New Employment Laws Coming in 2024

New Employment Laws Coming in 2024

By Admin November 27, 2023    Category: Employment     Tags: Business Compliance CA Employment Laws 2024 CA Employment Trends california business law california labor laws California Workplace chase law group chase law manhattan beach deann chase Employee Rights CA employer responsibilities employment lawyer Employment Legislation HR Insights Job Law Updates Labor Law Updates Legal Compliance los angeles New Workplace Laws Worker Protection Workers Rights CA Workplace Policy Workplace Regulations

New Employment Laws Coming in 2024

This year the California legislature and Governor Newsom enacted several new employment laws taking effect January 1, 2024.  Here are the key changes you must be aware of for the new year.

Increase in Paid Sick Leave

Effective January 1, 2024, California employers of all sizes must provide 5 days (40 hours) of paid sick leave each year to employees.  This is an increase from 3 days that is the current requirement.  The new law continues to allow employers to either provide the paid sick leave on an accrual basis or via frontloading the leave at the beginning of each year.  Click here to review our October 2023 article on all of the requirements of the new paid sick leave law.

Reproductive Loss Leave

Employers with 5 or more employees are required to provide employees up to 5 days of unpaid leave for a reproductive loss event, which is defined as the day or for a multiple day event, or the final day of a failed adoption, a failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth or an unsuccessful assisted reproduction.  An employee is limited to a maximum of 20 days leave within a 12-month period.  Employees must have worked at least 30 days to be eligible for reproductive loss leave.  With limited exceptions, an employee must take any such leave within three months of the event triggering the leave.  Note however that an employee may have other rights and leave including under the California Family Rights Act. Employees may use available paid leave, both vacation and paid sick leave. The new law does not require submission by the employee of documentation to support the need for taking this leave. 

Prohibition Against Discrimination for Employees or Applicants For Off Work Use of Cannabis

Last year California enacted a new law, effective January 1, 2024 that forbids employers from discriminating against employees and applicants who use cannabis off work.  Employers may still conduct pre employment drug testing for hiring someone based upon legitimate drug screening that considers psychoactive cannabis metabolites. Moreover, employers cannot ask applicants about prior use of cannabis unless it is considered under the state’s Fair Chance Act which places strict limits on the consideration of criminal history in employment decisions.  But, note that the law allows employers to fire or suspend workers for possessing, using or being impaired by marijuana while at work. It also permits testing to detect current impairment while on the job.

Non-Compete Agreements Are Prohibited

Although California already made it illegal to enforce a non-competition agreement pursuant to Business & Professions Code section 1660, the state legislature was concerned that still some employers were entering into non-competes to simply deter employees from competing with them. Therefore, under a new law (SB 699) effective January 1, 2024 employers are prohibited from even entering into non-competition agreements with employees. The new law further provides that if an employee entered into a non-compete outside of California with a company in another state and then the employee moves to California, the non-compete will be unenforceable. Moreover, by February 1, 2024, California employers must notify all current and former employees who were employed after January 1, 2022, that the non-compete agreement entered into with them is void.

New Workplace Safety Requirements

This year Governor Newsom enacted new workplace violence safety requirements impacting nearly all California employers. The new law, which does not take effect until July 1, 2024, will require covered employers to develop and implement a workplace violence prevention plan either as part of its Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP) or on its own, and require employees be trained on the plan. The new law includes a detailed list of requirements that include recording all workplace violence incidents, maintaining training records, and records of any investigation into any such incident.

Additionally, California expanded the scope of its workplace violence temporary restraining order (TRO). The new law, which will not come into effect until 2025, allows a TRO to be sought on behalf of an employee for an employee who suffers “harassment” as defined by the new law.  Harassment for purposes of the law means a “knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys or harasses the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose.”  The conduct in question must be something that causes a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and must actually cause substantial emotional distress. 

Expansion of Retaliation Protections

Existing law already protects employees who report or complain about violations of law, either to a state agency or within the company for whistleblower violations including wage and hour violations. SB 497 effective January 1, 2024, will also apply a rebuttable presumption that retaliation did occur if the employer takes an adverse action against the employee within 90 days after the employee reports any violation of law to an agency or to the employer.  This rebuttable presumption shifts the burden of proof to the employer to rebut the presumption with sufficient evidence. 

Increases in Minimum Wage

Minimum wage requirements for all California employers regardless of size will be $16.00 effective January 1, 2024.  Note that with this increase, the required minimum salary for exempt employees rises to a minimum of $66,560. In addition to California’s minimum wage requirements, it is important to remember that depending on where employees perform their work that some municipalities and parts of the state have a higher minimum wage, including the City of Los Angeles ($16.78) and unincorporated Los Angeles County ($16.90).  Both of these rates will increase to an amount to be determined July 1, 2024.

Moreover, effective January 1, 2024, almost all health care workers will be entitled to a minimum wage of $25 per hour.  And, effective April 1, 2024, fast food workers’ minimum wage rate will be $20.00.

Should you have any questions regarding these new laws or need assistance regarding any employment law related issues, contact our employment attorney Scott Liner at [email protected] or call us to set up a consultation at 310-545-7700 to help.