from $1,000 (first violation), $3,000 (second violation), $5,000 (third and any subsequent violation) for violations, and $10,000 (fourth or subsequent violation based on court’s discretion) within the same calendar year. There is a five-year statute of limitations on these penalties from the date of the violation, or within the date the victim attains the age of majority.

This bill adds Section 52.65 to the Civil Code.

AB 1851 – Public Works: Prevailing Wage & Hauling (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Existing law includes in the definition of “public works” under certain circumstances the hauling of refuse from a public works site to an outside disposal location. AB-1851 expands the definition of “public works” to include the on-hauling of materials used for paving, grading, and fill onto a public works site if the individual driver’s work is integrated into the flow process of construction.

In enacting this bill, the California legislature specifically stated that it is the intent of the Legislature to restore the holding of O. G. Sansone Co. v. Department of Transportation (1976) 55 Cal.App.3d 434, and its subsequent interpretations, as it relates to the on hauling of materials used for paving, grading, and fill onto a public works site. In a 2021 decision, in Mendoza v. Fonseca McElroy Grinding Co, Inc. (2021) 11 Cal.5th 1118, the California Supreme Court disapproved of the holding of O. G. Sansone creating uncertainties as to its legal precedence.

This bill amends Section 1720.3 of the Labor Code.

AB 1949 – Bereavement Leave (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

AB 1949 amends the CFRA and provides that eligible employees who have been employed for at least 30 days may take up to 5 days of unpaid leave (subject to an employee’s ability to use available paid time off) related to the death of a family member. Family member means a spouse or a child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner or parent-in-law (the same definition of family member under CFRA).

Under this bill, bereavement leave need not be taken in consecutive days, but the bereavement leave must be completed within three months of the date of death of the family member. Further, within 30 days of the first day of the leave, the employer may request that the employee provide documentation of the death of the family member. “Documentation” includes, but is not limited to, a death certificate, a published obituary or written verification of death, burial, or memorial services from a mortuary, funeral home, burial society, crematorium, religious institution or governmental agency. The employer must maintain the confidentiality of any employee requesting bereavement leave and any documentation the employee provides to the employer must be maintained as confidential and shall not be disclosed except to internal personnel or counsel, as necessary, or as required by law.

In addition, to the extent an employer has an existing bereavement policy, the bereavement leave must be taken pursuant to the employer’s existing bereavement leave policy. If the employer does not have an existing bereavement leave policy, the bereavement leave may be unpaid; but the employee may use vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee.

If the employer’s existing leave policy provides for less than five days of paid bereavement leave, the employee is entitled to no less than a total of five days of bereavement leave, consisting of the number of days of paid leave under the employer’s existing policy, and the remainder of days of leave may be unpaid; but the employee may use vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee. And if the employer’s existing leave policy provides for less than five days of unpaid bereavement leave, the employee is entitled to no less than five days of unpaid bereavement leave; but the employee may use vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is otherwise available to the employee.

This bill also provides that an employee’s right to bereavement leave is to be construed as separate and distinct from any other right employees have under the CFRA.

Finally, the bill exempts employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement if certain conditions are met.

This bill amends Section 12945.21 and 19859.3 of, and adds Section 12945.7 to, the Government Code.

AB 2183 – Labor Peace Compacts and Card Check Elections for Agricultural Employees (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Existing law grants agricultural employees the right to form and join unions by elections held by secret ballot and conducted by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB).

AB 2183 amends the Labor Code to establish alternative procedures to the existing polling place election process for agricultural employees. Specifically, this bill authorizes a labor organization to be certified as the exclusive bargaining representative of a bargaining unit through either a labor peace election or a non-labor peace election, as prescribed in the law, depending on whether an employer enrolls and agrees to a labor peace election for labor organization representation campaigns. As a result, each year an agricultural employer will have to determine whether it will agree with the ALRB to a “labor peace compact,” which compact will, among other things, prohibit the employer from making statements for or against union representation or from making any disparaging comments about the union to its employees or publicly in any form and at any time. If the employer agrees to a labor peace compact, then employees may decide whether to unionize through a newly created mail-in ballot election. If the employer does not agree to sign a labor peace compact, then unions will be permitted to solicit employees to sign a card authorizing the union to represent the employees through a newly created card check, rather than, mail-in or in-person secret ballot, process. By its terms, this bill is repealed as of January 1, 2028.

