This year’s legislative session in California concluded with a flurry of activity, resulting in several significant changes to employment laws of which all employees should be aware. These laws cover a wide range of areas, from leaves of absence to workplace safety, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, notice requirements, industry-specific regulations, and COVID-19-related measures. Below, we provide an overview of these new labor and employment laws set to take effect on January 1, 2024, unless otherwise specified.

New Laws Regarding Minimum Wage in Certain Industries

  • Assembly Bill 1228 establishes the Fast Food Council, which will work on setting minimum wages, working hours, and other working conditions for fast-food restaurants. The minimum wage for fast-food employees will increase to $20 per hour on April 1, 2024, with potential further increases starting in 2025.
  • Senate Bill 525 sets forth different minimum wage schedules for various healthcare employees depending on the nature of the employer. Minimum wage increases will begin on June 1, 2024, affecting a broad range of healthcare facilities.

New Laws Regarding Workplace Safety

  • Senate Bill 553 imposes general industry workplace violence safety requirements on nearly all California employers under the jurisdiction of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Covered employers must develop and implement a workplace violence prevention plan as part of their Injury and Illness Prevention Plans. These requirements will be effective starting July 1, 2024.

New Laws Regarding Leaves of Absence

  • Senate Bill 616 expands the state’s paid sick leave law, increasing the minimum amount of paid sick leave employers must provide from three days or 24 hours to five days or 40 hours. It also raises the cap on paid sick leave accrual and the number of sick days that can be rolled over to the following year.

New Laws Regarding Workplace Retaliation

  • Senate Bill 497 enhances retaliation protections by adding a rebuttable presumption in favor of an employee’s claim if an employer takes adverse action within 90 days of the employee’s protected activity. This means that if an adverse action occurs within this period, it is presumed to be retaliatory, shifting the burden to the employer to provide sufficient evidence to rebut this presumption.

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