December State Employment Law Update for California Employers

Two businessman shaking hands



A.B. 2770 was signed into law and effective January 1, 2019 to allow an employer to say whether or not a decision to not rehire is based on the employer's determination that the former employee engaged in sexual harassment.

S.B. 224 was signed into law and effective January 1, 2019 to eliminate the element that the plaintiff proves there is an inability to easily terminate the relationship between themselves and an alleged harasser.

S.B.1412 was signed into law and effective January 1, 2019 to specify that certain provisions, such as having expunged records, do not prohibit an employer, from asking an applicant about a particular conviction of the applicant.

The Permanent Daylight Saving Time Measure was passed by voters. The measure allows the California State Legislature to change the dates and times of the daylight saving time (DST).

Proposition 11 passed which will allow private sector emergency ambulance employees, to remain "on-call" during their meal periods and rest periods so they can respond in case of an emergency and required training and 10 mental health services per year.

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has published a new online resources page for California employers which will serve as an one-stop resource for employers to obtain required DFEH workplace postings, information about the use of criminal history information in hiring decisions, FAQs and sample forms to use in connection with reasonable accommodation requests, a sample EEO policy, and DFEH's workplace harassment prevention guide. The page includes information on sexual harassment prevention training requirements, including answers to the most frequently asked questions about S.B. 1343 (FAQs), and a toolkit for employers to use in meeting the law's requirements.

The California Pay Equity Task Force ("Task Force") released written guidance for employees, employers and unions on how they may comply with the California Fair Pay Act ("CFPA"). The guidance includes, amongst other things, a myriad of tips and recommended practices for employers seeking to comply with the CFPA.

By Dec. 31, 2019, every publicly held domestic or foreign corporation with principal executive offices in California must have at least one female director on its board. By Dec. 31, 2021, this minimum requirement increases to two female directors on a five-person board and three female directors on a board of six or more people.

AB2358 has been signed into law to prohibit discrimination in any building and construction trades apprenticeship program on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age for individuals over forty years of age, military or veteran status, or sexual orientation. An Apprenticeship program must take affirmative steps to provide equal opportunity in apprenticeship, including providing anti-harassment and antidiscrimination training to all apprentices, instructors and employees of the program; effective January 1, 2019.

California's Education Code relating to work permits required for the employment of minors is amended to provide that a work permit shall not be denied on the basis of a pupil's grades, grade point average, or school attendance if the pupil is applying for the work permit in order to participate in a government-administered employment and training program that will occur during the regular summer recess or vacation of the school that the pupil attends; effective January 1, 2019.

Anaheim, CA

Ballot initiative Measure L was approved by voters and increasing the minimum wage payable by hospitality industry employers located in the Anaheim or Disneyland Resort specific plan zones effective January, 1st 2019 - which shall increase by one dollar per hour on each January 1 thereafter through January 1, 2022. On January 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, the minimum wage will increase annually to reflect increases in the cost of living.

Mountain View, CA

Effective January 1, 2019, employers who are subject to the Mountain View Business License Tax or who maintain a facility in Mountain View must pay to each employee who performs at least two hours of work per week in Mountain View, a minimum wage of at least $15.65 per hour.

Oakland, CA

Effective July, 1st 2019, The Hotel Employee Minimum Wage Charter Amendment will increase the minimum wage for hotel employees from $13.23 to $15 with healthcare benefits, or $20 without healthcare benefits. The charter also establishes workplace protections and additional enforcement procedures for employment standards applied to hotel and non-hotel employees. A "Hotel Employee" is any individual who is employed to provide services in an Oakland hotel with 50 or more guest rooms or suites of rooms, whether employed directly by the hotel or by the hotel's contractor, and who was hired to or did work an average of 5 hours.


Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The IRS has announced the annual cost of living adjustments for 2019 for Health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Qualified Small Employer Retirement Accounts (QSEHRA), and Transportation Benefits (Section 132). Each has an expected increase. Flexible Spending Accounts will allow a total contribution of $2,700 for 2019, up from $2,650 for 2018. QSEHRAs have an increased reimbursement limit of $5,150 for single, $10,450 for family coverage, up from $5,050 and $10,250 respectively. Parking and Transit Account limits under Section 132 are increased to $265 for 2019, up from $260 in 2018. HSA updated limits were announced in May, increasing contribution limits to $3,500 for single coverage, $7,000 for family, for 2019.

401(k) plan participants can contribute up to $19,000 for 2019, which is up from $18,500 for 2018.

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