This bill adds Sections 1156.35, 1156.36. 1156.37, 1160.10 and 1162 to the Labor Code.

AB 2188 – Off-Duty Use of Cannabis (Effective Jan. 1, 2024)

AB 2188 amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the basis of a person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace or based on an employer-required drug test that found non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in the person’s hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids. 

This bill allows exceptions for preemployment drug screening that does not screen for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites. Certain employees and applicants are also exempt, including those in the building and construction trades and those whose positions require a federal background investigation or clearance.

This bill specifically provides that “[n]othing in this section permits an employee to possess, to be impaired by, or to use, cannabis on the job. Further, this bill provides that it does not “affect the rights or obligations of an employer to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace […] or any other rights or obligations of an employer specified by federal law or regulation.”

This bill amends Section 12954 to the Government Code.

AB 2243 - Occupational Safety and Health Standards: Heat Illness and Wildfire Smoke (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Existing law requires employers to comply with certain safety and health standards, including a heat illness standard for the prevention of heat-related illness of employees in an outdoor place of employment. There is also an existing standard for workplace protection from wildfire smoke.

AB 2243 requires the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), before December 1, 2025, to submit to the standards board a rulemaking proposal to consider revising the heat illness standard and wildfire smoke standard based on criteria enumerated in the bill. Cal/OSHA must also consider revising the wildfire smoke standard with regard to farmworkers.

This bill also requires the Cal/OSHA standards board to review the proposed changes and consider adopting revised standards on or before December 31, 2025. This bill further requires Cal/OSHA to consider developing regulations, or revising existing regulations, relating to protections related to acclimatization to higher temperatures, especially following an absence of a week or more from working in ultrahigh heat settings, including after an illness.  

This bill amends Section 6721 of the Labor Code. 

AB 2420 - Perinatal and Infant Children Health: Extreme Heat (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Under existing law, prenatal care, delivery service, postpartum care and neonatal and infant care are essential services necessary to assure maternal and infant health. Existing law requires the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to develop and maintain a statewide community-based comprehensive perinatal services program.

Subject to an appropriation of funds by the Legislature, AB 2420 requires the CDPH, in consultation with subject matter experts, to: 

  • Review available literature on adverse effects of extreme heat on perinatal health.
  • Develop guidance for safe conditions and health considerations for pregnant individuals and infant children who may be exposed to extreme heat, and for pregnant individuals, during both the gestational and postpartum periods, and post this guidance on the department's website and make it accessible to medical and community-based health organizations.
  • Provide guidance and supporting information to the Legislature by submitting a report that includes legislative or policy recommendations on best practices for connecting perinatal patients with the appropriate health and well-being information relating to extreme heat.

This bill adds Section 123576 to the Health and Safety Code.

AB 2683 -- Postsecondary Education: Sexual Violence and Harassment (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

AB 2683 requires that each campus of the California Community Colleges and the California State University post educational and preventive information on sexual violence and sexual harassment on its campus internet website.  The posting must contain certain information, including common facts and myths about the causes of sexual violence and sexual harassment; what constitutes sexual violence and sexual harassment, methods of encouraging peer support for victims and the imposition of sanctions on offenders.

This bill also requires that, beginning September 1, 2024, and each year thereafter, the California Community Colleges, the California State University, independent institutions of higher education that receive state financial assistance, and private postsecondary educational institutions that receive state financial assistance annually train students on sexual violence and sexual harassment. This training must cover information included in the posting discussed above and additional information such as the contact information of a Title IX coordinator or a similar position and specified statistics on the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual violence in the educational setting, and the differing rates at which students experience sexual harassment and sexual assault in the educational setting based on their race, sexual orientation, disability, gender and gender identity.

