California Employment Law Updates

October 24, 2022

California has revised and enacted several employment laws this year, many of which are expected to go into effect January 1, 2023. These new laws will affect and create several new obligations for California employers.

Pay Transparency Law

Beginning January 1, 2023, all organizations will be required provide current employees with a pay scale for their position, upon request of the employee. All employers must also maintain, and make available to the Labor Commissioner for inspection, records of the job title and wage history of each employee during and for three years following employment.

This law will also require employers with 15 or more employees to include a pay scale in each job posting, including on third-party postings.

Annual Pay Data Report

Amendments to the Annual Pay Data Report requirements will require private California employers with 100 or more employees to file an annual report that with the Civil Rights Department with additional pay information.

This report must indicate the number of employees of each race, ethnicity, and sex, there are in each of the following job categories:

  • Executive or senior level officials and managers
  • First or mid-level officials and managers
  • Professionals
  • Technicians
  • Sales workers
  • Administrative support workers
  • Craft workers
  • Operatives
  • Laborers and helpers
  • Service workers

The report must also include, among other things, the median and mean hourly rate of pay within each job category and for each combination of race, ethnicity, and sex.

This amendment also revises the annual reporting deadline to the second Wednesday of May, beginning the second Wednesday in May of 2023.

Bereavement Leave and the CFRA

As of January 1, 2023, California employers with five or more employees will be required to provide eligible employees with up to five days of bereavement leave for the death of a qualifying family member. This bereavement leave is protected under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and is in addition to the 12 weeks of leave already permitted by that law.

In addition, AB 1041 amended the CFRA’s definition of “family member.” Beginning January 1, 2023, including those family members already set forth in the existing law, employees will be able to take leave to care for a “designated person.” This term is defined as meaning “a person identified by the employee at the time the employee requests paid sick days.”

Reproductive Health Decision-making

The Contraceptive Equity Act of 2022 amends the existing California Fair Employment and Housing Act which, beginning January 1, 2023, prohibit employment discrimination based on reproductive health decision-making. This will include, but not be limited to, the “decision to use or access a particular drug, device, product, or medical service for reproductive health.”

Emergency Working Conditions

Beginning January 1, 2023, Section 1193 of California’s Labor Code will, in the event of an emergency condition, prohibit an employer from taking or threating “adverse action against any employee for refusing to report to, or leaving, a workplace or worksite within the affected area because the employee has a reasonable belief that the workplace or worksite is unsafe.”

The “reasonable belief” requirement will require that a reasonable person would believe that there is a “real danger of death or serious injury” at the workplace. Though an “emergency condition” expressly excludes health pandemics, the term is defined as including “[c]onditions of disaster or extreme peril… caused by natural forces or a criminal act,” or situations where there has been an evacuation order.

Employers are also prohibited from taking or threatening adverse action against an employee for using their personal cell phone to seek emergency assistance or to assess or verify safety.

Takeaway

The upcoming new year brings with it many new employment laws for California employers. If you have any questions about compliance with these obligations, please reach out to us.

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