Top 2017 California Legislation
Here are the top California HR employment law changes that went into effect this year and what you need to know about them.
- Minimum Wage
By 2022, California’s mandatory minimum hourly wage will be $15 for employers with 25+ employees. As of January 1, 2017, minimum hourly pay rose from $10 to $10.50. This amounted to an extra $20 per week for full-time employees.
Beginning in 2018, employers with 25 employees or less, also need to start paying workers $10.50 per hour.
A few cities in California have different minimum wages:
- Berkeley’s rate = $13.75 an hour, effective October 1, 2017
- Los Angeles’s minimum wage = $12 per hour
- San Diego’s minimum wage = $11.50 per hour
- Marijuana Legalization
California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 64, which legalized recreational use of marijuana. Under the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, residents can grow up to 6 plants at home for personal use. Those ages 21+ can possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana.
Legal marijuana sales begin January 1, 2018. Smoking in public or inside a vehicle, even if the user is a passenger, is prohibited.
- Review your employee handbooks and policies to permit the recreational use marijuana.
- Reaffirm that even though California has legalized marijuana possession/use, it still isn’t permitted for use on the job or on company property.
- Define how you’ll handle post-accident testing for marijuana. Traces of marijuana can be detected far longer than just after immediate use, which raises the risk of false positives.
- Parental Leave
Earlier this fall, Governor Brown vetoed the New Parent Leave Bill (SB-654).It would have granted 6 weeks of unpaid leave to new parents at companies with 20+ employees.
Because the bill passed the California Senate by a large margin, there’s a good chance it will make a comeback in the future.
In the meantime, California law still provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave for workers at businesses with at least 50 workers.
- Extra Hours for Part-time Employees
San Jose’s Measure E took effect in March 2017. Organizations with 36 or more employees must offer more hours to part-time employees before hiring additional workers. The exception is if doing so would result in overtime pay.