This bill amends Section 67385.7 of the Education Code.

AB 2693 -- COVID-19 Exposure (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Exiting law requires employers to provide notice to the local public health agency in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. AB 2693 amends existing law in Labor Code section 6409.6 and provides that employers no longer have to give notice to the local public health agency in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.  The California Department of Public Health will also no longer be required to post workplace information received from local public health departments about COVID-19 cases and outbreaks.

Existing law also requires that an employer who receives a notice of potential exposure to COVID-19, the employer is required to take specified actions within one business day of the notice of potential exposure, including providing written notice to all employees on the premises at the same worksite that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. AB 2693 revises and recasts the notification requirements and authorizes an employer to either provide written notification or prominently display a notice in all places where notices to employees concerning workplace rules or regulations are customarily posted and requires the notice to remain posted for 15 days. This bill also requires an employer to keep a log of all the dates the notice was posted, and requires the employer to allow the Labor Commissioner to access those records. This bill extends these provisions until January 1, 2024.

This bill amends Sections 6325 and 6409.6 of the Labor Code.

AB 2766 – Expands Enforcement and Investigatory Power to City and County Attorneys for Violations of Unfair Competition Law (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

AB 2766 grants enforcement and investigatory power to the city attorney of any city with population of over 750,000, to the county counsel of any county (which a city within the county has a population over 750,000), or the city attorney of a city and county (collectively Investigators) when the Investigators reasonably believe there may have been a violation of the Unfair Competition Law, including any unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business act or practice, and unfair, deceptive, untrue, or misleading advertising. This bill also provides that the Investigators may issue a subpoena as part of their investigation. Should the subpoena recipient object to the subpoena, the subpoena recipient must serve objections and meet and confer with the subpoena issuer to attempt to resolve the objections. If meet and confer attempts fail, the subpoena recipient may petition the superior court for an order quashing or modifying the subpoena.

This bill amends Section 16759 of the Business and Professions Code.

AB 2777 -- Sexual Assault: Statute of Limitations (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Under existing law, the statute of limitations to commence a civil action for sexual assault is 10 years from the last act, attempted act or assault with the intent to commit an act of sexual assault; or within three years from the date a plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that an injury or illness resulted from those acts. The current statute of limitations applies to any action commenced on or after January 1, 2019.

AB 2777, which is also known as the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, provides that actions commenced on or after January 1, 2019 and based on conduct that occurred on or after January 1, 2009, will not be time-barred, even if the 10-year statute of limitations has expired, provided that such claims are commenced by December 31, 2026. The act does not revive claims in which there has been, prior to January 1, 2023, a final decision by a court or a written settlement.

This bill also provides that where a party seeks to recover damages based on a sexual assault that was “covered up” by an entity, the action may be commenced between January 1 and December 31, 2023, even if that claim would otherwise be time-barred. For the purposes of the act, “cover up” means “a concerted effort to hide evidence relating to a sexual assault that incentivizes individuals to remain silent or prevents information relating to a sexual assault from becoming public or being disclosed to the plaintiff, including, but not limited to, the use of nondisclosure agreements or confidentiality agreements.”

This bill amends Section 340.16 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

SB 189 – DFEH Renamed to CRD (Effective July 1, 2022)

Pursuant to SB 189, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s name changed to the Civil Rights Department. As stated on the CRD's website, this change is to more accurately reflect the CRD’s powers and duties, which include enforcement of laws prohibiting hate violence, human trafficking, discrimination in business establishments, and discrimination in government-funded programs and activities, among others. The Fair Employment and Housing Council’s name has also changed, and it is now referred to as the California Civil Rights Council.

