New Laws Effective July 1, 2014

New Laws Effective July 1, 2014

Several laws signed last year took effect on July 1, 2014 including the California minimum wage increase.

Employers should take note of the laws below and revise existing business practices accordingly.

Minimum Wage

On July 1, 2014, California’s minimum wage increased to $9 per hour from the previous minimum wage of $8 per hour. This is the first increase to the state minimum wage since January 1, 2008.

Employers should examine all pay practices that might be affected by the minimum wage increase. The minimum wage increase affects several employer practices.

Notice Requirements

Employers will need to make certain to comply with all notice requirements that are affected by the minimum wage increase:

  • Employers must post California’s official Minimum Wage Order (MW-2014) in a conspicuous location frequented by employees. The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) updated the official notice, which includes the July increase and the second increase for January 1, 2016.
  • The DIR recently revised all 17 industry Wage Orders. Employers are required to post a copy of the industry Wage Order that applies to their business in a place where employees can read it easily. Use the correct industry Wage Order(s), which now bear a revision date of “07/2014.”
  • California employers must provide each employee with written, itemized wage statements at the time wages are paid. The wage statements must reflect all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period (Labor Code Section 226).

Paid Family Leave Benefits

Effective July 1, SB 770 expands Paid Family Leave (PFL) wage-replacement benefits for employees to include benefits for time taken off to care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling or parent-in-law.

PFL does not create the right to a leave of absence, but provides California workers with some financial compensation/wage replacement during a qualifying absence.

Background Checks

Effective July 1, AB 218 prohibits a state or local agency from asking an applicant to disclose information regarding a criminal conviction until after the agency determines the applicant meets minimum employment qualifications. There are specified exceptions, such as when a criminal history background check is otherwise required by law for the position.

Workers’ Compensation Predesignation of Physician

Workers’ compensation regulations concerning predesignation of personal physicians also took effect July 1.

According to the DIR, the final regulations change the criteria that an employee must meet to predesignate a personal physician or medical group for work-related injuries or illnesses.

DIR also revised the forms used for predesignating a personal physician or a personal chiropractor and the Workers’ Compensation pamphlet that employees must receive at the time of hire.

Work Sharing Plans

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) uses a special work sharing program to help companies avoid mass layoffs by sharing the available work among employees. AB 1392 changes the requirements for work sharing plans that took effect on or after July 1, 2014.

Visit the California Employment Development Department’s work sharing webpage for more information.

Source: Cal Chamber

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