Top Six New California Employment Laws for 2024

Every year, several employment laws go into effect that impact employers of all sizes. The year 2024 is no different. As the new year starts, employers and employees must prepare themselves for new employment laws. This article provides a summary of the top six California employment laws for 2024.

Minimum Wage Increase

At the beginning of 2024, California’s minimum wage increased from $15.50 per hour to $16 per hour. All employers, regardless of size, are required to pay employees the state’s minimum wage. Moreover, the increase in minimum wage raises the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees to $66,560 per year.

It is vital to note that, while $16/hour is the state’s minimum wage, many California counties and cities have higher minimum wages. It is also crucial to note that for people who work in healthcare facilities, the minimum wage will range from $18 to $23 per hour and the change will take effect at the beginning of June. From April 1, fast food workers should expect to be paid $20 per hour.

Paid Sick Leave Expansion

California workers are now entitled to five days or 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Previously, employees were entitled to three days of paid sick leave per year. Senate Bill 616 also raised the annual accrual limit to ten days or 80 hours, up from six days. Additionally, California employers must now provide written notice of available paid sick leave on worker pay stubs.

Reproductive Loss Leave

Apart from being entitled to paid sick leave, California employees are now also entitled to reproductive loss leave. According to Senate Bill 848, California employers must now allow employees to take up to five days of leave following a reproductive loss event. Reproductive loss not only means a miscarriage. It also means failed surrogacy, adoption, a stillbirth, or a failed assisted reproduction. The leave may be unpaid, but workers should be able to use sick leave or other paid time off if they wish to do so.

Cannabis Nondiscrimination

AB 2188, which amended the California FEHA, prohibits California employers from discriminating against workers or applicants because of their cannabis use off the job and away from work. However, this does not mean that employees are allowed to possess cannabis while working. California employers can continue enforcing policies prohibiting workers from possessing, being impaired by, or using cannabis while at work. Additionally, employers cannot ask about prior cannabis use when hiring.

Non-Compete Agreements

According to Senate Bill 699, it is a civil violation if an employer tries to enforce a non-compete agreement, even if the agreement is valid under another state. By February 14, employers are required to have given written notice to employees of the nullity of existing non-compete agreements.

Rebuttable Presumption of Retaliation

According to SB 497, there is now a rebuttable presumption that an employer is guilty of retaliation if they terminate or discipline an employee in another way within 90 days of the employee engaging in a protected activity. Employers are responsible for a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per worker for every violation. This money will be awarded to victims.

Contact a California Employment Lawyer

Contact a California employment lawyer if you have questions or need more details about the above-discussed laws.