This bill impacts other areas of California law unrelated to employment laws and makes various revisions to the Business and Professions Code, the Civil Code, the Education Code, the Government Code, the Health and Safety Code, the Labor Code, the Penal Code, the Revenue and Taxation Code, the Unemployment Insurance Code and the Vehicle Code. Please refer to SB 189 for the impacted code sections.

SB 931 - Violations for Deterring Union Membership (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Existing law prohibits a public employer from deterring or discouraging public employees or applicants to be public employees from becoming or remaining members of an employee organization, authorizing representation by an employee organization, or authorizing dues or fee deductions to an employee organization.  Existing law generally vests jurisdiction over violations in the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).

SB 931 authorizes an employee organization that is subject to the jurisdiction of PERB to bring a claim before PERB alleging violations by the public employer. Upon a finding by the board that the employer violated the law, the employer shall be subject to a civil penalty, to be deposited in the General Fund, of up to $1,000 per each affected employee, not to exceed $100,000 in total. When assessing a civil penalty, PERB shall consider the several criteria and award attorneys’ fees and costs to a prevailing employee organization if certain conditions are met.

This bill adds Section 3551.5 to the Government Code.

SB 954 – Wages and Payroll Records for Public Works Employees (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Existing law requires that contractors and subcontractors furnish the Labor Commissioner with payroll records concerning public works projects, which include construction, alteration, demolition, installation or repair work done under contract and paid for, in whole or in part, out of public funds.

SB 954requires that the Department of Industrial Relations establish an online database of electronic certified payroll records, accessible to certain trust funds established under federal law and certain committees established under federal law. SB 954 requires that the online database contain only nonredacted information that may be provided to those trust funds and committees.

This bill amends section 1771.4 of the Labor Code.

SB 1044 - Emergency Conditions in the Workplace: Employer Prohibitions (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

SB 1044 prohibits an employer, in the event of an emergency condition, from taking or threatening adverse action against any employee for refusing to report to, or leaving, a workplace or worksite within the affected area because the employee has a reasonable belief that the workplace or worksite is unsafe. This prohibition does not apply to certain groups of employees enumerated in the text of the bill, including but not limited to first responders, employees required by law to render aid or remain on the premises in case of an emergency, and employees whose primary duties include assisting members of the public to evacuate in case of an emergency.

The bill defines "emergency condition" to mean the existence of either of the following:

  • Conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons or property at the workplace or worksite caused by natural forces or a criminal act.
  • An order to evacuate a workplace, a worksite, a worker's home or the school of a worker's child due to natural disaster or a criminal act.

"Emergency condition" does not include a health pandemic.

SB 1044 also requires employees to notify their employer of the emergency condition requiring them to leave or refuse to report to the workplace or worksite (either prior to leaving or refusing to report, when feasible, or – when prior notice is not feasible – after leaving or refusing to report as soon as possible). 

Further, in the event of an emergency condition, the bill prohibits an employer from preventing any employee from accessing the employee's mobile device or other communications device for seeking emergency assistance, assessing the safety of the situation, or communicating with a person to confirm their safety. 

Finally, in the event a current or former employee brings an action that could be brought pursuant to the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) for violations of these prohibitions, the bill gives employers the right to cure alleged violations as set forth in Section 2699.3. 

This bill adds Chapter 11 to Part 3 of Division 2 of the Labor Code.

SB 1126 – CalSavers, Retirement Savings (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

Under existing law – the CalSavers Retirement Savings Trust Act, administered by the CalSavers Retirement Savings Board (CalSavers Board) – employers with five or more employees that do not sponsor a retirement plan are required to participate in CalSavers and offer a payroll deposit retirement savings arrangement so that eligible employees may contribute a portion of their salary or wages to a retirement savings program account in the program.

SB 1126 expands the definition of “eligible employer” to include any such person or entity that has at least one eligible employee and that satisfies the requirements to establish or participate in a payroll deposit retirement savings arrangement.  Excluded from the definition of “eligible employer” are sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, or other business entities that do not employ any individuals other than the owners of the business.

