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New year, New Laws

New Year, New Laws

The New Year will ring in some new laws in California. Here’s a look at what’s to come into effect next week.

Minimum wage: The process of raising California’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022 will continue with a 50 cent raise, effective January 1, 2017. This means that California’s minimum wage will increase from $10 an hour to $10.50 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees under SB3. The new law delays increases by one year for smaller employers.

Gender-neutral bathrooms: As California is charting a new course of equality beginning, March 1, 2017 AB 1732 requires that all single-user facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or government agency to be identified as all-gender facilities. As the law takes effect March 1, 2017, this allows businesses time to change restroom signs and otherwise comply.

Criminal History Application for Employment: An Amendment to Labor Code Section 432.7 and prohibits employers from asking applicants to disclose, or from utilizing as a factor in determining any condition of employment, adjudication, or court disposition that occurred while the person was subject to the process and jurisdiction of juvenile court law. As such, “conviction” does not include “any adjudication by a juvenile court or any other court order or action taken with respect to a person who is under the process and jurisdiction of the juvenile court law.”

Choice of Law and Forum in Employment Contracts : Effective January 1, 2017, Labor Code Section 925 is added and prohibits employers from requiring California-based employees to enter into agreement requiring them to : 1) adjudicate claims arising in California in a non-California forum; or 2)litigate their claims under the law of another jurisdiction, unless the employee was represented by counsel. Any provision of a contract that violates this new law is voidable by the employee, any dispute arising thereunder shall be adjudicated in California under California law and the employee is entitled to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Wage Discrimination Protections cover race ethnicity, prior salary: Effective January 2, 2017, AB 1676 amends the Fair Pay Act (Labor Code Section 1197.5) to provide that an employee’s prior salary cannot, by itself, justify any disparity in compensation under the bona fide factors: a) seniority system; b) merit system; c) system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; d) a bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training, or experience.

Itemized Wage Statements: Effective January 1, 2017, Section 226 does not require employers to include in itemized wage statements which includes the total number of work hours by an exempt employee. An exempt employee is an employee who is exempt from the payment of minimum wage and overtime under the California Labor Code or other applicable Wage Orders promulgated by the Industrial Welfare Commission Employers should continue to include the total hours worked by non-exempt employees in the itemized wage statements for each pay period.

As a result of the foregoing new laws, and for managing changes to the law, employers can consult with an employment law attorney and at Thakur Law Firm, our dedicated attorneys are ready and willing to assist with your important business decisions.

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