New California Laws: How Employers and Employees Will Be Affected

This article originally appeared on Stephen Koppekin’s LinkedIn Profile on Jan. 9, 2018. Connect with Stephen on LinkedIn!

While millions of men and women will be working to uphold their New Year’s Resolutions in the coming weeks, across California, countless employers will be working to adapt to a series of new laws that took effect at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day. I take a look at some of the most significant changes to in-state laws regarding employment and compensation below:

Minimum Wage

California businesses with 26 or more employees must now observe a minimum wage of $11 per hour. In fact, the state’s minimum wage will continue to rise by $1 per year until it reaches $15 per hour in 2022, although businesses with 25 or fewer employees will have a one-year extension to implement the increase. While conventional wisdom says that a rising minimum wage benefits workers, it also increases costs on businesses, and California’s own Legislative Analysis office indicates says that it may reduce employment as a result.

Salary History

When considering individuals for positions, in-state employers can no longer ask applicants for information about their past or current salary, compensation, or benefits; furthermore, they must offer a salary range for the position if the applicant requests it. These new protections put power in the hands of applicants, who would often blindly negotiate salaries with their employers-to-be before the law took effect, and women, who stand to earn more since previous salaries—which may have been the byproduct of workplace inequality—can no longer be used as a means to pay them less in subsequent jobs. If an employee voluntarily shares their salary history, however, then employers may use it as a factor in their decision making.

Parental Leave

Good news for working parents: Companies with 20 to 49 employees are required to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave for new parents, and parents can’t lose either their job or healthcare benefits during this time. This state law acts as a complement to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which mandates companies with 50 or more employees to provide 12 weeks of unpaid time to new mothers and fathers.

2018 is sure to bring further changes to the workplace and the relationship between employers and their employees. For help navigating legal requirements and best practices, contact me at Koppekin Consulting, Inc. either by email at Stephen@KoppekinConsulting.com or by visiting my website.

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