This bill further requires eligible employers with five or more employees that do not offer a retirement savings program, to have a payroll deposit savings arrangement to allow employee participation in the program within 36 months after the CalSavers Board opens the program for enrollment. By December 31, 2025, eligible employers with one or more eligible employees that do not provide a retirement savings program, are required to have a payroll deposit savings arrangement to allow employee participation in the program.

This bill amends Sections 100000 and 100032 of the Government Code.

SB 1138 -- Unemployment Insurance For Self-Employed Individuals (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

SB 1138 requires the Employment Development Department (EDD) to conduct a feasibility study that examines the idea of extending unemployment insurance benefits to self-employed individuals. The EDD will also be required to report on any actions necessary to implement such an expansion.

The EDD is required to complete and submit the feasibility student to the Legislature and the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement by December 1, 2023.

This bill adds Section 339.5 to the Unemployment Insurance Code.

SB 1162 – Pay Transparency Law (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

SB 1162 requires employers with 15 or more employees to disclose pay scales for a position in any job posting and requires employers to maintain records of job titles and wage rate history for each employee for the duration of employment plus three years. It also sets new pay data reporting requirements based on protected characteristics, changes the date for submitting pay data reports and establishes significant civil penalties for non-compliance. A more detailed overview is linked here.

This bill amends Section 12999 of the Government Code and Section 432.3 of the Labor Code.

SB 1334 – Meal and Rest Periods for Hospital Employees (Effective Jan. 1, 2023)

SB 1334 extends existing meal and rest period requirements applicable to private sector employers to public sector health care employees who provide direct patient care, or support direct patient care, in a general acute care hospital, clinic, or public health setting. Public sector health care employers include the state, municipalities, and the Regents of the University of California.

As such, this bill requires public sector health care employers to provide an unpaid 30-minute meal period to covered employees who work over five hours, and an additional unpaid 30-minute meal period for employees who work more than 10 hours in a shift. These employers must also provide a rest period based on the total hours worked daily at the rate of 10 minutes net rest time per four hours or major fraction thereof as provided by Wage Order No. 4 and Wage Order No. 5 of the Industrial Welfare Commission. This bill authorizes the covered employees to waive meal periods and provides for on-duty meal periods, as provided by existing law. An employer may be required to pay premium pay for failing to comply with the statutory meal or rest period requirements. This bill also exempts employees covered by a valid collective bargaining that addresses meal and rest periods.

This bill adds Section 512.1 to the Labor Code.

SB 1477 - Enforcement of Judgments: Wage Garnishment (Effective Sept. 1, 2023)

Existing law sets forth procedures for the levy of a judgment debtor's wages when required to enforce a money judgment. Existing law specifies that the maximum amount of a judgment debtor's disposable earnings for any workweek that is subject to levy shall not exceed the lesser of

  • 25% of the individual's disposable earnings for that week.
  • 50% of the amount by which the disposable earnings for the week exceed 40 times the state minimum hourly wage (or, the local minimum hourly wage, if greater than the state minimum hourly wage).

Existing law also specifies certain multipliers to determine the maximum amount of disposable earnings subject to levy for any pay period other than a weekly pay period.

SB 1477 modifies the formula for determining what portion of a judgment debtor's wages can be garnished in order to satisfy a judgment for persons, beginning September 1, 2023, such that the maximum amount of disposable earnings of a judgment debtor for any workweek that is subject to levy must not exceed the lesser of the following:

  • 20% of the individual's disposable earnings for that week.
  • 40% of the amount by which the individual's disposable earnings for that week exceed 48 times the state minimum hourly wage (or, the local minimum hourly wage, if greater than the state minimum hourly wage).

This bill also reduces the multipliers used to determine the maximum amount of earnings subject to levy for any pay period other than a weekly pay period.

This bill amends, repeals and adds Section 706.050 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

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