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Best in Law: Understanding California’s new employment laws

By in Press Enterprise on February 10, 2018

By Joseph T. Ortiz

California lawmakers had a busy 2017 addressing various employment issues. A majority of these new laws took effect Jan. 1. If you are an employer and are not yet in compliance, immediate action should be taken to review your employment applications and update employee policies to reflect these new regulations.

Minimum wage and salary threshold

California increased its minimum wage to $11 for employers with 26 or more employees and $10.50 for businesses with 25 or fewer workers.

Absent a major economic event, larger employers will see the minimum wage raised by $1 a year through 2022 when the state’s $15 standard will be reached – 2023 for smaller employers.

The salary threshold for overtime pay for exempt executive, administrative and professional workers also rose this year.

California law says exempt employees must earn a fixed monthly income of at least double the minimum wage for full-time employment. With the recent wage increases, the current salary threshold for employers with 26 or more employees is about $3,800 a month, or $45,760 a year.

These increases for white-collar workers were set to meet new federal overtime rule standards that are delayed indefinitely until the U.S. Department of Labor modifies its overtime rules.

Applicant histories

Employee protections were also expanded by restricting the information employers can request from applicants.

Now, employers with five or more workers may not question an applicant about his or her criminal past until a conditional job offer is made. Any denial of employment based upon a conviction must have a “direct and adverse relationship with the duties of the job.”

In an effort to curb discriminatory pay practices that could follow a worker into a new job, Assembly Bill 168 now prohibits employers from inquiring about an applicant’s past salary and benefits. Employers will also be required to provide applicants with a pay scale for the applied-for […]    

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