New 2023 Employment Laws

Nonprofit and small business employers should be aware of a number of new California employment laws. Please read below for important updates affecting California employers.

New 2023 Employment Laws

Nonprofit and small business employers should be aware of a number of new California employment laws. Please read below for important updates affecting California employers.

Minimum Wage in California Goes Up

Starting January 1, 2023, the minimum wage in California is $15.50 per hour. This applies to all California employers regardless of the number of employees. Some cities and counties have higher minimum wages. For example, the minimum wage for employees working in LA City is $16.04 (it will be $16.78 per hour starting July 1, 2023) and for employees working in unincorporated LA County, the minimum wage is $15.96 (it will be $16.90 per hour starting July 1, 2023). When the local and state minimum wage are different, employees must be paid the higher minimum wage. Some cities and counties may also have different minimum wages depending on the number of employees. To find out more, click here.

Changes to Exempt Employees Minimum Annual Salary

Starting January 1, 2023, exempt employees in California must be paid a minimum annual salary of $64,480. To find out more, click here.

Required Pay Disclosures

Starting January 1, 2023, employers with 15 or more employees must include pay scales in all job postings. Employers must include the salary or hourly wage that the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position in the job post. Employers of any size, including those with fewer than 15 employees, are required to disclose the pay scale for an employee's current position to the employee upon the employee's request. Employers of any size, upon reasonable request, must also provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant applying for employment. To find out more, click here.

Further, employers of any size are now required to maintain records of job title and wage rate history for every employee for the duration of each employee’s employment with the company. These records must be kept for three years after the employee’s separation from the company and made available to the California Labor Commissioner for inspection.

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New Annual Pay Data Reporting Requirements

California employers with 100 or more employees must submit a pay data report to the California Civil Rights Department every year on or before the second Wednesday of May. The report must include the median and mean hourly rate of payroll employees and/or labor contractor employees by establishment, job category, race, ethnicity, and sex. For 2023, the deadline is May 10, 2023.

California's Paid Sick Leave Expanded to Cover Employee's Care for "Designated Person"

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) has been expanded to allow employees to take unpaid leave to care for a "designated person," defined as "any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship." California's Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act (HWHFA) has also been expanded to allow an employee to take unpaid leave to care for a family member, which includes a "designated person" defined as "a person identified by the employee at the time the employee requests paid sick days." Under both CFRA and HWHFA, an employee may identify a designated person at the time the employee requests leave. An employer may limit an employee to one designated person per 12-month period.

New Requirement to Provide Five Days of Bereavement Leave to Eligible Employees

Employers with five or more employees must provide eligible employees at least five days of bereavement leave for the death of a “family member,” defined as a child, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild. An employee is eligible for bereavement leave once they have been employed for at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the leave. The leave does not have to be on consecutive days. However, the leave must be completed within three months of the family member’s death.

If the employer has an existing policy that provides for less than five days of paid bereavement leave, then employees are entitled to take five days, which can consist of the number of paid days of leave per the existing policy and additional unpaid days. If an existing policy provides for less than five days of unpaid bereavement leave, employees are entitled to take five days of unpaid bereavement leave. If an employer does not have an existing policy, then the leave may be unpaid. Employees may also use accrued vacation, personal leave, sick leave, or other compensatory time off for bereavement leave purposes.

Covid-19 Exposures Notice Requirement

Starting January 1, 2023, employers are allowed to provide notice to employees of a possible COVID-19 exposure by prominently displaying a notice alerting employees of a potential COVID-19 exposure. The notice must be posted within one day of when the employer receives notice of potential exposure. The notice must be posted for 15 days and in all places where notices to employees concerning workplace rule regulations are customarily posted. The notice must include relevant dates on which an employee with the confirmed case of COVID-19 was at the worksite, the location of the exposure, contact information for employees to receive information related to COVID-19-related benefits and anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination protections, and contact information for employees to receive information on the employer’s cleaning and disinfecting plan. The employer must keep a log of all the dates the notice was posted and must allow the Labor Commissioner to access those records. Employers must still provide written notice to employees who were in "close contact" with a confirmed case of Covid-19 at the worksite within one day.

Protections for Reproductive Health Decisions

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against an applicant or employee based on reproductive health decisions. Employers are prohibited from requiring an employee or applicant to disclose information relating to their reproductive health decisions. Reproductive health decisions include “a decision to use or access a particular drug, device, product, or medical service for reproductive health.”

Anti-Retaliation Protections for Employees during Emergency Conditions

Under emergency conditions, an employer is prohibited from taking or threatening to take adverse action against an employee who refuses to report to a workplace or worksite or leave a workplace or worksite because the employee has a reasonable belief that the workplace or worksite is unsafe. An emergency condition is defined as a condition of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons or property at the workplace or worksite caused by natural forces or a criminal act, or an order to evacuate a workplace, a worksite, a worker’s home, or the school of a worker's child due to a natural disaster or a criminal act. Emergency condition does not include a health pandemic.

Cal/OSHA Notice Requirements

Any Cal/OSHA citation, special order, or action that is required to be posted, must be posted by the employer in English and the top seven non-English languages used by limited-English-proficient adults in California, as well as Punjabi (if not already included). Cal/OSHA is responsible for drafting the alternate language notices and such notices must be posted at or near each place of violation referred to in the order or citation.

California Mandatory Postings and Pamphlets

California employers are required to post several notices and distribute a number of pamphlets informing employees of their employment rights.

Effective January 1, 2023, eight (8) out of eighteen (18) of these required notices will be updated. The eight (8) notices that will be updated are the following:

  1. California Minimum Wage;
  2. Family Care and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability Leave;
  3. Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee;
  4. California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination and Harassment;
  5. Transgender Rights in the Workplace;
  6. Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal;
  7. Your Rights Under USERRA; and
  8. Safety and Health Protection on the Job (Cal/OSHA).

Effective January 1, 2023, two required pamphlets will also be updated:

  1. Unemployment Insurance;
  2. Sexual Harassment.

More information can be found on the websites for the California Department of Industrial Relations, California Civil Rights Department, Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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