Effective January 1, 2018, the minimum wage has increased for all employers regardless of size. For employers with 25 of fewer employees, the minimum wage increased from $10.00 per hour to $10.50 per hour. For employers with 26 or more employees, the minimum wage increased from $10.50 per hour to $11.00 per hour.
This not only affects hourly employees, but salaried employees as well. To qualify for most overtime exemptions, salaried employees must be paid at least two times the minimum wage for full time employment, meaning a yearly salary of at least $43,680.00 for small employers and $45,760.00 for larger employers.
Effective January 1, 2018, all employers in California are prohibited from:
- Asking a prospective employee, either orally or in writing, for their salary history information; and
- Relying on a prospective employee’s salary history information in determining whether to offer employment or the amount of salary to offer.
This does not prohibit an applicant from voluntarily disclosing their salary history. However, the employer must still refrain from using that information to determine the amount of salary to offer the applicant. An employer is also required to provide an applicant, upon request, the pay scale for a position.
Ban the Box – Criminal Convictions
California employers with five or more employees may not:
- Ask for an applicant’s criminal conviction history prior to a conditional offer of employment; or
- Consider, distribute, or disseminate information relating to a) arrests that did not result in a conviction; b) participation in diversion programs; or c) convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, or expunged.
After a conditional offer of employment has been made, an applicant may be asked information regarding their criminal conviction history. If an employer considers any conviction as a factor in denying employment, the employer must assess whether said conviction has a “direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job that justify denying the applicant the position.” The factors to be considered include the nature and gravity of the offense, the amount of time that has passed since the offense, and the nature of the job sought.
The employer must also notify the applicant of the decision to rescind the job offer in writing, and shall include the conviction which formed the basis of the decision, a copy of the conviction report, and an explanation that the applicant has the right to respond to the preliminary decision. The applicant then has an opportunity to respond, and the employer must consider the response before making a final decision. Any final decision to deny employment must also be in writing and include specific information.
The California Family Rights Act has been expanded to provide employees of smaller employers (20-49 employees within 75 miles) 12 weeks of baby bonding. The employee must still have worked 1,250 hours within the preceding 12 months. The baby bonding must also be taken within 1 year of the child’s birth, adoption, or placement.
Reinstatement of the employee in the same or comparable position at the conclusion of the leave must be guaranteed.
Immigrant Worker Protection
The Immigrant Worker Protection Act is designed to protect workers from immigrant enforcement raids in the workplace. An employer, or anyone acting on their behalf, must:
- Require a warrant before consenting to an immigration enforcement agent entering nonpublic areas of the workplace;
- Require a subpoena or court order before any immigration enforcement agent can access employment records;
- Provide current employees with notice of an immigration agency’s demand for inspection of employment records, such as I-9 Employment Verification forms, within 72 hours of receiving a notice of inspection; and
- Provide affected employees a copy of the notice of inspection, upon request.
An employer may also not attempt to re-verify the employment eligibility of a current employee at a time or in a manner not required by federal law.
Under the newly added California Labor Code section 218.7, construction contractors can be held liable for their subcontractor’s failure to pay wages or certain benefits, including accrued interest. This section does not impose liability for penalties or liquidated damages, and only applies to contracts executed after January 1, 2018.
This section also authorizes a contractor to obtain payroll records from their subcontractor to ensure compliance with minimum wage.
Please contact the experienced employment attorneys at the Law Offices of Corren & Corren if you have any questions or concerns regarding the information in this article or for any of your employment law needs.